I thought it was time to give you an update on how Orin T. and I are doing. Currently, Orin T. is a little pale and just sitting around on his fishing bucket, watching me paint. The good news, he’s pretty quiet and I’m making good progress.
After much deliberation in my head (I always have too many ideas) and on a scratchpad (that’s where all the ideas get weeded out in reality), I FINALLY decided on the layout and mood for the 4th painting in The Bird Watcher Series. The concept I had for this painting years ago when I first sketched it out was a picnic scene with all the creatures that Great Blue Herons eat, hiding amongst the props and in the grass. Picnics are typically something one looks forward to, but not if you are a little guest and could possibly come to your demise when the much larger, carnivorous guest, surreptitiously arrives at the picnic. So, rather than making the painting full of light and happy I decided to portray the scene with a sense of foreboding that would accompany a little creature who, unsuspectingly, might look up for the last time, only to come eye to eye with a Great Blue Heron.
Nothing that moves and breaths on land or in water and can be swallowed whole, is safe, when it comes to these lanky, lightning quick, prehistoric looking birds–that is why I’ve decided to call this painting “Impending Doom”.
I’m having a blast with this painting so far–I may change my mind when I have to paint all the grass, but all in all, I think there is potential for “Impending Doom” being my favorite in The Bird Watcher series so far. (It may be because of the GIANT bird I get to paint.)
It will be a while before I post the final piece. There is obviously a lot of work to do on a 36″x80″ painting, but I also want to have an element of surprise when completed. When done, the painting will make its way to Cannon Beach and be available for sale at Northwest by Northwest Gallery.
Before I even had a chance to write my goals for this year–including all the steps to reach them–a goal was met, which dictates all the remaining goals for the year, PAINT!
Here’s what happened–a gallery owner and her husband saw my work in a publication (American Art Collector). Her husband said, “Watch this artist”. She contacted me via email and said, “We love your work”, we met at the gallery on Tuesday, January 5, and the rest is history. I now have my first major gallery representation at Northwest By Northwest Gallery in Cannon Beach, OR.
The cool thing about this is, “Gallery representation in Cannon Beach, OR” was the first thing I was going to write in my goals for the year. I feel so blessed to be able to check that off my list and move on to the next thing on my list–PAINT–which is exactly what I need to do to reach the goals that Joyce, the gallery owner, and I have set. My focus will be on producing more pieces to add to the bird-watcher series, which means, it’s time to start blogging about the adventures of Orin T. the bird-watcher–something I’m sure you are looking forward to.
Yesterday, I began cleaning an area in my studio for the still-life where the Great Blue Heron will “live.” This is the fourth painting in the series, the creative juices are flowing–it’s wonderful to feel excited about this series again and to have a place where it can be seen by so many.
Before I go to far with this blog I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for reading my blog, for commenting, for supporting me as a friend and as an artist, for making this art journey with me. I could not do this without you, nor would I want to. Making art is as much about bringing joy to others as it is about receiving joy in the process of making it.
2015 has been a faith-building year in a number of ways. It didn’t always seem like I was getting much done because of all the distractions, but when I assess my progress in numbers its been a success–more so than I’d thought.
Here’s a quick overview of what I did last year professionally:
46 paintings completed of a variety of sizes, studio and en plein air
3 paintings almost completed on the easel, two small and one large
2 murals–one public 12×10′ and one nursery 8×14′
7 Group shows
Orcas Island All Things Birds and Beautiful Art Show and Sale
National Oil and Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) on-line International Spring Show
24th Annual Juried Art Show Sale & Competition, Breckenridge Fine Arts Center
Battle Ground Art Alliance show at North Bank Gallery, Vancouver, WA
NOAPS Annual Best of America Exhibit, The Dunnegan Gallery of Art, Bolivar, MO & The Vine Art Gallery, Osage Beach, MO
3rd Annual Open Studio Tour show at North Bank Gallery, Vancouver, WA
Christmas Benefit group show at Above and Below Gallery, Vancouver, WA
2 Solo shows
It’s All About Birds, Lava Java, Ridgefield, WA
3rd Annual Clark County Open Studio Tour
This is my 57th post this year on this blog. Highlights:
Viewed over 3,600 times
Seen in 75 countries
Most views in one day–August 22–243 views in response to “My Heart Skipped a Beat”. Maybe people were just making sure I hadn’t had a heart attack or something.
Finalist in The Artist Magazines Annual Competition in the Animal category
Won a spot in the NOAPS 25th Annual Best of America Show
Southwest Art, January 2016 edition
American Art Collector
local articles in the newspaper–too lazy to look up the dates 😉
Moved my studio from my garage to 711 NE 1st St, Suite 105, Battle Ground, WA 98604, and loving having a place to go to work.
Worked on an art collaboration with two other artists, creating a temporary art installation for the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge Anniversary and Grand Opening of the newly remodeled Carty Unit.
Started an Instagram account
Updated my website and activated the shopping cart feature (that was a lot of work!).
ON A PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT BUT ART RELATED NOTE–
Like all of you, my life has been a journey. Highs, lows and a lot of in between stuff. Much (MOST) of that journey did not include art. All of my journey has included religion (God) in some form or another. A few years ago I came under conviction and took the most life altering, important and significant step–I left the church that I’d been raised in. Some may think this a small thing–it was NOT for me–but it has proven to be the best decision of my life. In 2014, while dealing with some significant losses, I was reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, for my morning devotions. His words were deep and in my minds eye I could “see” a complete paradigm shift regarding the gospel. I came under conviction to begin doodling through each daily devotion as well as write my response–a kind of “therapy” for me as I was challenged by the simplicity of the true gospel as it is in Jesus Christ alone. I began doing that the end of October and on January 16, 2015 I started a blog called DoodlingDevotionals.com. So, on top of accomplishing all of the above professionally, each morning, before doing anything else, I doodled and wrote a response to my devotions–resulting in 320 posts (there are actually all 365 devotions on the blog but when I started the blog I uploaded my doodles done prior to the blog on separate pages.)
The success in the blog was not the amount of viewers or followers, but in the commitment I had made. I have NEVER in my life been able to even write in a journal more than 3 consecutive days in a row. To have doodled and posted consecutively for 89 days in a row is significant. The days I missed blogging, I still doodled. The first day I missed was the day my grandson was born in WI. A week with him and our kids still did not keep me from doodling, I just made up for the missed days by posting more than one a day for a few days. Even though the blog was viewed only a couple of thousand times in 36 countries it was to me a most valuable experience, causing me to go much deeper in my understanding and relationship with God. I am a better person for it in many ways.
Now, as the clock ticks toward midnight, and 2015 comes to a close, I anticipate with excitement what next year might bring, both professionally and personally. I have begun a rough draft of goals for next year which I will share when I have completed it. To be sure there will be more paintings added to the Bird Watcher series–yes, I said paintingS. Until then, let me leave you with these inspired words from Emily Dickinson–“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul–and sings the tunes without the words–and never stops at all.”
…On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, four calling Fox Sparrows, A flock of tiny Kinglets, two Northern Flickers and a hummingbird in our pear tree…
Like everyone else this time of year, I have a lot going on. The last few days have been a culmination of all that has been brewing in our lives for the last few months. Today was the day to see how everything would REALLY work out! I don’t want to bore you with the gory details but to be honest, we’ve been walking by faith–literally. I had been having a chat with God about how all these things would play out today and as if to say, “I am taking care of you,” a flock of little chattering birds landed at my feet and in the surrounding bushes along the trail. I was expecting little gray Bushtits–I see them often and I just love watching them flit and float from limb to limb. But these were even more special–they were tiny Kinglets.
I was surprised by their boldness and bravery even with my dog. They hopped around on the ground only 4-5 feet from us, flipping leaves and eating bugs–off in the distance I heard a beautiful song being sung and I looked up to see a Fox Sparrow sitting upright on a limb, head tilted back, beak wide open, singing at the top of its lungs while three of his friends foraged in the underbrush below him. Soon a couple of little Winter Wrens joined in the chorus with their short little chips (I think they were contributing as the “rhythm” section). When I got home our backyard was full of bird activity. A mixed flock of thrushes–American Robins and Varied Thrushes, Yellow-Crowned Sparrows, Starlings, a pair of Northern Flickers, a hummingbird (that sits in our pear tree–really!), and of course the ever present Junco’s and Chickadee’s. It was a great day for bird watching today.
Back to my walk–While standing under the dripping trees, dark storm clouds brewing above–getting ready to let loose with another torrent–I was reminded that I need to become more like a little bird. Sing in the storm, live in and for the little things of the moment, don’t worry about what will be (worry never changed the future it just ruined the present), turn the leaf in front of me, and don’t forget to share my life with friends, family AND strangers. We’re better together, especially when we are lifting each other up and you never know when you may lift someone up. It might be someone you see in the coffee shop, like the gal I met this afternoon who is new to the area and having a stressful day–we talked, then exchanged phone numbers–who knows where this meeting will go. Everyone we meet is dealing with SOMETHING. Be kind, send up a prayer and be the cheerful little Kinglet in another persons day–that is our calling and what makes life worth living.
As for the way things turned out today–it’s obvious that God (my True Love) had it in control, not us! The things I stressed over for this morning were provided for and even went beyond my expectations and the future looks hopeful with new beginnings. I’m working on being a better “bird”. Until next time–when feeling stressed, remember the birds and sing a song ;-). I’ll start one for you–Count your blessings name them one by one . . .
I’m finally getting back to my ocean painting–some little birds are putting it in perspective. The great unveiling will take place this weekend during the Clark County Open Studio Tour. I hope you’re planning on coming if you can. I can’t wait to show off my new studio/gallery–it is finally full of art and makes me feel more like a ‘real artist’. 😉
This is the second go around with this bird–the first one was a total flop. I wouldn’t have even attempted a second except I wanted to tell you a little story about this little hawk. Last year about this time when the hawks were migrating back, I looked out the window to see this little guy sitting bolt upright on the shepherd’s hook we have out on the back patio that says “Welcome Friends”. Hanging on the hook of course is a bird feeder with black sunflower seeds in it. The irony was not lost on me and I was fortunate that he stayed long enough for me to get a picture.
Soon after taking this picture he flew to the ground, wandering around, looking under our hydrangea bush and around the tree trunk. At the time there was nothing there but it wasn’t long until an unsuspecting mixed flock of birds came swooping in and began pecking around on the other side of the bush–they were totally unaware of his presence. I didn’t have to wait long to witness the violent quickness of these stealthy birds. All of a sudden all the birds flushed and the hawk was in hot pursuit of a bird. They were flying directly at me standing in the kitchen window, the smaller bird (I don’t know what kind, it happened so fast), crashed into the window as the hawk grabbed it in its talons and used the window like a spring-board to switch directions and accelerate out of there, taking the now lifeless little prize with it to the top of the pine tree in our backyard.
Although I felt horrible for the little bird I felt honored and amazed to see the hawk in action so closely–very closely. It hung around a few more days than disappeared.
I am not an expert at all on hawks–I’m quite sure this is a Coopers because it seemed to large to be a Sharp-shinned hark, which looks almost exactly like it.
Since I’m wrapping up my alphabet bird project I thought I’d show you the finished Belted Kingfisher as well. I know I posted it one time but it was not finished. I just got back to it today. Not only did I bring more dimension to the bird I decided to really brighten up the background for a better contrast. It makes me happy now.
Now it’s time to go get ready for the artist reception for the 2015 Clark County Open Studio Tour. The reception will be a wonderful opportunity to see they style of art each artist creates–it is at the North Bank Gallery in Vancouver from 5-9 p.m. Next weekend will be an opportunity to tour 50 artists from Clark County. If you live in the area come visit me. Here’s the link for more information: http://ccopenstudios.org
Look what I did today!!! There will one more to post tomorrow–it’s ALMOST finished–and the alphabet will be done.
Both the birds I painted today were challenging letters. I decided to go with a domesticated (at least in the US) bird for my U–the Umbrella Cockatoo.
It’s always a challenge to paint a bird that is one solid color–white in particular. I must say, I kinda like the way it turned out.
For the letter X, I was going to do something creative like paint a bird dropping and write something like X marks the spot where a bird was–but that was a cop out. Instead I went the scientific name approach. Here you have the Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus, better known as the Yellow-Headed Blackbird.
I know only a little about these birds. Although I do see them at the Ridgefield Wildlife refuge along with the Red-Winged Blackbird, they are not nearly as prolific, especially along the side of the road. One thing I do know about them, they don’t have a pretty singing voice. In fact, it’s rather harsh and annoying. Like the Red-Winged Blackbird they nest in freshwater marshes, forage for food in farm fields and open country and hang out with other blackbirds in the fall and winter.
I got a couple of paintings worked on today. I’m mostly happy with the flicker–Northern Flicker to be specific.
Currently the flickers are going crazy in our fruit trees. This particular flicker was hanging out in the birch tree next to our kitchen window and seemed quite curious.
Pretty tired so there’s not much to say tonight–I did get a lot done in the studio today, shades on the window thanks to my husband (now I have more privacy) and paintings hung on one side of the studio–I also worked on a hawk painting but I’m not happy with it yet so will post it tomorrow after I make sure it’s proportional.
I love Quails so I couldn’t pass up painting one–however, I did not think it through, they are not easy to paint quick. Too much stuff going on on them. However, I think I did pretty well minimizing all the “stuff” while still making them look pretty convincing–which is a big deal for me–minimizing that is.
When I lived in AZ many years ago, I loved visiting the valley during their nesting season. After everyone would hatch, numerous little fluff ball babies would come leaping out of their prickly cactus nests (I didn’t like it when a Roadrunner would visit during their great exodus.). Then, like a ribbon teasing a kitten, little legs moving so quickly they couldn’t be seen, they would run along behind their parents.
Quails eat mainly seeds, flowers and leaves but will also eat insects. They require what is called protozoans to digest their food. The little babies acquire the protozoans by pecking at adult feces–yum! At times a clutch can have up to 28 eggs which usually means another female too lazy to build a nest and sit on the eggs has “dumped” eggs in another nest, leaving the other parent to raise their young. The oldest recorded quail was 6 years 11 months old. A couple more little facts before moving on to the bunting, their topknot is actually 6 feathers that overlap each other and for those music lovers, the male and female California Quail call antiphonally, meaning that they alternate calls, fitting them into a tightly orchestrated pattern.
I is for Indigo Bunting–another difficult blue to come up with–especially yesterday and today. Maybe if I’d had a cerulean blue it would have been less frustrating. (In our area we have Lazuli Buntings) The male of course gets to sport the beautiful blue during the breeding season and turns brown for the winter. The female wears brown feathers year-round.
These migratory, smallish, songbirds live in the South and from the Midwest down to Florida. They often migrate at night using the stars to navigate. They live in brushy, woodland and farmland areas, eat what sparrows eat and often raise two broods of 1-4 babies.
Off subject here–I am only 4 away from completing the alphabet. It looks like I’ll have them ready for the Clark County Open Studio Tour November 14 & 15. Here is a link if you are interested in knowing about it, http://ccopenstudios.org If you are in the area, come by and see them as well as other works I’ve been doing. Although this has been a fun project I’m ready to move on to some not so quick paintings–something with more detail–my comfort zone.
It’s a two bird day again–a third is mostly done. The Loon–another bird I don’t have direct contact with unless during migration they wander through and I happen to be by the lake they land on. These stealthy fishermen breed and raise their young in the Northern States and Canada–which explains why I never see them.
They are commonly known for their eerie call echoing across lakes–my first real recollection of hearing them was when the movie On Golden Pond came out.
The bird in this painting is in its summer attire. In the winter their lovely spots below their neck are replaced with white feathers, while above the neck they are plain grey.
As you can see, their babies enjoy riding on their parents backs–although I’m sure it’s not because they are showing any sign of affection toward their little ones, but it sure looks cute.
The other bird I painted today is a very common sight at our home, especially come fall when all their young are raised. It is the Oregon Junco–most commonly referred to as just a plain Junco, that’s why I had no problem using it for my J.
Junco are one of the main birds we see flitting around on the ground under our bird feeders in the winter. When they fluff up in the winter they look like a round little ball hopping around foraging for seed.
They hang out with other birds like Black Capped Chickadees, Pine Siskens, Gold Finches and Nuthatches. They eat seeds from the ground or close to the ground for the most part. When we had our deck they loved hopping along the railing picking seed up.
This bird is a male, the females have a more slate colored head. The Oregon Junco also has the pinkesh colored feathers on their side. The other Juncos we see in our area is the Slate-Colored Junco and Dark-Eyed Juncos. One thing I discovered today was that Juncos are a part of the sparrow family. I never knew that.
Tomorrow I will have an Indigo Bunting done–another bird I’ve never seen that I am aware of, but it starts with an I and it’s a beautiful blue and it’s from the East, I must paint birds for my friends in the East as well.