Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday - for the birds

I enjoyed my morning coffee with the hummingbirds today. Picked up a new feeder that has smaller landing posts in hopes that the sweet toothed Gila Woodpeckers will have a harder time landing. The hummingbirds have found the new feeder in less then a day. So for now I will leave you with hummingbirds.


Hummingbirds from Tucson visit, Sonoran Desert Living Museum


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Saguaro's are blooming

It seems that everything is blooming early this year. The saguaro is no exception. I am lucky enough to have a large one in my backyard. The flowers are night bloomers but once they bloom stay open through the next day. They are a major food source for bats but birds, bees and butterflies seem to enjoy them too. They are an interesting bloom, almost looking artificial. Usually the saguaro bloom mid-May to June even into July. It depends on the elevation the closer to 4000 feet the later they bloom. This year they are already blooming and I am happy to be in town to see this little miracle of nature. In a month or so, the fruit ripens and that will be another topic.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Arbor Day

I thought it appropriate that we end the week with trees. Earth Day started our week, National Parks Week, takes us through the weekend and today is Arbor Day.

There is something peaceful about trees. They can be tall and powerful or small and delicate as in a miniature Japanese Maple. They give us fruit and nuts. They provide shade on a hot day, something that is treasured in AZ. I have been to Muir Woods and seen the big Redwoods, it is in those moments that you truly understand how small I are in this world.

To see what your state tree is check out: http://www.arborday.org

Here are a few of my favorite trees & leaves.

AZ State Tree Palo Verde



 Oaks, Cottonwoods
Marilu's scratchboard of Acorn & Oak leaves


Fig Tree South Africa
Me under the Fig Tree

Snow on the Beech

Thursday, April 26, 2012

National Park Week

To go along with Earth Day, it is National Park Week April 21-19th. I just discovered this today in reading the newspaper found out that you can get into any of the 397 National Parks for free this week. There are also special days through out the year that are free too. The next free day is June 9th "Get Outdoors Day" and then there is November 10 - 12th "Veterans Day Weekend". The entrance fees are waived plus some tour & travel fees. To find out more about your National Parks go to: http://www.nps.gov/findpark/feefreeparks.htm

Denali National Park

Monday, April 23, 2012

Every Day is Earth Day

Here are a few quotes & pictures to continue honoring the earth: 
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished"    Lao Tzu
"Happiness flutters in the air whilst we rest among the breaths of nature" Kelly Sheaffer


"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still
ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do" Galileo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Experimenting

I find myself working more and more on birds. Here is another owl, a Northern Saw-Whet. This little guy was at a rescue center in Vermont. He had a damaged wing and will never fly again. He looked very content in his new home although I am sure he "dreams of flying". Which is what I have titled this piece.

The experimenting part of this piece was toning the paper and letting the colors stay pretty much pure. Using charcoal and some pastel to create the details of the face. Working with a kneaded eraser to work loosely on the body. Loose is something some artists do easily. Some of us love those little details that many people may not notice as they see the over all piece of work. But, we know that we spent a half day just working on the feathers around the eyes, or going down one side of the wing. Trying to let go of some of that control.



Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Work

I am still fascinated with owls and birds in general. I finished a new piece - a great horned owl. I am planning to do a series of them. Putting the finishing touches on another owl piece and started a large raven piece which is so far not going too well. Working on a large handmade paper and it does not like charcoal. May have to go to the art store and see what new charcoal I can find to play with, always a hardship when I have to spend time finding new toys in the art store.

Still working on slowly sealing the pastels with sprays so that they can be mounted and displayed without glass. The process is working well on the Rives BFK paper, losing very little detail as I spray them. Still struggling with how to mount them and frame them. Have done a few on canvas then painted the exposed canvas. I keep coming back to wanting to add something to the canvas, some papers or texture if I am going to leave them without a frame. Otherwise I think I need to mount them on board and frame as if it were a canvas painting. Details, details...it feels good to be working on new pieces.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Changes

This past weekend I did a day trip up to Sedona for the opening reception of the AZ Pastel Juried Spring show. I headed out on a warm, sunny with a few clouds day in Scottsdale. As I increased in elevation things started to change. The sky got cloudier, the temperature dropped fast, rain started coming down, wind started blowing. I continued on going up and over the mountains to get to Sedona. I was close when the rain turned to snow. I gave it a thought - should I turn around just head home before it gets too bad?? But, I was near Cottonwood which is just before Sedona, I kept moving forward. Worst case I find a place to spend the night, even if it is my car. I had an extra blanket in the trunk, munchies and water.

Going into Sedona elevation is 4000 plus. It went from mid 70's to 30's in less then 2 hours. I got to the reception a bit later then I had planned. It was a nice turn out and the show looked great. The gallery is for special shows which change every few weeks. The Sedona Art Center has a separate building where they host local and regional artists along with a school offering classes. It is just off the main road hwy 17 and 89A. The snow had stopped and turned to light rain. Good should be no problems. A little while later I look out the window and the snow is back and blowing sideways. That was my cue, either find some place to stay or head out. I headed out.

As I was driving in and out of Sedona, it was interesting to see the changes in colors. How the wet rain and snow makes those red rocks even more intense. The skies in AZ tend to be very clear and blue but when the clouds roll in they just fill it with color and texture. I am always amazed at Mother Nature, how she rolls with the changes, bending with the wind, filling up the rivers with the rain or run off from the snow on the mountains. She is not always kind. But, these changes keep me coming back time & time again to see what new shades of color, texture or composition she has to offer me.

I head back up to Sedona next week as the artist on duty. This time I plan to stay the night and if the weather gives me the opportunity take some photos of the evening and morning light maybe get a little plein air painting in on my way back to Scottsdale the following day.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sweet Tooth

I love watching the hummingbirds and they are plentiful all year long in AZ. Another native to the area is the Gila Woodpecker. They too are enjoying the sugar water of the feeder. I had no idea how much of a sweet tooth these guys have and unlike the hummingbirds they often will share the space. Tried getting photos but because they are a bit bigger then hummingbirds they make the feeder swing - a lot! So, here are the best of the batch.
I think I need to get a couple smaller feeders to see if this gives the hummingbirds a better place for them to eat and  leave the big feeder to the woodpeckers. We shall just wait and see how that works.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Moon Shadows

The sun had not set yet, the moon had come up from behind the mountains and there were shadows. The sun was on the opposite side reflecting and creating shadows. They moon was full and making shadows of it's own.  What a lovely way to end the day or begin the evening.

Rolling Through Roanoke

June 22, Thursday, Rick and I had to go into Roanoke, VA for the afternoon. Roanoke has some interesting street art, public art. There are a...