Polly parrot


I’ve had it in mind lately to paint a brightly colored bird and I thought I remembered a photo of one amongst the other things when I last was looking through the old box file.  Sure enough I found an old picture of a parrot nestled under B for birds.  I liked the scarlet reds and the vivid blues of this parrot.  It hardly seemed like a possible combination for a real bird, but there it is.

I went the route of the frisket/spritzed ink, but this time I held a little back on the water in order not to muddy the overlayed colors too much.  I played with the watercolor over two days and am fairly satisfied with it.  I am less satisfied with the inking.  There seems to be a very fine line between too much spritzing and a muddy, gray result and too little spritzing and too sharp of lines.

In this case, I think I erred in the direction of too little spritzing.  The feather lines seem to be too delineated.  I wanted to show more the suggestion of feathers rather than the actual feathers themselves, but that is not quite what has happened.  I am not totally dissatisfied with the outcome, because I do like the colors but, like the blue abstract floral, it’s not quite what I wanted.

Stained Glass Beauty

Stained glass beauty

After a long, long effort by our two kids, the stained glass is finally installed above the doorway. In honor of the name of our property, Wild Crane Overlook, it has a great blue heron standing in the water. (I know, I know, there is a difference between cranes and herons but crane sounded better in the name and herons are on the lake, so we’ll just pretend.)  It was not easy to get a photo as the back light from the window wanted to darken out the walls, but I got up early, before the sun got over the trees and took a picture.  There was just enough dawn light to see the window and not black out the walls.  I tried for a close up about a 20 minutes later and it didn’t work.

We are so happy with how it turned out.  The colors are wonderful with the timber frame and the green walls.  When we bought the doors we were told (incorrectly) that we couldn’t get the beveled glass in the arch top and it always looked so plain.  The good thing is that it allowed us to have the window done and I think it looks so much better that the beveled glass ever could.

Summer surprise

For the last few weeks I have been seeing quite a few golden finches flying around the front yard. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why they were suddenly appearing. I haven’t put out bird feeders in quite a while after the squirrel-induced truck burning driveway disaster. I have felt bad about that but the vehicle destruction costs and inconveniences made me not what to entice more squirrels close to the house.

Snacking on the cone flowers

I kept an eye out for them and suddenly realized that a number of them were eating the seeds of the coneflowers.  These are the very same flower beds where I picked a few to paint.  As you can see, they have all pretty much died back.  I am sure that there will be plenty of seeds dispersed for next year’s flowers.  It has been so nice to see the finches right up next to the house.  I know the picture could have been a little more attractively done, but it was hard to get a clear shot through all of the plants from inside the house and this was the best of the lot. 

The other thing I have seen lately is that some of the deer seem to be having an issue with their coats. One time I saw them down at the lake and about half of them looked distinctly grey compared to the normal reddish brown.  Some also had white patches.  I don’t know what the problem is with the fur, but it isn’t very good looking. And one day the flies must have been biting them pretty seriously.  One would be grazing on the shore line or in the water and suddenly jump up and dance around furiously.  It was comical at times, but I sympathize with the discomfort.  I have a photo of them but wordpress isn’t letting me post it correctly.  When I get it fixed, I will add it.


Crazy robins, crazy rains

The lake filled up

Attack robin

The studio work has gone moderately well this week. I have almost 90% of the color finished on my picture and I have decided to let it rest a while. There is company in the house and I am enjoying the busy times. We have had a lot of rain in the last several days – probably over 4″ so far. The lake has filled up to the pipe overflow and I hope not very many fish end up going overboard and out. They are finally getting to be big enough to catch. There are predictions of up to 6″ more rain possible and there are already flood alerts statewide. The winter snowfalls seem to have stayed on in the form of rain. It is a far cry from last summer/fall drought.

I did manage to finish planting all of the vinca I had on the slope next to the parking area. I saw the forecast of another week of heavy rain possible and just wanted to get it all in the ground. The wildlife has been abundant in the lushness of spring. We have seen a lot of deer as usual, multitudes of hawks, and squirrels and the turkey have begun to move about. No pictures yet but I am trying. We have seen several species of ducks on the pond including a pair of mallards. 

There has also been a delusional robin pecking at all of the windows around the house lately.  He goes from window to window attacking his adversary to no avail.  I have tried for the last three days to get a picture of him, but he does seem to know that we in the house are a bigger threat and I have had a hard time sneaking up for a picture.  I finally got one and even as I type now I can hear him banging on the door below after I scared him off of the office window where I am.  It would not be so bad but he is marking up all the windows and pooping on the deck in his zeal to drive off his rival.  I guess that there is a reason for the phrase “bird-brained”.  And excuse the photo placement.  For some reason wordpress is not letting me place the pictures where I want to and just dumping them at the front no matter what I do.  Aaack.  I’m tired of fighting it.