Think pink!

Surprisingly pink entryway

Surprisingly pink entryway

I finally got back to work on this massive looking wooden entryway located in Germany.  I have always like the pink facade combined with the huge wooden doorway.  The last time I looked at it was before the Christmas rush, so now that I’ve caught back up, I thought I’d get back to it.  I didn’t really have much left to do, but I deepened the colors some as well as the shadows.

This exemplifies what I like most about Old World architecture – the use of vibrant, unexpected colors.

We have been having a little bit of wildlife excitement here the last couple of days.  This year’s crop of coyote puppies has made its appearance.  I think they are denning across the lake as the mother hangs out past the far end of the dam just outside of the woods.  The boldest 4 of the 6 puppies (!) have crossed the dam and come to hunt and play in our back yards.  I am surprised the parents let them roam so far away.  It might take them 10 seconds to get over here if there was trouble, but I guess they are not too worried about us after all this time.  I took some pictures, but even with my telephoto lens, they hung down too close to the lakeside for really clear pictures.  If some manage to turn out, I’ll post them.  The last time they appeared in 2013, we saw them every afternoon for about 5 days.  I hope we get to see them at least that often.  These are younger than the 2013 group we saw early that July.

Coyotes and French Bulldogs

Today, shortly before I was going to sit down and write this post, I was on the phone. As I was talking, I glanced out of the window at the pond and I saw a Nat Geo Wild tableau unfolding right before my eyes. We have had bufflehead and Mallard ducks and Canadian geese on the pond all this week, I think hoping for spring just as much as we are. In addition I saw two great blue herons, and then turkeys flew down from some tree branch perches. Lots of activity to see on the shallow end of the pond.  Then, unexpectedly, I saw a coyote wade into the water and head toward one of the herons.  The heron leapt up into the air and flew over to the shoreline in a deeper area of the pond.  The coyote slipped out of the shallow water and raced along the shore to chase after the heron.  It flapped back to the shallow end and the coyote retraced his steps, wading back into the water. He stalked the herons again as the ducks and geese looked on in amusement.  He dashed about in the water, stirring up both of the herons.  One again rose up into the air.  And again the coyote chased it along the shoreline.  Then both were back in the shallow end.   Finally, the coyote tired of the game and just raced himself around in small circles through the grass at the waters edge before heading off into the woods.  I think everyone knew there was no real danger and that the coyote wasn’t really intent on hunting them.  I think he was just having a bit of spring fever fun.

Of course, since I don’t leave the telephoto lens on the camera, it was all over by the time I got ready.  No photos available.  Still, I have to laugh at the poor stately herons.  It seems as if they are the butt of wildlife jokes and amusement.  This reminded me of the deer stalker incident a few years ago, where the doe harassed another heron around the shallow end of the pond for almost half an hour.  Then I did have time to put on the telephoto and got a few pictures.  Here’s a link to that post.  If it doesn’t work, just go to the July 2011 posts and you’ll find it.

Travelling Trip

Travelling Trip

Now back to Trip, the travelling Frenchie.  I watercolored him over the course of two days.  I had to be careful with the fawn color and not overdo it, over powering the white.  Today pretty much all I did was add to the shadows.  I am pleased with the way it turned out.

And finally, whoo-hoo, tomorrow is opening day for MLB.  I know where I’ll be at 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. Rooting for a White Sox winner. Spring has finally, officially, started for me.

March, in like a lion….out like a ….lion

This is not a normal March for us. It has been way too cold – 20+ degrees below normal for the highs, lows in the teens and twenties, and 50 degrees lower than March 2012.  As I have been working this month, snuggled in my studio, the wind has been blowing and the snow flying.  In fact, this last snow storm on Sunday night set records in not far away Indianapolis.

This is spring?

This is spring?

We were fortunate to get a lot less snow than they did , but – this is spring?  I bet we had over 4″ by the time it ended.  I didn’t go out to measure.  I wasn’t that curious and gauged it from the railings.  It melted off of the roadways and sidewalks by afternoon and ended up being quite pretty.  When I went out, the roads were totally clear and a lovely, deep snow covered the trees and the grass.  It is almost all gone today.

We have been seeing a bit more wildlife this month.  The transient waterfowl are passing through almost every day.  In fact I saw a coyote checking out the ducks and geese from the far shore.  The birds actually approached nearer to the shore to honk warningly at him.  They got so close he seriously thought about jumping in but then thought the better of it. It was too far to photograph with my telephoto lens or I would have a picture.  He really didn’t have a prayer of getting one but it surely crossed his mind.

The boys

The boys

I have also seen a large flock of turkeys – mostly toms I think – strutting in the grassy area across the lake and over the lawn several times.  There seems to be about 20 of them and they are HUGE.  Some are definitely toms with large wattles hanging off of their chests and a few with smaller wattles.  Some don’t have a visible wattle but the head is red and they seem to have large tail and wing feathers.  Last years babies?  I don’t know enough about turkey behavior to tell know if there are mixed flocks this time of year, but if so, those are some very large hens.

I have worked on the architectural but need to let it sit for another day or so.  I sprayed it lightly to pop the colors, but it needs a bit of depth yet so I want to get new eyes for it.

First butterfly of the season

Guess what?  It is raining.  Again.  Thunderstorms overnight and now a misty haze.  Just enough to make outside unpleasantly damp.  We did get a few days of nice weather.  The trees are all coming out and the undergrowth is flourishing.  I was none the less surprised when I looked out of the kitchen window last week and saw a zebra swallowtail.  Then yesterday I saw another.  I have heard that the zebras are rarer than the tiger swallowtails.  I can say that I normally see a lot fewer of them.  Several times last summer I saw a dozen of the tigers at one time on my butterfly bush. Truth in advertising, I guess.  Unfortunately, the bush died because of the cold weather and I will have to replace it.  I really liked the iridescent quality of the one I had and I hope I can find one to match.

And with all of the rain, weeds that I pulled and threw aside have lived and tried to regrow. Darn dandelions are hard to get rid of. I had a pile and they all just continued to bloom and grow.  I now have mounds of growing weeds.  I picked most of them up and threw them farther into the woods.   It is supposed to dry out on Tuesday.  Perhaps then I can plant the flowers I succumbed to buying yesterday when the sun was out.

Mallard pair

The wildlife is flourishing, too.  The lushness of the spring growth is matched by the numbers of animals we have seen.  There have been mallards on the pond in addition to a few species that I can’t identify.  Last year we had a pair 0f grebes (I think).  Unfortunately the babies were eaten by the snapping turtles.  We hope for better this year.  And you won’t believe it but early one morning last week, I saw a coyote walking next to the lake.  I went to get my camera, and in that time a doe walked into the picture.  She trailed the coyote for a while and then eventually caught up with him.  Each knew that the other was there, but no difficulty ensued while I watched.  I actually got the two into one picture frame, but the shutter speed was so low due to the light that they were both blurry.  I am trying to get the photo cleaned up, just like in the crime shows, but don’t know if it is possible.  If it can, I will post it.  I never knows what will be out there when I look.  I am still waiting to catch the tom turkeys displaying.  The spring fawns should be out soon too.

I have almost finished the inking on my latest drawing.  It is a little smaller entryway from house in an historic Indiana town.  Much less imposing but inviting none the less.