Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Male Merlin

For the last few weeks the male Merlin has been flying the neighborhood looking for its mate. I love hearing his trill as he flies overhead. He usually shows up earlier than the female, I hope to see her soon. They have a nest that they return to each year down the street in a big evergreen. Last year I was lucky to be able to watch the three fledglings get their flight wings, they kept landing on rooftops, I guess they found it a more stable perch than tree branches. It was fun watching them teeter and work on balance when they did land in trees; with the wind blowing they were pretty unstable to begin with, reminded me of the three stooges stage act.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Devon Exotics

This morning I was busy photographing my paintings which is a very time consuming process as I seem to have trouble getting the reds to photograph well with the other colors I use in my work, seems like if the bold colors come true then I lose the subtle colors in the birds. 
Tonight I was wiring the bird paintings for hanging in the up-and -coming exhibition "Wings Of Creation" only to find I have run out of d-rings so I cannot finish the job tonight. There are only a few days left to get ready as delivery and hanging all happens this saturday. 

"Devon Exotics, Brown butterfly" a 15"x12"watercolor painting on 300lb Arches.
The idea for this painting came when I took photos in the butterfly house at The University of Alberta Devonian Botanic Gardens. I just love going there, once in I can spend hours watching and photographing the butterflies. They have a variety of wonderful gardens to stroll through that are spread out on the 190 acre property. Alpine gardens, herb gardens, and a Japanese Garden.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Monday, monday, nothing but a fun day. I notice the chickadees and white-breasted nuthatches are once again vying for the same nesting hole in the may tree. For the last three years the chickadees won the lease for the summer, usually raising two or three broods during their tenancy. This year though both the chickadees and nuthatches have also been excavating a new hole a downey woodpecker started while looking for tasty treats in an old birch stump last winter. It seems the Chickadees are favoring the new abode, probably cause its higher altitude, its above my head whereas the may tree hole is only 4 feet up. Sparrows have chased them off a few times so the nuthatches have gone back to cleaning the may tree home. It was fun to watch the nuthatches on the may tree, the male was chipping away at the entrance and the female was vibrating her wings and tail, the male would fly a short distance away then the female would enter the hole and fly out with debris and dispose of it then the male would fly back and chip some more in front of the excited female. Ahh there is nothing like the anticipation of a new nest.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch
These two small 9"x9" watercolor paintings are presently shown at Johnson Gallery in Edmonton.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Afternoon at Hermitage Park

Yesterday was a wonderful day for getting a few ducks that previously seen were to far for my camera to capture. I was excited to finally get a decent photo of a pair of ring-necked ducks. Amazing that the identifying feature of the neck ring is not easily seen, though the bill rings are. 

The  Canada geese are not shy in Edmonton parks. With fighting for nesting terrritory they are a little testy and hiss a lot at each other if they have a mate to defend from other suitors. It was interesting to watch but as they were quite close and I had my long lens on this was the only charge I captured. 

Common Merganser pair, I love the punk head-do of the female. I had no problem getting good photos of females last year so happily I now have a mated pair together. The female is so delicate of face. I believe I have become addicted to the excitement of birding. What a way to spend a day out in nature, looking, really looking at what gifts there are to be seen in the natural world around us. I believe cities need more open space and natural uninhibited parks for the birds and animals to co-exist with us as with major urban sprawl they are losing ground, and in the end we all suffer the loss.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Out of the Reeds

I woke up to a dusting of snow again today, yet as the sun is out we shall go birding for a few hours this afternoon. Ahh the blessings of spring, the ducks, geese and swans are presently migrating to their northern nesting grounds in Canada so I figure this would be a good painting to post for today.
Out of the Reeds; Blue-winged Teal a 8"x10" acrylic on canvas.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ancient memories; Cinnamon Teal

Ancient Memories: Cinnamon Teal
Acrylic on 9x9" canvas
This painting will be on display at Donalda Gallery For The Arts in the historic Imperial Bank of Canada Building in Donalda AB. The exhibition runs from May 9th to June 28th. The gallery is only open weekends from noon till 5:30 pm. The exhibition will contain 30 paintings of birds and a few still-life. In conjunction with the exhibition the Bashaw Wood Carvers will display their work. On June 13 the Bashaw Carvers will be giving a carving demonstration and I will be in attendance to greet people and discuss my paintings. 

The ancient memories are the line drawings at the bottom of the painting that are reminiscent of drawings found on old clay vessels. I love to hint at myths and parables in some of my paintings. 

Downey Woodpecker

Hello and welcome to my fine art blog where I hope to inspire awe of the natural world. Where you get to slow down and enjoy the gifts of Creation, especially the winged ones. Venture with me as I create from my experiences of traversing Alberta Canada with my camera to capture birds and wildlife and turn the images into works of art. 
This little fella is a male Downey Woodpecker, the females don't have a red cap. The 9x9" painting is in watercolor and is presently for sale at Johnston Gallery in Edmonton, AB.