Friday, May 29, 2009

chipmunks and goats

It seems the post I wrote yesterday was from a draft I started a while back and it has jumped into the middle of my blog notes, where I presume it would have been had it been posted rather than saved as a draft, mmm, note to self drafts are useless to me unless I can figure out how to make them post the day I finish them. Okay, new technology master I figured it out, yesterdays post is now posted where I want it. 
Today I woke in a lot of pain, been that way for a few weeks, so don't get much work, ie painting done when in this state, though I surely try to do my best. It gets very frustrating though as there is so much I want to paint, I have buckets of ideas, not that they are all good ideas but I would like to paint them out just to find out if they work or not.
Anyhow I have been slowly steadily working on three paintings this last while, two chipmunk paintings for my show in Cochrane which is July 1st, yahoo, and another delightful goat. The goat is nearing completion, again yahoo, it is sooo cute, after I complete this one I may have to get Gerald to tour me out the country roads looking for more goats to photograph. I am enjoying watching the goat gain character under the brush and paint.

This is "Rothcos Goat",  who belongs to Brian. You can see why I love to paint them, just look at the character. I will post the goat I am presently working on as soon as it finished which hopefully will be in a few days from now. The sun is smiling and paintings need paint so time to venture on.
May you all have a wonderful and refreshing day.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Another beautiful day with the sun shining, ahh life is good. Here is one of my photos that I added a quote to, I am a newbie at this computer stuff so still have not figured out how to download images of a consistent size to my blog. This butterfly was snapped last August while walking around Fort Assinaboine area with two dear friends we were camping with.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Bluebirds to Red Deer

Mountain Bluebird, female.

There's a bluebird on my shoulder, not really, but I did photograph two. Yesterday was a great day for a road trip. Gerald drove me to Red Deer to check out the Western art and Wildlife show that was promoted there this weekend. There were fantastic artists displaying their work but sadly the promoter of this venture changed their venue to a school gym rather than keep it at the proposed Westerner. The change of venue cost the artists dearly, it was hard to find as signage was bad, almost non-existent, and though we found it thanks to google maps, only four other people walked through in the 3 or 4 hours we spent talking to the artists. I felt sad for the artists and hope that the promoter gave them a refund, cause he sure did not do his job drawing people in, seemed more like he was trying to save himself a few dollars rather than doing his best for the artists. Well, thats why we went to check it out, to see if it was worth showing with this company, and I sure got a clear-cut answer on that.

Mountain Bluebird, male.

On the way I got to try out my new camera, a Canon 50D, ohhh-yaaa. It is ever so nice, a 15 pixel as opposed to my ole 6 pixel Rebel, it has more options and is a lot faster, I can now photograph swallows in flight, yay, couldn't do that with the Rebel. I photographed a female Mountain Blue bird on the way to Red Deer and captured the male on our way back. I was excited to see them as last year we had a late storm that wiped out a good portion of the population; the poor things froze to death. I sure hope we don't get any snow storms now. I would like to paint Bluebirds and Yellow Warblers for my upcoming show in Cochrane. Hopefully I can pull it off as its fast coming up. Also my meet the artist day in Donalda is in three weeks, that will be fun as wood carvers will be there as well. I am so looking forward to it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Spring painting

Been an off couple of days. When my EDS acts up I get very ill with pain that shuts me down and nothing to do but rest totally when it hits. Can't read, type, paint, cook, etc when the muscles tighten and cause trigger pain throughout my body making me physically ill. Not much fun and I never get used to it but its what I have to carry, so thats what I do. Anyhow enough of the whining as God chose this for me as its genetic so I just have to be thankful for what I can do with the help of friends and loved ones. 

"Spring" 11x14 Acrylic on Canvas
This pretty little painting is stored away in a box right now as I have no where to presently show it. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Long Weekend Comes to A Snowy End

Woke up to a salting of snow, but as its the May long weekend its to be expected in Alberta. These last three days I am glad to have traversed the streams and ravines in able to photograph birds that are new to me. Birding is an adventure I verily enjoy which enables me to add to my portfolio of usable imagery that I pull from to create paintings. My endearing daughter says "Mom, you know your old when you find birding exciting". Ah, such a tart she is. 

Birding has given me more benefit than not. I notice a greater variety of birds that would have by-past my attention five years ago, and I'm learning more about birds and their dwindling habitat as I attempt to identify them. These gifts of Creation are sorely in need of protection from corporate greed and desecration which has become prevalent in Alberta. May each one of us do our small part to save and protect what little natural habitat we have left, which these birds surely depend on to nest and rear their young. 

Yesterday we inadvertently spooked a Teal camouflaged in long grasses two feet off the path. We would never have seen her if she had not flushed, but her frantic wing beats startled me as she panicked out of the grasses whereby I looked down to see seven eggs snuggled together.  I was amazed as we had walked right by her the first time without notice. I felt a tug of sadness that we had disturbed her. 

And speaking of nesting this is the time of year it is even more important to those who have dogs to walk them on a lease so that the nesting ducks and shorebirds are left undisturbed. It amazes me of how many dog owners ignore the  signs  and let their dogs run amok in natural preserves with the statement, "oh my dogs don't disturb the birds."   Ahh... yes they do, maybe not intentionally but they do cause dogs are creatures with natural instincts that love to chase, to sniff and bound about easily trampling a nest of eggs. 

This beautiful creature was running amok in a Nature Preserve that had posted "Dogs on Leash" signage. Earlier in the day we had informed the two men with the dog of birds nesting  and "to please leash the dog," which they readily complied to so we thanked them. An hour later I took this photo of the dog a good 50 feet ahead of its people bounding around off trail into the creek where only moments before a great blue heron had been standing. I feel that people who have pets that cannot comply with the rules really do not "love animals" for if they did they would follow the course of being considerate to all animals and take precaution to see that their beloved pet does not inadvertently add to the demise of birds nesting and feeding in the natural preserve areas.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Digging Up The Ancients

What a weekend its is. We spent part of friday down at the archeological dig at Rossdale that was going on this week where they are looking for ancient aboriginal camps where previously a hearth had been unearthed.  Later in the day we stumbled upon another dig where dinosaur bones were being excavated, pretty interesting day. The digging up of the ancients is a strange thing to witness. I felt a presence near the pits, a sweetness played the air, even the birds took vigilance near by flitting about from tree to tree. Buffalo bones being unearthed at Rossdale.

We spent a couple hours walking the ravine yesterday and today looking for birds and were not disappointed as I captured a Solitary Sandpiper as well as this Spotted Sandpiper.

The butterflies have been out in abundance these last few days.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Environmental Disaster

I was just reading on the David Suzuki Foundation website that Canada, our glorious and beautiful Canada ranks a dismal 28 out of 30 OECD countries, that means we hold the WORST  ENVIRONMENTAL record of any developed country, like Wow, are we all asleep here or what. I am totally astounded. What kind of a government have we as the citizens allowed? One that continually points its finger at other countries telling them to clean up while our back yards have fast become toxic waste dumps. And what kind of people are we to allow this? Are we too damn passive in our electronically induced stupor, our heads continually plugged into cell phones, i-pods, computers, game-boys, etc. Our wilderness is being raped at a faster pace than ever thanks to newer technology, yet the toxic waste while no longer being dumped by the barrel-full on the Northern Tundra, or into the oceans, is now just big sitting cesspools that are contaminating our air, water and killing massive amounts of birds. If we had a waste dump in our own little yard behind our house the city would have us fined and forced to pay for its clean-up. Yet big corporations can continually make big toxic ponds miles wide in the back yard of Canada, and nothing is done, Why? Why can corporations destroy our environment and OUR governments allow it. Yes I have heard the argument, if the bleeding environmentalists get their way people will lose their high paying jobs and then heaven forbid they just might not make as much money, oh woe is that. We have placed the almighty God of $ above the earth and her inhabitant, and that includes us. 
By the time my Father, a man who did his part to recycle, re-use and renew the soil of his little part of paradise, was eighty-three he told me he had seen and heard too much destruction of our precious earth and animals and could take no more... five months after that conversation in the middle of winter, he died. Yes we all shall die that is a fact of birth, but our earth should not die, yet we whom she nurtures with food, shelter, water, air and beauty, are killing her, and as she dies so does our wildlife, birds, insects and us of course,, only at a faster rate than need be. "As we do to our Earth, we do to ourselves". So what part are you as an individual taking to nurture rather than destroy, to invest rather than deplete?
Healing Hand Acrylic on canvas, 20x16

Maybe the love my Father and Mother instilled in me for our Mother earth and her inhabitants is why I paint. I want people to see the beauty and abundance we have right here in Alberta, in Canada. I want them to see it and believe in it before its too late. I want the joy of the natural world to seep into everyones pores and have them want to protect the earth and her inhabitants. Want to protect it because it is irreplaceable, once a species is extinct, thats it... gone.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Avocets

I love getting out for the day roaming the countryside looking for birds and fowl and as the geese, ducks and varied shore birds are presently mid-migration through alberta this is an especially great time to be checking out the prairie potholes. We went out on Mothers day in the afternoon, a beautiful warm and bright sunny day, it was wonderful. A bit too bright for good photos, but no matter I still click away hoping to capture a clear shot or a bird in an interesting pose that I can use in my art. I only spotted two American Avocets off one end of the marsh, but there may have been more out further where the geese were snoozing in the warm sun. This time of year the Avocets heads are colored a peachy orange right down their breast, by fall migration they lose the coloring and the head fades to white or an off white. I painted one canvas last fall with the Avocets that I saw at Big Lake in St Albert. Apparently the one way to distinguish the sexes is that the female has more recurvature to her bill. 
American Avocets; Spring Plumage
acrylic on canvas, 18x36 


Monday, May 11, 2009

Mothers day

Had a warm and sunny Mothers day with my children spoiling me more than they ought to. In the afternoon Gerald and I went on a birding picnic and watched shorebirds and geese at Murray Marsh while munching on a mouth watering lunch of homemade potato buns and meatloaf all to a chorus of frogs and varied birdsong. 
The trumpeter swans were feeding on Devils Lake, I took the photo from the duck blind at Immarie Park.

Saturday I found my first blossoms of the season, these were blooming in an abandoned garden beside a used book store, I was so happy to see them I had to capture them to share. There is nothing better than finding a flower where you least expect it, its like a smile that brightens the day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wishing Mothers a Blessed Day

Mothers Day is fast approaching. I wish each and every Mother the blessings of love and peace.
This painting was created with love in memory of a most wonderful loving woman, my Mother.
"Goddess In the Garden"
Each spring the smell of lilacs brings pleasant memories of my Mother lovingly tending her flower gardens that supplied sweet nectar for the butterflies and hummingbirds that visited. I can recall her sweet singing as she dug the soil and tenderly transplanted flowers to new beds. I believe her flower garden was a place for solace and  rejuvenation, which was probably sorely needed with raising nine children plus my grandfather.
The painting is acrylic on canvas, 24"x30" There are ten butterflies depicted to represent my siblings, myself as well as the eldest grandchild. 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

White Pelicans

Good day, its a beautiful sunny day today. This trio can be seen at the Donalda Gallery For The Arts in Donalda AB. I presently have a showing of 32 bird related paintings hanging there. The gallery is open on the weekends only from noon till 5:30 p.m.  These three are waiting for their dinner to be discharged into the river from the nearby fish hatchery on the Bow River, hence the title "Take Out",  if you look closely you will see a pizza box wedged in the rocks giving the title a little twist.Take Out; White Pelicans, Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This little White-crowned sparrow paid a visit yesterday and brightened up my day. First he nicely posed for me then he flew under the bird feeder and gleaned a few sunflower seeds in exchange for his image before he flew off. A fair trade I believe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Westlands Art Gallery

These cheerful  and bright paintings were sent to Westlands Art Gallery in Cochrane, AB last month and I am happy to say that the Goldfinch is no longer available.
The Savannah Sparrow below is available, it may be purchased through Westlands Art Gallery in Cochrane, AB.
Savannah Sparrow, acrylic on 12x12 canvas.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Racing Thoroughbreds

Went out to the farm yesterday to watch my daughter exercise the race horses. Its pretty amazing to watch her work these high-strung animals. 

On our way back we passed a pond full of ducks and shorebirds this was the only good shot I got of the birds flying closer to where I was, all the others were too far out for me to capture. 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

hanging the Donalda Exhibition

Well its been a busy few days with finishing off paintings, wiring the backs of the paintings, making sure my name and titles were on them, packing them up, transporting to the gallery in Donalda, unpacking, sorting, figuring out what hangs where, putting up tags, whew, now I can relax a few days then get back to painting for my next show.  This is the historical bank building in Donalda where 32 of my bird paintings are on exhibition. 

All I can say is thank you to my wonderful fella who did the transporting and the hanging of the show, he has gotten to be quite the expert at this job. It was so good to see the show up.  People come through to view the art while we were hanging it and two precious young ladies about eight years old came through and had such wonderful comments about the paintings, they made my day so much fuller.A glimpse of the show. You can see the bank vault door on the left and the safe behind the desk. What a unique and wonderful building to be invited to have an exhibition in. The gallery is open on the weekends from noon till 5:30p.m.