Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blessing of a special day

It's been an interesting day. I went for a drive with Gerald in the afternoon and what do my wondering eyes spy? Very Strange Looking Pork!
This was the best shot I could get of piglet with a bushy looking mom. 

My camera is acting up and refusing to focus properly in either manual or auto-focus which makes it challenging to achieve clear shots; of course the one year manufacturers warranty is just up, but thank goodness I purchased the extended warranty as this camera definitely has to go back. 

These little geese have fared the snow-storm we had this weekend quite well though sadly it may have taken a tole on small song birds. I love how sweet and soft baby geese are at this age. 

It snowed all night yet today carried rain and wind with a few rare sunny spots. I am so glad we weathered the rain drops as this next shot is of a Surf Scooter and I was told its a rare appearance to see
them here so I consider it an extra special gift.

Next we were treated to a Grebe mating display. I am so in awe of this joyous day filled with natures delight. The gifts of Creation are a blessing. I pray that our great-grandchildren will someday be able to experience these blessing of nature, though with all the oil being spilled we will lose much of our sea bird population at a faster rate than ever should be. I somedays think Creator must shake her head in dismay at the likes of our kind. I know I do.

May your days be filled with the small blessing bestowed by nature.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Walk in a Prairie Wood

A fun piece I did for the calgary show at "The House". Titled "Emu Surprise"
Its a combination multi-media piece that started its existence as a photograph. I played, had fun and altered it extensively. I was going through some old sketchbooks and came across fish drawings I did a few years back while sitting in front of my son's aquarium. I thought how fun to have fish float by. Last year I was surprised to find an emu in a field of goats and sheep while on one of our picnic drives.

I have been in a weird space presently so I have decided to give myself a break and play. I found some cut wood forms at a garage sale to make cute figures of angels and a standing boy or girl, but of course I am not one to follow instruction so I have been gathering material to turn it into a multi-media yard sculpture. I will post images once I get going.

Went for a wonderful walk on monday and captured a few birds.
A red-necked grebe on a floating nest in the middle of a prairie pothole. The mate was grooming close by, yet due distance being too great the images were blurry. I figure it was luck to get this shot.

The birds were singing in abundance yet were very hard to spot amongst the dancing leaves. I spent about 20 minutes watching this f purple finch nest making, from this point it looks like lace. 

This regal m purple finch set upon this branch for quite awhile, it's close to where the industrious female was nest building so they might be mates.

And the most exciting capture of the day was for me this male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. We did not see a female but with all the calling back and forth I am sure she was nearby. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

delightful weekend yields photogenic moose

 After dropping off my paintings and my daughters pigment print photos at the Chuck Maclean Art Center on saturday we headed to Michelon Lake for a picnic. As we entered the park I had my ever vigilant eye open searching for birds when lo and behold here was a moose right off the side of the road. There was also a young moose further back in the brush where I could not get a clear view.
We snapped a few shots of mom and went on up the road for lunch; on the way back mom moose was now having lunch at the road-side cafe.
The greenery by her face is a branch she was chomping on. I had my 300mm lens on the camera, I was not this close, really. The baby was now in the brush near the campsites on the opposite side of the road, still no clear shot, though there was a lady in the bush moving in closer to the moose to get real close shots, I figure she could be asking for trouble thinking that they are tame. Not me I like to keep a safe distance, after all, even baby is taller than I. 

Well my day was made!
Yet it was to be topped.

We drove around to the north of the lake and what do we see....
another moose!
She gave us a good photo shoot then walked off into the brush, then as we are driving away what do we see but this...

Baby stepped out of the brush, I was able to get off a few shots before baby joined mom and disappeared into the brush. What a day, I still have a big smile on.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Painted Owls

I realize that though I have posted photos of owls, and thanks to Gary's comment I now realize I have not posted any paintings that have resulted from my owl watch, so here is...

Dusk Glides On Silent Wings; Great Horned Owl

Sunset; Great Horned Owl
This painting can be viewed at Westlands Art Gallery in Cochrane
This friendly fellow swooped my friends head, its too bad that due dusk conditions I was not able to get the swoop shot. But he was gracious enough to land in an opportune position in a tree nearby that I was able to capture, hence the result was this painting. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Back to the Great Horned Nest

Went to check out the Great Horned Owl again, through the branches I was able to pinpoint some eyes peering out at me. My camera is doing strange things but I was lucky to get a few decent shots. Realize though that this nest is high up in a very tall tree and its hidden so well. These photos are highly cropped of the young one.
First off I spot one of the parents poised, scanning for quarry. It is so amazing that when they fly their wings make no sound. I have heard when they buzz your head that all you feel is a rush of air. Supreme stealthy hunters of the air.
Next I scan for the nest and am gifted with this sweet fuzzy thing peering out at me.

And best of all this capture made my evening.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

fresh off the easel

I have been busy creating and framing for the Camrose Art Walk. This year I am submitting ten paintings, both acrylic paintings and watercolors. My daughter is submitting pigment print photography of her travels in Asia and Australia so Gerald has been busy helping frame her images as they are due to be delivered saturday to the Arts Center. Thank goodness I have help in my endeavors.

"Raven Speak", acrylic on canvas

"The Gift; Yellow Warblers" acrylic on canvas

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lilac Swan

This is an older painting which I re-did to strengthen the visual impact. I added the swallowtail butterfly and deepened the colors. It took many layers as the colors kept seemingly to disappear into the paper, I have not had that problem with Arches 300lb paper before, it must be a fluke sheet. Anyhow after many days and many layer of persistence I finally got depth of color. so it is re-dated and waiting to be framed once again for the Camrose Art Walk.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Great exhibition at the Alberta Craft Council

On saturday Gerald and I delivered Raku for Mary Swain to the Alberta Craft Council Gallery and while there we took in the Clay 2010 exhibition and acquisition of contemporary ceramics by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in the lower gallery. I am happy to note that my dear friend Mary who is one of the finest Raku artists in Alberta has two pieces in this exhibition. WAY TO GO MARY, also kudos to the jurors who have chosen many worthy pieces. I am impressed by the quality and inspired by the creativity applied in the works I viewed.
The following piece is one of Mary's Raku fired hand built works that is in the exhibition.

copyright Mary Swain

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Snow Robin

This Robin perched long enough to fluff his feathers and then was gone. I think he sensed the camera scoping him out. Yesterday's spring snowfall made for a nice hazy shot.

Neva you mention lilacs in blossom where you abode, it may well be a few more weeks before ours bust into bloom. With long winters the anticipated spring blossoms are a joyful blessing when they break through the solitude of the winter. I did see a few ornamental plum starting to bud their color on the weekend. Soon we too shall have a mass of floral brilliance to breathe into the soul. Hugs to all.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Drive-by Shooting

As we were driving I spotted these birds, placed my camera out the window and started rapid fire shooting as we have from experience found that the hawks rapidly take flight if we stop.
As it was the hawk took to wing anyhow, but I kept my trigger finger busy. This shot is cropped.
This fella was apparently amidst a meal, which he took with him, to the fence post.
Here he paused momentarily before once again taking flight across the fields. It looks like he was dining on a big  ground squirrel. This shot is cropped in half as well. I was using a 300mm lens. The shots worked far better than I would have imaged they would for a drive by shooting. Just look at that beautiful rusty tail. I think this image would make a good painting.

spring storm

The trees have started to leaf out, flowers were beginning to bloom close to houses so now its time for our yearly spring blizzard.
Fresh snowfall.

Birdbath, brrr.

Snow hitting window.

And to finish off with a little color, a stained glass on a snow glass window. I love the soft blur, kinda fits with the day as one cannot see far with the snow blowing and spinning across the landscape. Its a good day to be inside snug and warm, drinking hot cocoa and creating. May you all have a blessed day filled with love and creation. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Redtails and Geese

 A rough week was topped off with a wonderful weekend as Gerald took me out birding. The hawks and geese are moving north so we saw quite a few out around the Camrose area. We went out to the reservoir where there were American Avocets, ducks and geese of all sorts, yellow legs and a few killdeer. Most of my shots were crap as there was just too much distance between me and my intended's. Also there was a thickness in the air that seemed to distort the images causing great pixelation. Twice we witnessed Redtail Hawks with prey. This one was busy plucking a Greater White Fronted Goose which looked to be about twice his size. Look at the scattered feathers. This is a cropped shot.

These are Greater White Fronted Geese on the opposite end of the prairie pothole from the hawk, also a cropped shot. Many of them were keenly watching the hawk tear apart there flight buddy.

Flock of Geese against the moody sky.