Sunday, January 30, 2011

Delights of Snow

Weight of snow-laden trees.
When the sun finally presented itself the trees happily shook their burden tossing snow into the air with branches rebounding joyfully upward. The waxwings bombarded the sky with delightful song, I smiled watching their aerobic flight patterns. How do large flocks of birds keep from crashing into each other as they swoop, dive and rise like a wave flowing across the sky?

Early morning view down the street taken from the comfort of a warm abode. Pretty, fresh, delightful and cold, brrr.
 Winter-birds all fluffed up against the cold sporting flashy red.
I don't take people shots much anymore but this bright red coat is gorgeous against the stark snow.

We drove to The Wildbird General Store to get more black-oil sunflower seeds for my feathered friends and also got a suet ball to help the birds survive the cold snaps we are experiencing, its dropped to -25 again so any help they get conserving heat and energy when its this cold helps them to survive. The nuthatches seem to like the suet as they go back and forth between it and the seed-feeder. I am hoping the flicker comes by and finds the suet.

Big hugs and warm thoughts to all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


About a week ago I mentioned learning to paint with pixels and working on a mixed media piece similar to Kykkotissa. Here is the finished work appropriately titled "LOVE".

It seems since becoming a grandmother that the mother and child image has become ever special and endearing, sentiments of age and continuity; maybe.

This is a pixel painting which is pigment printed onto quilters photographic cotton, coated with two coats of acrylic gel, accent stitched by machine. I then built the fabric frame around the image and added antique buttons, ribbon and fringe. Completed with a "LOVE" brooch bought at a church sale last fall.
I find quiet enjoyment creating these mixed media pieces and what better way to recycle old buttons and use up odds and ends of material from my past sewing adventures.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

finches galore

In answer to a couple of questions posed yesterday, first off regarding the mountain chickadee. Stokes field guide states the Mountain chickadee eyebrow is black feathers with white tips which wear off in summer due to rubbing entering and leaving the nest hole, so that would explain the lack of as that photo was taken in august. John if you clik the image larger you can see a ghost of an eyebrow.

And as for finches, this is the delightful blaze of color that frequents the feeder each day for black-oil sunflower seeds; with this cold snap and abundance of snow we are recieving a trip to the Wildbird General Store is imminent to keep our feathered guests stocked in black oil seed. I would hate to run out when they most need it.

 This was too cute, she had reached up for a berry whereupon dislodging a snow shower.

Tis lady finch is quite soft gray overall.

 I notice some birds are a very striking deep red color with very defined light and dark on the wings, others are softer shades of red or orange, though the one I call Dale who was bright orange has not been around since a few days before christmas, at least I haven't seen him.

Some of the females are a brownish color and some lean towards gray, a lot of variation.

And then there is this wee fella, I am not sure if he is a stunted finch or some poor bird that did not fly south. It's smaller than the finches and extremely timid which has made it difficult getting a shot off as it flys to a further tree when it senses me at the window. Initially it arrived with a small crew of siskins when we had our first cold snap a few weeks back. Though larger than the siskins it seemed to travel and feed with them on the lower catch basin; now I notice it go to the feeder once in a while and seems to be sticking around. I keep attempting to capture it on the feeder with a finch to be able to see the size difference clearly, but so far I've been eluded.

 This is Dale.

And here is Dale dining with his buddies, isn't he sweet
Have a wonderful day, Hugs to all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

cold snap brings in variety

 With temps hovering at -24 to -26 for the last four days we have had non-stop guests at the seed feeder.  The black-capped chickadees come either singly, in twos and threes and once in a while about ten at a time. The bonus with the cold temps is we are getting a couple of boreal chickadee at the feeder, though they tend to come real early and again late when the light is waning making a clear shot difficult.
Black-capped  Chickadee

Boreal Chickadee

During our summer camping birding trip I managed to capture a mountain chickadee and a chestnut-backed chickadee. The difference between each can be clearly seen.
 Mountain Chickadee

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Sunday, January 9, 2011

snow snow and more

Here is some digital play, a couple of my photographs meshed together. Really simple once I got the hang of it, though I can complicate anything. 

Learning the pixel painting process has enabled me to start the mixed media pieces I have wanted to do for the last year. I now have one image pixel painted and pigment printed onto quilting photo fabric, which I then coated with acrylic gel, two times to really seal the pigment in and then I machine stitched some detail for texture, whereupon I had to rein in my enthusiasm so that I didn't overdo the thread work. Then I attached more fabric, a few antique buttons and now am in the process of attaching fabric to make a frame similar in idea to the previous wall hanging icon I painted. Its about half way to being complete and sitting at the "what does it need now stage".  I will post an image when its finished as I am pretty happy with the mixed media pieces I am working on.

I'm also keeping busy with painting for my upcoming Calgary show this May. Its exciting as I'm working on a series of bright beautiful bird paintings and have completed three 8x8 bird portraits last week and started on three more larger ones to complement the finished ones. I will post images when they are all completed, but for now enjoy the photo-play I post as I keep learning new techniques. To see the layers in the above image click it larger.

I had wanted to go to the winter festival this weekend in which I have 4 juried painting showing, but alas sometimes more important things need tended, such as having snow shovelled off the roof which was waist high deep on my hubby where it drifted in on one side. So much heavy snow is weigh too much on a house. Anyhow because we received about two feet of snow all at once hubby has been working long shifts all weekend then had to come home and shovel. Sometimes its hard to have to just set things aside that the heart is set on but its his job to be on call during the winter; the upside is we get a solid month of birding in the summer.

Enjoy, live well, laugh loud and share a smile and a hug, they cost nothing to give, yet are priceless to receive.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year, Light up my life, yours too.

We went to candy cane lane last night to check out the lights display and I, more learned than last year was able to take some manual night shots of the displays.
 Last years attempt to capture these nativity figures  ended with fuzzy washed out images, this year shows much improvement, though a wee bit washed out the images are not bad for hand held.
I don't know how many years these have been on display but one of the wise men seems to have lost his gift.
It almost looks like he is searching the snow for it with his lit lantern.

 The church window that overlooks the nativity mannequins.

 Another church had an ice sculpted Nativity
 and another church had this lights Nativity. 


 Sweet country style house, notice the painting under the door eve.
 I did not take a lot of photos as many houses had a trim of lights and those monstrous blow-up walmart special plastic decorations", UGH!

 I prefer handmade painted time and effort produced joy and cheer. 
The most original one, real snowmen surfers, look out for the snow shark.
 All following images are of one house, fantastic, the joy of the night.
 This house is not on candy cane lane, its in S. Edmonton and its a fantasy marvel of lights.
 Cinderella's chariot?
 These flowers alternated being lit so they looked like falling flowers.
 Palm trees and flamingos in the snow, brr.
 Gingerbread people, yum!
 Reindeer dancing in the sky. As the reindeer revolve the tree behind lights upward in varying degrees and colors, magical.
 Ye Olde Toy Work Shop, there is a chute coming out of the roof bearing presents down to a waiting sleigh.
 Here is the sleigh.