Friday, October 21, 2016

Little Edmund

Oil, 4 x 4 inches

Here we have Little Edmund, a small wren who was jolted out of bed by a family of migrating American Redstarts. Based on what humans know about bird behavior, Edmund was probably defending his territory, wanting nothing to do with visitors, even if they were just passing through. But until bird notes don't get lost in translation, we'll never really know what the conversation was all about. For those of you that know wrens, you know they can really chatter up a storm.


Oil, 4 x 4 inches

I hesitate to tell this story because of its content, but I must remember what inspires me. Knowledge. We all must continue to learn as much as we can, no matter what. And as I have said, we are all richer when experiences are shared. A few days ago, a person told me of another who recently killed a crow nearby, on purpose. It was strung up in a tree, hanging, for all of the other crows to see. And learn. I had many thoughts about this, but the one that rang the loudest in my head was the following. If I had committed this horrendous act, I’d be worried. I imagined a scenario in which I was in dire straits, alone, hurt, in need of help, physically unable to defend myself, with a murder of crows encroaching upon my helplessness. I’d be wishing that I’d never killed that crow. Why? Because it’s been proven that crows have facial recognition, and perhaps, although I don’t know for sure, an appetite for eyeballs.
This is a painting of a brave crow that perched very near to me recently for a short while. This is unusual behavior for these birds in my neighborhood; after learning about the act in the above paragraph, there’s little doubt as to why.

High Wire Wren

Oil 4 x 4 inches

This House Wren surprised me because it perched close to me on a wire attached to my house this August. From my observations, House Wrens typically hang out closer to the wood's edge around my home, and I don't have a birdhouse nearby to draw them in.

Garden Phoebe

Oil - 4 x 4 inches

This is my oil painting of an Eastern Phoebe who was eyeing a patch of oregano in my garden because it was swarming with bees and other insects. Oregano is a fantastic herb to plant if you like attracting insects and birds, even hummingbirds!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Eau Claire's Confluence of Art Biennial Opens this Friday!

2016 Confluence of Art Biennial
Janet Carson Gallery
316 Eau Claire Street, Eau Claire, WI 54701
Exhibition Dates:
August 12 - September 23, 2016
Hours: M-F 9am - 4:30 pm | Th 9am - 7pm
Free admission.

Opening this Friday is the 2016 Confluence of Art Biennial in Eau Claire, WI, showcasing the work from artists from across the upper Midwest. "Nashville Warbler in Lion's Den Gorge" will be showing, and if you haven't seen this work yet, here is your chance. Come see the show!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

MacRostie's 24th Annual Juried Exhibition Opens Friday!

24th Annual Juried Show
MacRostie Art Center, Grand Rapids, MN
Opening Reception:
Friday, August 5th, 2016
4 - 7 p.m.
Show runs through August, 2016.

Now showing "Blackbird on Washington Island" (closeup- top right) at MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids, MN! If you haven't seen this work yet, come check it out! This work premiered at the MN State Fair last year, but if you didn't see it there, here's another opportunity. Show opens this Friday and will be on display through August. Free Admission. Regular Gallery Hours: Mon-Sat. 9-5. Closed Sundays. In addition, look for more of my artwork in the gallery throughout spring/summer.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dellora's Way

Oil - 10 x 20 inches

In February, I spent a little time birding on Florida's gulf coast. When I go birding far away, I like to frequent places I haven't visited before. Part of the fun is in the adventure. Without much planning and using a good, old-fashioned, paper map, one of the places I picked was Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park due to its state park status, its proximity, and unfamiliarity. The park is a popular beach area in Naples and came to be, in part, thanks to the generosity of Dellora Norris. At age 15, she became an heiress to the Texaco family fortune and quietly gave much of her money away to charity before passing away in 1979. 

One of my fondest memories of my visit to this park was this lovely Black-bellied Plover, the inspiration for this painting. She seemed so peaceful and content, even in front of my camera's lens. I took note of her unassuming nature, her beauty, and the items around her. The shells, pebbles, and beach plants seemed as much a part of her as did her own feathers. This is when life makes sense to me and feels so right. The other nice memory I have from this park's visit is watching two boys cast for bait alongside a patient Pelican and an eager Snowy Egret. The boys giggled and marveled at the birds' success, all the while exasperated with their own inadequacies. Both birds proved better fishers than the boys.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Warblers, Bears, and Reforestation - it must be May!

Here’s my photo of the Black-throated Blue Warbler that I saw in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, May 14th. It was my first sighting of this bird, although I’d heard its call last year. For the past three days, its pattern has been to fly between my two suet feeders, and has not called. Lately, I’ve been getting up with the birds to put my feeders out. Previously, I’d left them out overnight, but last Thursday at 9 pm, a large, black bear paid a visit to my hopper feeder and tore off the cover of the suet cage. The bottom of this feeder hangs 80 inches from the ground, and the bear’s face was all up in that suet. He didn’t get a meal, because Terry, who had no idea the bear was only 15 feet from our kitchen window, scared it away when he stepped out onto the porch. I saw the big boy on the edge of the woods, just before it ran off. It was our first encounter with a wild bear, and I’m being very cautious not to invite him back.

May days have reignited spring reforestation efforts again this year. Over 100 native Minnesota plants went into the ground at my home this past weekend. They include white pines, red pines, nannyberries, elderberries, and pussy willows. Terry and I were exhausted by the time it was all done, but it brings me such joy and satisfaction knowing I am doing something, even in a little way. Common tansy eradication efforts continue as well. I’ve made significant progress in some areas, but other areas… ugh. This has become a herculean task, and isn’t any fun.

Today, I posted my bird observations to ebird for the first time, thanks to my excitement over the Black-throated Blue Warbler sighting, counting 23 bird species yesterday, and today’s “For the Birds” radio program hosted by bird expert Laura Erickson. We are all richer when experiences are shared.

Work continues on my painting of a Black-bellied Plover. Stay tuned! In the meantime, the two paintings below have recently sold. Remember, you can see some of my miniatures in person at MacRostie in Grand Rapids, MN, throughout the summer. Check out my etsy store as well, and don’t forget to visit my website, too.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Oil, 4 x 4 inches

This oil painting of Charlie was finished a couple of months ago, but I've been waiting to post it to my blog. Why? I'm not sure, but I really like Charlie, and I really like the month of May. In Duluth, everything greens up this month, and it becomes evident that spring isn't a meteorologist's sadistic lie after all. Judging by what Mother Nature doles out here in April, it's easy to understand why I might think spring will never come. If you live here, this is not news. Most Aprils, Mother Nature plays Whack-a-Mole, and I don't particularly like it. She teases me to the front door with warm weather and a rising sun, so I poke my head out. Then whack! I get slammed back inside by frigid temperatures and a snowstorm a day or two later. Round and round we go, until she decides May wins the 'spring versus winter' bout, and Whack-a-Mole just isn't fun anymore. April was cooler than normal (not a common statistic these days), brought a record low of 2 degrees on the 9th, and socked us with a few snowfalls. May is a different story, a nicer one to me, at least.

Charlie is a Downy Woodpecker who sat on my fence post for several minutes last September just before dusk. I felt pretty lucky to have observed Charlie in this fashion, appearing content in the evening sun. Not only was I fortunate to watch this little woodpecker for a while, I got lucky with this painting in that the colors and expression turned out exactly as I'd hoped. This doesn't always happen; most artists can relate. In some ways, the word 'lucky' means defying explanation. Everything fell into place. Don't ask me how, it just did. It doesn't mean it was easy, or was completed quickly, it just means all the pieces fit together nicely. Oh, in case you're wondering, due to the lack of a red cap, Charlie is a she!

One last thing... because it's May, you know what that means, right? It means spring planting has begun. Just a few plants went into the ground last Friday: pussy willows and a currant. In a couple of weeks, red and white pines, nannyberries, and elderberries are on the docket totaling more than one hundred plantings again this year. As some of you know, my focus continues to be on planting native Minnesota trees and shrubs that are beneficial to wildlife. Long live the birds, for they will live long after we are all gone.