Friday, April 21, 2017

Phillip

Oil, 4 x 4 inches

Baltimore Orioles have warm rich songs, so I often hear them before I see them. At my home, these birds only pass through in the spring and fall, so my chances of seeing them are fairly low. I like to keep my windows open while I work so I don't miss their visits, even if the temperatures are still in the 30s.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mandolin Along the Taconite Trail

Oil, 4 x 4 inches


This little oil painting depicts a Hermit Thrush that was right above me in a red pine as I walked on the Taconite State Trail in Grand Rapids, MN, a couple of years ago. It was my first time visiting the trail, and it was a beautiful, sunny, April day, not unlike today. This painting will be in MacRostie’s Little Big Show in Grand Rapids, MN. Opening reception is Friday, May 5th, 4-7 pm. The show runs through May 26, 2017.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Raspberry

Oil, 4 x 4 inches


Purple finches have beautiful, warbler-like songs in the spring, and if they're not at my feeder, then they're hanging out in the pines above. I find their voices particularly rich, tender, and expressive on quiet, still mornings, when they have the echoes of the forest all to themselves.


Friday, March 31, 2017

When Buttercup Smiles

Oil, 4 x 4 inches

Here's a little painting that I've wanted to do for years now. This is a male Goldfinch who often frequented my nyjer feeder when I used to live in Wisconsin.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Mac Easy

Oil on Linen, 10 x 10 inches

Here's a little painting of a chipping sparrow who spent time going back and forth through my fence last summer, with my bird feeder on one side and the warmth of the sun on the other.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Golden-crowned Kinglet in Fall

Oil, 15 x 30 inches

It was clear to me that the forest's energy was in a holding pattern, reserved, and wary of disturbances on a late October day. Movements besides mine weren't going to happen except with a little luck. I wasn't expecting much. I had already walked a bit and settled into the smell of fresh air, my camera relinquished to my side. Such are the waning days of fall, when life recedes backwards until the first snowfall slingshots the next season into play. 

I've become familiar with kinglets over the past few years, and when neither sound nor clear sight of this bird is possible, its movements will almost always reveal its species. Such was the case with this little guy whose flitting caught my attention while he foraged in heavy brush. Alas! It was the luck I'd been hoping for. 

Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, he alighted onto the path in front of me, somewhere, just a few feet away. But where? Even though I was sure of his position, I couldn't see him. We both stood still, so very still, a meeting of strangers, with only one visible to the other. I lifted my camera no further than my waist and took a random shot, knowing that milliseconds mattered. Experience has taught me this over the years. And it just so happened: right place, right time, good focus, and one perfect little bird. What a delicate composition of fleeting moments just before he disappeared back into the forest unseen. This is a male, Golden-crowned Kinglet, an original oil painting from my forest adventures on October 20th, 2016.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Apples for June Wins Honorable Mention


My work depicting a Gray Catbird won Honorable Mention at the 61st Arrowhead Regional Biennial. Approximately 180 artists submitted work, around 30 were accepted, 8 won awards. For a full description of winners published on PerfectDuluthDay.com, click here. The show runs through Feb. 9, 2017.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Arrowhead Regional Biennial Opens Nov. 10, 2016 - Feb. 9, 2017


Showing "Apples for June"
Nov. 10, 2016 - Feb. 9, 2017
The 61st Arrowhead Regional Biennial
Duluth Art Institute
506 W Michigan St., Duluth, MN
Opening Reception: Nov. 10th, 5-7 pm
Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday 1 - 5 pm
Free admission

The following announcement is paraphrased from perfectduluthday.com

The 61st Arrowhead Regional Biennial features juried art work from the Upper Midwest. It's a tradition established in 1919, and the longest running biennial in the Midwest, featuring some of the best artwork coming out of the region, judged each year by a distinguished guest. This year's juror is Dyani White Hawk. Thirty-three works will be on display and will include an audio installation, prints, paintings, photographs, mixed media installations, a moleskin book, video, weaving, a tunic, colored pencil, and pastel. 

I hope you can make the show. :-)

In addition to the above announcement, below is a photo I'd taken last night at dusk just outside of my kitchen window. I had been watching a mouse, or possible shrew, burrow underneath a small area of raked pine needles next to my spirea plants. As the needles bulged up and down, out popped this bottle-cap-sized wood frog onto my patio. It was so tiny, I thought it was a large spider at first. Anyway, it's probably the case that this amphibian didn't appreciate being pushed out of its cozy little spot by a wandering rodent. With our record-setting warm weather continuing well into November, it shouldn't be too hard for this frog to find another dwelling before cold weather really sets in.




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brown Creeper

Oil, 4 x 4 inches

Brown Creepers are one of my favorite birds, and one doesn’t need to live in the woods to see these trunk climbers. When I first moved to Duluth and lived in the residential area known as Lakeside, I noticed a Brown Creeper edging up my neighbor’s large spruce tree in early May. Spring had sprung, and I welcomed the new arrival. Inconspicuous because of their camouflaged backs, these birds commonly fly from trunk to trunk and always creep from the bottom up in search of bugs hiding within the bark’s dark crevices.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Oceanfront Western Willet

Oil, 24 x 36 inches

This is a painting of a Western Willet, from the shores of Sanibel Island, FL. These sandpipers love our coastlines, and so do I. What looks like a big surf to a bird, full of bits of food with every roll, only tickles our ankles.

Next are some thoughts about summer, now that it’s come to a close. The trees have been planted, the garden’s been tidied, and thoughts about planting garlic must either be acted upon, or go to the graveyard where thoughts go to die. The black-eyed susans were beautiful again this September, and the jack pines are growing proudly. What happened to my nannyberries? Will they make a decent showing next spring? Ditch plants, how much can one expect? A lot. But that’s me. Which trees shall I plant next year, berries for the thrushes? Evergreens for the owls? Maybe both. How about a maple, or two? Another honeysuckle vine for the hummingbirds is a must, after witnessing my first hummingbird courtship display in front of this plant a few months back. Some days I feel quite old when I think of all the things I’m just learning now. The birch grove out back is sparse where evil, sun-loving Common Tansy takes root. Everybody has their villain.

Small areas of buckthorn were removed this weekend and last. Working in mid-40 degree temperatures almost made me go back inside for warmer socks. Colder days are coming. I’ve heard the English have nice work coats, lined with plaid. Bending, stretching, pulling, digging, hatcheting, snipping, snapping, piling, hauling, and cursing might be all the the more justifiable in a proper English chore coat, don’t you think? Maybe not. How many years of tatters has mine seen? Too many or not enough? Maybe the latter, the zipper still works. The forest. …dee, dee, dee. Those chickadees make everything alright.