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.

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