Monday, October 10, 2016

Northern Cardinal Fledgling

Fledgling, 2016  8"x8", Oil on board
This guy may look like an adult, but he certainly wasn't.  Day in and day out we could hear his screeching voice demanding, "feed me.  feed me."  I was lucky enough to catch this pose while he was in full throat.  I learned that baby birds fledge within 20 days because it is safer to be out of the nest and away from predators even if the bird is still dependent on the adults for food.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Eastern Towhee

Towhee, 4x4" Oil on Board, 2016
The towhee, a member of the sparrow family, is a most elusive bird.  It feeds primarily on the ground.  I very rarely see it in the trees.  So, I was quite lucky to capture it sitting on this branch.  When they feed on the ground they stand with both legs parallel and then hop back dragging leaves and debris with the feet. This exposes insects for feeding.  This foraging is so noisy that one would think a deer or squirrels are the actors. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole, 4x4" Oil on Board, 2016

Baltimore Oriole, 8x8" Oil on Board, 2016

Baltimore Oriole, 8x8" Oil on Board, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole, 8x8" Oil on Board, 2016
I was surprised to find that the oriole is part of the small blackbird family.  It is named from the resemblance of the male's colors to those on the coat-of-arms of England's Lord Baltimore.  

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Oriol's Secret

Oriole, 8x8" Oil on Board, 2016
A few years ago when I would walk through our neighborhood, I noticed there Baltimore Orioles.  But we had none in our yard.  Up went an Oriole feeder and voila!  They began to appear.  This year we are fairly certain they nested in our yard because we heard their beautiful voices all day long coming from our trees.  Emily Dickenson writes in her Nature, Poem12, The Oriole's Secret.

To hear an oriole sing
May be a common thing,
Or only a divine.

It is not of the bird
Who sings the same, unheard,
As unto crowd.

The fashion of the ear
Attireth that it hear
In dun or fair.

So whether it be rune,
Or whether it be none,
Is of within;

The "tune is in the tree,"
The sceptic showeth me;
"No, sir! In thee!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Black Rainbow

A Black Rainbow, 2016  Oil on Board, 10" x 10"

I first learned of Ted Hughes book of poems, Crow, from my husband who would quote from the Lineage poem.  When I began photographing and then painting the crow, I pulled the book out.  I was intrigued by the mythology, its harshness and bleak outlook.  

The origin of Crow is well documented. In an article written in 198519, Hughes explained:
        Crow grew out of an invitation by Leonard Baskin to make a
        book with him simply about crows. He wanted an occasion to
        add more crows to all the crows that flock through his
        sculpture, drawings, and engravings in their various
        transformations. As the protagonist of a book, a crow
        would become symbolic in any author’s hands. And a
        symbolic crow lives a legendary life. That is how Crow
        took off.

Crow Grinned

Crow Grinned, 2016, Oil on Board 10" x 10"

When God, disgusted with man, 
Turned towards heaven. 
And man, disgusted with God, 
Turned towards Eve, 
Things looked like falling apart. 

But Crow . . Crow 
Crow nailed them together, 
Nailing Heaven and earth together - 

So man cried, but with God's voice. 
And God bled, but with man's blood. 

Then heaven and earth creaked at the joint 
Which became gangrenous and stank - 
A horror beyond redemption. 

The agony did not diminish. 

Man could not be man nor God God. 

The agony 




Crying: 'This is my Creation,' 

Flying the black flag of himself. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Crow Blacker Than Ever

Crow Blacker Than Ever,  2016, Oil on Board, 12" x 12"
The crow family is known as corvids.  They are among the smartest birds in the world capable of using tools, playing tricks, teaching each other new things, recognizing the human face and even holding funerals.  John Marzluff, a researcher at the University of Washington, has studied them for more than 35 years and made fascinating discoveries.  The most interesting is how one crow can come to recognize a human face and then spread that knowledge to other crows through voice calls.  This knowledge has been shown to be passed down through generations long after the original crow has died.  Marzluff proved this  by wearing masks and capturing (later releasing) crows.  Years later that same mask can be worn in the area and subsequent generations of crows go crazy squawking and attacking the wearer.  

Monday, February 29, 2016

Crows and Other Aves

Flying the Black Flag of Himself, Oil on Board, 12" x 12"
American crows are all black, even the legs and bill.  But the light reflects colors that appear blue, purple, gray.  When they molt the feathers can appear brownish.  This fellow is not molting.  They sometime appear squat to me with their thick neck and short, round, squared off tail, which seems to short for such a big bold guy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Crows and Other Aves

4 Paintings, Oil on Board, 12" x 12" 
I love watching the crows come through our yard. They are so boisterous, and can show up seconds after food is tossed  on the ground.  One always comes alone sounding loudly, "food, food, food".  That scout stands strong in the trees watchful for any threat and caws, "all clear'.  When they flock their broad silhouettes are striking.  There very presence electrifies the air and seems to vibrate all around them.  

Crows are present in much folklore, myth and visual arts.  If you were to include ravens and blackbirds the list would grow.  My favorite piece of crow literature is the poem Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow by Ted Hughes. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

River Lee


River Lee, 2015 Cork City, Oil on Board, 18" x 36"
The River Lee rises in the Shehy Mountains in Killarney and empties in to the Celtic Sea at Cobh.  It meandered past our hotel in Cork.  One morning a heavy fog sat on the river and begged to be photographed.  
Cork City center is built on the River Lee where it divides into two channels and forms an island.  Cork in Gaelic means marsh. The mouth empties into Cork Harbor which is one of the world's largest natural harbors.  The city, typical of Ireland, was filled with buskers and laughing people.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cypresses on Bayou Dorcheat

Cypresses, Oil on Linen,  56" x 34"
Bald cypresses are deciduous conifers that grow on saturated and inundated soil.  They are very longed lived and slow growing reaching heights of 150'. The name bald is given because unlike other cypresses this species is deciduous.  One of the beautiful aspects of the tree are its knees. A cypress knee is a woody projection forming off the roots and vertically upward through the water.  Their function is unknown although some scientists have thought they may help in oxygenation; there is no proof for this, however.  A more likely function is a buttress to the tree's roots or even an assist in anchoring the tree in the soft muddy soil.

Bayou Dorcheat is a stream whose source is in Nevada County, Arkansas and mouth ends some 115 miles later in Lake Bistineau, Louisiana. Bayou is a French term used in the US for a body of water typically found in a flat, low-lying area.  It can refer to a slow-moving stream or river, or to a marshy lake or wetland.  Dorcheat is the typical slow moving stream which widens at places into a river. This painting is a composed of points of view taken from photographs my brother, John Ed, took while boating on Dorcheat.  It will be going to Arkansas where it will reside in the home of my brother Robert and his wife Marla near Dorcheat.