Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

A Blog is the perfect place to talk about what inspires me to paint and draw. I have picked a few my artworks and tried to express what was going on with me at the time and how the art came about.

This is also another discussion lifted from my facebook Art page, LOL!!
One of my first “break through” paintings was “Elegance”. I had wanted to paint a “Great White Egret” for a while, because of an experience at Liberty Wildlife. When Loki was a year old, she got sick. SO I had to take a few months off from volunteering at Liberty Wildlife – because I did not want to endanger the birds there if it was contagious and did not want to endanger Loki, bringing home diseases from the sick birds. During this time, I found an internet site that taught suture tying. At the time, only a couple of volunteers at Liberty were able to do sutures, so sometimes birds would not get them in time. During my time off, I learned to do sutures. Upon returning to Liberty after finding out Loki was OK, the first large bird to come in needing sutures was a “Great White Egret”. It had fishing line around it’s throat, and a wing was broken. SO I sutured up the throat and we wrapped the wing. To my great surprise, the bird lived and though he could not fly well, he was able to be placed at a zoo. It was so sad to see a bird so beautiful in such horrible condition. He was so beautiful with his breeding plumage…it made me want to paint…hopefully, to share the beauty and elegance of these fellow beings and raise awareness of the natural world around us.
I could not get a good photo, but saw a photo Dale Taylor had taken which gave me the inspiration I needed. Dale graciously gave me permission to use his photo as a reference and Elegance was born.

This was a vision painting. I was meditating and saw this painting. Did not know what kind of birds were in it – so I used photos of raptors that had been released from Liberty Wildlife. Two Bald Eagles, two Red Tailed Hawks and a Cooper’s Hawk. I could not tell in the vision if it was a fire – or just colors, so left it up to the viewer, but thinking of it as a fire and the birds leaving it – kind of gives it a cool meaning to me, since all of the birds were released from Liberty after recovering from different types of wounds. I thought of calling it “Escape”, but “Release” just seemed to fit better. This painting was really a fun one to work on, since I got to “Play in the Paint” on the background.

Blue Throat Macaws
As most of you know, I am a parrot FAN and have five parrots. When first getting Sunny, we joined all of the local bird clubs to meet other parrot NUTS, and to learn more about parrots in general. One of the first great friends I made at bird club was Noelle Fontaine (known to some as Nicole Fountain). We started a tradition of going out after the meetings and having a meal at whatever Restaurant was close by and still open. To my great fortune, Noelle hosted Laney Rickman from the Bird Endowment when she was here in the Phoenix area to speak to the AZ Seedcrackers. Not only did I learn about the Mission of the “Save The Blues” Bird Endowment, but got to know Laney after the meeting, and formed a lifelong friendship. For those of you who don’t know Laney yet, she is very passionate about Blue throat Macaws and has devoted her life to “saving the Blues”. At the time, I had just started taking drawing lessons and wanted very badly to improve my skills to be able to draw and paint birds. I shared this with Laney and told her someday I would donate a painting to the Bird Endowment to do my part in helping save the Blue Throat Macaw. Laney did not laugh at me, she very graciously told me to let her know when I was ready. I am still thankful to her to this day for her support. As a fledgling artist, still insecure of my ability, if she had laughed or blown me off, it would have been devastating. SO now there are several paintings of Blue Throats which have been donated, and the prints are being sold to help support the “Save The Blues”.
I love them all, but there is a soft spot in my heart for Etta James Blues, she has been such a wonderful ambassador for the Blue Throat Macaws. I am an avid fan and supporter of the Bird Endowment.
The painting in the background of my FB photo is Etta James Blues. You can see for yourself what a beautiful lady she is!!!

My Neighbor
Speaking of painting inspiration, I cannot close out these discussions without mentioning my neighbor, Shirley. When Loki was ill, and I did not know if she was going to live or not, my neighbor, Shirley painted a watercolor portrait of Loki. When she presented it to me, I was so touched, it was hard to express my emotions. I went over to Shirley’s to thank her and said all the usual things, like “You are so talented, I could never do that!’ To my surprise, Shirley looked me in the eye and said, ” Arlene, you are so talented with your sewing and embroidery and clowning, don’t tell me you could not do that. If you just sat down and tried, you could do it.” I told her” But you don’t understand, I have no artistic talent. When I was in the first grade, my teacher held up my coloring sheet as the example of how not to color. It was messy and not in the lines. I never took art in school, I had to learn Dummy Face Painting as a clown. Shirley continued to insist that I could do it, so just to keep her quiet, I sat down with a pencil and drew my first bird, a Cockatiel. When I took the drawing to Shirley, she was blown away and pretty much told me to shut up about not having any talent and to start finding art classes. I signed up for a drawing class at Glendale Community College at the ripe young age of 49 years old. On the way to the first class, I almost turned around and went home. I thought about all the young talented people who would be in the classes and asked myself what I thought I was doing going to college at my age. Luckily, I gulped and found my way to the class. Imagine my surprise upon entering the classroom and finding students older than me, one of the ladies was in her 70’s. There were a few young people there, but the classes were filled with people my age and even older. Feeling a little more at ease, I knew I was in the right place when the art instructor started out, “This is a pencil…”
Ok, it is several years later, and I am still 49 years old….but am I ever glad I went to that class!


Comments on: "What Inspires my Artworks" (2)

  1. Dina Schiaffo said:

    Thank you for sharing your story Arlene. Your success will inspire others, many of which you will not realize. Keep blogging…you never know who is reading or who you might inspire.
    I love you 🙂

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