Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for September, 2011

What Inspires my Artworks

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!

Showering with the birds

Hey, I might not have to actually write for a few years, this is another one from 2008:
Wellllllll….as it was the day for our weekly shower, it occurred to me that not many people take a shower with their birds. SO just thought I would share a little from the experience. The first few times I took Loki, my Blue and Gold Macaw into the shower, I had delusions that I could just go in , get her wet, get out and my hair would be safe, dry, and it would not take very long. Little did I know!!!! Macaws, being of a playful nature, loooove water! Loki runs up and down my arm, gets under the water, gets wet, then runs out to the end of my arm and flaps her wings and shakes all of the water off, all the while laughing in my voice as loud as she can. This of course, causes me to laugh, and anyone listening in would think there are two crazy women in the shower…..This continues for 15 min to half an hour, depending on how long my arm holds out. Try standing with your arm straigt out, having 2.2 lbs of wild and crazy bird moving up and down your arm and see how long you can last! In the meantime, the little guys are on their shower perch waiting their turn. Loki goes on her shower perch, while the little guys play in the water. They sit on my hand and splash and flap and do really funny things with their tails. When everyone is soaked like drowned rats, they all go back to their playstands and preen themselves until they are dry, and they all take a nap. Well, me, ………..I get to clean up the bathroom!!!

Random Thoughts, another oldie, but goodie from FB

This is a discussion on FB from  June 2010, must have been in a goofy mood that day!

I have noticed others who sit around and think on esoterica, pondering the deeper meanings of life. For example one of my friends wonders: if buttered toast always lands face down and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped a piece of buttered toast on a cat’s back, then dropped it… personally, I think people should direct their thoughts and energy to more practical things, things that could change the human race.
First, I would like to see scientists study the properties of dried bird poop, specifically the property that renders it harder than any substance on earth. People who wash cars know what I am talking about! SO does anyone who shares any type of space with a bird. Walls, floors, cages, and bird stands, having to be power washed and scrubbed with diamond studded sandpaper to get them clean!
AND for you cat lovers – how can cat hair be lighter than air? Anyone out there with a long haired black cat – you know what I am talking about.
Just imagine if the thinking minds of this planet could make a substance as hard as dried bird poop, it could cut diamonds! And a ubiquitous substance that defies gravity like cat hair, imagine, it could change space flight as we now know it!

Hmmmmmm….maybe I should just stick to painting!

Another Oldie but Goodie from FB

OK, so to start out, I am being a little lazy, but some of these discussions need to be reposted just so I don’t have to get back up on the soap box, LOL.

Originally posted Sept 2008:

Normally I paint birds, especially raptors and parrots. During a fundraiser for Liberty Wildlife, the President/CEO of the Phoenix Zoo bought one of the prints we were selling of “Whoooo R U?” He liked my work and as a result of our conversation, I was asked to do a painting for the silent auction coming up in October. If you take a look at the website it is now listed under Peek-a-Boo Babies. The Orangutan enclosure at the zoo was great when first built in the 80’s, but we now know it is inappropriate for their needs, and they are very stressed out and need a new enclosure. As I was taking the reference photos, I could see how stressed they were and the real need. Kasih, the baby, was the only active orangutan, the others hid behind their palm leaves and it was just sad.
Sometimes zoos are the only opportunity for urban dwellers to see these creatures and learn of their plight in the larger world. So these guys have helped in my education – and now I am aware of their existence and their problems in the global sense. It is so sad to see such intelligent creatures become almost extinct. Humans are responsible for their problems – and we have to be the solution. I can’t slog around in the jungles and do that part of the work – BUT I can use my talents to raise awareness and money – I can find responsible organizations to donate that money to, and I can and do volunteer in my own area at a wildlife rehab facility.
We each have a way to contribute and to be a part of the solution.


As a footnote to this, the Orangutan enclosure has been completed – Awesome!!!!

For those who missed my Facebook discussion – Bird Poop

Ok, so I am a little bit absent minded! Well, my kids would call it dingy or newbish… I have capes to catch the bird poop, but when a Sun Conure is screaming, the phone is ringing, and dinner is burning – sometimes ya just gotta grab the bird to shut him up – so you can get the phone, or turn the burner off. So who has time to remember to grab the cape???? Ok, so it is not always that bad, but it happens! Anyway a few months after I became a bird owner, my family started “poop checks”. They will not walk out of the house without checking my shoulders and back for telltale green spots. However, I still am allowed out by myself occasionally – so who has time to do a check, when you are making sure the birds are back in their cages, the phone is ringing, the kids are asking you to stop at the store and hubby is asking you to make another stop???? So there have been many times I arrived home, just to notice the poop on my clothes. Not to mention the days that I volunteer at Liberty wildlife – we won’t even go there about how frightened birds leave signs!!! SO I just HAVE to wonder – what do people think when they see me walking around with various green and brown spots on my clothes?????
I should get a t-shirt that says – In every bird owners life – Poop happens!

Why Blog ???

As a parrot owner, wildlife rehabber and artist, my life is overflowing with birds. Having many friends on Facebook, who are also Bird “Nuts”, this “blog thing” will give me a chance to open a dialogue on all things “BIRD”.
Hopefully some of you will enjoy watching my art works in progress or WIP’s. We can share bird stories and photos! As an ex-clown, please do not take me too seriously, Arleenie Beenie (my clown character) has been known to get involved in my WIP’s and innocent bystanders ( or would that be by bloggers??) have been splashed with paint while having popcorn fights.

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