Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for October, 2011

GHO Baby WIP – Voila!

GHO Baby WIP – Voila!.

GHO Baby WIP – Voila!

Here he is about done, just have to let him gel for a few days and see if anything jumps out at me, LOL!

SO………you are probably wondering “What is next?” See, I really am psychic, Ok, so NOT! But …….Drum rollllll………next I am going to work on a raven in Charcoal, then I have  very special project planned, am just waiting for some ref photos, CUZ this guy is endangered. NO! It is a surprise. On most of the endangered species, I have to use ref photos from one of the organizations that works with that particular species, unless you guys want to take up a collection so that I can travel…..You will……..why that is great……. Ok, pass the hat!!! Whoooo Hooooo, I can’t wait……………Ok, lets see….. a penny, a marble, and a game token….Thanks guys, don’t think I will get very far on that, but the thought was VERY NICE!!!! Guess I will have to wait for the ref photos!


GHO Baby WIP Winding Down

Halloween is almost here, but this little guy needs to stop looking like a ghost, so just for you, I started the eyes!

He is starting to look like an owl now. Almost hear that little beak clacking. Let’s try adding the eye color and working the fuzzy feathers a little more and see what happens with this guy!

My goodness, he looks like he sees a mouse! Aaargh, hope there is not a mouse under my chair. Kitties, help! Where are the darn cats when you need them! Probably off taking a nap somewhere. Isn’t that just like a cat…have you ever noticed that when a cat enters a room full of people, he makes a beeline for THE one person in the room who is allergic to cats, then proceeds to rub all over the hapless victim. If there is not an allergic person available, the cat will zero in on the one person who dislikes cats, and will start purring and demanding to be petted by that particular person. They totally crack me up, LOL! Meanwhile, back at the painting, just some adjustments in shadow to shape the critter, and a few final color touches and this one will be ready to sign! Since the parrots still have the recent modeling contract negotiations fresh in their memories, think I will work on a drawing of a raven. Have been wanting to do another Black and white charcoal, so think a raven could work out well…….as long as there is no communication between the parrots and the raven, don’t need another strike on my hands this soon!


Sixteen Inches of Rain

Last night we had the Arizona version of “sixteen inches of rain”. The drops were sixteen inches apart and it rained for sixteen seconds. Just enough to turn your car into  mud ball and just enough to set off the ole rheumatiz! The benefits – nothing smells like the desert after it rains(even sixteen inches) and it cooled it off a few degrees. One of my favorite smells in the world has to be the sweet smell after a rain, it makes you fell energized and just lifts you up to the top of the world(OK, so don’t look down!). It has also cooled off to the low nineties, maybe even eighty-nine degrees. Ok everyone grab your sweaters!! Cold spell is here! Whooooo Hooooooooo! Well, with this cold spell and the ole rheumatiz acting up, think I’ll light a fire in the fireplace, wrap up in a blanket and just take a nap. Nighty night!

Tuesdays With Candy – GHO Baby WIP

First, I have to Thank all of you for being on extra good behavior, we were able to go to Candy’s on Tuesday and paint without any mishaps! Candy and her kitty, Missy are doing well, no stains, scratches or gum in the fur incidents, LOL. SO the GHO Baby is coming along well. Oh you want to see, well……….Ok.

 You think he still looks like a GHOST! What do you expect for Halloween? We will get to the eyes, don’t worry, but first we have to get all of his little fuzzes in! Otherwise he will not look like the little nestling he is!

Now for the good news, The Crowned Crane Charcoal will be in the Az Artist Guild Juried Fall Exhibition being held for most of the month of November, any of you Phoenix Metro residents interested in attending can check out the details on my webpage,  – all of the pertinent details are posted on the home page.

The Audubon Society is holding a juried show, “Gifts From Nature”, and yours truly was juried in! Once again all you Phoenix Metro residents can check out the details on and attend November 12 or 13! Hope to see you there!

SO back to work on the GHO Baby, be back soon with another update!

Where Did 2011 Go?

WOW, how did it get to be the middle of October? I am not even used to writing 2011 yet, and it is almost Halloween…….Aaaaarrrrrggggh! The weather even still thinks it is summer here in Arizona, still in the 100’s this week. Phew! Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t even say it….dry heat and all of that. SO are you paying attention? All morning working on the GHO and you would think there would be huge amounts of progress.

The w/c pencil work goes really slowly, as you can see the top left hand corner is starting to look a little fuzzier. Ok, yes, get out your glasses, uh…..magnifying glass, uh….microscope?!?!?!? Whoa! Not at me, at the painting! I won’t even make the remark about coke bottle bottoms. SO did you find the upper left hand corner, no the real left…..yes, your LEFT. Ok hold your hands up with the index finger pointing up, and your thumb perpendicular, see the “L”, not the backwards “L”, that is your left……..yes, I know L for left, whoever figured out that one!?!?!?!? Yes, this part may get pretty boring, but at least your hair and clothes are not in immediate danger of being splashed with paint…….NO! No! Please do not start paint fights…….um…..OK, I am going for cover……see you at the next update!

Onward and Forward – New WIP

Well, hope everyone survived that WIP intact. As the title says, Onward and forward……..This piece is going to be a watercolor/watercolor pencil piece, so don’t panic when you see the watercolor – looking kind of ragged, we will use the watercolor pencils to give the fluff its final touch up. So as we discussed in the Birdie Final, this new one is a Baby Great Horned Owl who came into Liberty Wildlife this last Orphan Care Season, and is now all grown up and back in the wild. Since your Artist/Blogger is sometimes lazy, we will call it a GHO. Hey, I didn’t come up with this, it is an official term. Bet ya didn’t know Ha Ha is Harris Hawk. Just some more bird trivia for you. So we start out as usual by drawing the GHO, then transferring it to the watercolor paper. BIG change here, since we will be using watercolor pencil, the paper of choice is Arches 140lb Hot Press paper. It has a much smoother nap and will handle the pencils much better than Cold Press paper. This time we will be laying in the darks first. Oh, you want to see…..kind of demanding, aren’t you????

This was done Tuesday at Candy’s, and I did not know if she was ready for all of us, so I snuck over there without you. BTW, the bandages are all gone, there is no scarring, so maybe we can go back next week, if you all can be nice to the Kitty! My BIG concern was what Candy would do for a Halloween costume, since the badges have all been removed, but not to worry, Candy says she has her broom………that is a direct quote, I did not make it up.

As you can see here we have the ghost of a baby GHO……No, really we have the dark darks laid in. Now to start adding some medium tones……

Yes, I forgot to take a photo, so you have the medium tones and the background in. You really are very lucky that I remembered to take photos for Birdie’s WIP. It is really easy to get carried away with painting and forget you are there…….even when you guys are noisy and disruptive! Now don’t forget, we have just put the base in, there is still a TON of work to do with the W/C pencils.

Can’t have all these discussions without talking a little about the volunteer stuff. As many of you know, I volunteer at Liberty Wildlife. It is a native wildlife rehabilitation center which has a fabulous education program. I volunteer on Thursday in Medical Services. My first job there was feeding orphaned baby birds. Since that was a seasonal job, I signed up for medical services, so I could be there year ’round. This has to be one of the volunteer jobs with the biggest emotional roller coaster! A wildlife release has to be one of the highest emotional moments, and the death of a sick injured creature has to be one of the lowest, with many points in between. Though we take in all native wildlife, about 95% of our patients are birds. Good thing I am a bird lover, huh!
So are all the other volunteers. It is amazing to see what these wonderful people will do to rescue a critter! They put in untold hours cleaning, feeding, transporting, and taking care of these injured animals. Liberty is always in need of good volunteers, so if you don’t have anything to do on Thursday – come join us!!! Yes, they will let you bring snacks!

See ya next Blog!

Birdie WIP – Finished!

The tooth is finally settled down, now for the adventure of getting a crown put on. As you probably noticed, it is kind of hard to paint with a toothache, it is even hard to blog with an aching tooth, well hopefully we are back in the saddle. Oh…yes….this is supposed to be about finishing “Birdie”….well if you insist, back to the subject at hand, I mean wing, uh……whatever. Ok, as you can see…Oh yes, you can’t see until I put the photo up. Hang on just a sec:

You can click on the photos to see them a little bit bigger.(I know, you are asking me why I didn’t tell you this at the beginning of the blog, just go back and look at them again.) OK, here we are. As you can see, I have done some more negative painting in the crevice shadows with cool colors to push the shadowed areas back, and have highlighted some areas with warm colors to pull them forward, so hopefully Birdie is taking a little more shape. Now he is pretty much finished. However, there is one  final step of this whole painting process. I set the painting where Beenie and I  can see it frequently while doing various chores, and let the painting sit for a few weeks, and see if anything jumps out at us that needs to be done. Hey, this is the most important step, you never know what you have missed, and it kind of seeps on the back burner of the sub conscious area of the brain, and sometimes there is a little flash of insight into  one little change that could improve the painting. So Birdie goes on the back burner for now. Hope you have enjoyed this Artistic journey with us. Those of you who did not read the rules have become a little more colorful with the red splotches in your hair, but the rest of you seem no worse for the wear!

Onward to the next painting, the subject this time will be a baby owl that came into Liberty wildlife this year during orphan care. Luckily, he was put right out with foster parents and has been released back into the wild. So we should not have any issues with lawyers, strikes, and such since he was on the other side of the property away from the ravens and crows. And as far as I know he had no contact with parrots. That darn parrot union!

“And Tuesday’s Just the Same”

Tooth still hurts – head pounding – no work on the Birdie today…… once again here is an oldie from March 2010;

A friend asked me a question today, and I thought I should post it here along with my current answer.
“What am I supposed to be doing here?”
I think I am supposed to be painting and drawing birds and wildlife. Simple on the face of it, but along with this gift of art, comes a kind of responsibility. To love them is a wonder in itself, but there is also a need to share this connection, to awaken others to the stewardship that has been placed in our hands, and to contribute. My life philosophy is that we are a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. So I go merrily along my way – trying my best to be a part of the solution – continuing to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of joy.

What is up with Mondays?!??!? Eagles and stuff

No work on the WIP today, had a toothache all weekend, went to the dentist – yup, you guessed it root canal. So as I sit here with my jaw feeling like it is swollen out three feet from the Novocain, I find it a little hard to paint since it feels like my jaw will get in the way of my brushes, LOL. So once again, I am going to post one of my old FB discussions. They are going to be removed as of Oct 31, so there are a couple more worth preserving, will get them transferred over here during the week.

Several of my charcoal drawings and one of my colored pencil drawings have been of Bald Eagles. How can you fail to be fascinated by these majestic birds? Until I started volunteering at Liberty Wildlife, my relationship with eagles consisted of sightings at the local zoo. However, I loved looking at photos of them and watching any Nature show having to do with eagles. Little did I know that some day I would be up close and personal with them. My first encounter at Liberty Wildlife was, of course, with Libby. She is our education eagle who has helped bring Wildlife Education to many children (and adults) in the state of Arizona. She is a charming ambassador and a great model. She has posed for many photos which have allowed me to study her from all angles! I also have had help from Terry Stevens who has photographed Libby extensively and also has let me use photos he took in Alaska of the wild eagles there. Another excellent photographer, Dale Taylor has let me use reference photos. He travels extensively and takes photos all over the world.
Volunteering in medical services, I have been privileged to assist with the care of several eagles who have come through Liberty Wildlife. I have been able to learn about the anatomical structure of the birds, their living habits and their temperaments. A couple of years ago, we were charged with the care of two abandoned eggs at Liberty. One of the chicks died, and the other fledged and was put back into the wild with foster parents to continue her education. A few have come in too down to help and others have come in, recuperated and gone back into the wild to live their lives. One day I hope to paint a release and to be able to put all of the emotion into it that we put into the care of each bird that comes our way.
When painting a subject, I always try to capture the personality. SO it is very important to understand the subject, their lifestyle and temperament,otherwise I would not feel the artistic connection as I try to depict birds and wildlife. As an artist, I am passionate about my subjects, and try to learn everything I can about them. If you haven’t noticed, I pay particular attention to eyes. Having always been taught that eyes are “the windows to the soul” it is hard to imagine touching the soul of a being without capturing the eyes. SO the “eyes” are one of the most important parts of the drawing or painting.
Art is my way of sharing this avian passion, and my continual hope that every line and drop of paint seethes with the love of the birds.

Now think it is time for an ice pack and a nap – what is up with Mondays anyway!!!!

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