Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for March, 2012

“Vanishing Species” WIP

Thanks Barbara, for that Great Introduction to this Work In Progress! Also a GREAT BIG Thank you for the reference photos, without them, this painting would still be just a twinkle of an idea on the back burner! SO now that the artwork is in progress, after looking at photos and thinking about the plight of the Kakapo, the painting seems to want be named “Vanishing Species”. As the work unfolds, it will become “clear”, LOL.
Those of you who work with watercolor probably know the frustration of stretching paper, so on this full sheet painting I am taking advantage of the amazing system you can check out at there are videos to show how to use it, and let me tell you – it makes life much easier for me. The birdies don’t learn any bad words, hubby comes home to a cheerful wife, and the people at the grocery store see a very nice person on watercolor paper stretching days. A few words to the wise……………….stretch the paper first, THEN do the drawing. Several drawings have gone down the drain and had to be redone after stretching. Pencil will wash off the paper during the process, LOL. Not that I would know personally, er….uh…. um….. anyway, the drawing is done and it is time to put that first bit of paint down! Excuse me while I put Sunny away, she is trying to chew up my paintbrush……………..Ummmmmm Charlie, NOT That paper………be right back need to put Charlie away, she is trying to chew up my paper………………….yes Loki, you can have a nut…………………OK, YES, everyone gets a nut…………………….Hey Tinkerbelle, what do you mean you don’t want a nut……………………..Birdie, please get off of Tink’s cage……………………

Some paint did get on the paper today despite the flock’s demands. The beak is starting to take shape. Don’t forget, you can click on the image to see a much larger version! You may even be able to see the pencil marks to give you an idea of where this painting is going. Speaking of going, it sounds like it is time to make a trip to the grocery store for more nuts! Be back soon!


Meet my surprise guest blogger, Barbara Heidenreich

To kick off the new WIP, our distinguished guest, Barbara Heidenreich,is blogging today. Thought it would be best for you to be introduced to the kakapo by someone who has met one personally! Without further ado:

“I don’t think I have ever met a parrot as a fascinating as the kakapo. They are flightless, nocturnal, solitary and huge. (Up to 4 kilos!) They are also on the brink of extinction. There are only 127 individuals left in the entire world. People often ask me “What about in captivity?” The answer is there are none in captivity. They all live on predator free islands that are managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. It can be difficult to comprehend just how few birds that really is and how much work is going into to increasing that number.

The Kakapo Recovery Team consists of only nine full time staff. They are field biologists, population geneticists, researchers, evolutionary biologists, conservationists, parrot experts and wildlife warriors all focused on a mission to save a most amazing bird. I was privileged to spend a few weeks with some members of the team. Talk about passion for their job! These people endure some incredibly difficult conditions to do their work. One of my traveling companions told me stories about hanging out the side of a helicopter with the radio telemetry receiver to track birds on the side of a cliff. I was so impressed with just how committed they are to their mission.

My small contribution to the project was to help the team train Sirocco the ambassador bird for the project. Sirocco became famous when a video in which he mated with Mark Cawardine’s head went viral on YouTube.   His amorous antics made him a celebrity, but his behavior was a bit of a problem. We had some great success working with him. You can read more about his training on my Good Bird Inc blog.

I also showed the team how to use positive reinforcement to manage day to day interactions with Sirocco and to also teach him how to present natural behaviors for educational opportunities. Kakapo have a unique natural history and behavioral repertoire. Sharing this with the public was one of the goals of the team.

Another goal is to raise awareness and funding to help save kakapo. The team is working hard towards creating a large sustainable population of kakapo. This takes public support. One of the things I absolutely adore about the companion parrot community is their wonderful commitment to help save parrots out in the wild. That connection with the bird in your own life is so powerful that it can lead to conservation action. Amazing! I know my birds caused me to want to know about kakapo and after having the chance to meet Sirocco and getting to know him as an individual I can’t help but want to do what I can to make sure kakapo are here on this earth forever. Here is your chance to be a part of that mission.

Arlene has a new project! A kakapo painting based on one of my photographs of Sirocco. And it could be yours. The original art will be raffled off and all proceeds will go to The Kakapo Recovery Project. You can play an important role in saving kakapo from extinction and get to adorn your house with the image of quite a unique parrot personality, the one and only Sirocco. I hope you will enter to win. It will be a one of kind piece featuring a one of a kind bird. To learn more about kakapo, visit Also check out the Kakapo Recovery –The Official Site on Facebook.!/KakapoRecovery

Barbara Heidenreich

A great big THANK YOU to Barbara for this guest blog. Don’t forget to check out Good Bird Magazine at   this is a great magazine, just loaded with information on positive reinforcement. As the WIP progresses, we will keep you updated on how and where to buy raffle tickets.

Cardinal – Final?!??!

Another blink of the eye, another week gone by!!!!! Make that month……year……uh……at least the painting has progressed to the point where Candy said,  “STEP AWAY from the painting!” So here is the Cardinal final! Now that the cardinal is done, it is time to start a very exciting project, so stay tuned!!! In the meantime , here is “Royalty in Red”.

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