Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for May, 2012

Communicating Hands WIP……….so I look like a chimney sweep!


Yes, so I look like a chimney sweep! The result of working with charcoal, LOL. Started to leave the house, and LUCKILY, I passed a mirror. Needless to say I could have been on the set of “Mary Poppins” as the chimney sweep’s assistant. Black smears on face, arms, definitely black, and clothes looking like they went through the UNwasher. The parrots never tell me, they just let me leave the house that way and laugh the whole time I am gone. Guess I have to stay home unless my family is here to give me the “going out of the house” inspection.

Anyway, here is the progress to date. Hate to post when so much of the drawing is a mess, but it will all get fixed, LOL! See ya at the store! you will easily recognize me, the one who looks like a chimney sweep!


Hands WIP – Finished!

Love’s Offering

Ok, I have to step away from the drawing……….am calling it finished, even though I still keep finding cat hairs on it! Thought I had them all off, then took the photo, and guess what!!!!! Those cats… respect!!!! So this will be the second Companion piece to “Working Man’s Hands”, have already started the drawing on the next one. Right now have material for five, but I still have one or two more ideas, so do not know how many will go in this series. Hands are just so INTERESTING! SO think I will do at least one more in this series before  going back to the birds! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend AND DON’T FORGET to buy your raffle tickets for the Kakapo painting!

Don’t wait until the last minute and forget………now is the best time!

Hands WIP …….. Almost Done!

This certainly went by fast! Maybe it was because I have been running at 5000 mph with my hair on fire, LOL! So when you click on it to view, please ignore the cat hairs…..that is why I said it is ALMOST done. I won’t go into a diatribe about cat hairs, so you can stick around for a few more minutes. Hey, don’t forget about the Kakapo painting raffle! Tickets are available on  They are only $1.00. Barbara Heidenreich’s Blue Fronted Macaw, Blu Lu, is going to draw the winning ticket at the AFA Conference in August. I know, you are waiting until the last minute to buy tickets, but get them now so you don’t forget to support this AWESOME project!!!! Meanwhile, I am going to put the hair fire out, OWWWWW, head burns……don’t forget…….tickets……..OWWWWW………AHHHHHH……..Phew, much better……Sunny, put the paint brush down……ARGH…..MORE cat hair….

Hands WIP……….cont.

Now that we took time out for a break from my life, LOL, back to the WIP! As you can see, some progress is being made. Despite cat hair, feathers, birds chewing on my pencils, baby bird drop-offs, and various other distractions, these hands are continuing to come out of the paper. See ya soon with another update! BTW, don’t forget to click on the photo for a larger view!

Inspiration or Desperation?

No WIP photo today, after visiting the Oasis Bird Sanctuary this weekend, I wanted to share a few thoughts. Many years ago Hubby and I listened to Anthony Robbins programs for motivation. One of the things that stayed with me is that change can be motivated by inspiration or desperation. As I looked at the beautiful facility that the Oasis has become and see where they are going, I saw inspiration from desperate circumstances. These birds come from many different types of situations, and their stories are usually sad at the beginning, but because of the dedication of this group of people, their stories become stories of hope. It brought back the reason that I am inspired to do my art. It is a gift given to me to help my beautiful feathered, furred, and scaled brothers and sisters. So I just wanted to share a little of my journey and hope to leave you with some motivation to go out and accomplish your dreams.
Flashback – First Grade…….I am standing in front of the room, my teacher has called me up to hold a coloring sheet in front of the class. She explains to the class how messy it is and that it is an example of how not to color. She calls up another student to stand by me holding up her coloring sheet and explains how neat it is, and what a good example it is of how to color. I went home mortified, and learned from this incident that I had no talent for art.
Flash forward ………..forty three years.My wonderful neighbor had given me a gift of a watercolor painting of my Blue and Gold Macaw, Loki. I am thanking her profusely, saying all of the things the untalented say…… This is beautiful, I cannot even draw a straight line, you are so talented, I could never do anything like this. Instead of saying “Thank you” for the compliment, my neighbor, Shirley Bennett, looked me in the eye and said, ” Arlene, you are one of the most creative people I know. DO NOT tell me you cannot do this. Go home right now and draw something and bring it back to me. So I do. It surprises both of us, not a masterpiece, but it has potential. Shirley insists that I should go out and take some drawing classes, so I sign up for a drawing class at Glendale Community College.
Now this sounds like the end of the story, but it almost became the beginning of no story. As you can see if you do the math, I was 49 years old. And if you think about it a little, you can imagine the doubt and self talk that went on. On the way to the first class, I almost talked myself out of going to class. “What am I doing, going back to school at this age? Everyone will be young and I will feel awkward, they will all have had classes and be good artists……..” As the doubts grew, I almost turned the car around and went home. Luckily momentum had the upper hand, traffic was heavy and I continued to class. Upon walking into the classroom, it was amazing. The students ranged from high school graduates to a 79 year old. Many of them were also beginners. And when the teacher, Darlene Goto, walked into the room, she said “I don’t know what talent is, all it takes is hard work and practice to draw…..this is a pencil. I knew I was in the right class.
The rest is history, inspiration from my own flock, the volunteer work at Liberty Wildlife, and organizations like Bird Endowment, the Oasis and The Alex Foundation have helped me develop Passion, Purpose and Power (as Carole Hillsbery says) in my painting. SO……… go………follow your dream………..the only thing holding you back is your self.

The new Work In Progress

With all of the fur and feathers flying around here,it is time to take a break. Recently I completed the first of the “Hand” series with “Working Man’s Hands”, so thought I would go on to the second in this series of charcoal drawings examining hands.  Being so vital to us, it is hard to imagine what life would be like if we did not have the use of our hands. They communicate, express emotion, make art, music, and help us complete a myriad of tasks. They have so much character and are so full of expression. It is hard to keep from getting sappy while working on this series, so without further ado, here is the beginning. A tribute to emotion.

The Kakapo Support Project is underway, PLEASE help!

Chirping Central has the page up now to buy Raffle tickets for “Vanishing Species”.
The tickets are only $1.00 US. The winning ticket will be drawn at the American Federation of Aviculture conference on August 18, 2012. We will ship the painting to the winner, so you do not have to be in the US to buy tickets!!! All of the funds will go to the Kakapo Recovery Project. Thanks so much for following my Work in Progress!

Here it is again for your viewing pleasure, LOL!!!

Vanishing Species – Step Away From the Painting!!!!

Candy says to step away from the painting, so it is done for now. As promised, I have a very special guest blogger, Mary Rose, from “Chirping Central”. For those of you who do not know Mary, all I can say is that she is a human dynamo. Instead of asking what she does, we have to ask what she does not do. She hails from Australia, is VERY involved with birds, bird organizations, and sits on several boards. She is the president of the Arizona Seedcrackers, is on the board of the Maricopa Audubon Society, and is involved in getting Tovari Castle open to the public. Her organization, Chirping Central” is all about the birds, what more can I say. Well, I could say a lot more, because this is only the tip of the iceberg, but………here she is!

I am excited to once again be working with Arlene to raise funds for one of the many endangered birds of the world. The Kakapo of course is one which has an amazing story and is semi close to home for me. It is a bird which at one time was thought to be extinct but which has had an amazing recovery due to the efforts of many dedicated people doing all they can to save the species. What is great about this project as well is the level of information which the project makes available to the public. After all if we did not know what was going on how could we help? It is through these communications that we are aware of achievements and setbacks and it is a vehicle for all of us to be able to contribute in some fashion. Whether you donate directly, participate in a raffle for original artwork by someone like Arlene, or simply engage in discussion about the issues it all helps the birds and I am proud to be part of the effort.
This piece of artwork is of course based on a photo taken when Barbara Heidenreich visited the project and it is wonderful that Barbara shares her photos to further the cause. I have been following the “Vanishing Species” blogs by Arlene, seeing the development of this piece of art at every stage and can hardly wait to see the final piece – which I am sure will be absolutely stunning. Arlene is an amazing artist and has the ability to capture the essence of the birds she paints. The lucky winner of this piece will be proud to hang the artwork on their wall.
So for me I am a true believer that extinction for many of these species is optional. Unfortunately most of the time decisions surrounding which birds to work with revolve around dollars and cents, but projects like Arlene’s help to get projects going and keep them going. It does not matter how large or small the contribution is – it all helps. How many “bird people” do you think are around the world? If everyone joins forces and contributes the impact can be huge – meaning that extinction truly is optional. We have the power to save the birds – we just have to care and be engaged. Personally I believe it is our ethical and moral responsibility.
This reminds me of a quote from Theodore Roosevelt from 1916 – “Birds should be saved for utilitarian reasons; and, moreover, they should be saved because of reasons unconnected with dollars and cents… The extermination of the Passenger Pigeon meant that mankind was just so much poorer…And to lose the chance to see frigate-birds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad of terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach—why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.”
I think this sums it up very well. While Theodore was not specifically referencing parrot species the principle is still the same. When we lose a species we are so much poorer. Don’t let the Kakapo become another Passenger Pigeon or Carolina Conure. We have the power to stop this process and this raffle is your chance to help the Kakapo – one of the many species in trouble. I encourage you to seek out information about the Kakapo at and on the Facebook page at!/KakapoRecovery. There is a wealth of information on these pages.
So once Arlene’s Kakapo piece is finished I will be getting tickets loaded on the Chirping Central Conservation Fund page for the raffle. I encourage everyone to buy tickets for your chance to own this amazing piece and also to help the birds. Every penny counts and all funds raised from this raffle will be going to the Kakapo. Thank you again to Arlene for producing this wonderful piece and allowing me to be part of the process.
Mary Rose

As soon as Mary gets the website to me, I will post it here, on my website, on Facebook and wherever it can be posted! …..Oh you want to see the painting,LOL. BTW, comments are welcome!!! The more the merrier! Now where was that brush????   Sunny, come back here with my brush…… we go again…….sigh……….

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