Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for January, 2013

Merrily we roll along…….



Meanwhile, back at the WIPS….

Mingus has eyes! And I have added the drawings of background trees and blooms, along with some shading to send his body back to add to the in your face attitude. Since we are still waiting on a special guest blog, won’t say TOO much about this little guy!RedFront3

Lots of work done on the Red Fronted Macaws, second macaw done, background in, branch almost done. This is turning into a mixed media piece, since the birds are done in colored pencil and the background which started as watercolor pencil, ended up being watercolor pencil and watercolor……just could not keep the Beenie out of the paint!  The reference photos for this piece were taken by Dan Lee (Dan the Bird Man). And am in contact with Mary Rose at Chirping Central to see about getting it raffled off to help raise money for Project Armonia. As details become available, will post them here!

Oops, read it wrong!!! Not accepted into the show, LOL, what a goof I am!

SO stay tuned, you never know what craziness will happen around here! Back to the drawing board!


My Story: For those of you who have just tuned in.

The WIPS are coming along fine, but it is raining today, which puts me into an introspective mood. SO no photos, you get to sit back and listen……OK, well, read, LOL.  Even though it is very tempting to curl up with a good book, I was just reminded to tell my story. Sometimes when looking at an artist’s work, you may be tempted to think that the artist is blessed with an abundance of talent that you are lacking. That is one idea that I would like to challenge. ANY thing we do is built up by knowledge and practice. Some may learn quicker than others, and some may need more practice than others, but drawing and painting are learnable skills built up by practice. Part of today’s blog is a repeat from a previous blog, but, it is one that bears repetition.

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. SO, I did not take art in school, being one of the “untalented”.

Flash forward ………..forty three years. My wonderful neighbor, Shirley Bennet, has just 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, Shirley looks 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.

Thanks to a wonderful neighbor and a fabulous teacher, I have been able to pursue a dream which I thought was beyond my ability. I grew up with the idea that all of the arts were talents, and that I was the untalented. It never occurred to me that most activities have a learning – practice period. That you don’t just start “drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument, photographing, or acting”, these activities must be learned and practiced. SO when someone tells me how talented I am, Shirley inspires me to look them in the face and say………………

SO……… go………follow your dream………..the only thing holding you back is your self.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!

R U Talking to me

R U Talking to me

Ya just gotta love Arizona! Last week, we had five days of FREEZING temperatures and this week it is back to spring weather. Last week, with the hard freezes at night, we wrapped our fragile plants in blankets. We set up a warming light for our Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis and wrapped it’s plant in blankets. The whole Phoenix Metro Area looked like a giant blanket sale, LOL. We gobbled up hot drinks – coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider, anything to warm the hands and core temp! So here we are on Tuesday, and we are back by the pool with sunglasses on sipping a lemonade! Got an extra lounge here by the pool, wanna join me?

Excuse me for a minute, the phone is ringing……..OK, ANOTHER JUNK CAll !!!! SO what is up with the “Don’t Call List? You put your number on there and people call anyway?!?!?!??!? It is the same as the “click on this button to get off of our e-mail list”, I click, and the junk e-mail increases! Guess it is the price we pay for technology.

No, I did not forget, there are updates! As you can see Mingus is starting to get “in your face”. Colored Pencil class is going well, except I found out I was afraid of the darks. LOL, funny how, when you haven’t worked in a medium for a while, it is almost like starting over. So here are the Red Fronted Macaws to date. That is all for this week – stay tuned!

No longer afraid of the darks!

No longer afraid of the darks!


Mingus1While we are waiting for the Special Guest Blog, thought I would post the beginning of two WIPs! Yes you read that right TWO WIPs! The first one is the watercolor painting of Mingus, a very special conure at the Oasis Bird Sanctuary. This painting will be auctioned off to help raise money for the Oasis. This painting inspired the name of the blog today. Anyone who is familiar with Mingus may already recognize him from the feet in the painting. In case you aren’t familiar with him, more of his features will reveal themselves in the coming days.

The second work is a colored pencil drawing of Red Fronted Macaws. This piece is one for a six week class I am taking with Elliott Everson. See you are never too young to go to school!RedFront

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