Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Archive for the ‘Watercolor’ Category

The “New Normal”

Buffalo Dream Catcher

Buffalo Dream Catcher

Four weeks on Tuesday from the surgery date and I am almost recovered. Energy levels are up and only a little bit of soreness. So almost to the “New Normal”! Monday will be the first blood work since March, so we are waiting very un-patiently for that test result. This will pretty much define the “New Normal” and give a baseline for the chemo markers after surgery. I will post as soon as we get the results. It is usually two to three days after the blood is taken, since they have to send it out to a lab.

To the left is a photo of the Buffalo Dream Catcher. It is leather with the watercolor ground, then watercolor and colored pencil. Na ner na ner na ner to the guy at the store where I bought the leather, LOL. Watercolor and colored pencil do work pretty well on leather with a little help from the watercolor ground.

We got up at 4:30 AM today to get to the Botanical Gardens at 6:00 AM to get some photos before it was too HOT. Left there at 8:00AM sweating. It is supposed to get up to 107 degrees today. Pretty soon it will be too hot to even get up early to go anywhere (except maybe the mall which has fabulous a/c). This too shall pass! When we are crying about the heat, remind us about the wonderful winters without snow and ice, LOL! We may hibernate for the summer. At least will be staying in the A/C as much as possible.

That is it for now, stay tuned for next weeks blood work results………. it is time for a siesta,……….. it is WAY too hot to type……….Even the parrots are quiet…….the cats are asleep as usual…….. Too hot to draw…….definitely time for a nap.

Recovering….latest projects

The recovery from surgery is progressing. Each day is a little better. The three week check up is scheduled for Wednesday and everything is looking good. There is still some soreness and fatigue, but that is part of the “New, New Normal”.Wolf Dream Catcher

My yard is full of birds. We have been putting out seed blocks, suet , thistle and of course the hummingbird feeders. The fountain is attracting a few birds, but not the hummingbirds everyone else seems to have. Because of the massive seed consumption, we have learned how to make our own seed blocks. Hubby gets the large bag of seed at Costco, and we make and put out two blocks a day. I think those guys would eat more if we put it out! SO far we have seen house finches, sparrows, Abert’s Towhees, Curve bill thrashers, Gila Woodpeckers, cowbirds, White Wing doves, Mourning doves, Inca doves, grackles, verdins, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and Black Chinned Hummingbirds. They are really fun to watch, there are always little dramas going on. I am very surprised at the White Wing doves, they are very aggressive and chase the other doves away from the seed. I had always heard how peaceful doves are. Owl Dream Catcher

Here are photos of the latest Dreamcatcher projects. The third of three “black and whites” is a wolf.  Then I bought a couple of pieces of leather to try it out. Here is the first of two, the baby Great Horned Owl depicted in “Whooo R U?”. Had to learn a lot about leather to do this project. I used a ground first, then did the owl in watercolor and colored pencil. You should have seen the guys face at the leather store when I told him I would be using colored pencil. He looked at me like I am mentally challenged…..he said acrylic or leather dyes will work best. If you are a normal person, that would be true! But he had no idea that I wanted to try the new Daniel Smith Watercolor ground to see if it would really work on leather. As you can see it works really well! So what if one person in the world thinks I am crazy, Ok, well more than one…..but we won’t go there!  I am going to check to see if there is a product to stiffen it a little more, otherwise, I am very happy with the project and am trying to decide what to put on the second one! If you saw the Raven Dream Catcher, the very first project, you will notice that I have improved and refined. There is definitely more feathers and beadwork along with the placement getting better. Of course, I could not drive yet while working on the raven, and had not thought of getting beads before the surgery. But they can always be added later!

The Parrots and cats have been VERY quiet lately. I wonder what they are up to? Hmmmmmm……….if I find out, you will be the first to know! Stay tuned!

Almost Time……Finch revisited.

The Finch in Watercolor on Arches Cold Pressed Paper

The Finch in Watercolor on Arches Cold Pressed Paper

One week until surgery! This week is going to be a busy one, finishing all the testing to get ready for surgery, and then having a colonoscopy on Friday. The surgeon will do the colonoscopy, remove any polyps, and shoot dye into the surgery site, so that it can be easily identified. By the time I get through with all of the tests, I am not knowing if there will be any blood left in me, LOL. I would stay up nights studying for the tests, but so far it has not helped, so guess I will wing it and see if that works better!

Speaking of winging it, the finch is back! He was so cute, I had to try him in watercolor. Since I started driving again, I spent the last two Tuesdays painting with Candy. She reminded me about “punching the darks” and “stepping away from the painting!” It was so nice to be painting with her again. Soon I will be recovered from surgery and we will be able to paint together again! I stopped into Liberty Wildlife to visit my “Thursday Peeps”. Once again, it was awesome seeing them all, and can’t wait to feel well enough to return to volunteering!

Hubby and I made a couple of weekend trips. The first was to Flagstaff, where we took a side trip to Bearizona and another to Walnut Canyon. The weather was fabulous and we enjoyed the scenery and wildlife immensely. Last weekend, we drove to Sierra Vista spending every hour of daylight chasing down birds to photograph. We were tired little campers when we got home, but very happy as we saw many birds for the first time and got quite a few good photos. I have enough ref photos of native birds to keep me busy for a few lifetimes! Stay tuned for photos. If you can’t wait, check out my Facebook Page for the first installments.

When we returned home Sunday evening, it sounded like a ZOO here. The parrots were all screaming, “You are home, you are home, we missed you, you have been gone forever, we missed you”. And the kitties were meowing, the guy you left to take care of us did not feed us enough, time for food, time for seconds, time for thirds, time for petting and scratching. The parrots started screaming, “No, scratch us first, we are louder and love you more. We love you more than food, but give us treats and let us sit on your shoulder, we have been stuck in these cages and on the stands all weekend!” Well, you can imagine all of the petting, scratching and feeding that took place. Scuze me while I take a nap……..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

About Bird Endowment – Blue Throat Macaw Project

Triple Time Blues Blue Throat Macaw Babies

Triple Time Blues
Blue Throat Macaw Babies

If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen my painting, “Triple Time Blues”. This painting was donated to the Bird Endowment, and is going up for auction Jan 24 at the NPRPF Parrot Festival  Banquet being held in Houston. Here is a quote from my blog from 6-10-14 about the painting and my artist mission:

“Usually when you think of Blues, you think of sad times, but Thanks to a wonderful friend of mine, Laney Rickman, when I think of Blues, I think of music and parrots! She is the head of a wonderful organization, the Bird Endowment, which has the awesome Mission of “Saving The Blues”. Bird Endowment works with the Blue Throat Macaw, which is one of our most endangered macaws in the wild. To learn more about them, please check out their website: http://www.birdendowment.org – They have some great programs to help you get involved in Blue Throat Macaw conservation like the Nino Adoptivo program, you can actually sponsor a nest and help the propagation of the Blue Throat Macaw in Bolivia! SO what does this have to do with the Blues? My personal mission as an artist is to support Avian /Wildlife organizations who promote conservation, education, rehabilitation and research. SO I donate a few paintings to organizations to raffle, auction, raise money, or even just to raise awareness.”

Laney has taken time out of her VERY busy schedule to write a guest blog, so without further ado……Laney Rickman

Laney Rickman

Laney Rickman

“*Triple Time Blues* symbolizes Bird Endowment’s mission.

At The Blues Conservatory™ in Texas, our Saving the Blues™ parent-rearing program preserves and perpetuates the integrity of the Blue-throated Macaw cultural identity and provides future breeding birds with the best potential for hatching and parent-rearing their own offspring.

*The Triplets* are the culmination of a series of important milestones. Here is some historical perspective.

Great-grandparents *Ira & Eureka* were our very first pair of Blue-throated Macaws, acquired in 1992. They were also our first wild-caught pair, legally imported in 1981. They had been with several breeders but produced their first chicks with us in 1993. Founder Pair #1 raised *Xena* in 1997.

GO Blue!!!

GO Blue!!!

Grandparents *Xena & Trust* were our first F1 pair (first generation hatched in captivity) to produce and parent-rear offspring at The Blues Conservatory™. In 2002 they raised *Joplin*.

Mother *Janis Joplin* was our first F2 chick (second generation hatched in captivity) produced at The Blues Conservatory™. She and *Buster Blues* were our first pair to produce and parent-rear offspring that are third generation hatched in captivity. In 2011 they raised *The Triplets*.

*Albert Collins, Francine Reed & Junior Wells* were the first, and only, clutch of three chicks successfully parent-reared at our facility. They are still together in The Flock. They represent not only the achievement of Bird Endowment’s long-term goals, but many gratifying memories for me as well.”

Thanks Laney, the best of luck with the auction and keep up the good work with the Blue Throat Macaws!!!!

Raining Caterpillars?!??!?

Well, that is a new one on me! Going into the store the other day, I noticed green slime all over the sidewalk, and as I was leaving the checker said, “Watch out for the caterpillars!” I had been in a hurry, so it took that remark to bring it to my attention that all of that slime was squashed caterpillars. On the way out, I looked more closely and realized caterpillars were dropping from the sky. I guess we are going to have to come up with a campaign to save the caterpillars now. 

Realizing I have been in quite the hurry to get the Spix Macaw painting done in time to send with Mary Rose, I realized that I had not even taken the time to talk about them. A lot of you are bird fans, so know their story, but in case some of you are not: The last known wild Spix Macaw died in 2000. There are under 100 in captivity and several breeding projects have been going on to keep the species going. They have been turned over to the Brazilian Government who is in the process of restoring a habitat for them. It is our fervent hope that the species may be restored to the wild, but the project has been beset with challenges. If you are interested, please research more, they are BEAUTIFUL birds, and extinction should not be their fate. We have the capability to save other endangered creatures who are also passengers on our spaceship earth and it is also our responsibility. As much as we have tried to separate ourselves from the natural, it is time to reconnect and realize that we are all  in this together, and each loss of a species is our great loss.BCNH

Ok, so I will step off of my soapbox and give you a glimpse of “Going Native Again”. Here is the rough drawing of my next Black and White project. Hopefully it recognizable as a Black Crowned Night Heron, LOL!

It is that time Again!

Due to deadlines to get this painting scanned and to Loro Parque before the convention this year, it is time to step away from the painting! A great Big “Thank You” to Mary Rose who is going to take the painting for me. Hope you enjoy!SpixF

Two Heads are better than one!

Another one of the Spix macaws done! Gotta get back to the drawing board……oops painting board.SPix4

WIP – Triple Time Blues

Triple Time Blues

Triple Time Blues

So, here is the first painting update! There is one fuzzy little parrot but………the rest is coming. BTW, we have some new faces here watching, so I will try hard not to splash paint on the newbies. Just remember next time to bring your raincoats or ponchos, plenty of snacks, and your sense of humor. There are five parrots, four cats and maybe a clown or two, and a cartoon character or two in the building. Yes, we have to endure, feathers, cat hair, and splashing water, but this is watercolor WIP, so what do you expect?!?!?!?!? Also, we could run out of chairs, so if you have a comfy chair you want to bring, please feel free to bring it. Cell phones are allowed as long as you put them on silence and just stick with texting and posting on Facebook or twitter. A couple of my friends would not come if they cannot bring their cell phones. Yeah….you know who you are! No food fights, the food might hit the painting, no rotten tomatoes allowed in the building! Other than that, relax, sit back, and enjoy!

Advertisement: I made that bold for those of you who would like to skip over it. Please check out my Kickstarter project, Watercolor Parrot Art, at :

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1030315317/watercolor-parrot-art

Meanwhile back to our regularly scheduled program: See you in a few days with a new update!!!

Time out for Photos

Eagle Owl

Eagle Owl

So many projects…..so little time….we recently visited Bearizona, watched the flight show, and got a photograph of this beauty(Eurasian Eagle Owl) who is the subject of the current WIP. There should be an update soon, as the background is in, but I have to find a few spare moments to get some current pictures.

Those of you on Facebook probably saw photos of the Feathered Friends Festival at the Gilbert Riparian institute. For those of you who did not catch it, here is a photo of a couple of the celebrity parrots who attended the event. A good time was had by all!

Celebrity Parrots

Celebrity Parrots

Then it was on to “Wishes For Wildlife”, the annual Liberty Wildlife fundraiser. It was a fabulous event, ending the night with a Great Horned Owl being released. The owl flew like a champ, never looking back, and we all wiped a little tear from our eye and sighed, thinking, “This is what makes it all worth it!”

The next event, which was also chronicled on Facebook was the lunar eclipse and “Blood Moon”, which involved staying up into the wee hours of the morning with camera on tripod, remote switch in hand, and LOTS of caffeine on hand. It was definitely worth being physically trashed for a couple of days after and trying to catch up on all that lost sleep. Weeeeellllll…..see for yourself…here is my favorite from that night.

Blood Moon

Blood Moon

There are supposed to be three “Blood Moons” over the next 18 months, so I may get a lot of practice staying up ’til the wee hours of the morning with the company of the camera. It is interesting being surrounded by all the snoring while gazing upon such a dramatic scene. The parrots were producing some beak grinding noises and I think I even heard some cat purring in all that cacaphony.

Several spring projects are underway, but I think they will be good for a blog all of their own, so more about those in a future post!!!

This weekend, my son and daughter get to care for the zoo here, while hubby and I take a little time out for photos. As an artist I prefer to use my own photos for reference material, so we are heading to Southern Arizona to see what birds we can find with our cameras. I am hoping for nesting birds and babies, but who knows what we will find!!!!!

Happy Easter, hope you are able to take some time out for photos!

Day Interrupted…..

Bobcat

Bobcat

It was a normal Saturday….Ok, as normal as they get at this zoo, LOL! George was outside washing the car and taking care of the yard, the cats were all up to their usual catnaps and tricks, and the parrots….well…..were up their usual NOISY tricks when the phone rang. It was one of our Rescue and Transport volunteers, who was bringing an injured hawk here for triage and further transport to Liberty Wildlife. Our plans were all put on hold while we waited for the patient. The hawk arrived with a broken wing, apparently shot. Fluids were administered, a temporary wrap done, then another kind volunteer transported the beautiful Red Tailed Hawk on to Liberty Wildlife, where she is recouping nicely. It is wonderful that these folks will give up a part of their day off to transport an injured being over 100 miles to get medical attention… make that 200 round trip. A great big THANK YOU goes out to all of the R&T volunteers who drive so many miles to rescue wildlife!!!!

Here Kitty, Kitty...

Here Kitty, Kitty…

Ripley , the African Grey has been visiting, so we have had a regular plethora of  parrot vocalizations…..luckily, I was not painting a bird while Ripley visited, so we did not have any strikes from the bird models or court cases involving wage negotiations. I think Ripley is negotiating with his Parront for more out of cage time……but there are no spoiled birds in this house, so you did not hear that from me!

SO as you can see, I got the Bobcat background in and now you are going to get a TWO FER!!! Yes, I finished the painting today and Candy is telling me to step away from the painting, LOL! So here it is, hope you enjoy…..just be glad you are not a mouse!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: