Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Posts tagged ‘Arizona Native Birds’

New Year, New Art Project

So we will have a break from chemo, and hopefully the side effects will slowly start wearing off. I expected to have a lot of energy this week, but didn’t happen yet, so maybe next week. Since it is the second round, it may take just a little longer to get my mojo back, but it will come, so the next weeks are really something to look forward to. Whooo Hooo to being able to get the nasty taste out of my mouth, get rid of chemo burn and nose running constantly.

On the art front, I got one piece juried into the Glendale Arts Council Show.

WolfDream

Wolf Dream Catcher on Black Velvet paper, embellished with feathers, fur, leather and beads.

It is a Wolf Dreamcatcher, and will be there until Sunday, Jan 24th. The show is open daily from 10Am to 5 PM. It is at Sahuaro Ranch Park, 59 Ave & Mountain View, in the old packing building just North of the main building and rose garden.  If you live in the West Valley, you would really enjoy it, there are two rooms of great art. Speaking of Art, I have started a new project for the new year. Thinking of Christmas, I decided to make Hand Drawn Christmas Cards. If I do one a week , should have enough to send everyone on my Christmas list an original. They are 5″x7″ and will pop right into a frame, or can be matted and put into an 8″x10″ frame. ChristmasCSO here is a sneak preview of the first four cards.

On the pet therapy front, I got a couple of photos of Loki during our parrot therapy session. Thought you might enjoy! Oops, Loki is screaming, I mean Loki is calling me to do more parrot Therapy……Later!…..I am coming Loki……nuts, you want to be paid now…..I thought this was volunteer work……hmmmmm…LokiTherLokiTher2

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Only Two More!…Raven

Yesterday, the Az Cardinals played football(yes they won!!) and Coach Arians was shown several times saying, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” The original quote is attributed to Gregory Peck, but I am sure this saying is a lot older. It reflects the spirit of optimism and hope, and is going to be one of my mantras during this battle against cancer. The current CEA count is 29.1, which is fast approaching our goal of under ten! Heading in the right direction! So when I am feeling sick from chemo, I can still say, “it is working, it is working!” Whoooo Hooooo! Only two more chemo treatments! However, I received the greatest birthday present this week. No nausea during this chemo week. It is the first time in almost one year of chemo treatments, and I have enjoyed it to the max! Take that cancer! Pow! Pow!

RupDC

Rupert – Raven Dreamcatcher

 

Here is  the Dreamcatcher I have been working on. Rupert is one of the ravens at Liberty Wildlife. He is quite the character and one of my favorite ravens ever. He talks in different voices and is just so intelligent! Barbara Delve(another Rupert devotee) took the photograph and was so kind as to let me use it for a reference for this special Dreamcatcher. Thanks so much Barb! This one went to Jan Miller as a big Thank You for all of her work at Liberty Wildlife, and her love and support during this cancer battle. Also a big Thank You to Margaret V for giving me a ride to Liberty to deliver Rupert. This was such a fun and special project, it is a blessing to be able to be involved in projects like this.

I have been having lots of kitty and parrot therapy and am felling well, with some tiredness. The guys have been really good, and I am wondering what they are really up to? SO if you figure it out, let me know!!!! Back to Rip Van Winkle land…….zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Almost halfway!………Step Away From the Killdeer

Killdeer - Pastel Pencil

Killdeer – Pastel Pencil

Next week will be treatment #6 – halfway! Only 3 more months to go!!!!  This resting week, I had a migraine Tuesday, but am feeling much better today. No nausea! Whoooo Hooooo! Back to the first New Normal, now maybe I can start having a good week in between treatments. The ole hair is thinning again, but it is taking longer this time, maybe some of it will stay. The Astivan tan is definitely back, so it looks like I have been to the tanning booth. Maybe a few field trips this week as I feel better! Art store, here I come!!!

Three of my pastel pencils are down to the nub, but still was able to work on the Killdeer. Think it is about time to step away from the drawing. Well, maybe a few more adjustments……I love killdeer, especially the fake broken wing act the parents do to draw you away from the little ones. And speaking of little ones, killdeer just have to be one of the cutest of the baby birds, they are just little fluff balls on long legs, with the greatest expressions. Now how am I going to figure out what to work on next. I have been going through my 30,000 reference photos and it is just hard to choose. However, I haven’t done a parrot in a while, maybe I can bribe the guys to pose for me. Hopefully they have forgotten about the wages issue and will work for peanuts again. Stay tuned……….

Treatment # 5………From Stilts to Killdeer

Killdeers

Killdeer

Welcome to treatment # 5 of 12……Whooo Hooooo, almost half way. Even though I have had a lot more nausea and filled a lot more barf bags it does seem like the time is going a lot faster. I had more good days last week, than I have since this round began. The CEA (tumor marker) count is still going down and was 75 at the last reading, Sept 14, down from 85 in August. Because this has been such a roller coaster ride, I got up the courage to ask the oncologist what we will have to do if the tumor marker count does not go down below ten this time. His answer was a resounding “it will” so don’t even go there. So I am happily bouncing along thinking during the nausea, the cea is going down, it is working, it is working. We are working the plan, its of good things will happen after this round of chemo! Traveling to see family, go to Alaska to photograph eagles, moose and bears, bird photo trips, more art…….

Speaking of art, I am continuing my love of pastel pencils and have started a Killdeer family drawing. I love the babies, and the broken wing act the mother does to keep you away from them! Also, I posted on Facebook and Flickr the Super Moon/Blood Moon photos I was able to stay up for during a particularly bad bout of nausea. You can click on flicker on the lower right side of this page which will take you there or click on my Artist page on Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/Arlene-Powers-Art-23414012357/timeline/

This is chemo week, and I am about to Rip Van Winkle, so back to you when I wake up! Stay tuned for more bird/cat and art supply adventures.

Back in the Saddle Again…..On Stilts

Black Necked StiltAfter several months of thumb arthritis, and cancer pain, I am needing to do some ART, so………………….. to heck with all the pain stuff, here we go! This Drawing is going to be a couple of Black Necked Stilts. Holding a brush or pen is not working, so it is back to pastel pencil, which should be a good medium for these little cuties. I can maneuver the pencil without bending the thumb with light pressure using wrist motion, so onward and forward! The blending is painful, but I will work through it since these little pastel drawings don’t take as long as a painting or large charcoal drawing.

This is resting week as you have probably guessed. We see the oncologist Monday and should get an updated CEA count since the resumption of chemo. I am back to my Rip Van Winkle impressions during chemo week, probably won’t have a blog update until late in the week after waking up.

We had a nice little rain this evening, which hopefully will cool off some of this 100+ degree weather! Hope it is a LOT cooler for the next blog. Signing off from Bird/Kitty Central…………

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!

Catching Dreams

What a ride the last week has been! Very glad to be out of the hospital and home! “There is no place like home. Tap, tap, there’s no place like home!” The colon surgery went well, they got the original site out and there were signs that tumors had been there, but no tumors! It looks like they had to take the whole right side of the colon out, feels like it too. Whoooo Hoooo! The chemo did it’s job. I still feel like I got “runned over by the damned old train”, but feel a little better each day. Thursday, is the appointment to take the staples out, we will see what is next. Right now just taking it one step at a time.

Raven Dreamcatcher

Raven Dreamcatcher

Before I went into the hospital, I started a new project. I want to do three large dreamcatchers, each with one of my favorite artworks redone on Black Velvet Paper. I am using white charcoal pencil again and am using a fixative to try to help make the drawings more permanent. Of course the first one requires the biggest learning curve. I decided to fix cloth on the back of the drawing, to stabilize and keep it from tearing when applied to the 19″ metal hoop. After several botches, I finally accomplished this task before going into the hospital. I learned…..attach the fabric before you do the drawing, otherwise you have to redraw most of it, LOL. My friend, Noelle, took a photo and posted it on Facebook. But I was really too involved in the whole surgery prep to blog about it, and haven’t felt well enough to follow up.

Now you get the follow up! A trip to the craft store was in order while I still felt like it, so I grabbed the stuff I thought I would need. Found an awesome little hole punch tool by Martha Smith, even though pricey, it works great. Found leather cording and sueded cording. Feathers are in plenty around here, but no black, so I ordered some on the internet. 19″ metal hoops…..check. 23″ wooden hoops…….check. Well, wish I would have gotten beads, but will get them for the next one! Found some really cool little spring coils that crimp on to the ends of the feathers, so they will hang on the leather. Of course that means buying a little tool to crimp them, LOL. Dang it if I didn’t get sucked into the jewelry making aisle and drop a small fortune there. Just in case you are wondering what the final result looks like, here is the first of three – Raven Dreamcatcher! Hopefully Eagle and Wolf to follow.

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.

Step Away From the Drawing – Post Chemo Update

Pastel Pencil on Ingres

Pastel Pencil on Ingres

The finch pastel drawing is done de done done! And he is spoken for. Will be winging his way to his new owner soon! He is so cute, I decided to paint him too, so stay tuned!

No blog last week because I was too busy getting pre-op tests done. Everything back so far is looking good. The tumor markers in the blood work are down to 28, and should take a good drop again after surgery, leaving them in the range we are looking for….under 10! The tumors have all shrink and some have disappeared. The chest x-ray was normal-like anything in my life is normal, LOL! So next week should be the new normal, then the following week, medical appointments almost every day, then the following week…..surgery. Hopefully I will be able to make some progress or finish the painting before surgery since I will be in the hospital for 2-4 days and the recovery is expected to take about four weeks. Most of the chemo side effects are disappearing. The chemo tan is fading, my mouth is burning less, the nasty taste is gone, energy is back and my hair is GROWING back. Woot Woot!

In the meantime we will get to see my daughter, Melissa, in “Barefoot In The Park”. Since she is playing the lead, we are looking forward to a great laugh! A group of friends will be attending, so we will probably hurt from laughing and will be in great company!! We will be spending a weekend in Flagstaff, with a side trip to Bearizona. Then will spend a weekend in Sierra Vista photographing any bird that will hold still long enough. So stay tuned for photos! Until we tweet again!

Energy Levels Up, My Little Chickadees

First Chickadee - Pastel Pencil

First Chickadee – Pastel Pencil

Whew, last week’s chemo really took it out of me. Didn’t get back to the “New Normal” until Monday. Am feeling much better this week, nausea finally cleared up and have some energy. Now I feel like celebrating “Only Two Chemos Left!” Even though I was happy, was just too tired to celebrate last week, so let’s party now! Whooo Hooo! Thanks SO much to all of you who are praying, sending positive thoughts and good wishes. You are the wind beneath my wings!

A shout out to say: Happy Birthday to my talented, intelligent, beautiful daughter, Melissa! Thanks for all of your visits, prayers and support! Also Happy Birthday to Debi, my wonderful sister! Thanks for all of your prayers, support and packages! You guys are a great part of my family team!P1S

Am back to work this week on two pastel pencil drawings of Mountain Chickadees, here is the progress on the first one. We saw them in Flagstaff last year, and I am just now getting around to them. I am thinking of framing them as a diptych since the Ingres pastel paper is smaller than the papers I usually work on. I was a little disappointed in the Ingres Paper as it came with a little fold in it, but I guess that is what happens on the long trip from England. It does not disappoint as far as working with it though, it takes the pastel layers wonderfully. So you will be seeing a few drawings on it, LOL.

Talk to the Tail!

Talk to the Tail!

Hubby took me to Sahuaro Ranch Park the last couple of days to see the peacocks. The males are starting to display their gorgeous tails and vibrating like crazy to get the females attention. The peahens are still ignoring them, lol. Most of the males have big, beautiful tails, and the display is amazing. There was one little guy who must be this year’s clutch, his tail was only about a foot long, but he was strutting his stuff as proudly as the big guys. We had a good chuckle at his expense, but he was just so darn cute!

Display

Display

It has been nice to sit out on the patio in the sun and watch the backyard birds since it is in the 80’s here. We( I should say hubby, I just watched,LOL) took all of the parrots out on the patio this weekend, and they really enjoyed it! A hummingbird kept buzzing Loki though, and she was getting a little annoyed with him. I think the hummer thought she was some kind of big flower with her bright blue and yellow. It is a good thing the little guy did not slow down or, he would have been caught by a BIG parrot beak.  Well….guess it is back to the birds for now! Update soon.

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