Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Posts tagged ‘Humor’

Where Did 2011 Go?

WOW, how did it get to be the middle of October? I am not even used to writing 2011 yet, and it is almost Halloween…….Aaaaarrrrrggggh! The weather even still thinks it is summer here in Arizona, still in the 100’s this week. Phew! Yeah, yeah, yeah, don’t even say it….dry heat and all of that. SO are you paying attention? All morning working on the GHO and you would think there would be huge amounts of progress.

The w/c pencil work goes really slowly, as you can see the top left hand corner is starting to look a little fuzzier. Ok, yes, get out your glasses, uh…..magnifying glass, uh….microscope?!?!?!? Whoa! Not at me, at the painting! I won’t even make the remark about coke bottle bottoms. SO did you find the upper left hand corner, no the real left…..yes, your LEFT. Ok hold your hands up with the index finger pointing up, and your thumb perpendicular, see the “L”, not the backwards “L”, that is your left……..yes, I know L for left, whoever figured out that one!?!?!?!? Yes, this part may get pretty boring, but at least your hair and clothes are not in immediate danger of being splashed with paint…….NO! No! Please do not start paint fights…….um…..OK, I am going for cover……see you at the next update!


“And Tuesday’s Just the Same”

Tooth still hurts – head pounding – no work on the Birdie today…… once again here is an oldie from March 2010;

A friend asked me a question today, and I thought I should post it here along with my current answer.
“What am I supposed to be doing here?”
I think I am supposed to be painting and drawing birds and wildlife. Simple on the face of it, but along with this gift of art, comes a kind of responsibility. To love them is a wonder in itself, but there is also a need to share this connection, to awaken others to the stewardship that has been placed in our hands, and to contribute. My life philosophy is that we are a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. So I go merrily along my way – trying my best to be a part of the solution – continuing to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of joy.

What is up with Mondays?!??!? Eagles and stuff

No work on the WIP today, had a toothache all weekend, went to the dentist – yup, you guessed it root canal. So as I sit here with my jaw feeling like it is swollen out three feet from the Novocain, I find it a little hard to paint since it feels like my jaw will get in the way of my brushes, LOL. So once again, I am going to post one of my old FB discussions. They are going to be removed as of Oct 31, so there are a couple more worth preserving, will get them transferred over here during the week.

Several of my charcoal drawings and one of my colored pencil drawings have been of Bald Eagles. How can you fail to be fascinated by these majestic birds? Until I started volunteering at Liberty Wildlife, my relationship with eagles consisted of sightings at the local zoo. However, I loved looking at photos of them and watching any Nature show having to do with eagles. Little did I know that some day I would be up close and personal with them. My first encounter at Liberty Wildlife was, of course, with Libby. She is our education eagle who has helped bring Wildlife Education to many children (and adults) in the state of Arizona. She is a charming ambassador and a great model. She has posed for many photos which have allowed me to study her from all angles! I also have had help from Terry Stevens who has photographed Libby extensively and also has let me use photos he took in Alaska of the wild eagles there. Another excellent photographer, Dale Taylor has let me use reference photos. He travels extensively and takes photos all over the world.
Volunteering in medical services, I have been privileged to assist with the care of several eagles who have come through Liberty Wildlife. I have been able to learn about the anatomical structure of the birds, their living habits and their temperaments. A couple of years ago, we were charged with the care of two abandoned eggs at Liberty. One of the chicks died, and the other fledged and was put back into the wild with foster parents to continue her education. A few have come in too down to help and others have come in, recuperated and gone back into the wild to live their lives. One day I hope to paint a release and to be able to put all of the emotion into it that we put into the care of each bird that comes our way.
When painting a subject, I always try to capture the personality. SO it is very important to understand the subject, their lifestyle and temperament,otherwise I would not feel the artistic connection as I try to depict birds and wildlife. As an artist, I am passionate about my subjects, and try to learn everything I can about them. If you haven’t noticed, I pay particular attention to eyes. Having always been taught that eyes are “the windows to the soul” it is hard to imagine touching the soul of a being without capturing the eyes. SO the “eyes” are one of the most important parts of the drawing or painting.
Art is my way of sharing this avian passion, and my continual hope that every line and drop of paint seethes with the love of the birds.

Now think it is time for an ice pack and a nap – what is up with Mondays anyway!!!!

Break for Station Identification……

Great news, there have been some positive steps in the negotiations with Birdie. His pay has been expanded to include more pistachios, and he does NOT have to eat all of his broccoli. SO for now a strike has been averted and we will move forward with the WIP as soon as Arleenie Beenie can make an appearance to help finish the background. The parrot union has approved the new contract, so hopefully we will not have any problems with this issue when the Tinkerbelle the parrotlet WIP is conducted.

In further breaking news…..

Candy is still covered in bandages, so our location on Tuesday is still in doubt. Candy remains positive saying, and I quote,” At least I will have a Halloween costume.” But she does reiterate – No Gum allowed at the Tuesday With Candy Blog.

Speaking of cats, this announcer, would like to bring up a subject, which has long been hidden by cat owners. At least by long haired cat owners. What is up with cats tracking litter all over the house. Dante, the Tuxedo Kitty is a long haired cat, with the cutest little tufts of fur on his paws, but he insists on dragging cat litter with him everywhere he goes. We put a floor mat next to the cat box, and he ABSOLUTELY refuses to wipe his paws every time he leaves the box. Needless to say, guess who jumps into our bed after we are asleep at night. Hubby sleeps (snores) all night and I wake up in the middle of the night laying on annoying little grains of cat litter. Since having this cat, I have developed a GREAT sympathy for the Princess in the “Princess and the Pea” story. If there is one grain of litter in the bed, it is always where it will produce the maximum discomfort. You have to give it up for short haired cats, they do not trail cat litter everywhere. Needless to say, the parrots in the house have no sympathy. They just laugh.

Good night for now and see you all back at the WIP tomorrow…….


WIP – Break

Yes, I did paint today, but I have not photographed it yet, so thought I would  elaborate a little on negative painting.

In any type of art negative space is important, however, in Watercolor negative painting is one of THE most important techniques. Combined with another technique, Hard Edge/Soft Edge, watercolor pieces emerge which POP the positive spaces resulting in a more beautiful, dramatic work. SO what is negative drawing or painting, you might ask…… This is a very simple act of drawing or painting around the object and forming the space without actually drawing or painting in the object. SO when I paint a bird, I consider each feather as the object I am painting, and paint around it to form it. Now if you have observed feathers actually on a bird, you will notice there is a little crevice shadow under each feather. So the technique hard edge/soft edge, helps render this shadow during the negative painting process. What is hard edge/soft edge you ask? You are such a good audience. (so unlike the rowdy mob at the back of the room having another food fight!) Hard edge/soft edge is done by having two brushes ready, one filled with paint, and one filled with water. After putting the paint down, you run the wet brush along one edge of the paint, leaving a hard edge on one side, and a soft edge on the other. The soft edge blends into the paper, avoiding leaving a hard line. So Viola! Watercolor in a nutshell!

Before taking watercolor classes, like most people, I only paid attention to the positive spaces in my life. I didn’t realize that I could paint the negative spaces any way I like, which helps POP the positive spaces, making them more important and beautiful. Hope this makes you look at the negative spaces in your life and decide how to paint them!

Do Birds have a sense of humor?

As an artist, many of my works have been donated to organizations who support bird and wildlife conservation, rehabilitation, education, preservation and research, especially for endangered species. Many of these organizations study bird behavior, but with an emphasis on scientific studies. For example, Irene Pepperberg at the Alex Foundation has spent her career proving to the scientific world what Parrot owners know – that birds are intelligent and cognizant. Studies are being done on bird behavior, diet, procreation, and even on how their wings get their colors……..however as a parrot owner I am interested in exploring my birds sense of humor. Hopefully some day science will prove that birds have a sense of humor. But…….. anyone who works with ravens, crows or parrots already know the answer to this question, it just remains to be proven scientifically.
Not being a scientist though, just an eclectic artist/ bird lover I would like to put it on the record – they DEFINITELY do have a sense of humor.
Looking back through Indian Lore, you will find that brother Raven is well known for his sense of humor, European folklore has ravens and crows pop up with a definite sense of humor many times with a cruel streak, and parrot owner can cite anecdote after anecdote proving their birds play tricks on each other and humans, and laugh about them.
So adding another one to the pile, even though it is not scientific, I observed this incident myself, and leave you to judge for yourself.

So it does sound kind of like a zoo around here with two macaws, two conures and a parrotlet, however on the day in question, Sunny was screaming more and louder than usual. Then I head the Hahn’s Macaw, Charlie laughing. It is not unusual to hear Charlie or Loki(Blue and Gold Macaw) laughing. However, Sunny’s raucous screaming, stopped, then started again, followed by Charlie’s laugh. This managed to break my preoccupation, so I decided to sneak a peek in the other room to see what was going on.
Sunny was quiet and was on the opposite side of the bird perch from Charlie, so I almost walked away, then it happened…….Charlie went to Sunny’s side of the perch and pecked Sunny’s foot. Sunny started screaming at Charlie, who ran to the other side of the perch, laughing all the way. I stood there with my jaw dropped to the floor, absolutely stunned, and it happened again. By this time laughter started to explode out of my mouth, and Charlie did his little trick again making the mad dash to the other side of the perch laughing all the way. Feeling sorry for Sunny, I took her off the perch and let her stay on my shoulder, however, I still smile thinking of Charlie teasing Sunny just like a little brother.
The parrots all must be laughing at me…….I get up every day and make them a yummy breakfast, clean after them, am a walking talking jungle gym for them, and feed them a nice yummy snack before bed time, go through an elaborate ritual every night putting them to bed, WHO are the smart ones here????????

Showering with the birds

Hey, I might not have to actually write for a few years, this is another one from 2008:
Wellllllll….as it was the day for our weekly shower, it occurred to me that not many people take a shower with their birds. SO just thought I would share a little from the experience. The first few times I took Loki, my Blue and Gold Macaw into the shower, I had delusions that I could just go in , get her wet, get out and my hair would be safe, dry, and it would not take very long. Little did I know!!!! Macaws, being of a playful nature, loooove water! Loki runs up and down my arm, gets under the water, gets wet, then runs out to the end of my arm and flaps her wings and shakes all of the water off, all the while laughing in my voice as loud as she can. This of course, causes me to laugh, and anyone listening in would think there are two crazy women in the shower…..This continues for 15 min to half an hour, depending on how long my arm holds out. Try standing with your arm straigt out, having 2.2 lbs of wild and crazy bird moving up and down your arm and see how long you can last! In the meantime, the little guys are on their shower perch waiting their turn. Loki goes on her shower perch, while the little guys play in the water. They sit on my hand and splash and flap and do really funny things with their tails. When everyone is soaked like drowned rats, they all go back to their playstands and preen themselves until they are dry, and they all take a nap. Well, me, ………..I get to clean up the bathroom!!!

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