Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Posts tagged ‘Macaws’

Prayer Quilt, Chemo, Charlie Almost Done

Prayer Quilt

Prayer Quilt

This photo was posted on Facebook, but for those of you who don’t FB here is the photo of the Prayer Quilt. It was done by the wonderful Prayers and Squares Quilt Ministry at the Houston Salvation Army. Each knot represents a prayer said for me. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. Thanks to all of you for the prayers and what a beautiful reminder of prayers said!

Charlie - Hahn's Macaw WIP 2

Charlie – Hahn’s Macaw

SO this week brings a new result of side effects. I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but mouth sores are one of the side effects of the chemo. Well, I sidestepped the mouth sores, but have nose sores. The nurses said to use vaseline to keep them soft and not bleeding. So I have used vaseline and Saline Nasal Gel, which work; however, in the last couple of weeks, I have lost a lot of the sensation in my nose……..resulting in random “nose drip”. LOL, who ever thought I would be a snotty nosed ole lady?!?? Now in addition to checking me for charcoal, paint, and/or bird poop, before I leave the house, my family has to tell me to wipe my nose. This has been a good resting week, the nausea has not been as bad, and shock, I gained a couple of pounds this week. Guess, I will have to cut back on the hot fudge sundaes!

Charlie - Almost Done!

Charlie – Almost Done!

Here are a couple of photos on the progress on Charlie. The one in the middle was taken indoors in warm lighting, and the other one was taken outside in the shade and is closer to the real color of the drawing. Well, better go take a nap and get ready for chemo next week……where are my therapy kitties?!?!!?


Update on the Update of the Update….


OK, the raffle tickets for Chula are now REALLY available! Please check it out! MilMacWip9

Update on Chula

For those of you who followed the Chula WIP, tickets are on sale for the raffle. Check out the following:


Done went and done it!

Red Fronted MacawsOr done, done, done, done,………..DOOONNNEEEEE! MingusGuess it is hard to show singing on a blog, unless you use a video, LOL. Since there is not much chance of that happening today, you will just have to settle for some photos of the 99% finished pieces. The piece is NOT really done until it is signed, and some minor details could change between now and then. Hopefully you will be THRILLED to learn that the Red Front Macaw Piece is going to be raffled off. Mary Rose from Chirping Central has agreed to run the raffle and the winning ticket  will be drawn at the Parrots International Convention later this year. All funds raised will be donated to the Association Armonia Red Fronted Macaw Project. Of course details will be available right here on the blog as they unfold!!! So stay tuned!

SO what about Mingus??????? The painting is done, and I am still awaiting a very special guest blog to give you more details. In the meantime,there are some subtle hints in the painting. Type of bird, type of flowers …….so put your thinking caps on, sit back, enjoy the painting, and ……..Stay tuned! Don’t forget you can click on the paintings to see a larger version!

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!

Introducing………..Amber and Chulla…….Guest Blog

165784_1686675521290_4501607_nIntroducing my friend, Amber Puckett, and her beautiful friend, Chulla:

I first met Chulla, my beautiful 12 year old military macaw, in December of 2007. I was babysitting for a friend who rescues unwanted parrots, mostly macaws. Chulla had been placed up for adoption one year earlier by her owners because she was very loud and had a tendency to bite on occasion. At that time, I considered myself an “Amazon” person and not so much a “macaw” person. I had lived with my double yellow head amazon, Rudy, since 1992 and she was the biggest parrot that I had owned. I didn’t have much experience with macaws except for my occasional babysitting adventures.

During the week that I babysat the 36 macaws, Chulla followed me all over the house. I could put her at one end of the house and within minutes, she would come find me. This was a little intimidating at first, but she was so beautiful that I gave in to her and we started our relationship. Once my friend came back from her vacation, I visited Chulla every day after work for 6 months to make sure that we did in fact have a real connection and that I had what it took to be a full time macaw mom.

Now, 5 years later, I cannot imagine my life without this funny, sweet, gentle giant green bird. We have a connection that I can’t describe. “She picked me” is what I often tell people. I’m glad she did.

Earlier this year, Mary Rose told me that she had met Carlos Bonilla, the biologist from the Military Macaw project in Mexico, while she was at a conference in Canada. I had never heard of this project except when our bird club participated in the “Pennies for Parrots” program in 2011. I needed to find out more about them. Mary said that they had trips available to Mexico with the biologists and you could go see the military macaws in the wild. I decided that I was going to put that on my list of things to do ASAP! Being friends with Mary Rose has allowed me to visit the Puerto Rican amazons and have a dinner with Bennett Hennessey , so she is a pretty valuable person to have in your friends list! Thank you, Mary!

So, speaking of having dinner with Bennett Hennessey, that is how this whole project came about. We were having dinner with a few of our bird club members and Bennett before he talked to our club about his Blue Throated and Red Fronted macaw project in Bolivia and Arlene just happened to mention that she was looking for a new project to work on. I spoke right up and said “You should paint a military macaw! The group at Macaws Forever needs help with funding!”  You see, when Mary mentioned the Military Macaw project in Mexico, I looked them up online, joined their group on Facebook, followed their posts, started my own Military Macaw owners group to help get other people interested, and started the Facebook group for Artists Supporting Avian Conservation so that the artist community could do projects like this to raise money to support the parrots.

Next year I am having one of those “milestone” birthdays and I am planning on celebrating it by going to Puerto Vallarta and visiting Claudia, Carlos, and 114 wild military macaws that they help protect. The Macaws Forever group is made up of volunteers such as researchers, veterinarians and biologists who genuinely care about protecting their native macaws. They fight such battles as stopping illegal trade and protecting the macaws native forest (from a potential 500 room resort that wants to build on the land where the macaws nest). The group also goes into the local schools and educates the children about why the macaws are so special and why they deserve to be protected. The work that they do is very important and they are just a very small group. They need help with funding so that they can continue the amazing work that they do. Please consider purchasing raffle tickets for the finished painting when they are available so that the Military Macaw program can continue to grow and visit their website to learn more about them at

Military Macaw WIP

My friend, Amber Puckett, has a beautiful Military Macaw, Chulla, in her flock. As a responsible flock member, Amber is very concerned for the wild Military Macaws in Mexico. She has connected with an organization who works with the Macaws, trying to repopulate their declining numbers. They have a hard time raising operating funds, so Amber would like to ask us to help this beautiful species. This next painting will be donated to Amber’s Military Macaw Organization. Amber has graciously consented to be a guest blogger, to explain the situation and tell us about the organization. Once this painting is dome, we will raffle it off through Chirping Central to do what we can to help. Amber is planning to make a trip there next year, so maybe when she returns, she will do another guest blog to tell us how the struggle is going for these birds. Remember, “Extinction is an option”. If we as human beings take on our stewardship of the earth seriously, we must try to help however we can. I can’t slog around in the jungle, guarding nests, but I can donate my time and talents to those who can. Please join me for another walk on the “WILD” side.

Here is the work so far.MilMacWIP1


First WIP Continued

OK, we are baaaaack! Just don’t tell hubby how much stuff I brought home from the art store. (We will just keep that between us bloggers!)  Does the phrase “art supply junkie” run through your head?? SO since this is going to be a watercolor, first I draw Birdie on tracing paper. Now the question going through your mind is “WHY tracing paper?” The next question is probably “How do you get him to hold still while you draw?” The reason for tracing paper is that occasionally I mess up, LOL, you read it first right here folks, I have to use an eraser and it really messes with the nap of the watercolor paper, so I do all of the messing up on tracing paper where it doesn’t interfere with the actual artwork. SO the paper is a little folded, sorry, forgot to take the photo before I folded it up to put away:

Now as far as getting Birdie to hold still, I have tried several techniques, glue, staples, velcro, but most of them are too messy and the bird still does not hold still, so I reverted to taking photos. Bet ya didn’t see THAT coming.

SO after drawing the bird on the tracing paper making sure it is PERFECT, I use graphite transfer paper and draw the image onto the watercolor paper.

Depending on the subject, at this point I have to decide whether to do the subject or the background. In this case we will go for subject being the good English students that we are.

Once that decision is made,  the next decision is “Where do I start?” Good question. With Birdie, seeing that there is going to be a lot of “negative painting” to do, it will be easier to start at the bottom and work up.

      SO here you see that the base painting on Birdies tail has been done and  as the painting progresses, many washes may be added to show shadows and add balance. Painting is a continual juggling act. WOW, it is really a good thing that juggling is a required clown skill……..wait, I wasn’t so good at juggling as a clown……hmmmmmm well  Ok, maybe we should say it is a balancing act……ummmm, not so good at that either. Well, I am certain that some clown skill has helped with the painting, just not quite sure which one. BTW, can you guys in the back keep it down a little, I can’t hear myself painting. Hey who let Debi and Dina sit next to each other…….SECURITY!!!!

Now that we have that situation taken care of …….back to painting. Just would like to point out a little piece of bird trivia here. Notice that there are TWO toes in front. Parrots are zygodactyl, no that is not some kind of dinosaur, it is a fancy word that means that two toes point forward and two toes point backward. Most people think of birds as anisodactyl (three toes forward and one toe back) and though it is the most common toe configuration, there are several toe configurations and if you want to be a good ornithologist, you should learn them. If you are going to be a good artist, you do not have to know them, but you should learn to observe carefully. The brain will make up things if you are not careful enough to observe. BTW, woodpeckers, owls, cuckoos, osprey, most parrots and a few other birds have this toe configuration. If you are ever on Jeopardy and miss this question, I will know you were sitting in the back having a food fight instead of paying                                                                                   attention.

This is a photo of the negative painting which will start the feather work on the Birdie’s body.

OK guys, the snoring is getting a little loud………who came up with the idea of putting two chairs together for a bed….NO I AM NOT GOING TO BRING BLANKETS NEXT TIME……………Birdie, quit chewing on the paint brush ……………….. ……………………Hey who threw that popcorn at me???? Melissa can you please get your Aunt Debi under control. No Charlie, I already did your painting, it is too late to do a WIP………..Yes Sunny you can have a nut……Loki, please talk softer, the screaming is driving us nuts!

Whose idea was it for me to do another WIP, I thought after the catastrophe at the Art Papa Forums we would never be allowed online again. No Beenie it is not time to do the background yet. Jon did you take the trash out yet. Oh Hi Mom, Oh nothing just writing my blog. No nothing new 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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