Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

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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.




Random Thoughts, another oldie, but goodie from FB

This is a discussion on FB from  June 2010, must have been in a goofy mood that day!

I have noticed others who sit around and think on esoterica, pondering the deeper meanings of life. For example one of my friends wonders: if buttered toast always lands face down and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped a piece of buttered toast on a cat’s back, then dropped it… personally, I think people should direct their thoughts and energy to more practical things, things that could change the human race.
First, I would like to see scientists study the properties of dried bird poop, specifically the property that renders it harder than any substance on earth. People who wash cars know what I am talking about! SO does anyone who shares any type of space with a bird. Walls, floors, cages, and bird stands, having to be power washed and scrubbed with diamond studded sandpaper to get them clean!
AND for you cat lovers – how can cat hair be lighter than air? Anyone out there with a long haired black cat – you know what I am talking about.
Just imagine if the thinking minds of this planet could make a substance as hard as dried bird poop, it could cut diamonds! And a ubiquitous substance that defies gravity like cat hair, imagine, it could change space flight as we now know it!

Hmmmmmm….maybe I should just stick to painting!

Another Oldie but Goodie from FB

OK, so to start out, I am being a little lazy, but some of these discussions need to be reposted just so I don’t have to get back up on the soap box, LOL.

Originally posted Sept 2008:

Normally I paint birds, especially raptors and parrots. During a fundraiser for Liberty Wildlife, the President/CEO of the Phoenix Zoo bought one of the prints we were selling of “Whoooo R U?” He liked my work and as a result of our conversation, I was asked to do a painting for the silent auction coming up in October. If you take a look at the website it is now listed under Peek-a-Boo Babies. The Orangutan enclosure at the zoo was great when first built in the 80’s, but we now know it is inappropriate for their needs, and they are very stressed out and need a new enclosure. As I was taking the reference photos, I could see how stressed they were and the real need. Kasih, the baby, was the only active orangutan, the others hid behind their palm leaves and it was just sad.
Sometimes zoos are the only opportunity for urban dwellers to see these creatures and learn of their plight in the larger world. So these guys have helped in my education – and now I am aware of their existence and their problems in the global sense. It is so sad to see such intelligent creatures become almost extinct. Humans are responsible for their problems – and we have to be the solution. I can’t slog around in the jungles and do that part of the work – BUT I can use my talents to raise awareness and money – I can find responsible organizations to donate that money to, and I can and do volunteer in my own area at a wildlife rehab facility.
We each have a way to contribute and to be a part of the solution.


As a footnote to this, the Orangutan enclosure has been completed – Awesome!!!!

For those who missed my Facebook discussion – Bird Poop

Ok, so I am a little bit absent minded! Well, my kids would call it dingy or newbish… I have capes to catch the bird poop, but when a Sun Conure is screaming, the phone is ringing, and dinner is burning – sometimes ya just gotta grab the bird to shut him up – so you can get the phone, or turn the burner off. So who has time to remember to grab the cape???? Ok, so it is not always that bad, but it happens! Anyway a few months after I became a bird owner, my family started “poop checks”. They will not walk out of the house without checking my shoulders and back for telltale green spots. However, I still am allowed out by myself occasionally – so who has time to do a check, when you are making sure the birds are back in their cages, the phone is ringing, the kids are asking you to stop at the store and hubby is asking you to make another stop???? So there have been many times I arrived home, just to notice the poop on my clothes. Not to mention the days that I volunteer at Liberty wildlife – we won’t even go there about how frightened birds leave signs!!! SO I just HAVE to wonder – what do people think when they see me walking around with various green and brown spots on my clothes?????
I should get a t-shirt that says – In every bird owners life – Poop happens!

Why Blog ???

As a parrot owner, wildlife rehabber and artist, my life is overflowing with birds. Having many friends on Facebook, who are also Bird “Nuts”, this “blog thing” will give me a chance to open a dialogue on all things “BIRD”.
Hopefully some of you will enjoy watching my art works in progress or WIP’s. We can share bird stories and photos! As an ex-clown, please do not take me too seriously, Arleenie Beenie (my clown character) has been known to get involved in my WIP’s and innocent bystanders ( or would that be by bloggers??) have been splashed with paint while having popcorn fights.

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