Monday, April 14, 2014

Another Red-winged Blackbird

I think I could sit at the redwing pond ten days in a row and hope for more.  As it is we've gone to the pond three times this spring and I wish for more.

When the light is right I see his breath drifting is lazy swirls in the still frosty air.  It reminds me of some femme fatal smoking her cigarette in a 1940s movie.  The magic formula is a cold morning, the redwing and his breath should be backlit with morning sunshine.  For his breath to really pop, the background should be in shadow.

I got this sketched and nearly finished the paint part on location.  Finished it up a few days later at home.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sooo...why do they call these "goldfinch"?

This guy looks like he should be called a lemon finch, or a jonquil finch...

And they're not QUITE in full summer yellow yet, but some are almost there...this one still has a bit of olive-y on his back and belly...

(NO idea why Blogger is making this so looks fine in the scan, with a nice white background...)

(NOTE to self and anyone else who's having issues: I did fix it, it was a Google + issue--unchecked "enhance graphics" and all is well.  Gee thanks, Google.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Anemone coronata

"Anemone coronaria - Poppy anemone" - Watercolor on Magnani sketchbook

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Greek anemone means "daughter of the wind". The "Metamorphoses" of Ovid tells that the plant was created by the goddess Venus when she sprinkled nectar on the blood of her dead lover Adonis.
The name "wind flower" is used for the whole genus .
The Anemone coronaria grows wild all over Israel and Jordan.
In 2013 Anemone coronaria was elected as the national flower of the State of Israel, ina pool arranged by the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring Azaleas

 At long last we have warm weather in the lowcountry of South Carolina.  Just last week the azaleas popped.

I didn't have to go far to find a scene to paint.  This is right in our neighborhood near the golf course.

This spread is in my 'Book of Trees' - a Stillman and Birn Zeta Series journal.  Love this paper!

The challenge when painting plein air is remembering the lighting that first caught your eye.  Two and a half hours went by before I had a completed page to photograph.  Oh well, you get the idea....

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Red-winged Blackbirds

One of my favorite sounds of springs are red-winged blackbirds singing in a marsh.  They make my heart sing too.  The females hadn't arrived yet, but three males were busy tuning up their vocal cords getting ready for the ladies arrival.  Sketched on location at a little pond near here that the birders have named 'chevy Pond.'  A large pond, Ford's Pond, is directly across the road.  Chevy Pond seemed like a good name for the little pond.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I'm always on the lookout for native plants and flowers when we go on holiday and I found the bougainvilla quite stunning as it tumbled over walls and up the front of houses in Tenerife, in all shades of red, crimson and pink.  The pink pepper trees had a few berries left although the gardeners were busy pruning while we were there.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Ghostly pale and (not) strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls (Tyto alba) are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, and buffy upperparts, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on buoyant wingbeats in open fields and meadows. You can find them by listening for their eerie, raspy calls, quite unlike the hoots of other owls. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss. I for one do not see them as often as I used to, but a few nights ago I was thrilled to hear one screeching just before dawn.

The Owl Rescue Centre is the only raptor centre in South Africa that primarily focus on owl species. They give all their time and attention to owl species because of the high mortality rate of owls in South Africa, making owls vulnerable to a decreasing population. They rehabilitate and release 200 – 250 Spotted Eagle Owls, 100 – 150 Barn Owls and 80 -100 other owl species each year. SHOULD YOU FIND AN OWL THAT YOU SUSPECT MIGHT BE INJURED, PLEASE CALL THEM ON 082 719 5463 (24/7 emergency line – South Africa)