Oh, they look so cute scurrying to and fro, don't they? HA! Not when they are in your kitchen! Yep, Alvin somehow made his way into our house, and scared the living daylights out of me. Neighbor Larry came to the rescue, but admitted he was beginning to think I was imagining things, because he didn't actually see the little guy at first, who wasn't so little, by the way. From my vantage point of standing on the kitchen chair, I saw the chubby guy squeeze his body through the pet gate grid. It was like a cartoon. If only I was composed enough to take a video. Alvin enjoyed his meal of peanut butter and Italian bread stick and was let back outside later that evening.
Okay, maybe the title is just a little dramatic, but mention rabbits to my gardening friends and they turn crazed. My bachelor's buttons and liatrus didn't have a chance and my swiss chard and marigolds are chewed to stubs.
"653 Public Enemy Number One" acrylic - 6x8 in http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/diane-campion/653-public-enemy-number-one/397881
Today was a day to experiment after completing two larger paintings. I started out using India ink and acrylic paint, intending it to be a black/grey/white painting, but somehow it evolved into a painting with limited colors. It felt good just to play around on this rainy day.
One of the really nice things about painting on a daily basis is the opportunity to try new techniques and subjects. It's been a wonderful experience for me, with 634 daily paintings under my belt.
The owl family is still in the neighborhood, traveling from tree to tree. The owls have grown quite a bit, and seem confident with their flying. It reminds me of children once they get the rhythm of riding a two wheeler--there's no stopping them. The crows sometimes indicate their location, but the owls seem to be fending for themselves. It has been nearly impossible to get photos of them as they are too far away and the trees have filled in. I still try, because I'll have a record of where and when. Two nights ago, my neighbor and I could hear them very close to us and we were sneaking in back yards in the dark to try to figure out where. Yes, we are owl junkies and no, we didn't get caught.
I hope you like this tribute, done in watercolor with ink enhancement. Mama (or Papa?) owl is sewn on to the page. I particularly enjoyed hand lettering the words and painting them. I am also working on a couple more pages in this style, one in particular of the willow tree.
"619 Great Horned Owl Tribute" watercolor - 11x7.5 in
I enjoyed incorporating calligraphy in this painting, and I think I will continue with this practice in the future for this type of painting. I am currently taking a class where seeing the minute details of nature is key and we will be using watercolor, colored pencils and ink. I know I will enjoy the opportunity to paint things owl and nature related.
My neighbor came across this house sparrow nest with three little eggs in it, and called me to see it because she knows I love to paint all things bird-related. You may wonder why the title "Certain Teed." We are having a new roof put on our house and the sparrows included in their nest a very long piece of plastic packaging material from a Certain Teed product being used on the roof. The roof project just started five days ago, so it didn't take long for the nest builder to forage for interesting materials. Two scraggly feathers are also included in the nest.
The owls, Spring weather, and a recent visit to Joanna Poehlmann's exhibit (my second) have put me in a mood to paint with a bird theme. I have no idea what kind of bird eggs these are despite my effort to find out, because I found the photo on a copyright free site. I guess it can be anything you want it to be. If you have an idea, please let me know.
My neighbor found this feather in her yard along with the tail feathers of a wren. The GHO male has been seen perching on this neighbor's chimney and he always seems to be facing in the direction of our house. I saw a fluffy white cotton tail the other day in the vicinity. hmmmm.....
For a full 24 hours, we could not find the family of Great Horned Owls in the neighborhood, and sadly assumed they left the area, but we joyfully discovered they had moved only a block south from the willow tree. The babies are more mobile now, but still, at least one parent is usually nearby. They are not visible to us during the daytime, but at dusk they are busy. Since they are now a block closer to our house, I am hoping they will get "carry out" from our yard. I have chased squirrels and chipmunks from our bird feeders, thanks to Oliver's guard.
A giant thank you to Steve Gardiner for taking such beautiful pictures of the owls, including the reference photo for this painting, for sharing them with friends and neighbors, and for granting permission for me to paint them.
I have so much on my mind today. I painted up a storm, but this is what I am most proud of. As mentioned before, we have a Great Horned Owl family with two babies in our neighborhood, and I can't visit them enough. I am learning so much about these magnificent creatures and have such a respect for Mother Nature. We live in a fairly urban area with houses very close together not far from Lake Michigan, but we have more than our share of wildlife. On Easter Sunday, we had two giant turkeys in our front yard. We have had coyotes visit as well as deer. (That combination did not go well.) Last year, we had baby racoons on our patio. But the owls....they have captured the hearts of many, including mine. We are waiting for them to fledge, which will be a huge community event. We are hoping they hang around the neighborhood to keep the rabbit population down.
We have a new family in our neighborhood and I am over the moon smitten by them. I visit them many times each day and take photos with my 20x zoom lensed camera. Mom and Dad have two or three kids. They are Great Horned Owls and the babies have just recently become visible. The babies are SO adorable---like little puffs of cotton with perfectly round eyes and little hooked beaks. Did you know that what look like ears are not really ears at all? (I hope I got that correct.) We find feathers, squirrel tails and tufts of fur throughout the neighborhood, and everyone is hoping they keep the rabbit population at bay this summer.
Since it is such a cold, ugly grey day here in Milwaukee, I thought I would take myself back to the warmth of summer. August 20 was the day of my first official organized plein air experience. It was hot and I was comfortable on a very small foot bridge overlooking a lovely scene. I saw my first woodchuck swimming in this shallow stream, and it was all so peaceful and beautiful. But at some point I got that uh-oh feeling. What to do with all this GREEN? In the nick of time, my friend and I turned in our two pieces, called it a day, and chalked it all up to experience. I felt like I wanted to tackle the painting again today. It's better than it was on August 20, but not something I want to tackle again.
We belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where we get a box of farm fresh vegetables and eggs each week throughout the spring, summer and fall. Imagine my surprise AND delight when my eggs came with a bonus feather!
I am sure none of these items technically belong together, but according to artistic license I can put a cardinal egg with a different bird feather and a nest I don't know was built for whom, but I enjoyed painting it nonetheless.