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Archive for the ‘bird watching’ Category

I just finished up my grueling research class and have a week before I start another class. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s December!
In the meantime, went on a “team-building” golf date with my fellow teachers. I took lots of pictures and was mostly focused on the birds and landscape. There were several red-winged blackbirds flying about a few of the water features. I love how their yellow and red patches are hidden until they start flying.

I started a large experimental piece centered around the red-winged blackbird. This is on a 18×24 Arches watercolor block pad.

First, I taped off rectangles that loosely inspired by the idea of the golden ratio.

Then I started cutting out my inspiration pieces, a bird from a calendar, definition of a blackbird and image from a dictionary, along with some of the birch bark I have saved from my tree.

I have done some watercolor painting, here and there, collaged my images. And so far I’m liking it.

Here a close up of a colored image and painted scene.

And here another scene of reeds with a nest hidden in the reeds. An image from my vintage bird calendar and information about blackbird nests, along with birch bark.

Right now, this is really making me happy. I like the paintings I’ve done and I haven’t yet decided if I will cut these into small pictures or frame this as one large collage. I like the idea of a large framed piece with the white spaces in between each scene.

Have a happy day.

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Birds are on my mind a lot lately. When I sit down to journal, I always do a status update of the 2 finch nests. What I like about birds is their way of gathering found materials to create a nest that is strong enough to lay their eggs and keep them safe until they hatch. You don’t see birds looking for the latest pottery barn catalog, or watching some decorating show for new ideas. They stick to what they know: nest building. And they use what they find. A reminder to me that my home is not a sum of it’s coordinating pillows are fancy stuff. Making do with what I have, using what’s on hand instead of rushing to the store to get what I think I need.
One skill I have is gathering and collecting. If you could see the things I’ve collected and stored away for “some” day. Last weekend I found some of the little Jenni Bowlin bingo cards. I see these online and covet them thinking of the wonderful things I’d make if I had these. So I bought a little pack. Normally these would get looked at for a while, then put away for something “special”. But yesterday I was in a mood, and got to making stuff. My two little people were watching pbs and I was nearly manic with the need to make something, get a paintbrush out, dirty up my hands. I felt a little bad that I wasn’t doing something with my kiddies or being productive doing house work or homework. But I got over it pretty quick! 🙂

So here is a little bird book. Made from a few of my favorite bits of things I’ve been holding onto. Does it have a purpose? Not really, other than to be something little and pretty and in tones of ivory.

front cover with bird punched out of a Starbucks sleeve

inside, small watercolor painting.

back cover

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As I slowly get back into the medium that I loved I am remembering why I loved watercolors so much. I love the feel of the paper, the way the water moves over it, the softness of the colors.
Last week I found this little simple frame, just the sort of thing I like to get at thrift stores and re-make into something pretty. Cute, and at 75 cents a steal! But not really my thing.

Being an artist is like being a bird. We collect and gather little bits save and make into something new.

I covered the base with burlap, painted the matting, ripped a small square of watercolor paper and painted my little bird.

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I love birds, love listening for the different birds, love to watch them out my kitchen window and imagine the conversations they have in the morning around bird feeder. Lately birds have been on my mind so it seems natural that when I do sit down to create, birds are going to come out.

a shipping tag, combining all my things I love: shipping tags, browns, birds, buttons, old bits of lace and things.


(ink, old trims, bird stamp from Stampin Up)

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On our front porch I have hung our bird feeder. The location is perfect because there is birch tree by the porch that provides shelter and perches for the birds, and it’s right in front of the windows over the kitchen sink. After buying new seed from a local garden shop I have found we are getting much more bird traffic than before. And since the neighbor’s roaming feline has since passed onto the kitty heaven, there are fewer predators skulking about. I have noticed for the last few weeks a lot of action in the two hanging plant baskets on the front porch. So on Monday I got a chair and peeked into the basket on the north side of the house. I turned it all around until I found this tiny, tightly woven nest.

I looked into the other basket but couldn’t see anything. I left the other nest alone and observed the mamma bird coming and going from the nest. But on Thursday I noticed more noise and lots of traffic out of the other basket, so I grabbed a chair and camera and really looked into the basket and found another nest with at least 3 nestlings. But they were so snuggled down that it was hard to tell.

The kids and I have really gotten into watching our birds, I have found a few good sites about finches.
Celebrate Urban Birds
All About Birds

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