September 28, 2016

Bobolink

Bobolink bird
"Bobolink", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

In this painting, I depicted the male bobolink during summer with his jet black plumage and white cap. Before fall he molts off his spring outfit and adopts the brown coloring of the females.



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Blue Winged Warbler

Blue Winged Warbler bird
"Blue Winged Warbler", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".





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Blue Jay

Blue Jay bird
"Blue Jay", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

A sticky note found its way onto my painting and transformed itself into a flock of little lady beetles!


"Blue Jay II", acrylic paint on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

"Blue Jay II" is a commissioned piece I just completed for the owner of the Baltimore Oriole original. Let me know if you are also interested in an original; I'm happy to make a companion piece!

These beautiful blue birds are known as the bullies of backyard bird feeders. They are noisy, bossy, and aggressive towards other songbirds. Though they have a reputation for being a little rough, they are also known for is their keen intelligence and deep familial bonds.


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Black Crested Titmouse

Black Crested Titmouse bird
"Black-Crested Titmouse", acrylic and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

In all honesty, I chose this bird as part of my Birds series because it is adorable. I can't help but smile when I look at pictures of this creature. My concept for the CSA project was Pennsylvania local birds and this I stretched tremendously for the Black-Crested Titmouse as they are native to the Southwest United States (not local at all). Oh well! I did not get a confused email from the new owner of this painting, so I think all is well. What you may find in Pennsylvania, or anywhere near the East Coast of the United States, is the Tufted Titmouse, which looks virtually the same minus the black crest.


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Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow bird
"Barn Swallow", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

Being a ceramic artist and teacher makes me doubly interested in animals who also use mud to build structures. Barn Swallows make hundreds of trips to collect mud in order to build their nests. Their nests are cup-shaped, built out of mud pellets, and lined with soft grasses.We assume nowadays that these birds originally nested on cliff faces or inside caves, but they have since abandoned most of those sites in favor of man made buildings (hence their name).
Like a couple of dedicated artists, the mating pair will not abandon their work and instead return season after season to the same site to raise their families.


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Black Capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee bird
"Black Capped Chickadee", acrylic paint on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

These small, round birds are most often seen either in huge flocks or darting to and from your bird feeder with a piece of food in its beak. They are cautious and prefer to grab a bite and eat elsewhere.


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Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole bird
"Baltimore Oriole", acrylic paint on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

I first became interested in Orioles when I was doing some research on artist Sarah Sze's Still Life with Landscape (Model for a Habitat). Sze built an intricate installation on New York City's High Line that functions as an art piece while also catering to the needs of birds. Check out the High Line's website for more details and photos.
I saw a video clip of Sze taking half orange slices and sticking them onto the ends of her sculptural bird village and really wanted to know, why? Because, Baltimore Orioles love oranges. Like hummingbirds, they love to drink sugar water. If oranges wont bring the orioles to your yard, I've heard a rumor that grape jelly will do the trick.



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Young Barred Owl

Young Barred Owl
"Young Barred Owl", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

My friend Heather and I went on a roadtrip through New England this summer. We spent a couple of nights tent camping on top of Mount Philo in Vermont. We realized halfway through the stay that our camp neighbors included several juvenile owls. They would perch in the trees surrounding our clearing and screech at each other. From time to time we would see one swooping low through the trees to catch something (no doubt the mice that campers attract).
I used one of the photographs I had taken up on Mt. Philo as my painting reference.


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Eastern Meadowlark

Eastern Meadowlark bird
"Eastern Meadowlark", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

I just loved this description given to us by Cornell University: "The sweet, lazy whistles of Eastern Meadowlarks waft over summer grasslands and farms in eastern North America. The birds themselves sing from fenceposts and telephone lines or stalk through the grasses, probing the ground for insects with their long, sharp bills. On the ground, their brown-and-black dappled upperparts camouflage the birds among dirt clods and dry grasses. But up on perches, they reveal bright-yellow underparts and a striking black chevron across the chest."

It doesn't get more poetic than that!



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September 27, 2016

American Robin

American Robin bird
"American Robin", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

This collage is made with bits of paper scraps I've saved from class demonstrations. The blue and black berries and leaves you see above are specifically cut from a silly example piece I made in a mixed media camp I taught over the summer. That saved paper is helping me to take this classic bird illustration from looking traditional to feeling fresh and fun.

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September 21, 2016

Between the Dandelions

A quick break from the Birds series! This painting makes me happy.


"Between the Dandelions", acrylic and mixed media on wooden panel, 16" x 16".





House Sparrows

House Sparrow bird
"House Sparrows", acrylic paint on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

Look for house sparrows picking at the park bench for sandwich crumbs, building nests in the hollow space in traffic lights, eating seed at your bird feeder, and exploring around the trash can on the street corner. Rarely can you find one of these birds in the wild as they prefer to build their nests in and around our buildings.

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September 16, 2016

Common Grackle

Common Grackle bird
"Common Grackle", acrylic paint and collage on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

I chose to paint the Common Grackle in this bird series because I found it to be anything but common. The Grackle has a beautiful iridescent sheen to its feathers that I've only really seen in hummingbirds, fish, and beetles. It also has piercing yellow eyes that caught my attention.
What I didn't know is that our neighboring city Lancaster is apparently full of flocks of Common Grackles. How did I not spot them before?

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Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker bird
"Downy Woodpecker", acrylic paint on recycled paper, 6" x 6".

Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest woodpeckers in North America and are much more agile for it. They flit around on branches and small stems to feed where other birds are too heavy to explore.
You may first notice their presence by the distinctive drumming sound of a woodpecker looking for insects in tree bark.




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