Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birds of a Feather

My love affair with birds goes back as far as I can remember, well, maybe not quite that far. Anyone who has met me knows before too long that birds and I are pretty inseparable. I don't mean physical birds, like pets, as I do not have any right now. I mean the presence of birds in my mind and in my work. I possess quite a few bird-themed items, however, I am particular about exactly what kinds of bird work appeals to me. For one, I care that a bird is labeled correctly. For the record, the term "seagulls" is not accurate. Look them up in any bird identification book and these birds will be found under "gulls". There is a distinct difference between crows and ravens, no, we do not have Blue Jays on the West Coast (unless they are really, really, really lost). We proudly boast Steller's Jays and Scrub Jays. And my biggest soap-box topic is that birds are protected. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 more than 800 birds on this continent are protected, meaning they are illegal to possess in whole or in part. This includes feathers, birds found from natural death, nests that are still in a tree or building, etc. I had this conversation with a woman earlier today, she wanted to know if crows were protected, yes, were gulls protected, yes... yes... yes... yes... Game birds are exceptions when permits and other laws are abided by, also is collection for research purposes or rehabilitation (all of these for which there are special permits). If you find an injured bird please contact a rehabilitation center. A couple of local organizations include Willamette Wildlife Rehabilitation and the Cascades Raptor Center.

Okay, I'm off my soapbox, for now...

My point was to introduce some bird work that I did more than ten years ago (as proof that my bird infatuation now is not a phase, and will not pass quickly. *grin*)

Fischer's Love Bird - 1999
From a photo I took at the Fort Worth Zoo

Scarlet Macaw - 1999

Nymphicus hollandicus: Cockatiel -2000

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo - 1999
watercolor pencils

Barred Owl - 1999
(Before I knew it was a barred owl, and before I knew how to tell barreds apart from spotted owls)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Dog, A Cat, and An Owl

It was hard narrowing my OCAC portfolio selection to just twenty images. Yeah, just twenty. So, I'd like to share some pieces of mine that did not make the cut, but that I love just as much.

Pen and ink

This piece is a bit older than I would have liked, which was one of the reasons it was removed from the selection. Remember Rapidograph? Yeah, they drove me nuts too. But I managed to pull this out of them before I flung those pens to the curb. I love this piece. Bear was my childhood dog. She passed away while I was in high school and the memories are bitter-sweet. She was such an amazing dog, so sweet, so loving. Tony and I are looking forward to the day we can bring home a puppy for our son to grow up with. It will be a couple of years at this point however, we need to get a yard first. *grin*

acrylic on canvas

This piece I painted for my parents for Christmas last year. Harley (because he was a "low-rider") left this earth last fall, too young. He was the most interesting cat I'd ever met. Of course he was special though, he was a munchkin.

"Young Barn Owl"
Acrylic, fabric and wire on canvas

I love this piece, however, my instructor (whom's opinion I sought) mentioned that it was difficutl to tell from the photo what exactly was happening with this piece. This was the first piece I created with one of my images from the Cascades Raptor Center (CRC). This young barn owl was one of eight that were in rehab at the center awaiting release. I had the pleasure of trying to catch this group from a large flight cage to weigh each one. Quite a unique experience, I will tell you that! When I first saw this photo after I got home I thought, "there it is, there's my muse" I had to do something. I created this piece as mix-media because I love putting materials together. In this case I sewed a pile of little leaves, wrapped wire around them, covered the wire and created small branches. The owl is pieced with a variety of patterned cottons. I glued and then sewed the owl and branch sections to the canvas (that I'd already begun to paint) and then painted the details on top of the fabric sections. Here are some additional images to help you see what is happeninng in this piece:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Denali - She's finished!

Here is the finished painting for your viewing pleasure:


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Denali - Eagle painting, in progress

I have been volunteering at the Cascades Raptor Center since June of 2010. My time there has been so incredible. I had several reasons for choosing the raptor center as where I wanted to spend my time, one was that I needed volunteer experience on my resume, two was that I have been crazy for birds since I was in grade school and three was that I was hoping to find my muse. And you know, I found just that. I have been able to take pictures of some of the residents in the hopes of creating artwork from them. Whether they end up painted, sculpted or quilted, I have yet to find out. This is a sneak-peak at a painting that is very near completion, perhaps only days away.

This is a closeup only as the piece extends further out to the right. The canvas is 36"x24". I am anxious for this piece to be completed as it will be the third piece I will have created from my images of the raptor center. You can read more about this eagle here: Denali.

The fate of this piece has not yet been decided. My wheels are turning however and I will share the finished image as well as her fate soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pursuing my dream - Oregon College of Art and Craft

About a month ago I submitted my application and portfolio to the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) and have been waiting on pins and needles since. This past Friday the admissions office called me up to tell me that my application had been accepted and that they would like to offer me a $6,000 annually renewable scholarship. What?? I was in shock. I missed most of the rest of the conversation at that point. When I got off the phone with admissions I shouted in excitement, then I cried. My son asked me if I was sad, I told him that I was happy. He looked a bit confused. Then again, he's 3 1/2 and tears usually mean sad to him. I was in shock, for three days. I scooped up my son, Vincent, right away and drove to meet his daddy at work. I had to tell him in person, and I had to tell him first. He was so happy for me. I think he was in a bit of shock too.

I'm sure that many others have received scholarships much larger than I have, but this is my first. I've never received anything of this magnitude for my work, for myself. I feel as though I have fought the world for many years for what I wanted. And now, the world was opening up her bosom to me and welcoming me. This is such an alien feeling. I have always been an artist. I can't remember a time when I haven't had art in my life in one form or another. Three years when I returned to school I told my father the news and he asked if I would be pursuing business. Business? Really?? "No dad, I'm an artist." Artists do need to know quite a bit about business, don't get me wrong, but art has not been seen as a viable career in my family. I am sure that most artists out there have experienced this in one form or another. Even my ceramics instructor, who has been teaching for more than a decade and has had his work shown in Europe still hesitates to tell people that he is a sculptor to avoid the looks that people give. Well, looks or not, I am an artist and I will die pursuing that dream. And on my journey I will be stopping off at OCAC for a couple of years. *grin*

Keep your passion burning, don't let anyone hold you down.

I know, I know, the burrowing owls are huge! Didn't you know? I just LOVE burrowing owls.