A Dylan kinda day….

…..blowin’ in the wind.  Had to go to Palm Springs, then Moreno Valley yesterday, then home.  We were forecast a windstorm and we sure got it.  The ethereal, formless sky is very powerful when it moves fast.  I didn’t see any forecast for rain, but had rain coming home through Cabazon and into the desert floor.  (Had I known there was a possibility of rain I would’ve taken the other truck – the windshield wipers on my small truck do not work well.)  Saw lots of palm fronds blowing around in Palm Springs, and plenty of dust, a few limbs down.

When I got home, the trash can was on its side on the front porch, and the recycle can was gone entirely.  At 11pm and hungry, I was in no mood to go hunting for it, but this morning I found it in the side yard.  At that point I also found my 10 foot ocotillo had blown down.  Poor thing was in full bloom, and there was a verdin nest in the upper branches, now on the floor, and a distraught verdin hanging around.  I put the nest in one of the oleanders – it’s a ball-nest so I have no idea if it contains chicks, eggs or at this point, omelet.

Plans are underway to relocate the ocotillo to the south side yard by the fence.  Long shot, but it’s worth a try.  I need to wait until tomorrow until I have two other friends who, with my neighbor will help lift the viciously spiny creature, which probably weighs over 200lb.

Horizontal ocotillo

So many spines….

Newer work #56

This one harks back to ‘Fishing Buddies’ – a painting purchased by a guy I met at a crazy art show in Yorba Linda.  We became friends after another couple commissions from the vacation he’d just returned from.  Within the year we were dating and still together 10 years later.  I guess I was thinking about him when I painted the foreground on this one.

Refractured watercolor painting

#1235 The King of Patience. Refractured watercolor on foamcore, 11×14″ matted to fit 16×20″ frame. $195.

Newer work #54

Some cultures, I believe, regard birds as virtual angels, hence the name for this painting.

Refractured watercolor painting

#1223 Approaching Angels. Refractured watercolor on foamcore. 11×14 matted to fit 16×20″ frame. $195.

Newer Work #53

I loved the way I was able to make the clouds almost appear like birds flying in formation, so I echoed this in the foreground for this painting.

Refractured Watercolor painting

#1232 Rising together. Refractured watercolor, 11×14″ in mat to frame to 16×20″. $195

Four more paintings available on Etsy

When I guide students through a painting at a paint-n-wine class, I am also painting to show them what to do – so I inevitably end up with a second copy of the painting we’re working from.  So – thought I would make these available in my Etsy store.  They’re all easily shipped, 16×20″ acrylics and ready to frame in a standard sized frame.   And I get to work outside my usual subject area – such as this one that was a request of a possible subject from a repeat student.

Two blue birds on branch

#1208 Two Blue Birds. 16×20 acrylic on canvas panel. $150.

Newer work #34

Oil painting birds flying

#1206 Three for the road. Oil on canvas, 8×8″. $50.

The inspiration for this change of direction was that I hung this little unwired canvas on my ‘drying hooks’ in the studio, by its corner.  The scene itself is entirely out of my head.  The direction was one I followed, as you will see in later posts.  It has also spawned other (as yet unrealized ideas)….

Inspiration from the blog

I am planning out the paintings that I will coach people through in my paint-and-wine classes for the rest of the year (I try to plan ahead so that when last minute stuff happens, I have time for it….).  As I didn’t want to always present skyscapes and waterscapes, I turned to my fellow bloggers for a little inspiration and soon found it.

Victor Rakmil is a photographer who, like me, is apparently a birdaholic.  I was utterly taken by the fifth photo on this blog entry and he gave me permission to use it as a basis for one of my class paintings.  Here’s ‘Merganser Parade’, planned for October at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley.


Merganser Parade.

Birds on a branch.

Yesterday evening six students painted two birds on several branches at the ‘Paint the Night’ event at the Vanguard Gallery in Moreno Valley.  A couple of the students had attended the prior month and one student had painted with another tutor in the past, but half of them were first timers.  And they all had fun!  I gave them some options to make different sky backgrounds and they all came up with something a little different.

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

First coating of sky

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

Different variations of sky going in

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

Branching out

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

The floating bird bodies

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

Putting the rest of the birds in

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

Flowers in two colors at once

Students at a paint-and-wine evening

Tah Dah! And Mary decided she wanted brown birds.

Overcrowding, sparrow style.

I was taking a fresh glass of water back to the studio and paused to watch a pigeon on the birdbath in the front yard.  I was wondering if I needed to refill it.  As I stood motionless so as not to disturb the pigeon while it was drinking, I was listening to the birdsong all around and realized that one voice was out of place.  A small, high pitched intermittant peep.  After a few moments I located the source, a tiny sparrow chick sitting on the ground.  Waaay to young to be out of the nest.  There are several active nests around my house this year so I went and rescued the child, intending to return him to the box or basket from where he’s come.

sparrow chick

Waay to young to be out on his own.

On the front porch, one nest was empty, two had very young chicks in (one had a chick and an egg) and one nest was incomplete.  I knew that chicks of an almost-fledged aged were in the basket at the side of the garage, and indeed there were three matching siblings.  And a lot*** of poop.

sparrow chicks in nest

Is that two sisters and a brother or two brothers and a sister…

Now that I look closer, I think there are actually five chicks in there.  That tallies with the six eggs I photographed when I first noticed the nest was active.  Very crowded.  But I put the escaped chick back in anyway.  Before I’d gotten down the latter, he plopped back onto the ground under the nest.  I guess he got voted out of the nest, perhaps for being the noisiest.  I think the other nests would not be a good match, he’s so much older than the other chicks and as he’s pretty close to fledging anyway, I figured I’d give it a go. It will probably only take about a week to get him on his own.  I knew there was a reason I kept an old hamster cage.

Must go and feed him again.  Ground up bird seed, flour and honey.  I know, that’s probably not the best thing out there, but it’s the closest thing I have in the house to what he might be given by his parents.  I can see it now.  Mama gets back to the nest.  Hey, where’s Frank?  And five beaks answering back… he drew the short straw…..

Well protected.

This morning while I was running around the yard in my bathrobe and uggs photographing this:


…I noticed this:


Looking forward to finding out who’s it is.