Monday, May 31, 2010

Birding this weekend....

I know that you read this blog to see the botanical art work, so I apologize in advance.... but I am crazy about Nature, in general. I am just entranced with the Red Tailed Hawk saga as well as our little Robin family on the back of the house.

Quickly, I will inform you that the Robin babies have flown the nest. It happened on Friday evening.... and Mama & Papa watched over them, as they flew for the first time. We were able to sit quietly and watch one plump baby, as he worked on his 'lift off' after flying down from the nest. By the next day, they were out of the nest and into the trees nearby.

As for the Hawks, well, as you can see, they are not quite ready to take their first flight.... but they are close. We were able to get some photos before Mama/Papa decided that we were hanging around a bit too long....and the click, click, click, of the camera was all that it took for us to get the 'circling' treatment. We did leave, but a friend of ours was on the practice range, and did manage to get 'dive bombed'... before he left. Mama & Papa bird are being very protective, and I like that.

So here are some photos..... just can't resist! Enjoy!

Mama/Papa Hawk keeps an eye on her baby.

As the baby checks out everything below,
Mama/Papa checks out us!

OOPS!!'s time for us to leave....

Overhead, and screeching...
We get the message!

Today, we are thinking of so many Veterans that have lost their lives for our freedom. I hate war.... but so do they. I am grateful that they chose to serve and protect the future of this amazing country. Hugs go out to the families of the Veterans. Your grief is not forgotten...and I send you hugs today and caring thoughts. It's also good to remember the Veterans serving now and in the past, as well as their families. Thanks for serving and protecting us...We are grateful.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Babies are here....

A quick post to show you the baby robin (waiting for breakfast, I presume) in the nest. I am keeping my distance.... but I think there are two or three babies in the nest. They keep moving about and it's hard to tell from such a steep angle... exactly what is happening. Mama & Papa bird have been rushing about in the yard, looking for worms at every turn. It's be so much fun to watch them.

As I came down the stairs today.... I looked over on the grass and right before my eyes was a garden snake giving birth to lots of baby snakes. Yikes.... I was frozen and the Mama snake was not happy to see me. Hence, I did a quick step backwards and forgot all about running for the camera. By the time I got back, Mama had herded all of the babies to a safe place under the walkway in the garden. I am really not a lover of snakes.... but it was a mighty amazing 'happening' in the yard this morning. I plan to tread lightly on the stairs for a while.

double click to see an enlarged view
Baby Robin

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rough Draft....

I finished up the fuchsia yesterday. I call it a rough draft, only because it needs to sit for a few days and then I can see what needs doing. I like this one.... maybe, I am just in a fuchsia mood. The flower is so delicate and vibrant. It just makes me smile. This one will get framed, and I haven't been able to say that about a lot of the work completed lately.

I am glad to know that Wednesday is almost done. The rest of the week will fly by.

I am looking forward to a nice Memorial Day weekend. I will be keeping the Veterans and Military in my thoughts this weekend. I will also be thinking about Louisiana.... with many prayers. Watching a vast portion of an ecosystem dying.... and the livelihood of so many, who have already had enough troubles, slip away.... just seems grossly unfair.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mama or Papa Red Tailed Hawk

We visited the nest yesterday and took some photos. We couldn't tell if Mama Hawk was watching the babies, or Papa Hawk was on the outlook. We have read that either one will watch the nest, as the Hawks mate for life and each tend to the babies. A friend visited the nest a bit earlier and said that both parents were sitting up on the nest....on the lookout. With such a deep nest, we couldn't see the little one, but we know that they are in there.

If you double click on the photos, hopefully you will be able to see the Papa/Mama a bit better.

Looking right at us as we looked back.....

I still am amazed at the size of the nest.....

A little closer look at Mama/Papa

We can also hear the babies in the Robins nest in the back of the house. My Hubby saw several babies. I am not photographing the nest right now, as the Mama is so nervous that she flies off every time I get close. Since we are having high winds today, I decided just to let her hold down the fort and not have to worry about photo ops with the babies. However, I will try to get some good shots in the next few days.

If you are in Colorado..... don't fly away today..... Yikes!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blue Ribbon Farms

Sometimes you find a place that just has what you want in a Nursery.... and we are lucky to have several in our town. One of our favorites is Blue Ribbon Farm. Our plants from there are so healthy and they manage to thrive, in spite of our soil and weather. So, I thought you might enjoy a peek at 'the Farm'. Isn't it just the best??

The Cashier window makes it fun to pay!

Plentiful flowers in many bright colors !

I loved this combination of colors in a planter

Another corner of the nursery....
with fun touches of blue...

So , if you are in the neighborhood, drop by and check it out!! Hope your Sunday is going well.

Blue Ribbon Farm10147 Hover St, Longmont, CO 80501-7934

Thursday, May 20, 2010

This week - What I am working on.....

I have started working on this fuchsia. I absolutely love this flower. I think of it as such a delicate plant, yet the colors vibrate. It's definitely a rather complex subject.... but I found a source of Lyra Blender pencils and I now can blend more easily. I was down to the nubbin on my last pencil. How fun to work with a full sized one this morning.

This week turned out to be much more hectic than I thought. I work hard at finding time for friends and it all happened this week. It's been so much fun to take time out and catch up with friendship. However, as you can tell, my work is lagging.

So, hopefully, next week, I will complete this and move on to others projects from the garden.

fuchsia in progress

We are looking forward to a warm and sunny weekend here. Our High School-ers are graduating this weekend, which is always a fun and exciting time. I hope your weekend is filled with laughter, sunshine, celebrations and some flowers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When I copy.....

I took a photo in the back yard last year of this peony......and copied it to a cold press paper. Normally, I use a hot press paper which is a lot smoother and easier to work with. Of course, it's hard to copy a photograph... and it seems to create a 'stiffness' in a painting or drawing. I went back to it last week at Art Group and noodled just a bit. It still looks 'off' to me, but it was also a lesson to work with living subjects.

The Peonies are back and I may try to do another one with a fresh approach and a live subject.
No matter what I manage to do, just by 'doing', I learn.

I do get frustrated in the studio...when things aren't going well with subjects.... but somehow, I pull a little nugget out of each day I work there (which is just about every day). I guess that is a lesson in itself. If you work at something every day.... eventually, your efforts will begin to show promise. That is not a guarantee, though... as you might still get some 'messes' along the way.... but even the 'messes' can show improvement, over time. so..."HANG IN THERE".

Peony in bloom

I am starting to get comments more frequently. They encourage, teach, and sometimes surprise me. I have found other great blogs because of them, and they keep me coming back.
So, thank you to those of you who leave comments or write e-mails. They continue to be appreciated.

I wish you 'grace' today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick painting....

I decided to pick up the paint brush last week and whip out a painting, free hand. I didn't stop to sketch, or compose it...... just took my water color pencils to outline, and dipped right in. It's not great, by any standard, but it was fresh and fast and that is what I needed to do.

I am presently working on a fuchsia in colored pencil. I manage to get the details with pencil and I took the time to sketch. We shall see. I may also try it in watercolor, since I have the cartoon prepared.

Tulips from the front yard

We are back to gray skies and a bit of rain until Thursday or Friday. Except for the short bout of hail last night, the moisture will be good for all of the plantings.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Garden Plenty.....

We got a break in the weather this weekend, so off we went to the local nursery, and we loaded our wagon (they have big wagons that you can pull around and fill to the brim). It was as if we had a thirst that couldn't be quenched. We went a bit bonkers.... and loaded up on everything from Hostas to Rocky Mountain Columbine (just too luscious to leave behind).

So, I share with you, my bounty of Saturday. On Sunday, we kicked into high gear and got everything planted (are we brave or crazy.... PLEASE...NO MORE FROST!!). By late afternoon on Sunday, we had everything in the ground....including seeds for Nasturtiums, which we place as a border each year. Whew.... exhausted, but elated.

This Columbine stole our hearts

Sweet Hubby loves the Impatiens....

I am trying a Fuchsia this year and of course, geraniums
Sweet potato vine is in the front
which we put in the Herb garden (not yet planted)

Monsieur le Red Tailed Hawk
keeps watch over the nest fifty feet away

I thought I would add that we checked the nest this weekend and we could not see Mama Red Tailed Hawk. However, Papa, was nearby (well, right above us) keeping an eye on the nest. We will keep you posted. Also, Mrs. Robin is still sitting on the nest at the house. No baby birds yet........

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ah.... the garden....

Our garden is struggling. It's hanging in there for sure, but Spring is rugged around here and especially this year. All our plants are trying to give it their best, but after wind, rain, snow, and more rain.... they are plum tuckered out.

This Tulip hung in as long as it could.....
It tuckered after the last freeze...

The Allium just decided not to bloom yet
but they are thinking about it, for sure......

Ah, my sweet Bleeding Hearts keep on coming

This Tulip just looks worn out
yet there is strength in its fragility.

I am so grateful that the flowers are fighting through this bad weather and giving all they have to give. I look at other wonderful 'Garden blogs' and they are just brimming with beauty.
Seriously, I am envious of all the Roses, Peonies, and Summer flowers that are already on their way.....abundant with birds and bees that are busy pollinating everything in sight.

This weekend, we will take a 'leap of faith' and plant.....seeds, annuals and a few more perennials. I am ready!

I am finishing up on some work....quick paintings that I did this week...which I will share next week. Enjoy your weekend. I hope the sun is shining on you this weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Skies are clearing!

This photo was taken last Sunday..... BEFORE the snow.... so you can imagine how amazing the mountains are looking today. I will try to get out for a photo or two. The last few days have been a challenge..... sloppy, wet, dark, and cold. Yikes.... it is frustrating not to be able to plant the garden. But, this weekend, we are going to give it a try and pray that no more snow or rain comes down for a bit. Believe me, we are grateful for the moisture, but enough is enough!!

I hope that you can get out in the garden this weekend. I have seen so many blogs with beautiful photos of flowers blooming away. Our Spring is very slow this year. The plants are totally confused (is it Winter??? is it Spring??? Where is that sunshine????) as are many of us humanoids.

So bring on those 60's and 70's ..... We ARE ready!!

There will be enough run off for us this year
Water is so important to us and we rely
on our beautiful snowy mountains
to carry us through the year.

The Studio is cleaner, but not perfect. I must admit, that I get to a certain point.... too near my watercolor (a work in progress) and then I sit down and paint. It's so much more fun to paint than it is to clean my space. I will try not to get distracted this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nesting season......

We are following several nests this Spring (if you can call it that..... we are expecting snow tomorrow!). I love the Robin, who is hanging in there between our lights on the back of the house. These lights come on night.... if there is movement in the yard. I can only imagine how this poor bird is doing? Of course, we have turned them off now, but she was sitting in the nest while we were gone, so I am fairly certain that she had a few 'wake up calls' with bright lights at night..... not so good for nesting. Tonight will be a cold one, but she is pretty snug. I will keep you posted. This is when I love the telephoto I do not disturb her when I am taking photos.

I especially love this nest......
hmmm (another painting perhaps??)

We also hiked over to the golf course and checked out the Red Tailed Hawk Mama....on Mother's Day. She was happily ensconced in her abode in the clouds. Luckily, it was a lovely day and we could take some great photos. She had her eyes peeled on us for most of our photo op..... I did NOT want to be 'lunch'......but Papa was no where to be seen that day.

The size of this nest amazes me.....
it is definitely larger than last year.

The nest is about 50-60 feet above the ground.
I hope this gives you a better idea of it's size.

There is turbulent weather in many areas of the United States right now. I hope that many of you are safe from harm. For those of you who are in Colorado... and are getting a bit discouraged with this endless Winter...... hang in there...... Summer has to come to us as some point. My fingers are itching to get into the potting soil..... but not until the weather improves.

Off to clean up my studio.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Painting.... of another sort.

For the last ten days, I have been away..... painting in another way. We have found a small nest in a warm climate, which will allow us to extend the summer weather, through out the year. However, it needs a little (no... a LOT...) of work. So, that is what we did...... painted and spruced up to make it more fun for future visits.

I need to get back to the studio. I plan to clean it out and organize it (as soon as the laundry is done!), and then get back to work on some new stuff.

Some happy stuff to share this Spring. We have a Mother Robin out in the back, sitting on her eggs......AND a Red tailed Hawk on the golf course, sitting on her eggs. I have photos to share with you this week and I will keep you posted on their progress.

It's good to be back home.