I guess I musst have birds on the mind, because most of my projects lately have featured them. I'm taking an online class on Experimental Art (see button at the right). It's a lot of fun, and the projects are intended to help us open up to be more creative and playful in our art. Above is a project where we were to play with tracing images. Since I've been (unsuccessfully) trying to draw birds in my backyard journal, I thought it would be fun to trace some birds just to get to know the basic shapes. Then I transferred the images onto some old road maps, cut them out and collaged them.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Saturday there was a Gardener's Art Festival at The Growing Place, a wonderful garden center in Naperville. I first heard about it Saturday morning, and wasn't sure it would be worth my time. The air conditioned house was a tempting place to stay, but summer is all about hot weather and new adventures. I'm so glad I went! I heard two very entertaining speakers talk about attracting birds and the evolution of a backyard garden. Not only was it interesting, I learned a few things too!
I also had time to check out the artists' booths. There were some really lovely things, but I was especially drawn to the booth where I bought the above little bird house. Bob Knisley is from central Illinois, and he and his wife were sitting, surrounded by variations of houses like this. Some were much more elaborate, but I chose a simple (read -- cheap!) one. When his father's old barn fell down, Bob decided to re-purpose the wood -- with the original paint -- into lovely birdhouses. What a great idea, and I couldn't resist bringing one home to grace our little bird sanctuary. It will be interesting to see if any birds use it this season -- I think it might be a little late. In case you want to contact Bob about his bird houses, his e-mail is Knisley4@hotmail.com.
Speaking of hot weather . . . it's off to the pool!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
We have an adirondack chair in the far back yard. It gets sunshine while the rest of the yard is shaded by the house. For the past two evenings, butterflies have been landing on it and stretching out their wings. This little guy was the bravest of them, and posed for me for quite awhile so I could get his picture. I guess I need to add him to my backyard journal.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Lately it feels like I'm spinning my wheels, attempting a lot of projects, but not really finishing anything. Then I end up at the computer playing mindless solitaire games, and feeling frustrated with the whole process. Last night I closed the solitaire program (I was losing anyway), and open Photoshop Elements. I took this picture of a little bird earlier this week (not sure what kind it is, but he posed nicely) and used a background from some decorated paper I made a couple of months ago. (Thanks to Lenore at Eat Write Create for the idea of using decorated paper as a background). It was fun to dabble and come up with something I actually liked. It just shows that we don't need tons of time or creative energy to create a bit of beauty.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Here's our group of birders at the Arboretum yesterday -- that's before the heavens opened and we had to dash for shelter. Someone had just spotted a Baltimore Oriole's nest and we were all trying to catch a glimpse of it. We also came upon a Great Blue Heron, who decided to ignore us and go on fishing. It was a little dark where he was, but the picture turned out OK. He hardly looks real -- he almost glows. But he was very real! When it began to rain, we all wanted to stay out. But then it thundered and we had to head back. Except for the robins, most of the birds had found shelter from the rain as well. (Speaking of robins, it's a very good thing I took the picture I did on Friday. The babies were gone from the nest just a few hours later. Now maybe Momma Robin can get a little rest!)
Friday, June 4, 2010
This morning was the bird hike at the forest preserve. There were almost 20 of us, which made it a bit hard to hear what the naturalist was saying, and we made quite a bit of noise, so the birds definitely knew we were coming. But I did see a Baltimore Oriole going back and forth to its nest, and I can now identify an Indigo Bunting. All in all, we saw about 11 species of birds, most of which I could already identify. But still, not bad. I was trying to juggle between my camera and binoculars, which quickly became impossible, so I ditched the camera. But here's a picture Don took the last time we were at the Aboretum of a Baltimore Oriole perching atop its nest. It's a great picture -- wish I could take credit for it!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
And this little guy was nearby -- he could fly, but the way he was squawking, he was obviously waiting for mom to come and take care of him. I'm enjoying the birds so much, I've signed up for two bird-watching walks in the next two days. I bought some binoculars, and I hope it's not pouring rain on either day.