Friday, February 18, 2022

Birds, berries, a squirrel and some art.

Before I get to the art, I have to tell you about a squirrel. Yesterday, around 2:30pm, I was sitting outside in the yard watching the bird feeder. Behind the feeder and under the camellia trees was one of the squirrels that skitter around my yard all the time. I watched as he picked up a fallen, white camellia flower. He looked at it and then buried his face in the petals. He rubbed his face with the flower like he was refreshing himself. He played with it a bit and then he turned it so he had fresh petals to feel. He kept rotating the flower until he felt all of it while petals fell. When he was finished with his petal bath he settled down to nibble on the dark yellow center of the flower.

It's hard to get good pictures on the phone when zooming in from across the yard.

He's still holding one of the petals and you can see what's left of the flower.

Right after watching this squirrel's little ritual, a flock of cedar waxwings swooped down to eat the small berries on the tree to my left. As they're feasting on the berries, their leftovers are hitting me like little berry pellets. 

To my right is the bird feeder where 6 sparrows are fighting for space on the bar, a pair of cardinals are sitting in the camellia waiting their turn, and from the crepe myrtle, come flitting back and forth, a chickadee and a tufted tit mouse. Every time a space would open up on the bar, one of those two would swoop in, grab a bite and swoop back out.

The other birds I saw in that one hour outside were a pair of doves who like to walk around under the feeder and eat what spills, and a yellow throated warbler managed to find a spot to eat. The most fun was when a large group of waxwings decided to come down all at once to the bird bath for a drink. The squirrel, who had been watching, waited until they were all in the water, then he ran at them and made them all fly. This was happening all around, above me, right next to me, in front of me. And the sound - it was amazing to hear the blend of so many different types of birds, the notes floating around each other. It was truly a magical hour. 

Now, back to art. Remember the little painting from last time? I wasn't sure what I was going to do to finish it.

I started making my own collage materials. I'm using deli paper and anything that will make a mark with acrylic paint - brushes, stamps, twigs, anything with texture, even fingers. I've used collage materials in lots of paintings over the years and have a collection of handmade papers and various other ephemera floating around the studio but I thought it would be fun to make some sheets of my own mark making to make the layering even more personal. 

I cut out one of the purple circles and glued it in place. The paper goes translucent when glued so the background color shows through the stamp effect. The final touch was a stroke or two with the palette knife and white paint, and done.
All Good Things
wood panel

On this last one, I used more of my collage papers along with a bit of handmade paper with leaves embedded in it. I wanted a more earthy feel and color for this piece. I'm still working on a title so if you have any ideas.... shoot them my way.

And if you have a day that's pretty and an hour to spare, be sure to spend a little time in nature. Just listen and watch. There's probably a squirrel expert somewhere who can tell me exactly what that squirrel was doing but right now, I like the idea that he was bathing in the flower's perfume. 

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