Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One Week Left!!!

This is the last week of my kickstarter fundraiser. That means this is your last chance to buy a print of my work. After this, no more prints. I'm very close to my goal! Thanks so much to those of you who have already supported me!!

These are some of the options of the rewards (prints) you can choose for supporting my project. But if you've seen other images of my work or even photos from this blog you can choose those too. Thanks for your support!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sally Thompson

I visited Sally Thompson's studio this weekend. She has a huge, very cool space over a small town grocery store in Michigan. She's just getting settled in the space and already has some exciting things going on!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Visited the flat lands for Thanksgiving and saw a great tree.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Culprit

This is the monster that killed my machine and motivated The Great Wissahickon Project! Only 14 more days to go to the site and buy a print!
Go here or here to choose images for your reward!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christian St. Mural

I'm not a big fan of a lot of the murals being painted lately. I'm especially turned off by the very digital seeming murals. But the old, weird, quirky murals, like this one on Christian St., make me appreciate the art form.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goodbye Nathan Oliveria

When I was a young artist, stranded-I mean living- in Fremont, Ohio, I poured over the works of the Bay Area figurative painters. In 1994, before the internet made any image I could want to see available, I scoured bookstores for painting books. Probably on one of my trips up to Ann Arbor, which had a Borders with a large selection of art books, I found:

I spent hours looking through this book. I loved Joan Brown instantly.

It was also my introduction to Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bishoff, and David Park. And of course, Nathan Oliveria, who died last week.

Looking at these artists in the book was NOTHING compared to seeing their work for real. I didn't get that chance until maybe 1999 when I visited my sister in San Francisco. The reality of the paint, the tactility of the surface, paint thinly dripping and thickly applied with a trowel, these painters did it all. And it is knock-you-on-your-ass beautiful.

The SFMOMA website has a number of videos of Nathan Oliveria speaking about his work including a segment on his Windhover Project. To which, if you've been looking at all my bird photos, you can imagine I relate. A little reminder to revist mentors from the past.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I learned some new things about my camera tonight. I figured out how to adjust the aperture. Now I just need to learn how to use the tripod while aiming straight up while still looking through the view finder. But considering my first pictures were a ball of light with no detail, I am happy.

Project Update

My Great Wissahickon Project over at Kickstater is going well. Not quite half way through the time period and I'm already 66% funded. Very exciting! Please check it out, buy a print, & lend your support! You only have until the morning of Dec 8.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memory & Inspiration

I need to start this post by saying I love the internet. And I especially love people who put things on the internet. It took me the better part of an hour to figure out how to remove a still image from my imovie9 footage-no thanks to imovie's "help". ANYWAY, now I can actually write my post!

Since I made the movie for my Great Wissahickon Project I've gotten my video camera back out. More importantly I've gotten all of my video footage back out. I've always wanted to do something with it, especially the video I shot in Cameroon. (Most of which will make you sick to watch because I can't seem to hold the camera still.) Today I was putting together a clip (see it here) and was struck by the correlation between these feathered costumes and the scale pieces I've been making.

It's been 7 years since I visited Cameroon. I had forgotten about those costumes until today. Or at least I THOUGHT I'd forgotten them, because obviously I had not.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Monday Morning

Monday was one of those mornings I just have to run off and take pictures. The foggy gray sky made a beautiful backdrop to the last of the fall leaves. It's been such a mild fall. The leaves have been changing for months. I think we had our first snowfall by now last year.

I just love how the textures of the trunks show up in these photos- especially the second one. Gotta love the new camera!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Around Town

Another interesting place I drive past on the way to the studio. It seems to be an ever changing landscape of sorts.

I've decided not to move this blog. I'll keep it going here and use the tumblr one as well. Each space seems to have unique characteristics but I do like what I have going on here. So keep coming back for more. But also check out colleenstrailblog.tumblr.com which will be more visual (not much text) and more about my art.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Getting It

Sometimes you don't quite get it. This picture cracks me up. Look at the flash of tail on the far left. Remember the first digital cameras? The ones that wouldn't take the picture if something was moving?? Do you know how many photos of empty slides I took???? Seriously, Olivia would be way on the other side of the park before the picture took.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Great Wissahickon Project

If you read this post you won't be surprised when I say my sewing machine has died. The poor thing struggled along through two years of heavy abuse. I wish I had video of my "sewing experience." No one but me ever witnessed the turn handle flying across the room. One time it took two days to find as it rolled under a shelf. I did TRY to remember to take it off after I used it, but often I forgot.

You can read more about that at Kickstarter where I've started a project to raise money for an industrial sewing machine and what I'm calling The Great Wissahickon Project. Many of the works I've made have been inspired by rock formations. The Great Wissahickon Project will involve the community in creating a new work inspired by the Wissahickon Schist formations common to the area.

I took this photo before I figured on how to adjust my shutter speed so it's a bit blurry. Please visit the site above, maybe purchase a print, and pass the link onto others. The project will only happen if it's fully funded in the next 30 days!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Testing out Tumblr

For the next week or so I'm going to be blogging over at Tumblr. This is a trial period I'll let you know if I switch for good. In the mean time come see me over there.

Hooded Merganser

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

I found a new place to test out my new camera. Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge is just north of Atlantic City. We saw an amazing variety of birds- many I've never seen before. These are Atlantic Brant flying in and out. They seemed to pile up on each other when they fly. I'm not sure how they don't crash!

Friday, November 5, 2010

I KNOW I already showed you robins in berry trees. But LOOK at this guy!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Halloween Costume

Olivia puts a lot of effort into her Halloween costumes. This year she somehow conned Matt and I into putting a lot of effort into things we said couldn't be done. She started about October 1 deciding to be Angel from the book Maximum Ride. Well, she probably decided to be Angel earlier but Oct 1 was when she started in on us. She wanted wings. That move. So O.K. I said we could make wings and attach them to her wrists. She looked at me disdainfully and (like I was a moron) explained that attaching wings to your wrist cancels out the benefit of having BOTH arms and wings. DUH.

SOOOO...I told her to forget about it. We could not make wings that move not attached to your arms. And then I passed the problem on to Matt who ignored her for a couple of weeks. Then we all went to JoAnn Fabrics and stood in various isles arguing about the suitability of various materials. We came home with foam core and feathers. And, somehow, with washers and string Matt and Olivia made wings that move when you pull the strings. Thank god she didn't insist on having the controls wired into her brain or something.

Then, as she's getting dressed for her Halloween party, she tells me that she needs to put the harness/wings under a dress so you can see anything but the wings. The wings attach to her body via a harness made out of a bathrobe tie. It's big and soft and it can't go under a dress because the wings need to stick out the back and that would have been a whole other project which we didn't do!! And can't do in 5 min. So I say "tough shit" and she stares at me like I used to stare at her when she was 3 and said "Binky" threw her shoes across the room. (Binky being her imaginary friend.) That somehow (I need to review the tapes so it doesn't happen again) propelled me into figuring out how to make it look like she's wearing a dress in front while she's not in the back. After destroying one dress we settled on this one which has a zipper most of the way down the back. Borrowed some safety pins from a neighbor so the dress doesn't fall off and she's on her way.

Except...She can't fit those wings in the car!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Big Numbers

This picture has at least 40 bald eagles, 9 herons, 2 vultures, and an unknown number of black birds and sea birds. And that was just this frame and just what was clear enough to count in the photo. Conowingo Dam is an amazing place to see bald eagles!

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Camera

I know I promised Halloween photos but my parents gave me my birthday present early this year. I have a new camera. (insert happy dancing.) So OF COURSE I had to take it down to Conowingo Dam and test it out on the bald eagles. Yipee!

I should add that the bit of black showing under the white tail is the fish these two are fighting over.