Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Common Yellow Throats are indeed common

Considering I had never seen a Common Yellow Throat until this spring I think it's amazing how often I've seen them this summer.  (here and here) But I guess that's because now I know where to look.  This first photo does indeed have a male Common Yellow Throat right in the center of the photo.  Every time I've seen a yellow throat it's been in one of these low to the ground thickets.  If you wait they eventually pop up somewhere you can actually see them. 

male Common Yellow Throat, see that dash of yellow and black in the center (upper left center)

I think this is a female Common Yellow Throat.

juvenile male Common Yellow Throat

another male down a ways from the above photos

Sunday, September 25, 2011


This thicket was very busy with birds yesterday evening.  Look closely, there's a bird in this photo.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

White Clay Creek

I led a hike on Thursday through White Clay Creek PA/DE.  I am NOT a good hike leader.  A good hike leader would have verified the existence of the bridge so as to avoid an extra two miles of frantic how are we ever going to get back to the car hiking.  Sorry everyone.  But look how pretty. 

P.S. It would be helpful if the PA DCNR would update the White Clay Creek Preserve map.  Thank you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Skin Rugs

Augustina Woodgate, Skin Rugs
A great image from Agustina Woodgate's website.  I assume that's her working on one of her "Skin Rugs" which are made from stuffed animal "skins."  Although technically I think "pelts" is more accurate.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Drawing from Folk Art

Andre Masson, The Kill, 1944

I am interested in these works that seem to pull from folk art traditions.  I have no idea why this painting is called "The Kill."  I'd really like to know more but so far haven't found any information.
Drew Testa, Material Bloom

I saw this piece by Drew Testa on Joetta Maue's blog yesterday morning.  It looks to be created using the rag rug braiding technique popular with early American settlers.  The photos on his site are better but this gives you the general idea.
Stacey Page, Elaine
When I was young I collected holy cards and my absolute favorite had embroidered embellishments.  Stacey Page takes that to a whole new level in her embroidered photo pieces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Studio Day

Angel was very happy not to be left behind today.  She loves studio days.  I restretched the outdoor stretcher so if it doesn't rain I'll be outside again sometime soon.  

And if it rains...then I'll be doing more of this:

Monday, September 19, 2011

Duchamp and DeKooning

Marcel Duchamp, The Passage from Virgin to Bride, 1912
I happen to LOVE this painting.  I do not know why the Museum of Modern Art chose to hang it two feet over my head.  Seriously, I'm going to bring my own ladder next time.  This seems like a pretty good reproduction but it's still nothing like looking at the painting.  Of course I'm saying this from memory since this time I couldn't really see it when I was standing below (I mean in front) of it.  Argh. 

Willem de Kooning, 1948
De Kooning's paintings are so big that they can hang them from the ceiling and they'll still be on my eye level.  MOMA's retrospective of DeKooning is really great.  There were a number of these black and white paintings which I love for personal reasons.  It looks very much like the piles of rock I've been looking at although apparently they are all body parts.  There are so many more great images from the show.  If you can't make it to NYC check out this site for more images.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A Flower & Charline Von Heyl at ICA

I need to find out what this flower is called so I can grow one.  Please let me know if you recognize it.  This beauty was growing outside the Vietnam Cafe in Philly where I met Matt for lunch Friday.  Yum.  Before lunch I went to the ICA to see the latest show.  Charline Von Heyl's paintings were very inspiring.  They are also very process oriented so while you can enjoy the bold colors and shapes you really have to go see them to appreciate all the different types of mark making she uses.  These are a couple of my favorites.  (Images from Contemporary Art Daily.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Introducing Canyon Project

I'm leaving the boxes to stew for a while and moving on to my next grand enterprise.  The outdoor painting I've been doing is part of it, as is this spiral.  The working title of this big adventure is Canyon Project.  My ultimate goal is to create a large installation of canvas spirals and whatnot that viewers can actually walk through.  I do love making these spirals.  So much fun.  And I also love to photograph them so I'm sure you'll be seeing more.  A fourth view over at tumblr.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hawk vs. Crow

When I was painting on Monday the crows kept me company. There was a large and very loud gathering of them and they were not tolerating intrusions of the hawk kind.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Painting in the Great Outdoors, Day 2

A park ranger came out this morning to see what I was doing taking up all kinds of space and making lots of noise.  (When I dropped the stretcher to the ground it sounded a lot like a gun shot and Ranger Tony showed up right afterward.)  His arrival handily coincided with me not being able to get one of my stretcher pieces in place by myself.  So I put him to work.  He hung around until I stood the painting up.  Then he left without commenting so I don't think he was too impressed.  Ha.  He did mention that I might have started back into painting on something smaller... 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pain and Suffering

It has been a LONG time since I really made an oil painting.  Working on this one yesterday it occured to me that the gird work I made a few years ago doesn't count.  Painting is NOT like riding a bike.  It does NOT come rushing back.  You have to suffer for it.  Like the actual muscle power you need to ride a bike, cause that doesn't come rushing back either.  The good news is that my portable stretcher works great.  Unfortunately I didn't think to protect my car from spray so it's now a bit speckled.  boo hoo.  Today I'm going to remember to bring my lunch and not leave it hanging on the front door.  I'm going to drag this sucker out there again and see if I can remember a little more about how to paint.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stapler vs. Bolt

Round One, Stapler vs. Bolt, goes to Bolt.  Stapler should just stay down.  It was literally blown apart.  See that tape?  That's whats keeping staplers brains in.  Or guts.  Depending on how you want to roll with this analogy.  The good news is that the tape is working so I was able to finish stretching my 6'x6' traveling stretcher.  Sometime today I'll find out if I can fold it in half like I planned.  After that it's time to head outside and get to work.

I went with red gesso on this one. At some point I was going to make something out of canvas painted with only red gesso. I changed my mind but still have the gesso.  This is all part of a long term project that will culminate in a huge installation...if all goes well.  I'll keep you posted.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fungus Among Us

All of this rain, and I mean a whole month and almost a half of it, has produced a whole lot of fungus.  These are a few of the shots I took yesterday.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

High School Begins

 Our school year finally got off to its start after a construction delay.  I guess that means they moved out the heavy equipment blocking the bus path because the building is still VERY MUCH under construction.  Freshman year should be pretty interesting.

Olivia being back in school means I'm back in the studio.  Or at least that's what it should mean.  Instead I spent the whole day at home because a horrible case of vertigo prevented me from driving anywhere.  Today is going to be different...please, please, please let it be gone.

This next photo was taken after hurricane Irene but given last nights thunderstorm I imagine this is what I'll find when I go outside today as well.  I realize that I requested rain back in June.  I officially rescind that request.  Matt's bank flooded this morning.  He says they are walking around on squishy carpets.  Fun stuff.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Our Labor Day weekend was fun filled.  We drove down to Virginia for my nephew's 12th birthday and stayed out by my parents in their new location in Manassas.  This was my first visit to Manassas National Battlefield Park.  Very beautiful and an important birding location.  I'd really like to come back and find a red headed woodpecker.  On a day that wasn't so hot...or so humid!!!  It definitely brought back visions of my teen years, hazy, hot, & humid=bad hair and bad skin!!  

The real battles this weekend took place out in Front Royal, VA.  My first ever experience playing paintball.  Note the above comment about the weather and our sweatshirts.  Yes we were dying of heat stroke.  But we were all more afraid of pain then heat.  Ha ha.  I should have taken off my sweatshirt because I took all of my shots to the head. 

My dad, who won a sharp shooting medal in the army, got to show off his "mad accuracy skills."  My nephew's friends were very impressed.

I was also impressed with my dad's "mad accuracy." 

It all ended with cake as every good battle should!