Zebra Dove

One of the first things that I noticed visiting Hawaii were the birds. Everywhere we looked were beautiful colorful birds. In the morning when you awaken, you can hear them, they are on the beach, in the trees, waiting for you underfoot while you sit at a restaurant outside in the evening breeze.
The Zebra dove, much smaller than the doves and pigeons I have seen on the mainland, is one of the more ubiquitous species. I saw them everywhere. They have a wonderful voice and in Thailand and Indonesia, there are competitions as to which bird has the best call. Zebra doves are omnivorous, and will eat seeds, bugs, and crumbs around outside tables.
The reality of birds in Hawaii is this: most tourists never see a native bird. Almost all the birds that you might see on any given day are non-native, having been introduced to the island by people who thought they were pretty. Sadly there are only 4 native bird varieties that are still flourishing. At least this little dove is native to nearby places, perhaps they might have settled here eventually.

This little watercolor painting would fit perfectly in a 6″ x 6″ standard frame, and is for sale for $75.00.

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Crows Gathering

First one lands, then another. Then another. Two crows together feel safer than just one, and three, well, that’s gaining a little confidence, but not yet enough to be called a murder; a murder of crows, that is. Anything bigger than a squirrel could scare them all away..
A long time ago, I was a very unhappy teenager. There was nowhere in my life that I felt safe, except in the tenuous company of my friends. I say tenuous because we were all dependent on our parents, and any of our parents could suddenly change the rules and make us, any of us, even more isolated and disenfranchised. The world felt wrong because we were in a war we didn’t believe in, and it was time for us to prepare for our future as adults not having a clue about what was out there. Every teen was not like this, but I was, and so were some of my classmates.
This past month, I became reacquainted with a kindred soul. We went to high school together, she lived right at the bottom of the hill I lived on. She and I were never really close, we were both running, trying life out, looking for shelter. We both grew up. We both learned to love nature, appreciate wildlife, and the bounty and beauty of it. To celebrate how we have converged so much in our lives, we are exchanging paintings. She, from her corner of the wilderness in the far north on the east coast, me, from my urban jungle, far north on the west coast. Our paintings might cross in the mail, and I promise I will show you hers; but here is what I painted for Arlene, I hope she likes it.

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I remember you – a Child’s nature guide

For the second year in a row, I have participated in the Brooklyn Art Museum’s sketchbook project. Last year, I simply used my sketchbook as a visual journal, adding a little autobiographical information and sketching what I saw; my cats, my family, places I visited, and then filled up the blank spaces with other things like postcards and some of my small paintings.
After being able to see what others did, I realized that while a theme is good, a story is even better. So I wrote a story. Or maybe a nature journal.

My book is a fully illustrated nature book. On each page you will see things that I discovered as a child. I was actually surprised at how many different things I could trace back to the first few years of my life, plants, insects, animals.

I believe that children are natural scientists. Whatever environment they are home in is what they will study. I was fortunate in that my mother routinely let me outside to play. I do believe the happiest hours of my childhood were while I was watching ants, or birds, or tasting various plants. A lot of this play was solitary, but my little sister was often my sidekick as we pulled plantain shoots apart or blew dandelion seeds into the air.

This whole book will be eventually digitized at which time I will share the link with you. But in the meantime, I’ll share a couple pages for a preview.

So do you remember plants and bugs from your childhood? I am very curious to hear.

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Touring with crows

This is a commissioned painting. I wanted to show a little whimsy and it had to have a bicycle in it.
I really didn’t mean to make it look like my husband, but it definitely does. And he’d love to have a crow on board!
(and thanks to Robin Kent for the idea!)

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The Peacock’s Lair

Most of what I paint is based solidly in reality. Something I saw, someone I know; but yesterday I was doing an exercise that two different painters have suggested; to just doodle with colors on paper, try to keep it formless but pleasing to the eye. So I did that, and this peacock popped out.

I have never painted a peacock before but once I started I realized I could paint peacocks forever because they are so beautiful. The peacock was in the middle of a bunch of doodles, so I repainted him on a 6″ x 8″ piece of watercolor paper. He’s sitting on a structure which has either a plate full of cookies or a pile of gold coins in it. (I’m thinking it’s gold coins, how about you?)

To me he represents great beauty, mystery and hope for the future. He’s guarding the treasure in the box below him. So is the peacock the true treasure or is it the coins? Peacocks are not particularly aggressive, but they are very beautiful and alluring. In my youth I chased more than one peacock fruitlessly hoping for a feather. But anyway, I digress. . . Can someone help me with the story? I’m all ears. The winner gets a postcard from me.

This painting is for sale, $75.00

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