My webpage (inc. awards, upcoming events, etc.)

Monday, June 30, 2008

My Town Monday

We went to the Abita Creek Flatwoods Preserve for a quick hike yesterday. Light rain started as soon as we stepped onto the boardwalk, but that didn't deter us.
A golden web orb weaver spider (working on a deer fly in its web.)

Bumblebee on an unidentified flower.

Pitcher plants & pink flowers.

A common wood nymph butterfly.

A flatid planthopper.

Katydid nymph on a bog button flower. The flower's about 1/4" across.

"My Town Monday" is the brainchild of Travis Erwin.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


One of our local raccoons have been bringing her two babies around (in the middle of the day, which is odd.) We haven't been able to get a picture of the young'ns yet, but today I spotted & snapped this red bellied woodpecker chick.
I went to the Lacombe Crab Cook-Off Festival to mind an art display for the Bayou Lacombe Art Center (of which I am a member.) Although we didn't sell anything while I was there (from 10:30am 'til 2pm,) I did get a lot of positive comments on my work. I know they were genuine, as I didn't interject or introduce myself as the artist unless someone asked. (Update; After the fact I found out that one of my paintings sold at this event.)
Shortly after returning home, the rains came...

(My favorite part is at the end of the video, shortly after 1 minute.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Sky Watch (Updated)

Sunset over Lake Pontchartrain at Fontainbleau State Park on May 14th, 2008. Beachfront, camping cabins & pier restored after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina...Finally.

(Update; This photo was featured on the front page of the St. Tammany News on July 1, 2009.)

"Sky Watch" is the brainchild of Tom Wigley.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

10 Year Meme

Steve Malley tagged me for this meme.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Enjoying my life for the first time in my life, after having left my ex of 10 1/2 years. Lots of travel, adventure, new friends & magical experiences. I went to NYC for the first time in 13 years & to Florida (where I saw a live shuttle launch,) for the 1st time in 26. I lost 40 lbs. I inherited my beloved Dodge Intrepid (see photo,) & $4000 (as mom's primary caregiver--a result of a lawsuit.) I also took mom's cat (who had cancer,) into my home, as she wasn't a "cat person," he & I were great friends & I couldn't just let him die alone, out in the cold.

Five things on your to-do list for today;
1. See that the "Friends of the Park" get the panel I painted (see yesterday's post.)
2. Record last night's dream(s.)
3. Call the car shop & see if the part for my A/C repair is in yet.
4. Work, 2-6pm.
5. Choose 2 paintings to display/sell at the Lacombe Crab Cook-Off Festival this weekend. (Note; This one's rolling over into "things to do by Friday morning" & may morph into further things, like getting a frame or two, depending on the paintings I choose.)

What would you do if you were a billionaire?
This is almost impossible to answer, as I can hardly imagine what that kind of money is like. Among ideas I'm entertaining are;
1. Book a trip to the moon, one way or another.
2. Procure a large, wooded chunk of south-facing lakefront land & build a modest home on it.
3. Put $2 million away for my nephews.
4. Help friends w/their debts.
5. Start my own art gallery.
6. Do something charitable regarding nature conservation.

What are three of your bad habits?
1. Too often impatient.
2. I don't exercise enough.
3. I can curse like a sailor.

What are some snacks you enjoy?
1. Popcorn.
2. Ice cream.
3. Chocolate anything (but not often.)
4. Fruit cups.

What were the last five books you read?
1. "How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist" by Caroll Michels
2. "Selling Art Without Galleries" by Daniel Grant
3. "The Mysteries of Druidry" by Brendan Cathbad Myers
4. "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr. Joseph Murphy
5. "Interpreting Your Dreams" by W. Lindsay Jacob, M.D.

What are five jobs you have had?
1. Public contract security (which involved just about every other job you can imagine.)
2. Computer parts buyer.
3. Carny.
4. Payroll/Accts Receivable Clerk.
5. Magazine proofreading & layout.

What are five places where you have lived?
1. Woodbury, New York, USA.
2. Austin, Texas, USA.
3. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
4. Metairie, Louisiana, USA.
5. Abita Springs, Louisiana, USA.

I'm not one for tagging, but feel free to participate, if you'd like!

Friends of the Park Panel & Etc.

Here it is, finally; the panel I painted for "Friends of the Park" (see original post for more info.) Click for larger image. Apologies for the slight glare, but it's semi-gloss paint & the picture was taken in my living room (I'll try to get another picture after its installed.) I intended to include more details (i.e.; a ring of plants that are around the tree, a bird or a butterfly here or there,) but alas, I ran out of time. It's being picked up tomorrow morning. I just hope the kids appreciate it.
In other news, the top alligator picture in this post was printed in full color on the front page of our local newspaper this past Sunday.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Baby Wrens; 2nd Brood

Charles went into the shed today & told me that "our" local Carolina wren pair's 2nd brood has hatched. It must have been pretty recent; they're very small & still featherless with closed eyes. From what I understand, these wrens will not reuse an old nest (which explains why we saw them bringing in new materials a few weeks ago.) If that's the case, the wrens must have dismantled & discarded the old nest, because this nest is in the same spot (in the folds of our tent, again.)
3 are clearly visible in this photo (counting beaks.) I'm sure there are more (facing toward the back,) but I didn't want to disturb them anymore than I already had.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It Is Done...

If you're a regular reader, you may have thought (from the title of this post,) that I'm finished with the panel from the park. Alas, no. I'm working very hard on that all this weekend. What is "done" is my haircut.
I went to Supercuts this morning & had a foot's length of hair lopped off to donate to Locks of Love (as mentioned in this previous post, which also shows the "before" picture of my hair.) My head feels much lighter & I'm sure my "shorter" hair will be cooler, now that Summer's here. At the rate it grows, I'll be able to donate again in another year or two, anyway.
Now back to painting the panel...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sky Watch

Clearing skies at Lake Ramsay (Louisiana.) Taken last Autumn. See yesterday's post for an additional sky photo.
"Sky Watch" is the brainchild of Tom Wigley.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick Update

First let me apologize to those who recently commented on my last post. I haven't responded personally lately, as my spare time has been spent working on the panel for the park, which is due this coming Monday. I've had to slow down on it over the last couple of days, because it's been fairly back-breaking work. Because I don't have any way to get the panel up off the floor, there's been a lot of crawling around on one hand & both knees, a paintbrush in my other hand. Although I had plans to put much more into the design, I don't know that I'll be physically up to it. At least the main subject (the Choctaw Ridge Oak,) is done, for the most part. As I'm into my last days to work on it, I probably won't be able to visit many blogs or answer many comments until next week.
Today's picture is of this morning's sunrise. I woke uber-early, unable to sleep anymore. I'm 99% sure it was because of a dream related to my childhood, involving such imagery as a dragon made of fire, dangers to survival in a post-apocalyptic world & an Asian man who'd not only survived the bombing at Hiroshima, but was subsequently beaten & slashed with knives; so horribly disfigured I could barely stand to look at him. It probably doesn't help that my car's in the shop for an air conditioning problem either...That's enough of a nightmare!

Afternoon update; Rec'd a call from the Friends of the Park, stating that the due date for the panel is now Wed., 6/25/08 (so I have an extra day or so.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Book Review; "Selling Art Without Galleries"

I was excited to get this book. Considering that I haven't done a lot of formal research in marketing my art, I thought I had a lot to learn. Unfortunately this book suggests that I don't.
Author Daniel Grant touches on various subjects, giving no real insight or information on any of them. He begins each section by explaining and touching on such subjects as web marketing, signature letters, the artist's statement, etc. Then he offers quotes from various art professionals (critics, gallery owners, other artists, etc.) Some say they consider these things important, good or positive & some say the exact opposite. It's like talking with someone who says, "It might rain today, but then again, it might not." He repeats throughout that there are no guarantees in art marketing; a blinding flash of the obvious. So what did I learn? It's all a crap shoot with no solid guidelines & potentially huge financial risks. I already knew that.
Most of the various marketing opportunities discussed I'm already doing, I already know or I've already thought of.
He includes a quote from an artist, saying that artists need to learn to speak up for themselves. Unfortunately this book won't teach you how to do that. Similarly, examples are offered in the section about artist statements, but no guidelines are offered on how to write an effective one, yourself.
On the plus side, a fair amount of contact information is provided (for galleries, associations, magazines, etc.) Although this book was published only 2 years ago (by Allworth Press,) a fair number of the internet links provided are either defunct or just wrong. This may not be the fault of the author or publisher, but it's still annoying. I have yet to check out the validity of street addresses and phone numbers.
The book also discusses the business side of art; accounting, insurance, taxes, etc. Where pricing's concerned, however, the author reverts to the wishy-washiness mentioned previously. Formulae & ideas are offered, then almost immediately recanted.
Others may get more from this book than I did--it may be good for beginners--but I wish I'd spent the money on something else, like the entry fee for a local art market.

(Note; I immediately started reading a different book on the subject, "How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist," which, by the end of the 1st chapter, is already far more enlighening & informative.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sky Watch

It's been suggested to me before & since it's a favorite photography subject of mine, I've decided to participate in Tom Wigley's Sky Watch when I can. This picture is of Thursday evening's sunset/moonrise. I was taking pictures of the other side of the sky & when I turned around to go back in the house, this was the image I saw. We get some stunning skies out here.

The Mystery Revealed...'N Stuff

For those mystified by the middle picture in my previous post, the top center of this picture reveals the subject matter. Ta daa! Kudos to Marvin and Erik for figuring it out.
This was the first "stitched" picture I've ever taken. Individual shots just didn't do the gazebo justice. As usual, you can click on the picture for a significantly larger view (which includes Charles.)
I dropped Charles off at the airport early this morning. He's off to Texas for the weekend. I'm hoping to get a lot of painting done on my panel (for the park.) I tend to paint with my canvasboards down on a table (which helps keep thin washes from dripping,) & I haven't done a mural in a while, so its been an adjustment getting back into the swing of painting on something in a vertical position. I feel clumsy! It's going well enough, though.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Random Eye Candy

Thanks for your continuing patience. As usual, click on pictures for larger views...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Evening Hike

Because it wasn't quite so brutally hot this afternoon, Charles & I went for a hike at the Flatwoods shortly before sunset. I heard some blue jays screeching incessantly & found it odd, until I spotted a barred owl perched in a tree. A pair of cardinals accidentally flew into the chaos, but quickly realized their error & beat it out of there. Harassed by the jays, eventually the owl flew off (& they followed.) Shortly after that, a couple of great blue herons flew by not far away. There was also what was probably a Mississippi kite, doing some shallow stoops (like a falcon.)
There were some beautiful flowers, including orange milkwort, butterfly weed (pictured above,) wild orchids & others. Unfortunately there were also a lot of deer flies (which wouldn't leave us alone,) & some seriously large hornets. Toward the end of our hike the sun started to set and the bats came out. There was much to be seen, even though we were only out there about an hour.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Baby Cardinals & Other Art News

We've finally started seeing baby cardinals out back (click photo for larger image. All 3 cardinals there are young'ns.) Last year we saw them--many of them--as soon as they'd fledged, when their parents still had to feed them & teach them how to open sunflower seeds. The young would flutter their wings rapidly, needing attention. This year it seems we've missed out on that step. Many of the chicks already have color (including the red one in this photo.) Although I'm always glad to see any chicks, I'm slightly bummed to have missed the earliest stages of their post-fledged development. We don't have nearly as many chicks this year, either. I suspect that the clearing of a neighboring lot about 6 weeks ago might have had something to do with that.
I got the panel and paints for the Friends of the Park project I mentioned in my last post. Unfortunately I didn't get much paint & much of it's not really shades I need. I've left a message to see if it'd be okay if I just go ahead & buy my own paint. I can tell that they're trying to be sure that all of the participants have the same supplies, but surely they won't complain if I'm willing to spend my own money in order to do a better job & make my life easier.

In other news, I'll have a couple of paintings on display (& for sale,) in the Bayou Lacombe Art Center tent at the upcoming Lacombe Crab Cook-Off Festival. I'm also volunteering at the event on June 28th, from 11 a.m. 'til 2 p.m. C'mon down if you're in the area--we can get crabs together!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I'm Stoked; An Art Invitation

Here in Abita Springs, the "Friends of the Park" are restoring & improving our town park, including a brand new children's playground & an awesome fountain (from what I hear.) The pavillion & new trailhead museum mentioned in previous posts are on the park's grounds.
Tonight I received a call from the head of the group's art committee, inviting me to paint a local, historical oak on a 4x8' panel that will be used as part of a fence (they want to use local artists.) It doesn't pay (financially,) but it's a great opportunity to do something for the town & perhaps get some exposure in exchange. I'm totally stoked about it!
The only down side is that they want the panel completed & returned by June 23rd. I'll be pushing my other projects to the side for the time being to focus completely on getting the panel done. As a result, I may not post much here in the next couple of weeks, but I will definitely post pictures when I'm finished!
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