Monday, June 25, 2012

Bedlam in Birdland

Oh my goodness - the mornings around here have been bedlam. What is going on with the birds? They make the most astounding racket all morning long starting at dawn. They babble, clamor, caw, call, chirp, twit, cry, drum, squawk, tweet and twerp. There is a cacophony of chatter, clatter, clicking, rustling and fussing around in what sounds like general pandemonium out there in the trees.

So why have they been so noisy all spring? Because they've been trying to attract mates and, at this point, are probably defending their nests and territory. Suddenly it all makes sense. Don't we humans act like total idiots when we're either ridiculously and irrationally in love or at a senseless border war with one another?

In time, thankfully and mercifully, there comes July when most baby birds have fledged and their parents are too busy feeding and teaching them how to survive to be hanging out singing and preening. In fact, those species that raise only one family a year may stop singing altogether. Others have a brief resumption of song to help teach their young ones the local dialect. Eventually however, and one by one, each species drops out of the spring chorus altogether until by late July only a handful of birds are still singing at all.

As much as I adore my fine feathered neighbors and look forward to hearing them every morning - they are after all, the harbingers of my favorite time of the year - it will be those attractive, alien-like, green foam earplugs for me until the end of July.

Bedlam in Birdland • 8" x 8" pen and ink framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fog on the Bay

I was out walking the Eastern Prom the other day watching the fog roll in and out and over the islands. It was a tranquil scene - the sun was setting, the wind had died. There was a blue haze and absolute quiet. I watched a determined sailor make his way slowly across the water in hopes of finding a finger of a breeze, inhaled deeply and just as I was about to exhale into total relaxation, I stopped short and held my breath. The mast of a large vessel - an old, old ship was ghosting in and out of the fog beyond the farthest island. I allowed my breath to leave me in a controlled whisper. Slowly making its way toward land, toward Portland, toward me was a vessel that defied reason. It's flag - a menacing Jolly Roger!

I cupped my hands around my mouth and screamed, waving to the unsuspecting sailor to come about and head for shore as I pointed out over his shoulder to the ship that loomed closer and darker. A fear enveloped me and pulled me into a full on gallop up the hill. "Pirates, pirates," I gasped to all I encountered as I ran for my life...

I like playing this game occasionally - it adds an element of intrigue and fear to an otherwise beautiful but uneventful landscape. I've been a total bore lately and needed to reinvent myself for a few minutes.

Eventually, I painted the "beautiful" scene that day and then searched the internet to see if there ever were, in fact, pirates in Casco Bay. I was also curious about how the Jolly Roger came into being. This is what I found:

Pirates in Casco Bay:

Origin of the Jolly Roger:

Fog in the Bay • 8" x 8" acrylic on paper framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, June 11, 2012

Spring Break

Just finished all of my paintings for the 2013 Peaceful Places calendar. Whew! So I'm taking a little break to do some quick pen and inks. Haven't done one for a long time - thought I'd just mess around a bit first.

I finished this but then decided to color it after all. Must be the spring thing - too much color out there to ignore.

Spring Break • 8" x 8" pen and ink and watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, June 4, 2012

Crows in the Field

Doing this blog gives me a great excuse to spend a little time cruising the info highway for "research."

Take this past weekend. I was in an indefinite rain delay and spent some time watching a couple of crows pecking around in the lower field up in Kingfield. This is not a great sign because it means we have grubs. I couldn't bring myself to think about grubs, so I focused on the crows and researched them on the internet.

There is a lot of info out there about crows, and we all know how smart they are, but I found this story touching and uplifting. I think it offsets the downpour we're having here in Maine nicely.

Crows in the Field • 12" x 12" acrylic on birch panel • $200