Tag Archives: wildlife

dune painting and wildlife report from VA Beach

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When I was driving down the Sandbridge Rd. this morning a deer crossed the road in front of my car. I saw it from far away, a doe, as it walked across the ditch. It didn’t jump, just walked. Then as I was driving down the Back Bay rd. a big sand crab crossed the road.

A couple days ago I had to come to a stop on that road for a big turtle.

One day last week I was walking down the gravel road to my overlook and I saw something brown in the grass next to the road, not moving, and I wondered what it was. It was a big rabbit and not your ordinary wild rabbit but one with real pretty tortoise shell  colored  fur. As I got closer it didn’t move but kept on eating the grass. I walked by it only 3′ away and it didn’t run.

There is a bumper crop of dragon flies down there and one flew right into my neck! You can see hundreds of them buzzing all around this scene.

It was hot when I got there at 7:30 but there was a nice breeze which made it more tolerable. Now it’s hot as hell out there.

I’m almost finished with my dune painting triptych. This is the center section, finished.

Today’s wildlife report from Virginia Beach

Oysters spit.

I was walking at Pleasure House Point and stopped to look at some oysters. A bunch of times I saw little jets of water shoot up. It was kind of funny. I never knew they did that.

Human wildlife

I found another good place to sketch that I didn’t see before. There were boats beached on a sand bar and people out on the sand in the middle of the inlet. The tide was low. A boat was blasting country music.

Birds

I saw an egret, a sand piper and a small heron.

I think the osprey chicks in the nest out back are learning to fly. I saw one fly to the ground and then back up to the nest, and I saw one fly around the nest in high circles. I think those were this years chicks, but I’m not sure.

This photo was lifted from stock photos

Ok. this is my second try using the new editor. It took some time to find the right place for categories and tags. This editor seems more technical or complicated to me.

I’ve seen a lot of ospreys lately

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I lifted this photo from free stock because I’ll never get a shot this good.

That 10 nights I stayed at the oceanfront when my lease was up at my old apt. and I didn’t know where to go, then that same day they announced VA needs to go on lockdown, so I went to a hotel with a good view, I saw an osprey fly past my balcony 3 different times with a fish in it’s talons. Another time I saw the bird on top of a street light pole eating a catch.

Then I moved into this apt which is quiet and safe and has a real private balcony with 2 big old cedar trees blocking my view of an empty baseball diamond out back, and I saw ospreys flying around.

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Yesterday I saw 3 huge birds on that pile of sticks on top of that light pole on the left, and there’s another smaller pile of sticks on a pole on the right with an osprey hanging around. A bird is on top of the “nest” on the left but it’s not showing up in my photo and you can barely see the bird on the right. That’s as far as my camera can zoom in.

I didn’t even notice the pile of sticks until yesterday when I saw them flapping around it. I thought I saw a little white head popping up a few times. I don’t know for sure that the stick pile was there all along because we had a gale force wind here on Mon. How did that pile not blow down? Or did the 3 birds just make that since the day of the big wind? I didn’t see them on top of the sticks again yesterday but this morning I saw one fly in and the other one leave.

At first I thought it could be that the 3  birds going to the sticks on the left were last years chicks who haven’t paired off yet but want to practice their nest building skills. I don’t know. This morning I saw one fly from the pile on the left over to the smaller pile on the right.

Also, I was sitting on the balcony at the oceanfront hotel and 2 pigeons landed right in front of me on the railing. I looked at them. They looked at me. One flew away then the other flew away but came back again. I think they were searching for me because pigeons like me, but that’s another story. Once I gave a pigeon shelter from a storm and it hung around my house in Richmond for a week or so.

It was a tame banded pigeon hopping around on my porch. When the storm came up I opened the door and the pigeon hopped in onto my foot and I put it on a shelf where it stayed overnight. The next morning it was easy to catch and put back outside. I got the number from the band and looked up the owner. The pigeon escaped from a bird show in Richmond. (one of those trick ” rolling “pigeons)  It was pretty. I fed it for a few days but then it was gone. The guy told me a hawk probably got it.

That’s the wildlife report from VA Beach today, and a brief story about a strange bird encounter.

I’m making good progress on my pastel of Rudee Inlet, but I’m posting this so my blogging friends won’t worry if they don’t hear from me. I’m safe. My stuff is safe.  I’m still healthy. I hope you all are ok too.

marsh with egret / art theory

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This is watercolor with Inktense pencils in the grass. I’m not sure if I should work on the egret more or stop now.

When I see a beautiful place like this, I want to paint all of it. I wonder why the trend in art is to simplify. I need bigger paper so I can put more of the scene in the picture.

My theory is this, if an artist’s life is complicated they feel the need to simplify their art. Most peoples’ lives are complicated. My life is so extremely simple most people would die of boredom. That’s why I enjoy the complexity of nature so much.

I look at this scene and think about things like, that’s a great habitat for an egret but inhospitable for a human. How many snakes are down there? How many of those snakes are poisonous? Is the light better in the afternoon? Because the parking spot close to my little overlook will be full and I’ll have to walk a mile with my art supplies if I don’t get there early. Why did the trees die? An inlet is on the other side of that row of trees and the path floods. Did the marsh water get saltier, killing trees? Or did beetles do that? I might never know the answers to my questions but that’s the kind of things my mind goes to.

Since my life is so simple, I feel like my mind is more balanced, thinking about simple questions and not stressing about serious problems. It makes me look slow in comparison to other artists. I can’t call myself “prolific” because it takes a week to finish a watercolor. That’s ok. If I was an artist that felt compelled to make art in some type of frenzied state, (the other extreme)  that would be unbalanced for me.

As always, feel free to opine.

marsh @ Pleasure House Point

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This is watercolor with some Inktense pencil in the grass.

The tide was high all week and the sandy path to my overlook was flooded every day.  At least the water looked the same every day too, because it’s a lot different at low tide. A lot of people walked in the water, some fishermen wearing waders and others, including me, took their shoes off and walked barefoot  in the water. It’s still warm here.

A guy stopped and talked to me. He said Pleasure House Point is his favorite place for work and recreation. I asked him what kind of work he does and he said he tests water quality. Doesn’t that sound like a good job for a nature lover? He was interested in buying my painting and it was only half finished. He gave me his phone number.  I’ll call him tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed I get a sale. IMG_2389

This is what I did to my fan brush. I cut it zig zag so I could make waves. I was trying to figure out a way to paint the water with wind going over it and this was what I came up with. I think I’m on the right path with this and I’ll use it again.

In wildlife news, the birds were squawking loudly and I heard a fisherman yell out, “Shut up! We’re trying to fish here!” I thought it was funny.

 

Southern Magnolia / charcoal study

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A story of a turtle and a dragonfly:

I was over at the botanical garden working on this study three different days in the morning before it rained each day. I was there about two hours at a time. So, roughly six hours in this little sketch.

The second day when I got there I saw a turtle on the ground in front of the bench I sat on to take a break the day before. It had dug a little trough in the wet dirt with it’s back feet and was half sitting in this little ditch it made. I wondered if it was going to lay eggs in the hole but I thought it wasn’t a very good spot for a nest right in front of the bench where they might get stepped on. I sat on the bench and the turtle didn’t move. I watched it for a few minutes to see if it would do something but it looked like it was asleep. I hoped no kids would find it and walked around the magnolia to a place I could sketch some flowers. When I got tired of sketching I went back to the bench and saw the turtle had walked about ten feet away. Then later I couldn’t see where it went.

Today I noticed a similar small excavation in the dirt close to the same bench. I wondered if it was made by that same turtle but I didn’t see it so I went to work on my sketch. I was working on it for an hour or so and a little blue dragonfly hovered over my sketchbook which I was holding in one hand to draw on. I couldn’t not see the dragonfly. Then it landed on the sleeve of my tie dye t shirt which is the same bright blue as the dragonfly. Nice little art nouveau ornament, I thought. It stayed on my sleeve for a few minutes and I continued to sketch. Later I looked and it was gone. I wondered why it landed on me.

So, that’s today’s plain air report.

I’d like to do a painting based on this sketch but it might have to wait until next year. I have more inspiration than time this year and the day lilies are opening up so I HAVE TO DRAW THEM!

Old Barn Still Standing / oil

Here's a little story for you.
Here’s a little story for you.

This barn is at the Windemere Gallery in Mechanicsville VA. The man that owns the gallery is Robert Dugan. He’s a nice man and welcomed me to paint there. He told me the barn has a lot of history.

The 1st day I worked on my charcoal drawing on paper. I heard a noisy crow and looked away from my drawing. The crow was chasing a Red Tailed Hawk. Now, it’s not unusual to see birds doing funny things when you go out to the country to paint, so I didn’t think too much about that. I find that a lot of times, I’m alone and see something unusual and have no one there to say, “Did you see that!” or “What just happened!?”

This is the strange thing. One day I was working hard on my painting for a while and stepped back to look at it. I saw a TURTLE COMING STRAIGHT AT ME !!! It was walking slowly, but aiming for my feet. It didn’t look like it wanted to bite me. So I just stood there and watched it. It came over to my feet and looked up at me! I waited for it to say something, but it didn’t, so neither did I. hahahaha I thought it looked like it wanted me to give it food. All I had for a snack that day was some mini doughnuts that got smooshed in my art cart. I decided not to give it a doughnut because I thought that might make the turtle thirsty and it was kind of dry out there. After a minute or so, the turtle walked away, leaving me wondering. Of all the turtles I’ve seen in my life, this was the 1st that wanted to be my friend!  (or did it?)

When I was ready to go home, I went into the gallery and Robert was in. I told him I saw some wildlife. He asked me if I saw a groundhog, and I said yes, but the weird thing is, a turtle came over to my feet. He didn’t seem surprised. He told me there’s so many turtles out there, he has to watch out for them when he mows, and stop to move them out of the way so he doesn’t run over them with the mower. And sometimes he feeds them bread. So that explains it.

Isn’t that funny?!