Friday, February 14, 2020

Road Runner Reprised

Road Runner / oil on canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping

I SAW TWO road runners the other day, in my dad's neighborhood in Tubac, AZ. They truly are ridiculous - running when they could fly! 

Apparently, there are reasons for this. According to American Expeditions, their wings are short, compared to the size of their bodies, and they can only stay airborne for a few seconds at a time. They fly only to escape predators, or when they're descending steep slopes. They can run as fast as 20 mph! 

For Today

I AM HEADING home to Virginia next week, a little earlier than planned. My dog-sitter is not crazy about my dogs, and that makes me sad and anxious. I am lonely - I am lonely all the time now - but I am particularly lonely for my doggies. And my friends, and my house and studio. 

So the Bird A Day project will probably be on hiatus as I make my way across the country. Or it might not. Either way, it will pick up again when I hit the Eastern Shore.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Raven / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


THE RAVEN IS A STAR of Native American lore - here is a story published by Haida artist Bill Reid in 1984:

How Raven Brought Light to the World

At that time, the whole world was dark. Inky, pitchy, all-consuming dark, blacker than a thousand stormy winter midnights, blacker than anything anywhere has been since.

The reason for all this blackness has to do with the old man in the house by the river, who had a box, which contained a box, which contained a box, which contained an infinite number of boxes, each nestled in a box slightly larger than itself - until finally there was a box so small all it could contain was all the light in the universe.

The old man hides the box with the light because he's afraid to see whether his daughter is beautiful or ugly. In a ploy to steal the box, the raven shrinks himself to become a hemlock needle in a basket of water. The daughter swallows him, and soon, the raven is reborn from her as a raven/human child.

He begins to ask his grandfather to open the boxes, and the old man does, opening them one after the other after the other.

When he opens the box containing the light, the raven steals it and flies out of the house, causing light to spread throughout the world, and revealing the beauty of the old man's daughter.

As the raven flies away, the eagle tries to steal the light from him. The raven drops some, and in the story, this light becomes the moon and the stars.

For Today

"He painted until his cursive brushes were only whispers of rawness on the thin ivory. Only the walls and the ravens that watched knew the boy with the paint-stained palms 
weaved his art onto his sketchpad on the park bench at lunchtimes,
 and only the trees whispered it like a prayer." 

- Grace Curley, "The Light that Binds Us"

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Chickadee on Cherry Branch

Chickadee on Cherry Branch / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 unframed


ON THE DRIVE out to Tubac, Arizona, where I am visiting my father and stepmother, I peeled an orange and tore my fingernail back a little from my finger. It hurt, especially because I got orange juice in the ripped place. 

I began thinking about fingernails, then, and wondering - if it hurt so much to have just a teeny tear between the nail and the skin, why doesn't it hurt when your nails grow? They grow from the bottom, not the top, so they must be ripping away from the skin all the time. 

The only answer I've been able to find is that it happens so slowly, it just doesn't register. Does anyone have a better answer than that? 

For Today

"If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." 

- Edward Hopper

Monday, February 10, 2020


Owl / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


APPARENTLY, SOME PEOPLE don't know that you're not supposed to touch paintings. First of all, the older the painting, the more brittle. If you touched a Rembrandt, you'd most likely be arrested, but you also could chip off parts of the surface. 

Second, and more to the point (as we are talking MY paintings, which are neither old nor Rembrandts), your skin is covered with an acidic oil that keeps it flexible and healthy. But it damages paintings, and can't be wiped off without damaging the paintings more. 

And third, and even MORE to the point, some artists bring wet paintings to shows and hang them in the booth before they're dry. Yes, I am guilty of this, though I make every effort to hang those wet paintings in places that people can't reach. 

This owl painting, I made during the Tubac show. I put it on a box behind a screen at the very edge of the patio where I was showing my work. And some woman went all the way back there and picked it up, smearing the paint all over her fingers and along the edges of the painting. She didn't damage it, really (I can fix it), but she made me angry. 

So please, don't touch the paintings unless the artist invites you! 

For Today

There was an owl
who lived in an oak.
The more he heard,
the less he spoke. 
The less he spoke,
the more he heard.
We all should be
like that wise old bird. 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Blue-footed Booby

Blue-footed Booby / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68 including shipping


THE BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY is, yes, another of the birds whose name turns me into a giggling 8-year-old.

It's also a fascinating bird, with a mesmerizing mating dance. Click here to see it. 

For those who don't know much about this bird (like me), here are some basic facts. They live off the western coast of Central and South America; about half the world's population lives in the Galapagos Islands.

They nest on land at night, and spend their days searching for food in the ocean. Sometimes they hunt in cooperative groups. When they see their prey, they fold their wings back and plunge into the water from as high as 80 feet, according to National Geographic.

As far as mating goes, the bluer the male's feet, the more attractive he is. Isn't that universally true?

For Today

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her. 
Still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings." 

- Victor Hugo

Thursday, February 6, 2020


Hummer / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / unframed / $68

HERE ARE SOME COOL hummingbird facts: 

  • There are more than 350 species of hummers, all in North and South America. Two species have gone extinct since hummers were recognized, in the 19th century
  • The average hummer weighs about 4 grams, or 0.14 ounce. The smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird, which weighs about 2 grams. 
  • Hummingbirds flap their wings generally 50-80 beats per second, though some flap as slowly as 12 times per second, and some as fast as 200 times, when they are diving. 
  • They live three to five years on average in the wild, though some have been known to live 12 years or more. One in captivity lived to be 14. 
  • They need to consume about half their body weight every day. They would starve overnight if they slept the way other birds do; they go into a state called "torpor," which is sort of like a short hibernation. 

You can find these facts and more at Discover Wildlife. com -


For Today

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." 

- Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Little Bluebird

Little Bluebird / Oil on black canvas / unframed / 4x4 / $38 including shipping


THE SHOW IN TUBAC, AZ starts in a few hours, and I am still setting up on the patio at Sweet Poppy, so I will leave this little bluebird to sing his song to you alone! 

For Today

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, 
but their inward significance." 

- Aristotle