Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anatomy of a painting

Last fall I was in Yellowstone with my partner, Tom. We were photographing a very large and stately bull elk. His antlers were 6 points on one side and 7 on the other. He had a small harem, 10 or so cows. He was hanging out near Madison Junction. He was quite the traffic stopper. At times there would be a hundred or so people watching him. We watched him off and on for 4 days. Our last morning in Yellowstone we were out early hoping to catch him in the morning fog coming off the river as the day warmed. We were in luck. There was an oxbow in the river, he had his girls on the island created by the oxbow. Occasionally one of the cows would wander across the shallow river, the bull would go get the cow each time. Tom and I were set up near the water watching the elk. Tom had his 600 mm lens on the tripod. We had been there for at least an hour when one of the cows crossed over to graze. She wandered along munching on grass, the bull snorted at her, she ignored him, hmmmm....the bull raced over to get the cow back. The cow started running - she headed straight toward us, the bull running full speed behind her. We became very nervous! I grabbed all the bags and extra cameras and ran back. The cow crossed the river right in front of us. We deserted the 600 lens. The bull stopped just short of the tripod, snorting. He gave us the evil eye. Hence the story of this painting.

Stage one of the painting.

Stage two.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mom's Birthday

My Mom turned 75 yesterday. I had knit her a felted bowl for a gift. I found a knitting book in Denver that had a new interesting way to knit. Moebius cast on - Cast onto a circular needle and get a twist in the loop - the top rim of the bowl.

Bowl before felting.

When I put the bowl into the washing machine to felt it one strand of yarn broke and unraveled. There was a big hole in the side of the bowl. I continued to felt it. Once it was felted it had shrunk enough that the hole was not so big. The color in this photograph is much closer to the real color.

Bowl after felting - hole on upper right of rim.

Then the decision - do I still give it as a gift with a hole? I thought, well it could be like the art projects I made when I was little, ceramic bowls that were lopsided and the glaze was uneven. Are we still allowed to make imperfect art projects when grown-up? After the bowl mishap I quickly knit a scarf for my daughter, the pattern was in Cat Bordhi's book, A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. She was excited to get it, she said she had been thinking about a red scarf.

Note the twist in the scarf.

I decided that a painting would be a better gift. When I was in La Jolla this winter I took a picture of an agave plant. The leaves make the most amazing shapes. The image has been in the back of my head wanting to become a painting. I bought two 10"x10" canvases. I painted the undercoat and got started.
Photo and prepped canvas.

Since my birthday gift will be belated at least I did paint on her birthday.

Technicolor Agave

I painted another to donate to the Art Auction fundraiser at the Jackson Hole Community School.

Agave Too

Now I am ready to do one of these paintings on a much larger canvas. I have a 30"x 30" waiting to be used. I have been afraid to get going on such a large canvas. Doing the little has made me excited to get going.....

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This morning it was 6 degrees, clear and bright. While driving to work I saw these beautiful weeds covered with hoarfrost. First I kept on driving, I decided to go back and make a photograph. Backlit wonderful crystals. Eight hours later and 25 degrees warmer here is the same weed. What a difference, still beautiful but completely different.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Walking to the car

I was walking to my car after work today. The waxwings have been eating the crabapples on the trees on the lawn on the St. John's Church. The birds have been there for several days. I keep wishing I would make time to photograph the birds. Tonight when i got to the car I decided that if there was a parking space I would stop and photograph the birds. I really was headed to the yarn shop to buy yarn to knit another scarf. There was a parking space right in front of the church. I walked near the trees, there were 50+ waxwings in the trees. There were quite a few robins as well. I was not in the proper foot gear, I punched through the snow, in my clogs, I ventured closer and closer to the trees. The birds could not have cared less about me. I was within 20 feet of the crabapple trees full of waxwings. Here are my images and waxwing sounds