Tuesday, January 3, 2017

30 in 30 Art Challenge Days 2, 3 & Beyond WIP

Cheetah eyes, work in progress
Okay, I don't normally post works in progress, but here you go, anyway:-) I knew when I started this challenge that completing things daily might not happen. For me, the point is just to be drawing again. I love my colored pencils, but even small drawings take me a while. I'm anal-retentive, and build up layer after layer, then burnish, then add more layers. So, this is two days' worth of work already (not including my initial sketch which I transferred). This is Prismacolor pencil on a cream colored Stonehenge paper, and only ACEO-size again. As you can see, I have some way to go! This is my first big cat drawing, and I'm really enjoying it:-) Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

30 in 30 Art Challenge Day 1

Persian Cat Eyes Drawing Prismacolor Colored Pencils
Persian Cat Eyes, Prismacolor Colored Pencil Drawing ACEO
Happy New Year! Several years ago, I challenged myself to do a horse a day drawing for a while. I did it for about a month or so. Since then, my drawing has once again become sporadic. It's still the one thing I battle with myself a lot. Once I sit down and start, I love it. It's the starting part that gets me stymied.

So, I'd been thinking about challenging myself again, when a friend posted a link on Facebook to 30 in 30 by Leslie Saeta. Seemed like a sign to get started:-) I don't know how many drawings I'll complete, as colored pencil isn't the fastest medium. I may do works in progress - I do plan on drawing daily.

This first piece is one that I had started some time ago. I thought it might be nice to finally finish it. This is my second-ever cat drawing, and I chose a Persian because they're dear to my heart. This is just ACEO-size, so 3.5" x 2.5", Prismacolor colored pencils. This is my creation. I used a lot of different photos to create the cat I wanted.

Anyway, hope you'll follow along! If you're doing something similar, I'd love to see.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dragonflies 1

Female Widow Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa)
Female Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa), "Centered"
I've become even more obsessed with photographing dragonflies over the years. They're so magical to watch, though they're fearsome predators, too. Now that I've restarted my blog, I have a place to start posting all the photos I've taken:-) This is the first group, all taken in 2016. I still have more to edit! It's nice to have so many pictures, though, because I really miss seeing them in winter. I have plenty of other bugs and things to post, too. I don't think I'll be running out of photos any time soon... I try to id correctly, but if I have anything wrong, please let me know. I belong to a fantastic group on Facebook, featuring Odonata from all around the world, and I've been learning a lot: Dragonflies & Damselflies (you have to join to see posts). It's cool to see how many people are fascinated with these intricate creatures!

Male Blue-eyed Darner Dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Male Blue-eyed Darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor), I'm always amazed when I do catch an in-flight shot!
Male Western Pondhawk Dragonfly (Erythemis collocata)
Male Western Pondhawk (Erythemis collocata), what a face:-)
Male Vivid Dancer Damselfly (Argia vivida)
Male Vivid Dancer (Argia vivida), I can't resist damselflies, either.
Male Eight-spotted Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula forensis)
Male Eight-spotted Skimmer (Libellula forensis), "Balanced"
Male Blue Dasher Dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Male Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
Male Gray Sanddragon (Progomphus borealis) one of my most unusual finds this year - have a whole series of him eating.
Male Blue-eyed Darner Dragonfly (Rhionaeschna multicolor)
Male Blue-eyed Darner (Rhionaeschna multicolor), "Persevere" - tattered but still gorgeous.
Female Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly (Sympetrum corruptum)
Female Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum), probably the easiest dragonfly for me to photograph.
Male Black Saddlebags Dragonfly (Tramea lacerata)
Male Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata), and one hardest for me to catch, usually in the air and very wary when perched.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

How Long is Too Long?

It's been almost four years since my last post here. Is it too late to revive my blog? The few times I've visited it, I've missed it and remembered how much I enjoyed blogging. Yet, time has flown by, and it just never seemed to be right for restarting it.

 flying honey bee wall art print
I pulled it up today to look for something, and asked myself, when would be the right time? Who cares if anyone else reads it? Maybe I just need to start writing again, and see where it leads. So, here I am with no real idea of what to post, but with the urge to post something:-)

Barn Owl sculpture wall hanging
The past four years have had ups and downs, like most people. The down period was pretty hard, and took a while to move on from, but one foot in front of the other... I'm still photographing nature, my mom is still sculpting, and I even created our own website almost a year ago: Nature Visions' Boutique It's a work in progress, but I love it! I do have a blog there that I've started posting on. I've also started offering items for sale with my photos on them, which is huge for me; I've wanted to do that for years!

brown butterfly coffee mug
Skye, our Persian, turned 16 this year. Sam turned nine, and Jack is ten+ (our dogs). All are doing well, though it's hard to believe how old we've all become - better than the alternative:-) Last month, we added a new member to our family, a 12-year-old spayed gray female Persian, from a shelter in northern Utah. Her name was Grandma, and is now Madame Grès, aka Maddie. She's a sweetheart who has taken everything in stride, which never ceases to amaze me. When the shelter got her, she was matted to the skin - her ear was tipped at some point. She has stories to tell. She and Skye are getting along, though no great love story yet, lol.

gray Persian cat
Madame Grès
Anyway, let's see if I can get this posted today, and I'll throw in some photos along the way. Maybe it won't be another four years before I post again:-)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

July, August & September

Ay yi yi! I may not get everything up before the end of the year. While I have an abundance of photos for the rest of the year, I realized I've hardly taken any this month. Oh well, in the meantime, here's a little taste of summer in case you're currently "enjoying" freezing temps, too!
July was an interesting month. Toward the end, I came off some steps wrong, fell on my foot, and dropped my camera for the first time ever. I was so afraid that I had broken my camera! I was more worried about that than anything else. Well, thank goodness my camera was okay. However, my foot was not; I broke or fractured the side of it when I fell. So, I was hobbling for a long time after. I still hobble some, but that doesn't stop me from taking photos. I'm crazy like that - I'd rather have my foot injured than my camera:-)

July was also interesting for all of the butterflies I met. These three were all up in the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona - it was a butterfly paradise.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on thistle.

Pine White Butterfly (Neophasia menapia)

One of my favorite butterfly sightings (as in gasp out loud and start chasing after;-), a Hoary Comma (Polygonia gracilis) - the first time I'd ever seen a butterfly with wings like this. Plus, catching  the light through the wings made them stand out so much more. This is a link to one of my favorite shots from that day "Chiseled".

During August, I developed a love affair with the Praying Mantis living in my thyme (up in a wine cask). How can you resist that face? She's too cute:-)

I believe this is a Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus), spotted way up at Cedar Breaks National Monument.

And, guessing this is another Hunt's Bumblebee, this time enjoying the absolutely gorgeous larkspur also at Cedar Breaks. That color is just so stunning on flowers, isn't it?

I also met a lot of dragon- and damselflies this summer, like this little cutie (which I'm not going to even try to identify, because I want to get this post up today and not next year;-).

This isn't a great photo, because it was taken through a window. I believe this is a Sharp-shinned Hawk (though if it's a Cooper's, please let me know). S/he had just killed a dove, and we happened to look out at the right time to see it. For anyone who is sad for the dove, there are far more doves than hawks - and far more misses than catches when hunting.

One more butterfly, a lovely Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).

More to come...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

April, May & June 2012

Am I the only one who can't believe 2012 is almost over? I swear, it's true that the older you get, the faster time flies. Anyway, on to the next three months worth of photos! I love how everything comes to live during these months. It's photography overload time:-) However, I'm keeping my promise of editing only three photos for each month. Hope you enjoy them!
A bevy of birds! We discovered Avocets, Stilts, Ibis, Northern Shovelers and more at the wastewater treatment plant here. Who'd've thunk it? ;-)

Friendly face - I love pintos/paints!

Family of Canada Geese that we startled on a drive out where we never would've expected to see them, since there wasn't much water around. The parents rounded them up and out of there very quickly, so this is a definite snapshot because they were too cute to resist!

Gorgeous Iris pallida in a friend's garden.

One of my favorite butterflies of the year, because s/he posed so beautifully. This is the Variable Checkerspot that you can also see at the top here Checkerspot.

The cactus come alive in May, and are just so gorgeous! It can be hard to get photos, though, because there are little black beetles that go crazy for the pollen and can cover the flowers. Oh, and be very careful if you decide to try to shake beetles off, because then you get fine little cactus stickers in your fingers - speaking from ample (painful) experience.

One very big bee! It always amazes me how they can hold on to flowers:-) Possibly a Hunt's Bumblebee (Bombus huntii).

Another butterfly beauty, possibly a Sagebrush Checkerspot (Chlosyne acastus)...?

A little Black-throated Sparrow that had crashed into the window. We ran out to check on him, and, of course, I grabbed my camera, too. Fortunately, he was okay:-)

Now off to select photos for July, August and September - stay tuned...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Catching Up

Have you ever let something go for so long that you don't know where or how to start up again? Well, that's what happened with my blog. I can't believe my last post was back in May. I never intended to stop posting. Goodness knows I have enough photos to last a lifetime! However, time just seemed to fly by, and I've really been caught up working in our vintage/pattern shop, among other things. The more time that went by, the harder it became to figure out how to restart here. I did spend a lot of time a few months ago updating the whole look of my blog, but then never came back and posted anything new...

Anyway, here I am again. Thrilling, I know;-) I finally figured out what I wanted to do to get going again. I'm sorting through all the photos I took this year, and I'm going to choose three from each month that I haven't processed yet to edit and share here. To keep the motivation going, and to keep it from being too many photos at once, I'm going to do three months at a time.

If anyone's still around, I hope you enjoy catching up with me through a little visual journey:-)
Fuzzy-wuzzy little White-tailed Antelope Squirrel keeping watch.

From my birthday trip to Zion, a little Mountain Chickadee.

Also at Zion, this was a very shady spot, but I could resist snapping a photo because the water was so beautiful.

One very cold bunny!

Handsome goat that lives, of all places, with a herd out at the wastewater treatment plant here.

Baby goats at the same place:-) All goat photos were taken through a chainlink fence, which is a challenge!

The very first butterfly of the year! I believe this is a Southwestern Orangetip (Anthocharis thoosa).


Flowering plum tree blossoms.

Stay tuned for April, May and June - I met a lot of new butterflies this year!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday Wings!

Lots of wings coming out now! These were all spotted over the past week here in southern Utah.
One of the best butterfly sightings ever, because this little beauty spread her wings out to balance in the wind, and just froze while feeding. Only problem is despite looking and looking, I haven't been able to id her. Update: per the comment left by Katie at http://natureid.blogspot.com/, the id looks to be a Variable Checkerspot.

 Every once in a while, you take a photo you don't know you've taken;-) Tiny butterfly moving quickly around the flower, and in 14 shots, I never saw the even tinier grasshopper until I processed the photos - believe it or not! I think the butterfly is a Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus).

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

I believe this is a Meridian Duskywing (Erynnis meridianus).

Metallic Sweat Bee 

Variegated Meadowhawk (Sympetrum corruptum) over water - a very lucky shot! Saw the water, hoped for a dragonfly, and spotted this beauty just hovering:-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Scarlet Saturday!

Ravishing reds seem to be everywhere, so I thought I'd share some recent sightings:-)

This beautiful cactus is growing in a neighbor's yard. I believe it's a Claret Cup or Crimson Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus).

The miniature rose 'Ruby Magic' - the first rose to bloom this year. This is one of my special minis that I was fortunate enough to buy at Sequoia Nursery/Moore's Miniatures when we were in Cali. Sequoia Nursery was run by the famous rosarian, Ralph Moore, who lived to the grand old age of 102. I like to think he lived so long because he was doing what he loved for a living:-)

Utah Penstemon (Penstemon utahensis) blooming where we live.

The miniature rose 'Cherry Hi', also from Sequoia Nursery.

I believe this is a Gilia, but I'm not positive. It doesn't quite match other photos I have... I have the feeling a squirrel planted it:-) If anyone can confirm, please leave a comment. It's gorgeous, whatever it is!

Full-size to climbing rose, 'Courageous'. This is an English Legend rose that I ordered from Heirloom Roses when we lived in Cali. Amazing fragrance!!! More flowers to come... :-)