Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Before, After, During

We burned 30 acres of our prairie last night! It was a spur of the moment ordeal, there has been a burning ban on in our county as it has been so dry this spring. I called the local fire-chief and he said they could do it if they lifted the ban. It rained this weekend, and Wade the chief called Sunday to say the ban was off and they would come out Monday evening and burn it as a training session. The photos don't do it justice. I will post a video soon. The firefighters did a great job! Note the moon in the last photo. I look forward to seeing the prairie develop this summer, already this morning we have had killdeer and horned larks on the charred field.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greater sage grouse mating ritual

Greater Sage Grouse

This is a photo of a Greater Sage Grouse hunkering down in the grass. I just uploaded my video of Sage Grouse displaying on the lek in northern Colorado, see it above.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cow study

oil on canvas
12 x 16

I have been in Colorado this past week going to grouse leks and looking at birds and landscape. A lek is a patch of ground that a group of grouse will gather on to display and do their breeding rituals. I got a good video of Greater Sage Grouse strutting their stuff - it is too long for me to be able to post here, but I will try to upload it to youtube and post a link, it's pretty amazing what they do! I was fortunate to see Lesser Prairie Chickens and Gunnison Sage Grouse, both of which are endangered. The only down-side is the necessity of pre-dawn arrivals to the grounds, which made for very early wake-ups. The cow study is part on my on-going animal studies series. I used to work in clay a lot, and doing the burnt-umber sepia-tone painting reminded me of sculpting in terra-cotta. Often when I watch animals I feel as if they have an aura of calm surrounding them, something I rarely see in humans,

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pepin Bluffs

12" x 12"
oil on canvas

This is a piece I did last spring in April, of the Wisconsin Bluff lands by Lake Pepin. I am looking around and see the same palette of muted grey-purples and yellows. Spring is upon us and the yard work is demanding attention - we already have some vegetables in, which is earlier than usual. No complaints.