Saturday, April 21, 2012


charcoal on paper, 16 x 20

Here is a piece I did last fall when the birds were starting to flock before migration.  I have had birds on my mind as I have started my fourth year of the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas.  It is getting harder to find plots that need to be done close to my home, and I was skeptical about the one I had chosen for this year, as it looks like a lot of big farm fields, = not a wide variety of birds.  But there is one huge slough, a WMA (Waterfowl Management Area) that has some adjoining woods.  If I can figure out how to get a canoe out there it will be a great place for numerous birds.  Volunteers are still needed, the results will be valuable for scientists, natural resource managers, public officials, educators and birders -  check out

Monday, April 9, 2012


Chiricahua night Sky

Gambel's Quail


Bye bye Southwest, sad to be leaving......

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Scorched things

1. Scorched Heart, found driftwood
2. Scorched mountain top airplane beacon
3. Scorched Alligator Juniper Bark, oil on canvas

The Chiricahua Mountains, as some of you may know, suffered a devastating fire last summer. Basically the fire tore through the whole range, skipping around some and taking weeks to do it's damage. I listened to the reports and prepared myself for the worst coming down here this year. It has been a learning experience to see what the fire wrought and subsequently to witness the earth's healing. One of my favorite places was Rustler Park, big Ponderosa pines at the summit. This area was badly damaged and these pines won't return in our life time.
The Scorched Heart is one of seven driftwood hearts I have found in the creek bed, a result of the fire. I found one, then kept on finding them. Are they cliche? Or are they a universal experience? Jim Dine's hearts come to mind. Anyways, findingwhile them I have been thinking of all the broken hearts out there: a friend mourning her mother's stroke; friends mourning the devastation to the environment of future fracking; a friend mourning the loss of a relationship; friends mourning the loss of a forest because of fire; friends mourning the loss of pets.... At times I wonder how we all get through it. Maybe it can help a little to contemplate the universality of it all.
The second photo if from a hike I went on a couple of weeks ago to the heights of the Chiricahuas. The fire did great damage up there, rocks exploded and broke apart, and some areas burned so hot that the soil is still sterile and nothing has grown back. We came upon this charred structure that used to be a beacon for airplanes, making sure they didn't crash into the mountainside.
The last photo is of a small bark study I did. The Aligator Juniper has very unique bark, probably with some fire resistant properties as it is very thick and scaly. I keep coming upon burned trees and wanted to try and paint that scorch.....