Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vacation: low tide, less rain, more birds

A couple of days later, the weather finally cleared briefly.  We got some sun, the wind dropped off, and there was our official bird trip  sighting of a Great Blue Heron.   He was off in the distance on a piling having taken it over from the cormorants.  I could see him fairly well through the bins but without them, it requires knowledge of typical silhouettes to identify him.

Great Blue Heron

A few hours later, there was a large flock of surf scoters playing in the bay.  Also requires zooming in on the photo to see them.  It was great fun to watch them playing in the water.  They were flapping wings and dipping their heads and sometimes making runs at one another.  It's almost as much fun as watching the birds play in the wind.

black ducks, likely scoters

Five hours later, we hit a noticeably lower tide.  Same piling as with the GBH above.

5:30pm with fading light

I was experimenting with my phone camera and zoomed in on the seagulls pecking around in the exposed sand/mud.  I really kinda like this photo because it looks almost like a painting of the scene when you click on it and make it bigger.  I'm thinking of printing it on silk and coloring on it a bit.

Zoomed in phone camera

A nicely birdy day and an enjoyably sunny one too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Virtual Vacation: eagles on Samish Island are camera shy

I'm back from a 10 day vacation, most of it spent on Samish Island just across Padilla Bay from Anacortes.  It was a nicely birdy vacation but most of the birds were a little camera shy, especially the eagles.    Here's a view of the bay from our cottage's living room.  You can see some of the raindrops on the glass.  And the shrub on the other side of the road was a favorite spot for the smaller birds.

Anacortes smokestacks behind large island

We arrived on Saturday, the 13th, in the late afternoon as a bit of stormy weather was coming in across the bay.  This was nice as the eagles and gulls were having fun riding the wind.  But the eagles and the weather meant I couldn't capture the fabulous moment of watching 4 eagles ride the wind just off our bit of coast.  I stepped out onto the deck and got this shot of one of the eagles going much higher in the distance.  The weather drove me back inside pretty quickly.

Zoom into left upper corner to see eagle

And here's when my phone camera insisted on focusing on the raindrops rather than the eagle.

Great shot of raindrops

If I were a more dedicated photographer, I'm sure I could have done much better.  As I'm a zen birder, I instead enjoyed the moment, watching the four eagles play in the wind and almost jostle each other to get the good spots.  It was a great beginning for our relaxing week away.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gorilla Glue & a small studio hack

Gorilla Glue will hold anything to anything.  And look horrible while doing it.  But since I wanted to attach a wire hanger to the back of a small white board, appearance didn't matter.  Even in an artist's studio.  Here's the finished white board serving its purpose of reminding me what I'm supposed to do in the studio.  Because there's lots of shiny in there and I need help sometimes staying focused.

I've had this little board for a long while and the double sided sticky tape it came with didn't survive the first time I had to take it down and move it.  So I tried some other double sided tape and that only worked on a totally flat surface and even then it failed eventually and the board came tumbling down.  I then went to just propping it up against a wall.  That has its own aggravations, since it will fall over when I have both hands full of something sticky or wet and can't pick it up.  And often the writing gets smudged when it slides down.  Or whatever.

In this last studio cleanup, I decided I wanted it on the wall and started trying to figure out how to hang it up.  The plastic frame rules out anything attached with screws like a sawtooth picture hanger.   And usually that would also rule out my usual picture wire also attached with screws.  But then I remembered Gorilla Glue.  I cut the piece of wire, bent the ends over the edges of the back of the board, taped it in place with the ever useful low adhesion tape, and then put on the Gorilla Glue to make it stay.  We'll see if it goes the distance but it's certainly working just fine for about a month now.

Glue puffs up on contact with moisture

As for the dragons, there is progress but I think we've already seen enough photos of the intermediate steps so the next photo will be the finished pillows.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Laughing Dragon: make it work!

This week I had too many projects going at once so I took some time to finish off the filing and slowed down a bit on the dragon.  Today I tried out some ideas for what I'm now calling the Laughing Dragon.  I wanted to add some color to the spirals being breathed out by the dragon and the earlier one with a color wash just was not at all what I had in mind.  Wanting to keep it airy and leave lots of the open space in the spirals, I tried out some color bubbles.  Nope.  So, time to leave it alone.  Next one I show here will be a finished piece instead of an experiment or a dead end.

Laughing dragon with color bubbles

On to the sewing phase of the projects.  And that means picking fabric for the back of the pillows.  Looking in my drawer of larger pieces, I didn't see the sorts of batik with spirals I wanted and thought I had.  Oops.  Must be in the sole remaining bag of fabric left to put away, I thought.  And yes, I was right.  So the rest of the studio time for the weekend will be in selecting fabric and putting away the last of the fabric clutter.

The last fabric to put away
Somewhere in this pile of fabric is some nice batik spirals in the right shades of blue and orange.  And fondling my fabric is always fun.  By the end of this next week, I plan to have 2 dragon pillows and at least one laughing dragon fabric collage finished.  

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fire breathing dragon or burping dragon?

You know how you get one of those songs in your head and only "It's a Small World" can chase it away but that leaves you with, well, Small World instead?  Well, once I did some trials of the swirly fire for the fire breathing dragon and thought "It looks like they're burping",  I was in the same state.  I just can't see it any other way.  

These 2 dragons have mouths aiming down so I paired them in the photo.  My primary goal for this set of pictures was to try out color combos with the swirly fire silkscreen.  I am not happy with the silkscreen but do like the color combinations with the different colors of the dragons.  I still have to paint the red dragons and will be trying out some shooting flames with the swirly on the fabric one.

Fire going down, paper on left, fabric on right

 These 2 dragons are flaming more upward or just out.  The red one on fabric has a bit more space between the mouth and the fireball so I have hopes that it will look different from the two paper ones.

paper on left, fabric on right, fire going level

 And I have a third paper one that I will working with first, trying out different flame styles.  That's really one of my meta lessons for this series.  I have to experiment one piece at a time, changing one thing at a time to get the best return on my effort.  Each piece has something to tell me and I may need to totally change direction after it so I need to focus on one at a time and learn from it.  I keep trying to jump ahead and be efficient and I know in my head that doesn't work but getting it integrated into my process is a different matter.