Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Post!

Well...not exactly new!  But I was getting weary of the black background on the blog, figured that 4 years of black is enough!  Let's brighten things up a bit and help those of you that find reading white letters against black annoying!

 Male American Goldfinch beginning its molt into breeding plumage
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison 
(Click on image for a larger view)

We've really been enjoying the Goldfinches in the yard this winter.  We get around 40-50 birds every year, which makes us happy! 

Now that spring has arrived, we're getting more and more types of birds from their winter homes, now headed north, but the Goldfinches still stick around all year long here.

One thing that is fun watching for is the Goldfinch molt.  We get to watch all the males really change into their spring/summer/fall finery, and it's taking place right now!  The image above is of the same male Goldfinch, just starting to put on the brilliant yellow feathers...little patches here and there.  None of our neighborhood birds has made the complete transition yet...I suspect that will take another week or more (?), but there is one male I noticed that has really made some progress with it's molt (see image below).

This male American Goldfinch is coming along real fast with its molt...seen here working on a sunflower seed.
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison 
(Click on image for a larger view)
The ladies molt too, of course, but their plumage is much duller in color...kind of an olive hint when they've changed; nothing near the yellow gold of the males.

This female American Goldfinch is not going to be the brilliant "stand-out" that it's male counterpart will be.
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison 
(Click on image for a larger view)
But "brilliant" or not, the Goldfinches are great having around the prairie pasture and yard all year long!
Just a quick mention of the Studio Newsletter!  Our 3rd issue went out this week and I just wanted to thank those subscribers that have sent great comments our way!  Also I do want to mention that if you subscribed but have yet to receive any issues - it is possible you may need to subscribe again...we had a small number get kicked back because the e-mail addresses were incorrect.  Please resubscribe and watch your addresses for any typo mistakes.  You can do so at this link - NEWSLETTER!

Thank you!

Enjoy the birds this spring!!!


Friday, March 25, 2011

Work'n It!

Song Sparrow's are once again singing here!
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

I was working in the studio this'd been snowing today but the temps rose enough to melt the lightly blanketed landscape.  As I plugged along I heard this beautiful bird song just outside the front up and peered out the window and there sat a Song Sparrow in blissful song!  Wow what an optimist!  And what a singer; he may not know a lot of songs but he sings this one beautifully!

"Sunrise on Negus's Bales"
12x20" - oil painting on mounted canvas
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

I just finished my latest painting.  It was based on a landscape in the neighborhood that I photographed last fall.  I thought at the time I found the landscape in question, that it'd like to paint the scene.  I finally was able to make it come to pass; I enjoy taking a moment that speaks to me, and turn it into a translation through paint and brushes.  You can certainly see the influence of the original photograph on the painting, but f you look closer, you'll also see my translation picks and chooses what I like and leave out what I don't...that's really something all artists do when painting or drawing anything.

The "Sunrise on Negus's Bales" is a "neighborhood" painting - I truly love doing these works closer to home.  Our home is where our hearts are and isn't it normal for someone to celebrate what touches them in an uplifting way?!!!

Speaking of "uplifting", the Song Sparrow has been joined by the Junco and Harris Sparrow music throughout the acreage...and you can't ignore the more raucous "music" of the hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds that have been filling the acreage's tree tops!

As I mentioned in the last blog - spring is here, and we're work'n it!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Love It!

Canada Goose Pencil Study
(© Bruce A. Morrison - from a private collection)

Spring starts "officially" on Sunday, but it's presence is obvious and in your face this week.  Love it!

There's been flock after flock of Canada Geese flying through and over the valley the past couple weeks.  Each morning brings the sounds of "music" everywhere from the valley to the yard.  This morning the dawn chorus was exceptional.  

Great Blue Heron
(photograph © Bruce A. Morrison)

The Waterman Creek Great Blue Heron Rookery is filling up with returning pairs from past years.  The first birds came in two days ago...there were five individuals.  By last night we had 17 individual birds perching here and there in amongst the nests of past years...this morning there were over 30 birds and more showing up!   It's really quite a sight but the rookery is about an eighth of a mile from the road so binoculars are helpful!  This is the time of the year the heron "traffic" begins and its a blast to sit outside and watch the flight patterns flow - over the house and pasture and all around us during the morning, noon and evenings!  

Spring is really here!  I Love it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Drawing From The Neighborhood

"Waterman's Mouth - Summer"
5X7" - color pencil rendering
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
I feel fortunate that there are so many things in the "neighborhood" that interest me.  The features of the landscape and the landscape's entirety as well.  Waterman Creek flows past our place in the valley here and is a prairie stream with so much natural and cultural heritage going for it.  It keeps our focus during the winter months with the wildlife traffic following this "trail" up and downstream during all times of the day. 
 "Waterman Bald Eagle"
 © Bruce A. Morrison
The past couple weeks have been filled with Bald Eagles flying upstream in the morning and back downstream during the evenings.  We've found them congregating upstream along the creek and couple miles from here.  
 "Red-tail in the North Grove"
 © Bruce A. Morrison
A couple days ago Georgie and I were watching a pair of Red-tailed Hawks flying low along the fenceline across Waterman Creek.  We have resident pairs in the valley here each year and really love watching them catching thermals during the summer or sitting along the road or even in the grove here at Prairie Hill Farm.  The pair I mentioned stopped together and copulated on an old wooden fence post as we watched...we were very excited to see this because it's pretty convincing we'll have a pair nesting here in the valley again this spring!  Now if we were to see a pair of eagles mate out here in our "neighborhood", we'd have huge cause for excitement!

The color pencil drawing posted at the head of this blog is of our favorite creek - the Waterman.  The drawing is a small study of the creek's mouth where it flows into the Little Sioux River just a few miles south of the studio here.  There is no extreme drama here, in fact I was mentally processing the scene when I first walked in to it and thought, "Huh, so this is how it ends."  I suppose that could be a metaphor for a lot of us!!

A life is complex, interspersed with and downs; witness to events, experiences...out of control and sedate.  Think of what this small little creek has seen!  No, I think it's a pretty cool character myself.

The studio newsletter is off and running and it's certainly not too late to subscribe...gain some insight to the work!  You can subscribe at -

See you in the neighborhood!