Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer Green...Thinking Ahead!

Late July Mid Afternoon 
9X12" - oil painting on mounted canvas
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
I just finished a small painting in the studio this afternoon; it was of a summer day Georgie and I went exploring along the Little Sioux River down in Cherokee County, south of us.  I remember it being a fairly hot and humid day...a typical "dog days of summer" kind of day.  Those were the days I remember most as a kid out of school for the summer.  Loved those times!

The area depicted was down near the Silver Sioux Recreation Area...a pretty neat place.  This exact location was nearby in the Stiles Woodland ...I believe it is a private preserve overseen by a nonprofit group...could be mistaken about that but it is open to casual visitors at times...there is signage there at its entrance giving information about it. 

What I remember about the preserve is the high sun of the day creating stark contrast and shadow...the distant hillside looked hazy in the mid day humidity.  These impressions give me fodder later on when working from the memory of the place and photos I took. I have heard the saying from many sources that the greens of spring and summer are the most difficult to paint.  Since these are the times of year I really enjoy, I have to tackle these issues head on.  Keeping interest and movement or flow through a painting can be challenging with so much green!  There was a small barn along a small creek there that I painted red (it was no longer showing paint) to add a complimentary color, giving relief and a focal point.  I knew the barn would help visually when I spotted it there that afternoon.

Studio work is getting difficult!  It is finally trying to be spring out there and all that comes with it make for more time outside.  Hope you're enjoying some outside time as well!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Post - Update

American Goldfinch - male
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

I think you could say this is an update on an older blog.  In the "New Post" blog from March 30 I talked about the Goldfinches molting here at the acreage.  Well, they've completed the molt cycle a couple weeks or more back and I thought I'd throw one up for you to see a male American Goldfinch in all its finery :)  I'm showing the back of the bird because it's the showiest profile...the beautiful stark black and white patterns with the bird's bright yellow back and nape and the forehead black again (as well as the accent of the bill coloration).  What a pretty little bird!

Now that the first flush of dandelions has gone to seed, these birds are all over the ground feeding on the seed heads.  It's pretty amazing (and amusing) when you look out on all the beautiful dandelions and suddenly they take flight!  The birds are like flying dandelions!  And they sing too!  What more could you ask?! 

Gotta get some work done!  Hope you're not too distracted like I seem to be!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Male Baltimore Oriole outside the studio window
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

It's an invasion! Not of body snatchers or any thing bad, but an invasion of "time snatchers" :)
We've had waves of Orioles, Warblers, Indigo Buntings, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, and many other types of birds here and they're eating us out of house and home as well as "snatching" all our time - who can resist watching them all day long??!!
There are also reports across Iowa of Summer Tanagers in high numbers, since the week of high winds from the south and southeast...maybe they blew in?!  We haven't had a Summer Tanager here yet, but Spencer (Iowa) has and they're just 15-16 miles from us "as the crow flies".
Its been an invasion of many things here at the studio acreage...the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are back for the summer and the Monarch Butterflies just showed up last week as well!  Great things to be "invaded" by!  
Put you grape jelly out for the orioles, the sunflower seed out for the Grosbeaks, and the thistle seed out for the Siskins and finches, and the sugar water out for the hummingbirds - and be distracted!  It's fun!

Monday, May 9, 2011

These Are A "Few" Of My Favorite Things!

"Some" of my spring yard favorites!
color pencil drawings © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

I am seriously behind on everything this spring! Not unlike everything else around here...whether you're farming or migrating or blooming - you are behind schedule!  I guess that goes for studio work as well...

I wanted to share some yard favorites with you before some leave for cooler climates up north...not all of them, but some.

Our yard has been filled with song the past couple weeks or more, with music of (top image clock-wise from the top left corner) White-throated Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Linclon's Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows. And I can't keep up with them!  In the last couple days we've also picked up Baltimore Orioles, Orchard Orioles, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Common Yellow-throats, House Wrens...and this morning Ruby-throated Hummingbirds!  It just does not stop!  Wonderful!

It's a great time of year!  I just can't keep up!
Good luck trying!