Saturday, February 9, 2013

Work in the Studio

"July in the Valley"
12X18" oil painting - (SOLD) - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

Plenty to see here at Prairie Hill Farm today.  Its been a bit warmer (low 40's) and very breezy out of the south, with the valley's Bald Eagles playing in and out of the wind.  Its not easy to give a count as we see them veering back and forth, up and down the pastures and creek bottom.   

The first two birds jumped from the big Red Pine in the yard when I was over to the house for immature bird calling loudly as it followed an adult across the yard and over the grainery.  Then another two adults appeared across the road, one following the creek and the other landing on the pasture ground next to a frozen sat for awhile until another bird showed from the north, and joined it.  This went on through the noon hour with other birds (or likely the same ones) passing by and over the south pasture.

Back inside the studio I'm preparing another canvas to start a new painting, and finished photographing one I just finished.  I'm afraid in here I'm a bit oblivious to what's going on outside, except when I get up and stretch or take a break from the easel or correspondence.  

I just finished another landscape - one about the valley view out in front of the studio; the very one the eagles are playing about today...only the painting is based on a small 6X8 plein air painting done back in 2010.  Not only is winter a good time to work in the studio but a good time to think "summer" as well!!

I suppose I'm being a little optimistic with "July in the Valley"; its hillsides, trees and croplands are lush and green...unfortunately last summer was the opposite.  We're entering a new year, yet still waiting for moisture up here in the NW corner of the state.  According to the state climatologists, we're about 15 inches or more shy of moisture.  They're talking rain tonight; that'd be a good thing if it comes to be...we'll take whatever we can get.

But winter is a time to be properly optimistic. What better things to hold dear and look forward to, than a summer of green and warm days; of lazily watching the cloud shadows pass across the landscape?!

Back to work!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Past Ground Hog's Day!

 Red-bellied Woodpecker (male)

I must be too busy these days to keep up with the studio blog...its already a couple days past Ground Hog's day!  I guess he didn't see his shadow this year so we're in for an early spring!  Ha!  All in good fun.

I've been busy painting commissions this winter so don't have much to share yet.  But one thing that keeps things moving around here in the winter are the birds on the feeders outside the studio window.  One that's really pretty up close are the Red-bellied Woodpeckers! 

 Red-bellied Woodpecker (female)

 (Red-bellied male's head detail)

  (Red-bellied female's head detail)

The way to distinguish the males from the females is the nape on the female's head is all that's colored (red), while the nape and crown on the male are both colored.  You can also see a red flush around the bird's beak and cheeks...its more prevalent on the male's as well.

The name of this woodpecker seems to confuse a lot of people.  Its named for the "red belly" - a mere smudge of color hard to see as the bird crowds the tree trunks and branches as it moves about.

I like looking at February as a sign of spring - it is, after all, the last full month of winter!  Hope that Ground Hog was right!