Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dean at Dusk

I went to spend some time with James Dean tonight. Seemed a good thing to do, nearing Thanksgiving...and assuming he won't be sitting around a table to enjoy a giant turkey and stuffing. I brought some delicious rotini pasta to leave on his grave. I'm sure he'll enjoy. Oops! I forgot to leave a fork!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Illustration Friday - Blurry Vision

Last weeks topic for Illustration Friday was "Blur". Here is my quick drawing for that subject! For this shy lady bear, everything is blurry!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wizard and Anthony

Susan Sanford, artist extraordinaire, has posted a new challenge on her blog ArtSpark Theatre. Anthony, a sketch character of hers, is seen gazing out of a white box. The challenge is to fill the box with an image, to represent something outside ... like a giant hawk stealing the town Mayor, or a horrifically violent volcano erupting and then finish the caption - "Anthony was amazed when he looked out the window and observed ..."

I have posted my drawing here, with the caption "Anthony was amazed when he looked out the window and observed a wizard pointing in the direction of the nearby forest." Anthony and the walls were drawn by Susan. I drew the wizard standing outside. Thanks for the fun challenge Susan!

And here is Jeremy's interpretation of what Anthony sees out the window! I think this one is pretty clever. What? A bearded twin!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Illustration Friday - Judith the Bear

This week's word for Illustration Friday is "Pattern". Judith is wearing a dress made just for her, featuring a pattern that she just loves!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wolves in the Park!

On Sunday I visited Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana; a Purdue University run facility and wolf sanctuary that has been open since the 1970's. They currently have 14 gray wolves kept on the grounds, a variety of rescued foxes, two coyotes, and a herd of American bison. All but the bison have been socialized to interact alongside humans. Wolf Park is a member of the North American Wildlife Park Foundation and ethology studies are ongoing year-round there by some of the top animal behaviorists in the world.

Here is a wolf being chased away by a bison at Wolf Park. The wolves there are well fed so are not a real threat to the bison, but still instinctually approach the bison out of curiosity. The bison do not seem to be afraid of the wolves, but they still instinctually run the wolves away! This interaction is really fun to watch. Above photo courtesy of Monty Sloan, who is the professional photographer for Wolf Park.

The public can visit Wolf Park to take part in different activities like wildlife walks, and bison/wolf interaction demonstrations. They can also visit during the evening for Full Moon Howl Night, to literally communicate with the pack! I have done this myself, and it was quite special. I love the staff as they are very knowledgeable and well acquainted with the wolves. They go into the expansive wolf enclosure, which contains a lake and beautiful trees and meadows, and the wolves come running over to play! The staff have to remain on guard of course, but the wolves jump and lick their faces and love to have their bellies rubbed. It's really adorable, and makes vet visits very easy for them too!

Here is a picture I was able to take of the wolf Renki while visiting last Sunday. He is the lowest ranking wolf in the pack right now (Placement within the pack can shift, and does if the alpha dog's circumstances change to make it less able to assert confidence and ability). Renki is quite the personality. The staff describes him as incredibly persistent, and keen on pushing the other wolves "buttons". Sounds like a little rascal to me! I noticed that he also likes to show visitors his beautiful smile, and paces in front of the fence to look at each individual.

So who is the leader of the pack, you ask??

Meet Wolfgang, the handsome fellow! Wolfgang is currently 4 years old and seems to enjoy his job as alpha dog very much. He has a knack for pushing the 'buttons' of the other wolves in the pack, but he has a very adventurous spirit and enjoys meeting new people, the staff says.

Above is Kiri, the eldest of the wolves. He is a black wolf, and is currently 16 years of age! He spends his days in Wolf Park's retirement community where he still gets plenty of attention and has a beautiful home - he is not able to roam with the main pack anymore due to his age and the fact that he was never fully initiated into the pack by the dominant wolves. Kiri has a sweet spirit, and holds a lot of fur! He looks like a giant teddy bear when he sits!

Here is a fun moment I was able to capture with my camera through the fence. One of the wolves cooling off in the water! He swam to-and-fro, just to get out of the 94 degree heat that day! It looked enticing to me!

I recently found out about Wolf Park photography seminars, something that might interest people who want to learn more about nature photography. These yearly seminars are held amongst the wolves, taught by Monty Sloan, photographer extraordinaire. The class cost is $195, and sounds like an amazing day! Just take a look at what class participant Gary Borland ended up with below - a gorgeous photograph!

But don't be intimidated ... you are not required to have a fancy camera! As long as you have enough film handy, you're all set! So, click here to read more about this unique opportunity. I'm thinking about going myself! What a treat, to be able to interact first-hand with such important animals. Where else in this world would you be able to stand 'in the ring', with wolves?!

Now on to the rest of the park, and what other magnificent creatures they have ...

This is one of Wolf Park's foxes. Basil is a beautiful white fox with shadings of orange on his coat. He loves to climb on top of people's heads and kiss them all over! I haven't had the pleasure, but I've seen his sweet little face and I love him. Basil is a funny guy - and a real stinker. (Pun intended! I learned from the staff that foxes have musk glands just like skunks do ... and that sometimes when driving at night when you think you smell a skunk, it could very well actually be a fox!) Another interesting fact is that, unlike a skunk's scent gland which can be removed, fox glands cannot, as they are located around the throat area and would likely kill the animal if operated on.
Basil has been through a lot since his days as someone's pet! The person who owned him ended up not caring for Basil's nocturnal ways, not to mention the musky smell, so they dropped him off at an animal shelter. Foxes are enchanting creatures, and their wild ways do not mesh easily with a human's. Basil is better off at Wolf Park - rarely would a human be able to provide a fox with the proper environment for living a happy life. He is currently 13 years old.

Since I LOVE foxes so much, I decided it wouldn't be fair to not post the other two that make Wolf Park their home. Here is Devon, a gorgeous silver-phase female who loves a good belly rub, and a nice lunch of whole, fresh rabbit. The eating habits of the foxes in the enclosure are fascinating, as they each make sure the other fox has a rabbit too, before they eat their own. How considerate of them!
Devon was rescued as a pup and so has spent her life at Wolf Park. She is 9 years old.

Last but not least, here is Ember, Devon's foster sister. She is a red fox, and the shyest of the bunch. She will still eat from people's hands, but prefers to keep to herself. What a little darling! Foxes are so enchanting.

Now for something completely different! Here is one of the coyotes they have! His name is Willow, and he was so full of energy and vigor that he NEVER held still for a shot! I snapped a picture anyway :0)

And yet ... Wolf Park's professional photographer was able to get Willow to pose perfectly! Wow, what a little cutie pie - look at that little ornery face. Actually, they're really sweet animals with big hearts.

And to tie it all together, a photograph of two that have recently passed away ... I end with photos of Echo and Orca, who died this year.

Orca 1994-2009

Echo 1992-2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cloudy Vision!

I have posted new cloud photographs on CloudPrints, my other blog. Check them out here!

Fearless Fawn and Footprint

I found a delightful footstep of a small deer today while on a wilderness walk. The track sat there, indented in the mud right next to a maple leaf and a small and sour wild plum...(I know, I checked) :0)

Later, on the way out of the forest, I ran into what looked like a statue in the grass! But not at all, she was a sweet fawn gazing at me with a relaxed brow.

I said to her, "Hello precious darling!" and she began nibbling at the green stuff below. What a sweetheart. She ended up bounding away like a gazelle prancing around on a lazy afternoon, and I missed her almost as soon as she was gone from sight.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Grazing Ground

I'm happy to announce that as a result of my head being in the clouds lately, I have introduced a new side project/blog that combines my dreamy constitution with nature's innate creativity. Check out CloudPrints to see what I've found! This month's theme is the horse.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

That's One Big Tomato!

We sell fresh organic produce at my mother's health food store, and tomorrow we're going to be receiving crates of these beautiful wonders! I'm not sure if they're heirloom variety tomatoes, but I do know that they're grown locally and from a wonderful gentleman named Gary Childres. He has provided us with some fantastic asparagus, and unforgettably sweet strawberries this year so far. Go Gary!

Sunspots Caught In the Meadow

I took this picture recently in the meadow across the way ... what a delight to find that upon uploading the photo to my computer, there was not one beautiful sun, but five! I love the symmetry, and the glow of the evening.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beautiful Wooden Dolls

Meet Sally and Charlotte, two sweet dolls made completely out of wood. Jointed shoulders, arms, hips, and neck too! The artist's name is Eva Beyerle-Traubinger, and she lives in Germany. Visit her site to see more of her amazing work!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Illustration Friday - Finally I'm Drawing Again!

For this week's Illustration Friday topic I drew a tornado, destroying life as it weaves across the land. Kind of a dark take on the assignment, as the word for the week is "Drifting". But tornado's have been drifting, jumping, and tilling their way through my thoughts this Spring. Indiana sees a lot of them, and as a matter of fact, we had a few tornado watches just last night!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Plants

My sister Eva has been hiding a secret! She has a tomato named after her ... called "Eva's Purple Ball", this heirloom dates back to the late 1800's and was first grown in the Black Forest region of Germany.

Isn't that interesting? Eva grew up a Hoosier, but now resides very close to the Black Forest! Hmm ... I wonder if she has been eating this type of tomato where she lives in France! Eva?? Is it true?

I will grow some next year, no doubt about it!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Food Ethics Being Confronted!

The man who wrote "Fast Food Nation" Eric Schlosser is now in a new film about the meat industry, and industrial farming in general. Directed by Robert Kenner, the movie is called "Food Inc."

What this billion dollar American industry has been doing to our bodies and minds ... can we reverse it? Or take a stand to prevent further harm?

Take a look! And go tell everyone you know about it!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ready for Planting!

I had fun shopping for flowers today! I found Delphiniums, my favorite of all!

Here is one of them ... alongside a pretty cluster of Argyranthemum Danas ...

Another Delphinium in a different style! I adore the blueness.

Assortment including Verbenas, Bacopa, Vinca, Sweet Alyssum, and light pink Delphinium in the back.

The light pink Delphinium up close!

Hanging Petunias, with a few pansies down below!

Delphiniums with the flash on!

My flash wasn't on for this one, but I like it all the same.

Need Gas?

I found this truck while driving to a greenhouse near Indy. I had never seen of such a thing as Lung Gases advertised on an automobile before today. After hacking and coughing from the fumes he emitted, I thought about hailing him down for a puff of clean oxygen!

Sunspots and Rainbows

The other day at work I saw a beautiful rainbow! Thankfully I had my camera with me to share it with you all. I picked out so many colors in this one, the photo doesn't really do it justice ... but all the same ... RAINBOW!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Art of a Man - Pini Di Roma

The splendid art of Respighi! His Pini Di Roma, or Pines of Rome, is a thrilling and festive musical ride I have just discovered. Ottorino Respighi was born in Bologna, Italy in 1879. Here he is pictured with his wife Elsa. He composed Operas, Ballets, Choral, Orchestral, Chamber, and Concerto works. In Pini Di Roma, each symphonic movement portrays the location of pine trees in the city during different parts of the day. Also something new I found out through researching this particular composition is that it was the basis of most of Star of Indiana's 1991 Drum Corps International world championship repertoire - based out of Bloomington, Indiana. Huh!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rare Ferlin Article

I found a short article from 1968 about the great Ferlin Husky and his musical career. Click to enlarge and read the whole thing! This is a wonderful find for a crazed fan like me.

My favorite line from the piece is when he is said to be, "the thoughtful and thrilling answer to the common madness of our modern age of anxiety, guilt and self-pity ... He is one of the world's desirable greats."

Amen to that! And he is still going strong. Performing and recording today at age 84 because music is his life!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Strange Guest

One of my favorite songs from Christopher Guest's movie "Waiting for Guffman".

I tossed my cookies, and you can too!

In the newest email from Seth Godin that I received, there's a link to a site which reveals all of the companies that are tracking your internet activity through the use of cookies. They track you in order to determine the type of marketing strategy that would mesh with your needs and interests. I clicked the link and canceled all of the active tracking cookies except the ones from Google.

Click here to monitor the active cookies on your computer, and deactivate them if you so choose.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shaker Movie!

I'm back from my long sojourn out west, which went quite successfully. I'll post pictures from the trip soon. I ended up seeing so much more than planned which doesn't say much since the trip was never that well planned out to begin with. I haven't blogged in so long that it feels strange, but I really can't wait to get back to it full throttle. I missed it so, but it was very difficult while on the road. And my new laptop seems to dislike unsecured hotel networks, so internet connection proved to be more frustrating than worthwhile.

Yesterday I thought about posting something about the road trip I took, but it didn't seem right. I wondered what my next post would be and it didn't hit me until a few minutes ago. I came and sat down at the computer and wanted to find a nice Shaker quote to read before bed, but instead I typed "shaker tradition" into the google search engine, and what I found was more than I ever could have asked for. A link to an invaluable website called Folk Streams. This site I found years ago and then lost the ability to find it again! This was meant to be, as they have a 30 minute video on the Shakers that I have been longing to see again ever since the first time I came across it.

It features historical accounts and narrative excerpts from the 1800's, Shaker dances and song, and rare photography of Shaker dwellings and farmland. I am so excited to have found this again.

If you watch and enjoy the video you might also be interested in Ken Burn's interpretation of Shaker religion and lifeways, called "The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God". You can find used copies online for purchase ... but sadly the DVD is becoming more and more difficult to find in good condition as it is no longer being produced by PBS. I recommend buying it before it becomes impossible to acquire! There is great insight into the Shakers as a people, not just about their fine furniture! :0)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Overnight Spring Blizzard

After trying several hotels, all of which were completely occupied, I settled into a Hilton here in Tulsa. I checked in at 2 AM this morning, and when I awoke this morning around 11 I opened the curtain and discovered ...

Brrrrrrrrrr!!! That wasn't there before!

I set my new Lenovo laptop up on the desk and began accessing internet. My way of connecting to the world again. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ...

It's still dangerous and snowy outside, that's why I extended my stay to include tonight, but the forecast for tomorrow is looking good. Sunshine! I'll have to play some John Denver when I get back in my car.

The Drive So Far

I left Indy and immediately found myself in a traffic jam. There were two more to come...

I found a train when I entered Illinois

And saw the world's largest cross in Effingham, Illinois. Made of metal it stands nearly 200 ft tall, and features various speakers which recite the ten commandments at the push of a button. There is also a meditation path around the cross.

On into Missouri, I catch a glimpse of the state motto ... "The Show-Me State" No one showed me anything, but I never got out of my car in Missouri. So I guess "The Show-Myself State" is what I'll call it.

And the St. Louis Gateway Arch of course! Designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947, it's the tallest monument in the U.S. at 630 feet tall. You can take a tram to the top and peer out of the windows in the observation 'hall'. That is a long way up, I'm not sure I'd be able to actually look outside to the world below. I'm sure I'd feel very uneasy!

And I found the following picture online ... one of the tram cars that goes to the top of the Gateway Arch. Tis so very futuristic looking ...