Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Achilles with background

Here is a more final pic of the background...his beating wings give an impression of the sheer force of a helicopter taking off. This was pointed out to me by various on lookers as I sat on the concrete floor to paint the time, I felt I was fighting with it to make it look a certain way, and out comes this movement of wind that everyone else saw. I guess, I had something different in mind, but am very pleased with it now that I've lived with it for a while.

Coming soon-My blog about an unbelievable and unpredictable internet journey, that will change the course of my family history as I know it and they once knew it. I can't wait for this one!!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our first National Advertisment

This is the photo that will appear in our first full page national advertivertisment in the January/February issue of Wildlife Art Magazine. I painted Hope the butterfly in the spring of 2004 and is my biggest, most detailed insect portrait to date. I like to point out the tiger face design in her wings, as most people miss this about her. To see more about her, visit

We are drawing closer to the exhibit and performace at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum beginning February 3. The newest addition to our exhibit will be live webcams....we can't wait to implement this feature and look forward to ongoing webcams in the future.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Our Surroundings

Above is a pic I took off the desert trails that James and I walk on frequently right next to the campground. A prickly pear cactus in front and a towering Cholla cactus behind that. The most dangerous thing you will find here in the desert at this time of year are the cactus if you don't watch where you are going. All the scorpions, tarantulas, and snakes have pretty much gone into the winter mode as is does get very cold here at night. Although James and I wouldn't mind coming across a few scorpions and tarantulas anytime.
This roadrunner was a hoot......he came right up to our campsite and stole an entire hotdog from our hotdog pack and ran away with legs moving as fast as the roadrunner in the Bugs Bunny Show. We couldn't get over it, laughing ourselves silly. He was a real pretty bird, and we haven't seen him since the incedent.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Romancing the Past

I thought I would share with you some pictures from my Nanna's old picture books. Above is my grandfather as a kid (on the right) doing some yard work with a friend. Can you believe that is a lawnmower? Boy things sure have changed. The photo to the right is my Nanna with her fishing pole and catch for the day. I would guess these pics were taken sometime in the 1930's.
To the left is my grandfather with his catch of the day, and man did he love fishing...and hunting...and the outdoors. I remember spending much of my time as a youngster fishing with him and watching him tie flies in his workshop for hours and hours. My Nanna was a school teacher and would read stories to my sister and I, collected boxes of trinkets for us to look at and play with and would occasionally break out the toy china for us to have a tea party together. These pictures take me back to my childhood, even though they were taken long before I was born. I will post more olden goldie photos from time to time and share with you some of the history I have become so fond of.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Recent Pics of Achilles

Above is the final carve out of the throat feathers....without microscopic details and highlights. They are soon to come, and I need smaller brushes, so I am on my way to the art store sometime this week to seek out tiny watercolor brushes that will work for the detail on this oil painting.
I finished the texture and lighting on the bottom of the looks quite fuzzy in texture, very soft, and scribbly. It is a bit different then what I originally set out to do, but it grew on me and think I'll keep it this way. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Painting fun at the Tucson Botanical Gardens

This past weekend, James spent the afternoons painting his famous tattoos at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. As you can see, he had a line as usual, and was cracking his jokes creating a lot of laughs for the crowd. The girl in front is inspecting her fresh new tattoo, as all the kids do until it is eventually lost to the circumstances of having to take a bath. James prides himself on water conservation, as he alone is probably responsible for saving millions of gallons of water over the years, getting kids out of baths in order to save the art painted on their arms.
This is a close up of what James has become famous for...his arm tattoos! Kids and adults are goo-gaa over them and has he ever come a long way with his painting since we started in Kansas City 4 years ago.
A pic of a butterfly sunning himself in the Butterfly house, where you can also find 100% humidity in the desert.
I thought these orchids were incredible...also photographed these in the butterfly house at the gardens.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You never know who's watching

James and I have been in the company of 2 big owls living right above our RV in tall palm trees. Yes, there are several palm trees here in the desert. During the day they sit up there snoozing and occasionally open their eyes and give a look to see what's going on. They blend in so well, it is hard to see them most of the time, and most often, I forget that they are even sitting up there. In the evening, right after sunset, they begin to hoot, and then disappear into the night on their hunting adventure.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Painting the throat feathers

Above is a close up of the final changes in progress for the red throat feathers, you can see the new black outlines on the right side of the neck. James took a picture of me working on the painting last night. I also reshaped the eye yesterday and gave him his eyelids with different highlight reflections .

A close up veiw of the ruby feathers after partial carve out....I'm gearing up the courage to begin the very complicated left hand side of the throat today and hope it won't be as difficult as what my mind is telling me it will be.

What Achilles looks like after the new work over the past couple of weeks. The lighting is really beginning to pop him and I plan to paint the final coat on the background this weekend.....more to come later.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Teaching Older Kids in the Desert

Last evening I had nearly 30 Desert Trails residence participate in a drawing class. It was fabulous. With signs of talent and promise, these older kids from around the country drew their hearts out, and not only amazed me, but amazed themselves as well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Magnified Hummingbird Feathers

Here are 2 examples of highly magnified hummingbird feathers taken from my specimen by Stephen Buckman here in Tucson. The red feathers are from his throat, and the green ones are from his back. I wish I could make these pictures bigger, so you could really see the intensity of the details.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A photo for our #1 fan

I thought I would honor our #1 fan, aka, graffiti mantis with a macro photo I took here in the Sonora Desert upon our arrival a couple of months ago. We love you and miss you back there in KC, and most of all love your creative imagination. You are the best and you know who you are! Thanks for everything!!

Carving out the feathers

Here are 2 new detail pics of Achilles the hummingbird painting. I have begun to carve out the feathers on the tail and back. I still have a long way to go with detail and color, but it is exciting to see how he is shaping up with just the simple definitions coming into play. Will post more photos soon.