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Summer is flying by, as are the birds!

Summer is flying by, as are the birds. They  are leaving us for their migration south, and all is quiet in the morning now. No more loud jungle style bird sounds at 3:30 in the morning. That’s a good thing for those of us who like to sleep. My little Hummingbirds are all but gone, and so are the Robins.

I was lucky enough to come upon this Robin’s nest in a low lying branch of one of our pine trees, thanks to my husband’s discovery. We were able to watch the growth cycle of four newly hatched baby Robins. So cool! When we first saw them they were but a few days old. Here are a few photos and a short video of the baby Robins:

 

Newly hatched baby Robins

Nature is so amazing to me. You can see the bird’s ear holes and they have just a few wisps of feathers. We had to use a mirror to reflect back to the camera because they were tucked down deep into the nest.

A week later I checked on the Robins to make sure they were still in the nest and that no predator had discovered them. To my amazement, they had grown  almost all their feathers and their eyes were open! I never once heard the babies make any sounds; I think this is what protects them from predators.

We had a huge thunderstorm one night with 60 mph winds, but mama Robin had built her nest so well, that the storm didn’t bother her babies and they were still safely tucked in their nest the next morning.

 

Baby Robins in their nest

A week later, I was working in the garden and remembered I should check on the nest and was shocked to see the growth that had taken place! They grew so fast. I am so glad I snapped this last photo, because a few days later they were gone.

 

Baby Robins almost grown

The new family can hardly fit in the nest. They still made no sounds, and I was grateful my presence didn’t make them want to fly away. This is such a joy to see, because I adore birds. I have owned two parakeets and a love bird in my earlier days, and I feel birds are just innocent beautiful creatures.

Here’s a small video clip:

 

What summer highlights have you enjoyed so far? For me, it’s been nature, my flowers and veggie gardens, and painting plein air when possible. Unfortunately, we are experiencing wildfire smoke from nearby fires and the atmosphere has turned ugly, so no painting outside for a bit. We are  going to get rain in a few days and hopefully the smoke will go away.

Thanks for stopping by. Much Love ~ Rhonda

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Camping and Plein Air Painting in the Forest

A couple of weekends ago we did a camp out and had a great time. It was a spur of the moment, “let’s do this!” kind of deal, and our destination was up in the mountains at an out of the way campground. We arrived late on Friday and never thought to make a reservation at the campground. To our dismay, the camp was full and without a reservation, things didn’t look good for us. So we asked the camp host if he knew of a spot to camp down the road, and as we were talking, the owner overheard our conversation and came over to us with a wonderful idea! He said they had one spot in the overflow section and if we didn’t mind not having a campfire ring, we were welcome to use it. He cut the rate since it wasn’t a full on campsite, and we were over joyed.

We ended up in a secluded part of the campground near a multi event area which wasn’t being used and the whole situation turned out perfect. We set up camp, made dinner and settled in for the night. The next morning we rode out in the UTV, with the goal of finding a spot for me to paint, and my husband to fish. We rode all over the mountains looking for a place called Mirror lake, and never found it, but did however find a spectacular spot at the top of the mountain and the view was awesome! At 4200 ft. elevation it was a bit cool, and there was still snow on the higher peaks, so I was glad I brought a coat.

The wildflowers were abundant and beautiful and had just begun to bloom. The hillsides were covered in patches of daisies and poking up through them were these beautiful vibrant red flowers.

After, driving around all morning, and not finding the lake, we settled on a spot for lunch next to a creek in the dark and scary forest.

This is Latour Creek and you can see where some folks had camped and left their trash behind. This is just so annoying to me. “Pack it in, Pack it out” is written for a reason! The forest is not the city dump people! Geez.

Anyway, after lunch I brought out the gear and my plan was to fill the panel with a complete underpainting before I lost the light. The dappled light highlighting the stream was absolutely beautiful.

 


 

It was very cool and quiet, with only the sounds of the running creek and an occasional ATV driving by. The creek was too shallow for any fishing so my husband did a bit of hiking while I painted. All was going great, and then the inevitable happened… no, not rain… Mosquitoes. Seriously? For some reason bugs love to eat me and when the mosquitoes discovered I was tasty, my painting session ended, as I was rudely bitten on the chin. I took reference photos and made some sketches, then packed up the gear.


 

We arrived back at camp in time for dinner, and on the menu was campfire pizza and a nice glass of wine. So yummy. I made the dough at home and cut up the veggies at camp and didn’t even know if this would work, but it did.

I don’t know what it is, but camp food just tastes so delish. This pizza had onions, mushrooms, red pepper, tomatoes and Canadian bacon. After we ate, we sat around our little camp stove and gazed upon the fire, sipping our wine and having chocolate for dessert. The clouds moved in to give us a spectacular sunset and it sprinkled during the night which was so nice to listen to.


 

I’m having to paint from my reference photos since I wasn’t able to complete my under painting, and made some adjustments to the composition:

Composition changes

Don’t worry, I didn’t mark up the painting. This is an acetate overlay I use to make sure elements aren’t “dead center”.  I use a dry erase marker to make notes for the changes. This piece will take me longer since there are so many rocks in the scene, and I want to get the dappled light just right.

I will be taking some time away from the easel and blog posts, as I work freelance for an architect and he has sent me some new plans to work on. If you want to stay in the know about when I put up a new blog post, you can sign up for weekly emails, which are delivered on Friday mornings whenever I write a new post. Click HERE to sign up.

See you next time!

Much Love,

Rhonda

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Butterfly and Daisies

Butterfly and Daisy

The inspiration for this oil painting came from a Monarch butterfly that was injured and spent a few days on our driveway before finally flying away. And of course the sweet daisies that grow wild in our area was a must for the story. What can I say? I love how this painting turned out. I enjoy painting true to life and all the little details. The painting measures 6″x6″ on a 2″ gallery wrapped canvas. It’s one of my faves!

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Calf oil painting ~ Finished

Norman

Here’s a little calf I recently finished from my works in progress pile. He was painted from a reference photo from another local artist. He will be framed in white and hung in my kitchen near my chicken painting, which I posted about a few weeks ago.

Painted in oils on an 8″x10″ panel. I’m really happy with how he turned out.

Now my works in progress pile is finished! I’ll share the last painting when it dries down a bit. I’m onto new works now; a series called “30 Shades of White”. Stay tuned for more on that soon. 🙂