Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Restaurant, An Endangered Blue Butterfly and a Life Bird

The conversation went something like this, "Where do you want to go today?"  It was my son's day off and we were in his home town, Los Angeles, CA.  I had given it no thought, but my instant reaction was to check a local birding website to see what hot spots for birding were recommended.  There, I read about a field trip that had taken place the day before at Rockweiler Beach where Snowy Plovers had been seen.   

I asked my son if he knew where this beach was located.  "Its under the LAX runway."  I had to consider this.  A beach under the runway?  
The next thing I knew we were headed for El Segundo, a small community adjacent to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport).  But first we stopped in a local coffee shop called the Blue Butterfly Coffee Company. We all like coffee!  It was while visiting this shop that our butterfly discussion began.  My son explained that the restaurant was named after the endangered El Segundo Blue butterfly.

El Segundo is both a community in Los Angeles, and the name of the coastal dunes that border the Santa Monica Bay.  It is on these dunes that the native Seacliff Buckwheat grows, the host plant for the El Segundo Blue butterfly during every stage of its life-cycle.
When very astute observers discovered that this butterfly was disappearing, it became one of the first species to be listed as endangered in the 70's.  The reason for it's decline?  It is a specialist species that relies solely on one plant throughout its entire life cycle.  And that one plant was disappearing, crowded out by an exotic ice plant species.  The butterfly itself only appears from late June to July, nectars on the Seacliff Buckwheat, and mates and lays its eggs on the plant's blossoms.  Its larvae feed on the flowers, burrow at the base of the plant to form pupae, and re-emerge as butterflies the next season to start the cycle all over again.
Our next stop was nearby Rockweiller Beach and it actually is located in the flight path of airplanes coming and going on the LAX runway system, flying low over your head as you walk the beach.  

The shorebirds don't seem to mind and neither did I once I spotted them.  Marbled Godwits, a life bird for me, and Willets were foraging in the tide.  The godwits were probing in the wet sand, the willets chasing the ebbing tide and running back to higher ground ahead of the next wave to eat their prize, sand fleas.  I couldn't have asked for a better wildlife morning.
Marbled Godwit

To learn more about the amazing El Segundo Blue Butterfly, visit:  El Segundo Blue Butterfly--A Story of Survival at Vickie Henderson Art.  There you'll find two video clips that describe this butterfly's fascinating survival story, as well as, its unique relationship with other species.  For more sketches about my California visit, click here.

For birding information in the LA area, visit the Los Angeles Audubon website

And for artists interested in the sketchbook used, the above sketches are created in a Moleskin sketchbook with pencil, ink and watercolor.  The paper is designated for all-media but does not work well with watercolor because of its delicate nature and a surface that tends to cause beading.  Even though the result can be satisfactory, the process of working on the paper is not enjoyable for me.  The fun of watercolor is its movement and fun is one of my requirements for sketching!  However, the book has a smooth surface that works well with ink, graphite, color pencils, etc. and of course journaling.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Long-billed Curlew at El Matador Beach--Malibu, CA

Located on the west end of Malibu, El Matador is one of three beaches located in the Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, an area of cove or cliff-foot strands, also known as "pocket beaches" because of their isolated accessibility.
To reach this beautiful view, I had to navigate a series of dirt paths and stairways that zigzagged down the cliff face until eventually, if you desire, you arrive at beach level.  I stopped two levels short of the shore because I didn't want to flush the shore birds I spotted foraging among the rocks.  The one that attracted my attention the most, was colorful and tall, with a very long bill--a new bird for me.
It's funny.  Even though I had never seen one before, "curlew" immediately came to mind.  As we browse through blog posts and bird books, our mind obviously absorbs more than we realize.  The names and shapes of other birds we encounter along the way get stored in the "library" too, whether we're paying attention or not!
This sketch was created in a Moleskin sketchbook.  Described as heavy Italian stock pages for "fountain pen, charcoal, tempera, acrylic, etc", it contains paper unlike any I've used before.  And this was the first time I've tried painting on it.  New paper, especially non-watercolor paper, is just about as challenging as trying an entirely new medium.  In this case, you basically have to use less water and keep the paper dryer.  Though I have other sketchbooks, I wanted to try this one to see how I liked it for field sketching.  I've seen it among the supplies of other artists.  The verdict's still out for me.  I have to practice with it more to give it a fair chance.  This book  is for sketching, after all, not painting.

Moleskin Sketchbook, 5" x 8 1/4 at Cheap Joe's
To see more images of beautiful El Matador Beach visit my Long-billed Curlew post at Vickie Henderson Art.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bird Banding Sketches--Savannah Sparrow

This is the time of year when sparrows move south and settle into wintering territories, Tennessee among them.  The Savannah Sparrow is one of those beautiful birds, often blending right into the pale dried grasses in its habitat and appearing "brown" at first glance.
But when you see sparrows up-close at the banding table or even with good binoculars or camera, you find that instead of being non-impressive gray or brown, their back and wing feathers are exquisitely beautiful with contrasting patterns of black, white, cream, brown and rust.    
The sketchbook page above is one that I created in preparation for my bird banding article published in Nov/Dec issues of the TN Conservationist magazine.  This month I also created an article on sparrows published on the Knoxville's Wild Birds Unlimited website.  Visit the article to see the beautiful wing colors in the overall grayish Swamp Sparrow and the exquisite maroon-like reds in the Fox Sparrow.  

All of these birds were new to me last fall.  All of them are now imprinted in my mind through close-up views, photography and sketching.  Sweet, sweet sparrows!

Links:
Wild Birds Unlimited--Arrival of Wintering Birds 
More on my experiences with bird banding, truly a matter of the heart

Saturday, November 13, 2010

TN Conservationist Magazine, Bird Banding and Sketching!

The November/December issue of Tennessee Conservationist magazine features my article on bird banding,  and I must say, it is a thrill to have my research, writing, photographs and art all featured in one place in one publication!  And the bonus of this project--the subject is birds and conservation, a subject dear to my heart.
The article, entitled Tracking the Birds of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge, focuses on the bird banding activities of the refuge, a 360-acre preserve bordering the French Broad River, that is jointly managed and operated by the Seven Islands Foundation, a non-profit land conservancy, and the Knox County Department of Parks and Recreation.  And what's unique about this refuge?  Its primary habitat is grassland that is being reclaimed from agricultural plantings of non-native fescue and restored to native warm-season grasses that support grassland bird populations.
The article represents more than a year of research and collaboration with the bird banding team, and my own participation in bird-banding, which has been a joy unto its self.  Sketches, like the one you see above, and photographs taken represent incredibly intimate moments with birds, allowing me to see their detailed beauty and enjoy their personalities in a very special way.  Add to that, the wonderful friends I've made during the year's activities, and you have a very satisfying experience!

To take a peek at the published article visit Tracking the Birds of Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge at Vickie Henderson Art.  And to find out more about this award-winning magazine and how to obtain a copy, visit the Tennessee Conservationist.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Painting a Loggerhead Sea Turtle--Part II

A fun painting to create, but also one that offered some challenges.  For one thing, I didn't know I would be away from it for an entire month and failed to write down the pigments I had initially chosen.  The second was my unfamiliarity with creating sea foam on the beach--uncharted territory.
The pigment challenge I resolved fairly quickly, glancing over my palette and selecting my likely choices (listed at the end of post).  The beach foam was a journey of trial and error, an exploration into suggestion, knowing that I had my scrub brush and gouache to back me up.  I did not create a separate sketch which would have been a good exploration alternative.  Sometimes I like to just jump in and move through confusion until what I want to see begins to emerge.
A first attempt at creating the sand beneath the sea foam

Life seems to be like this sometimes, new experiences push us to reach beyond what we know.  In the process we learn something new, often with gratifying results.  And its not always that the outcome is beautiful, its that we did it despite uncertainty.  I tackle many things this way, but I also turn to books for suggestions and practice.  Not only did I order a seascapes art book, prompted by this painting (that hasn't arrived yet), but I also bought Blair Witherington's gorgeous book, Sea Turtles, An Extraordinary Natural History of Some Uncommon Turtles.  Unfortunately, this book is out of print, but can be found on the secondary market (with patience) at affordable prices and in my case, brand new condition.

While I described researching new anatomy terminology in Part I of this painting series, Blair's book brought me the beauty, heart and elegance of this mysterious creature, a species that has its roots in the Cretaceous period, 110 to 65 million years ago.  True ancients.
Above I've turned to my scrub to smooth out the hard edges and reduce the clutter in the sand.  The turtle is where I want the eye to go and since I want to enhance her detail, I want the sea and sand to stay smooth and suggestive rather than detailed and distracting.

In the two images immediately above, you see the results of me thinking about and playing around with the beach and foam.  I'm moving back and forth between the turtle's shell and the beach, both requiring a bit of thinking and building.  The turtle's back is partially covered with sand, slung by her flippers as she covered her egg chamber.  By moving back and forth, from one area to the other, I relieve my tension while I'm working on an area of uncertainty.  But it also has a painterly purpose.  It allows me to keep an eye on the unity of colors as I watch the emphasis on the subject change with each color application to the background.
Above, I've added more detail to the turtle's back and sandy areas in the sea.  I laid an initial variegated wash of gray using a mixture of ultramarine and burnt sienna to form the background of sand above the turtle. As I added more details to the turtles body, I realized her golden and rust features would be better enhanced with a bluer shade of gray.  Below, after the area was completely dry, I used a large flat brush to glaze over the top of the painting with a light application of a bluer shade of gray.   To my pleasure, this had the dual affect of enhancing the turtle's shell and popping out the area of light yellow that brings the eye to the center of interest, her face.
To complete the painting, I softened some of the edges of the foam with my scrub brush, used a little white gouache to lighten foamy areas, enriched the appearance of sand on her back with paint splatter using a toothbrush, and darkened shadow details.
And some of the new fun things I learned about sea turtles, sparked by the curiosity that painting this one stirred?  Each species of sea turtle, seven altogether, has a characteristic number of large scutes (shell plates) on their hard carapace (shell), as well as a characteristic arrangement of scales on their head.  They have more flexible shells than land turtles, with the carapace and plastron (under shell) being joined by a bridge of supple cartilage, allowing for more speed and maneuverability as they navigate through many miles at sea.

Watercolor on 9 x 12" Arches 140# cold pressed paper.  Pigments used:  WN French Ultramarine, WN New Gamboge (yellow), WN Van Dyke Brown, WN Burnt Sienna, a touch of DVP Permanent Rose as needed, and WN Permanent White Gouache.  Most of my grays are a mix of ultramarine and burnt sienna.

Links:
Painting a Loggerhead Sea Turtle--Part I
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Sea Turtles
For the story of my June visit to Brevard County, FL, to see nesting sea turtles, visit The Loggerhead Sea Turtle at Vickie Henderson Art and Space Coast Beach Buzz with Marge Bell.
To learn more about sea turtle nesting on the coast of Florida visit Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge.
Blair Witherington's book, Sea Turtles, An Extraordinary Natural History of Some Uncommon Turtles.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sketching Birds in the Backyard

Sounds easy enough.  But there is definitely a shift between photographing birds and sketching them.  And another gigantic shift between sketching from a photo and trying to capture birds while they're moving around!  So what you see below is today's attempt.  My solution for everything that doesn't come easily....practice!
Whey all my busy hummingbird activity ended earlier in the month (last observed visit October 11th), I took all but one hummingbird feeder down, hung a suet basket with homemade suet, a sunflower seed feeder and put out a plate with a mix of each.  The bird-y word got around fast.

It is such a joy to watch these birds--cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees, titmice, wrens, downies, nuthatches--at the bath and the feeder.  If you sit and observe for a while, you can tell which are the juveniles by their behavior, especially at the bird bath.  I had the joy of watching young chickadees trying to figure out how to drink without getting wet.

My bird bath sits crooked.  No matter how many times I straighten it and pile rocks around it, it always shifts. On this occasion a cardinal was perched drinking and two chickadee juveniles, one after the other, ended up in a spot where the water had shifted away from the edge.  It was a chuckle to see them stretch, nearly tip over, and flutter to upright themselves and keep from falling into the water.  They next landed on the opposite side to drink.  I mean, you bathe only when you want to, right?  
And I got this special mockingbird treat during another time I sat on the patio to observe.  What a hoot, to watch this mocker grab the back ball shaped tops that hold the feeder together.  At first I thought he/she was after an insect.  But then when he tried more than one angle, and moved on to try each one, I realized it was a juvenile trying to see if that big, fat, black, berry-looking thing was tasty!


My response to that stare, "I promise, I didn't do it!"

My Loggerhead painting was interrupted by my three-day exhibit at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park the last weekend of September. I'll get back to the painting soon and share what I've learned about this special species.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Painting a Loggerhead Sea Turtle

It's often that while painting a subject that my mind wanders through the moments of first encounter.  In the case of this unfinished Loggerhead watercolor, I also couldn't help but wonder about the details of what I was sketching, specifically, the scales on the turtles' head, how they were arranged, what they were made of, whether they varied or were uniformly arranged in a species.  
My search led me to a familiar realization that I don't know a whole lot about some things, turtles being among them, especially sea turtles.  It was humbling to land on the US Fish and Wildlife/North Florida Ecological Service "Sea Turtle Quick Facts" page (link provided below) and begin reading the description of Loggerheads.  I understood the first sentence.  But in the next, I encountered carapace and plastron and as I read on, costal scutes, nuchal scute, inframarginal scutes and bridges.  I needed a turtle dictionary!   

Sketching and painting heightens my senses and deepens my curiosity, making me eager to learn more.   I'll share my recent experience with Loggerhead sea turtles at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Brevard County, Florida, in an upcoming post.  But for now, get ready by brushing up on your memory of turtle anatomy and the language used to describe it.      

Reference links:  
Sea Turtle Quick Facts, US Fish & Wildlife and North Florida Ecological Services
Introduction to Marine Turtles at Marine Science, an educational site created by a family of marine biologists
Sea Turtle Identification Key, a great two-page pdf with identifying characteristics and comparison of sea turtle species  

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Sea Turtles

It has been such a joy to watch the hummingbirds that have come to my feeders this summer.  Those that live in northern breeding territories in Canada and the northern USA began their migration journey's in July, progressing southward approximately 18 miles per day.  In the southeastern USA where I live, in Tennessee, our birds have begun migration as well, the males departing earliest, leaving females with late fledglings and vigilant juveniles guarding nectar sources.  
All this activity has been an incredible thing to watch.  The more time I spend sitting near the feeders, the more I understand the necessity of all that chirping and diving and chasing that takes place.  In a few hours of observation, I may see a male define his territory with an incredible high-speed dive, a tentative fledgling at the feeder with his 'baby' gape still apparent, and two juveniles sparing in spiraling flight so ferociously that they both land on the ground.  The juxtaposition of so many aspects of their lives unfolding in front of me gives me deep pause.
And while I sketch these juveniles, internalizing every feather, the shape of their beaks, the position of their wings, their expression, I feel more and more connected to them, more and more hopeful that they will each survive their migration journey.  My art inspires my love for what I'm painting, just as surely as the nature I encounter inspires my art.
I experimented with salt in this painting, sprinkling a little too much, in my opinion, in a couple of places to suggest the sparkling of light in the trees.  While I waited for the paint to dry, I sketched a loggerhead sea turtle.  This was my first sketch of a turtle of any kind.  And as my pencil gave it shape, I fell in love with it all over again, bringing it even deeper into my heart, if that's possible.
Standing on a dark beach in the light of a full moon with the sound of the surf breaking while watching a sea turtle lay her eggs was quite enough to fortify my love for these giant marvels forever.  And while I'm sketching, I internalize what I know about them even more, see more deeply, and feel more deeply.  Painting is a meditation of sorts, and during that meditation I am one with this turtle, enjoying her beauty, the shape of her head, the sheer size of her body, those deep ancient eyes.  Every aspect of what I see and feel about her moves through me and forms the image I create on paper.
And when I paint hummingbirds, I'm one with their high-speed world, filled with a fledgling's uncertainty and mindful of the power and speed of that mature male.  I marvel at what they show me and how nature has put it all together.  Art and nature, nature and art.  They make my world a richer place.

Visit Ruby-throated Hummingbird Migration and Delightful Fledglings to see more images and stories of the hummingbirds in my life.  And more about sea turtles and sketching coming up.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hummingbird and Downy Woodpecker on Nectar Feeder

If you love nature and you love to recreate what you see and experience in watercolor, there couldn't be anything more fun than diving back into a subject and watching it come to life in a painting.  When it comes to birds, that could also mean tripling and quadrupling your fun!
It has been fun on top of fun to hear and witness this male Downy woodpecker visiting my nectar feeders intended for tiny hummingbirds.  But top it off with interactions between the two species and smiles just keep coming.

Painting this sketch had the same effect.  I smiled a lot.  And when you're smiling there is no worry about outcome.  You're just loving your subject and loving the opportunity to give it center stage.  And there's a number of ways to create that stage, among them, painting light against dark, soft against hard, and color that leads the eye through the painting.  I often approach these elements intuitively
I chose my background colors in this sketch first, focusing on the greens of the trees and the light in the spaces in the unfocused background.  A principle I learned from my long-time watercolor mentor and instructor, Ann K Lindsay--the fewer colors you use, the more unified your painting.   I've found this to be excellent advise that stuck with me and greatly simplifies decisions!
In this sketch my primary colors are DVP Cobalt Blue , WN Quinacridone Gold for my yellow, and DVP Permanent Rose for my red.  (Note: brands with the same color name vary in actual color.  WN stands for Winsor & Newton brand paint, DVP for Da Vinci).  The rest of my colors consisted of two neutrals and sap green, all used to alter the shades of the above three primaries:  DVP Sap Green, to add a little warmth to green made with the gold and blue; WN Van Dyke Brown, used with cobalt to make black; WN Burnt Sienna used with rose to warm it.  I also use burnt sienna with blue to make grays, adding a touch of the other colors on the palette as needed.  
As I'm working on the light washes, I'm making a map of sorts.  I'm aware that my hummer and the water in the feeder will both be the same colors as the background.  This means I have to draw the viewers eye to my subject with the placement of values, that is, the positioning of darks and lights.  At this point (above), I also add color to the nectar container which reflects the background, and to the water in the feeder as a reference for these values.  The water and the feeder represent my lightest lights.

The hummer is next, creating wings that have a fairy-like movement of 40 to 80 beats per second.









To soften edges on the hummer's wing, I laid down paint strokes, rinsed my brush, blotting excess water from the brush with a sponge or paper towel, then brushed along the edge of the paint.  The paint edge is softened by the  moisture from the brush.  The amount of water you leave in the brush controls how far the pigment will spread from the original line.  

One way to suggest hummer wing movement is illustrated below--a combination of disconnected shapes, blurs, a mix of hard and softened lines.
Below is the almost finished sketch, created in one of my favorite sketchbooks made by Aquabee, on 11 x 14 paper.  What made me realize it wasn't quite finished was a glimpse at an LCD image on my camera that highlighted the widely separated gold areas.    
The yellow in this sketch is like an accessory with a special function.  It either helps move the eye through the painting or it distracts, especially since there is no yellow in my two stars.  So, I added yellow to areas where 'my eye wanted to see yellow', moving left to right from one side of the painting to the other, dabs of yellow glaze leading through the two birds.

You may already know how this dictate-from-the-eyes feels.  It's a sensation that is visually uncomfortable, that is, it bothers until the correction is made.  And when it's right, you know it--your eyes are happy again.  See what you think by comparing the finished sketch below to the one above.
In bird-watching, the intuitive ability to identify a bird by its shape and movement is referred to as 'jizz'.  It's a wholistic and instant recognition.  It's learned.  Painting works the same way.  Besides helping you learn the skills of manipulating water and pigment on paper, practice develops jizz, your eye's intuitive ability to know what your painting needs in order to please you.  

To see more of my hummingbird sketches visit Ruby-throated hummingbirds and my Art Cards and Prints Page.  Scroll down to the Hummingbird Collection.

Other links you may find helpful:  
Ann K Lindsay's website
A source and more details about Aquabee Sketch books

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Curious Wood Stork

Below you see a Wood Stork I sketched nine years ago.  In fact, this was both the first time I attempted to record my travel experience in a sketchbook and my first sightings of Wood Storks.  I had to get out my field guide to be certain of the species.  I also didn't have my digital camera back then for reference images, so the sketch was created from my field guide and my memory, giving it a whimsical quality.  
Sketchbooks are tons of fun, both creating them and looking back on them.  They reflect the mood of the moment as much as the subject.  Below is another Wood Stork sketch created this year.  In this encounter, I had the fun surprise of seeing this bird standing close-up, near the road.  When you are observing from a car, birds and animals are often undisturbed and may stay around allowing amazing looks.
My impression of this endangered bird--a bird draped in chiffon-like plumage topped off with a head full of wrinkles and scales.  What a combination.  When I looked at my photo images later, all I could think about was the fun I would have sketching him!  And while I was sketching all those scales and wrinkles on his head, I wondered more and more what this characteristic was all about.
To create this sketch, I experimented with masking fluid to save the feathery edges of the plumage and used a disposable skewer to make the lines.  This avoids soaping a brush to prevent the bristles from sticking together and also solves some of the challenge of making fine lines.  But even with a sharp tipped skewer, the fineness of the line takes some practice.  After dipping the stick in the fluid, droplets form on the tip.  What worked for me was to place the drop of fluid in a large area and drag a finer line of liquid to the edge of the feather.
Since rubbery masking fluids deteriorate with exposure to air and lose their effectiveness over time, I've poured some into an old film canister, to lessen exposure to the original bottle, and labeled it with the type of mask and date.  Have you ever picked up a bottle of mask and wondered how old it is?  At least on this bottle, there was no date anywhere.  Masks are said to have an effective life of approximately one year after they're opened.

This sketch also reinforced the practice of walking away from the table for a while, sometimes overnight, to discover what fresh eyes will see.  In this case I noticed that the placement of the eye didn't look right.  A closer look and I realized the problem was the height of the crown. 

A light scrub and a new crown line and the problem was solved.









To see photo images of this bird and read more about why his head is scaled instead of feathered, visit my Wood Stork post at Vickie Henderson Art.
And to see the rest of the sketch pages made along with the top image in my first travel sketchbook, visit Our Amazing Wetlands.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sketching a Limpkin in Water

More time please!  A thousand images to paint and so little time.  I could go out in nature every day for the rest of my life and never get enough of it.  And then there's the time needed for painting.  I have enough inspiration right now to keep me busy for months.  
I began this sketch by applying liquid resist to save the reeds and edges of the bird while I added a wash of blue.      
The wash ended up lighter than I wanted, reminding me to make a bigger, juicier puddle of paint next time.  On the other hand, smooth water reflects light and light areas are part of what we see when we look out on water.  When the paint dried, I removed the resist.
Below, I added color to the face and bill. 
When I stepped back from the sketch, I didn't like the brown I had mixed, too dark.  So I dried the paint thoroughly and using a scrub brush, lightened the brown areas.  I then changed the paint mix to a lighter shade of brown, a slightly different mixture of Cobalt blue and Burnt Sienna, with a touch of Van Dyke Brown.
At this point, I shifted focus and spent sometime creating the shading around the larger body feathers.  I applied paint first, then softening the edges.  It's one of those details I enjoy.  It was while working on this less stressful area (meaning I've practiced it more), that I noticed the shadow.  I had completely lost the slender shadow of the head and neck.  Checking to be sure the paint was completely dry before starting, I scrubbed out the right side of the shadow (above).  
Above you see my two most used scrubbers.  The one on the left is about 3/8 in wide and soft, for light scrubbing in larger areas.  The one on the right is made of stiff bristles and works well for tight areas.  The word scrub is a misnomer, really, because the idea is not to scrub the paper, but to lift off the paint.  You want to preserve the paper's surface as much as possible while removing pigment.  The operative word is "lift".  Apply clean water with the scrubber, brush a few strokes with a lifting motion, then blot with tissue or paper towel.  The brush stroke loosens the paint; the blotting lifts it off the paper.    
I added detail to the reeds, corrected the body shadow shape (see top image), and added detail to the rest of the feathers.  To finish, I brightened white areas on the plumage by adding some white gouache.

9 x 12 watercolor on Arches 140# paper.

To see another sketch of this bird visit Sketching A Limpkin
For photo images of this bird and the story of its specialist lifestyle visit The Delightful Limpkin and Delightful Limpkin II at Vickie Henderson Art.

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Ocean Trail at Rancho Palos Verdes Preserve, California--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015

Joshua Tree National Forest, California, with son Chad and daughter Thuan--2015
Photo credit: Thuan Tram

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014

Bird banding with Mark Armstrong at Seven Islands State Birding Park - 2014
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Birds Close-up

Birds Close-up
Photo courtesy of Karen Wilkenson

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba

Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill, Manitoba
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014

A dog sled experience with Blue Sky Expeditions, Churchill, MB--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions

Churchill, Manitoba--2014

Churchill, Manitoba--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky

2014 Hummingbird Festival

2014 Hummingbird Festival
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane art banners and son, John--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014

Muir Woods on the Dipsea Trail at Stinson Beach, California--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014

Checking out the gulls at Stinson Beach--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012

Discovery Hike in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska--2012
Photo courtesy of Ruth Carter
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