This brightly colored scarlet macaw was spotted with it’s equally impressive partner, chowing down on beach almonds (Terminalia catappa tree) along the coast of Costa Rica. As is quite typical of the parrot family, they are large and they are loud! You almost always see them flying and hanging out in pairs, and they know how to communicate very well with each other. They will let each other know when it’s time to fly off to another spot with a very loud screech. This was such a spectacular sight on a bright sunny beach day – life doesn’t get any better than this. It makes me sad to think about how many of these birds live in isolation, in cages, unable to be free or have a partner to chat with. As glorious as they are to look at, nothing is more glorious than spotting them flying freely through the sky as nature intended it.
So this past weekend I woke up and realized I had completely missed Autumn. I remember at the start of Autumn (when the weather was still warm) I had this fun idea that I wanted to hire bicycles and ride from Manhattan to Randall’s Island (not that far away from where I live) and have a wonderful picnic on the water under the sun. Randall’s Island is a beautiful little area covered with green grass and flower gardens along the water. Mind you I don’t actually enjoy riding a bike, and absolutely hate doing it on Manhattan streets when taxi drivers are actively trying to kill you, but I thought the picnic worth the ride. So this weekend I decided that my husband and I absolutely must do this before the weather got any colder (8 degrees Celsius, 46 degrees Fahrenheit is by no means warm!). So we hired bikes and rode one block to the bike lane on First Avenue which to my dismay was closed for construction. We rode two more blocks to Riverside Park which has a paved bike path….also closed for construction (typical Manhattan). Even having only rode three blocks my ungloved hands were already frozen and I was in no mood for a picnic, especially not on a cold and unwelcoming island where the trees have been stripped of their leaves, leaving an expanse of colorless concrete (wow, it’s incredible how weather can change your mood so quickly!). So we walked the bikes back to the store, sheepishly returning them after only 15 minutes, and went back to our warm home and I sat down and painted Autumn instead.
I had forgotten what it was like in Australia waking up to such distinctive bird calls. Those which I had listened to my entire childhood, but only recently paid attention to. The earliest birds are the kookaburras (click here for post) with their loud and projecting laughs, mocking the sun as it rises. They wake the cockatoos, who show their distain with long and piercing screeches. Next are the large flocks of rainbow lorikeets (in the photo) which can be heard having territorial squabbles across the trees with their sharp and angry chirps. They are one of Australia’s most colorful birds, and like other parrots, they know how to be noisy! They mostly travel in pairs, and once paired will be monogamous for life. When feeding in a flock, the male will threateningly hop around his partner while she feeds to make sure no other birds interrupt her meal. They eat fruit, pollen and nectar, mostly from native Australian trees and shrubs such as the eucalyptus, and the bottle brush (Callistemon) seen in this photo. It’s hard to be angry about being woken up early when the birds are as pretty as these ones!
A hot and burnt landscape of fiery red hills with a river running dry. A lone brittle tree struggling to survive in a desolate and unforgiving environment. What chance does the tree have to flourish, when the land is so unsupportive of life…. Is this my future?
This painting took me a very long time to finish. Sometimes I feel like I have a certain idea in my head as to what I want to paint and then try to force that idea into a painting. This one had quite a few evolutionary changes along the way, and finally I had to stop fighting it and just allow it to be what it wanted.
This past weekend was a bit of a cold and ugly one in New York, so I didn’t get outside much. I was wishing for better spring weather, but it seems like winter is trying its best not to let go too soon. So instead I painted my own spring, just a fun, light and colorful piece to brighten up my weekend. I hope it brightens up your week too!
I love this image of two butterflies because to me it looks as though the pattern and coloration on their wings is as if created with colored pencils. It has a delicate softness to it. Acrobatically mating upside down, together they join to create an interesting merging of patterns, both sides slightly different but equally beautiful.
This painting is designed to make us stop and remember the simplicity of what children find beautiful and interesting. As kids we’d collect sticks in different shapes and sizes, see colorful fences to climb on and blow dandelion seeds into the wind. As adults we see dead branches and weeds against a dirty old fence. An acknowledgement for the way that time and age changes us… We know more, and appreciate different things, but maybe sometimes we need children to remind us to appreciate the simpler things in life. To find a million exciting uses for those cardboard boxes, and instead of filling them with the meaningless material junk in our lives, we should go back to feeling like the kings and queens of our fortresses.