In honor of the 28th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival (which is virtual this year, May 7-10) , always a highlight of the year here on the Kenai Penninsula, I’m sharing my own little shorebird:
The tiny bird is a detail from a mixed media piece titled “Surf Song,” part of my “Earthsong” series, which features vintage sheet music combined with scenes from nature. The entire piece below:
Also available in the Earthsong series:
Kachemak Bay is one of the world’s top shorebird viewing destinations, with over 100,000 birds of 25+ species migrating through in early May. Truly a sight to see. Go grab some virtual binoculars and join in all the birding fun!
On this most somber of Earth Days, let us not lose sight of the beauty that surrounds us, and is within each of us. We will get through this together.
By Mary Oliver
I go down to the edge of the sea. How everything shines in the morning light! The cusp of the whelk, the broken cupboard of the clam, the opened, blue mussels, moon snails, pale pink and barnacle scarred— and nothing at all whole or shut, but tattered, split, dropped by the gulls onto the gray rocks and all the moisture gone. It’s like a schoolhouse of little words, thousands of words. First you figure out what each one means by itself, the jingle, the periwinkle, the scallop full of moonlight.
It isn’t much, but since the art world is currently in a holding pattern, and I want to feel useful, I’ve temporarily converted the art studio into a sewing studio.
I haven’t sewn since my quilting phase many years ago, and I never was very good at it even then, but I drug the sewing machine out of storage, dusted it off, and began sewing face masks and surgical caps as requested by our local hospital. (Patterns here:City of Homer, AK)
It’s just a small way to help in the grand scheme of things, but we do what we can, right?
I have some exciting news to share! It has been recently confirmed that I will be having my very first show in June! The opening will be the first Friday of June (June 5th) and running through the end of month at The Art Shop Gallery in Homer, Alaska! I am pretty excited as this is a big step for me as an artist. Homer is such a supportive and welcoming community and I am so happy to be a part of it.
I have been busily working on some new work to debut at the show, so I wont be showing these pieces here until after the show, but in the mean time, I can show you this new piece currently on display in the Art Shop Gallery:
This piece was inspired by one of my very favorite things to do–Tide Pooling! I just love exploring tide pools along the rocky coastlines of Alaska. So many fascinating, colorful creatures. It is a great thing to do with kids, and I’ve loved introducing my children and grandchildren to this wonderful natural experience. I cannot begin to do it real justice in a piece of art, but this is my attempt to capture a tiny bit of the amazing microcosm that is a tide pool. In addition, the piece also depicts the surge of migrating salmon as they push through on the incoming tide. I hope you enjoy it, and it inspires you to get out and explore a tide pool, beach, reef, or seabed near you!
It is a beautiful new year here at Twin Spruce; cold and clear and full of the promise of spring as the days get ever so slightly longer each day.
Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? I did. Paint more! Read more! Grow more food! Like everyone else I start off the new year with a great deal of enthusiasm for the year ahead and like (mostly) everyone else that enthusiasm starts to wane around February or so when winter stubbornly refuses to go away. And then March. And then April…Spring comes late up here and its easy to give up hope. But May eventually does come and this year I have so many reasons to stay enthused, because this summer looks to be an incredible one with our milk cow arriving, our vegetable production expanding, and my very first art show (details to come)! I can’t afford to slack off now or I wont be ready in time. I have paintings to paint, seeds to order, and a barn to plan and help build. So I guess I’ll just have to bundle up and get to it!
Misty Morning Tundra Swan (11×14 acrylic on canvas) is available to view or purchase at the Art Shop Gallery in Homer, Alaska, along with several of my other paintings and prints.
I’ve been outside (Alaskan for the rest of the US) for a trip to visit this beauty:
This is Lily, the newest member of the Twin Spruce family! Lily is a purebred Jersey cow, 2.5 years old, gentle, and milking like a dream. Lily lives in Montana right now and we traveled down to meet her and learn more about keeping a family milk cow from her current family, who kindly (and patiently) shared their knowledge and wisdom with me.
Here I am trying to learn how to operate a single cow milking machine. Its not as easy as it looks with hands as small as mine. So many tubes and hoses and such to try to hold on to and simultaneously coordinate. (Coordination is not my strong suit.) But Lily (and her family) were very patient and kind and after a few tries I think I kinda sorta got the hang of it.
Which is good because come spring we are building a barn and bringing this beautiful creature home with us to Alaska. I am already dreaming of pure fresh, creamy Jersey milk (pure A2/A2 if you are interested) and all of the goodies I can make with it. Butter, yogurt, ice cream and cheese. Lots of cheese, which Lily’s family was also kind enough to teach me how to make. The generosity of people sometimes takes me by surprise. I only hope I can pay it forward once I become proficient enough myself.
I am pretty excited! Looks like I will finally have a dedicated studio space instead of making due with the kitchen table, corners of bedrooms and living rooms, and even, this summer, a little cargo trailer parked in the driveway as a studio.
We bought a 10 x20 shed and plopped it down next to the garden and will be remodeling it into a studio space where I can finally spread out and really get down to business making some art. With this much space I should have space not only to paint, but to do sculpture, fiber arts, and bookmaking, too- all things I enjoy getting creative with.
Right now, it’s like a blank canvas, and I can’t wait to see what it becomes. I look forward to updating our progress as we install windows, French doors, flooring, cabinets, etc, etc…
I just can’t get enough of these amazing birds. They will be taking off by their hundreds and thousands, heading south soon in their raucous yearly migration. It’s quite a sight, but I hate to see it happen, not only because I love seeing them around, but because it means summer is at its end, and fall is here, with winter close on its heels.
The colts are just taking their first tentative flights, so I figure we have a few more weeks with these beauties yet, so I’m greedily drinking up all of the sightings I can. And then it’s only memories until next spring when they arrive en masse again.
The painting, Sandhill Crane Sunset, is 12×24 acrylic on canvas and is available for purchase. I haven’t decided yet if I will be making prints available for this title. If so I will post that info along with the picture info in the gallery.
Hi, I’m Theresa, and this blog is where I share stories about life in Alaska and photos of the inspiration behind my paintings, along with tips for visiting the Last Frontier. I hope to be posting regularly soon! Enjoy!