One of the great things about living along Cook Inlet and Kachemak bay is the abundance of shorebirds that either migrate in each spring, or live here year round. We have a beautiful annual indicator that spring is here when we start to see our feathered friends arrive in their thousands.
(You can find this little group of shorebirds at the Art Shop Gallery in Homer.)
I just love watching them poke about in the sand and pebbles for food, always squabbling amongst themselves and filling the air with their squawks and cries. So entertaining!
I’ve been watching our resident magpies keeping themselves busy poking around in the snow for hidden treats, and am reminded once again how entertaining my dapper black-and-white friends can be. I think magpies are the most under-appreciated members of the corvid family, taking a backseat to their raven and crow cousins, and I’m not sure why. I think they are lovely with their long, glossy tails and bright white wing patches, and just as personable as any crow or raven I’ve encountered, though I love them all. For entertainment value you can’t beat a corvid.
Watching them now in the depth of winter has me dreaming of summer and a painting I did for my June show:
The painting has a dream-like quality that seems especially appropriate now that the warm summer air seems like a lifetime ago and a world away. I’m just glad my magpie friends have stuck around to bring a little cheer on a winter’s day.
Stay cheerful, folks. Summer will be here eventually.
Don’t get me started on why I am feeling crabby recently. Instead, let’s focus on the positive:
I had a lot of fun with this 3-dimensional mixed media piece that includes fabric, papier-mâché and acrylic paint elements. I have fond memories of the annual all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab feed picnic when we lived in Sitka. It was a wonderful community event that we all looked forward to all year long. I don’t know if they are still doing it there since I haven’t lived there in a few years, but I sure hope so. It was a great part of the beautiful community that is Sitka, AK. And soooooo tasty!
I really enjoyed painting this large raven. The background is a moody blue-grey streaked with golden yellow, and highly textured. Available for viewing and purchase at the Art Shop Gallery in Homer, Alaska.
I was lucky to spot a large pod of belugas in Cook Inlet a few weeks ago. With no pack ice to camouflage them in the summer, they really stand out with their bright white color and can be easily sighted splashing and rolling as they hunt their fishy prey. Such charismatic little whales, I can help but smile whenever I see them. With the corners of their mouths naturally upturned, I like to imagine they are smiling back at me.
One of my very favorite places on earth is the Tongass National Forest. It is the largest national forest in the US at 16.7 million acres and is also the largest intact temperate rain forest ecosystem in the world. A visit to the Tongass, located in coastal SE Alaska is pure magic. The forest is dominated by huge stands of Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and Western Hemlock. Though logging has been an important influence on the Tongass in the past, large portions of the forest are now protected by the Roadless Rule. In addition to being home to three Alaska Native nations, the Tongass is a vital part of the cycle of salmon species in Alaska. The Tongass filters and cleans the abundant rain water as it flows into rivers and then the oceans. The many rivers are vital habitat for young salmon, which then migrate to the oceans, and after several years feeding, return to the rivers to spawn and die. Their bodies then return nutrients to the Tongass in a beautiful never ending cycle.
If you ever get a chance to visit Southeast Alaska, I highly recommend a hike through the Tongass, where you can enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty, breath the fresh air, and dip your toes into icy streams that lead to dramatic rocky shorelines. It is a true gem.
Here is a little sneak peek at a few of my paintings that will be debuting in June at my show at the Art Shop Gallery in Homer, AK. See if you can tell from these little slivers what the whole pieces are!
Did I give you enough of a glimpse to guess? See these in their entirety and more at the show!
Opening is Friday June 5 and show runs through the end of the month. I hope to see you there!