Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Settling Back Into City Life and Upcoming Shows

Chief of Interpretations, David Elkowitz, Me and Superintendent Cindy Ott-Jones

This was taken on the morning I left Big Bend National Park. I was able to donate this painting, "Road to the Sky" 18x36, Oil, to the Park. The man standing to my left is the Ranger who took me around to all the remote locations while I was there. He and his wife were so kind and helpful to me. They have all been.  I was actually joking right before this that I am so short!

I've been almost two weeks back home and am slowly getting back to normal. I find myself dreaming about the park at night and missing the smells of the landscape after a rain. I also have started walking almost everyday since my return as it just feels good to get outside. Something that I am grateful to have learned while I was there. I feel rushed in the city and with the upcoming Christmas holidays it seems even more apparent to me how "in a hurry" we all are.

Several friends and family members have mentioned to me how rested I look. I tell them that getting to the Parks is good medicine for the soul. I hope and pray that you can do this too my friends. We all need space, time, rest, reflection, beauty and exploration. Perhaps we have to work to find it in our lives but getting a taste of it has left me changed.

I met with my gallery here in Dallas, Mary Tomas Gallery, and we have slated a one-woman show for May or June (haven't quite set the month yet) but it will be about 6 months out. I am grateful for the time as I want to paint LARGE for the pieces from Big Bend. I am currently working on a 36x72! Please pray for me to do my best and to do them in love. Love for the landscape and for the precious God who allowed me this opportunity to sit and talk with Him. And truly LISTEN. I can't wait to share with you all that is in me. I pray I will be faithful to what I've heard.

Thank you all for your kindness, prayers, friendship and for taking the time to keep up with my art journey. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you have time, real time, to reflect on the depth of hope that is this special season.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Beauty of Birds

"Orange Crowned Warbler" Graphite

Getting settled back into city and I just wanted to take a few moments to share about the birds that we were able to see and enjoy while we were in Big Bend National Park. I didn't know this coming to the park but it is one of the top rated parks for birders. If any of you have seen the movie or read the book, "The Big Year," You will know that Birders from all over the country give up time and money to see some of the most rare birds to North America. Big Bend has some of those birds.

My daughters and I decided while we were there that we were going to make a bird wall of all the cutest birds we could find. Hands down the Orange Crowned Warbler was the winner. He won on the merits of his fluffiness (he's perfectly plump) and the little beak. Those things combined made him adorable. My girls even shared with David Elkowitz (the Ranger who is a TRUE Birder) that we wanted to "squish" him. You should have seen David's face. Trying very hard to be kind but also tell the girls how we do not hurt the animals. If he only knew that meant we want to hug the bird! Ha! He thinks I'm raising bird killers.

Here are the girls' marvelous birds for the wall:

 Myla, Keeva and Avia's works

We have decided to award the Painted Bunting the Most Beautiful Bird award. There were so many to choose from but he is just too incredible:

Painted Bunting

We gave the Best Hunter award to the Red Tailed Hawk. We got to witness his incredible strength and flight as he caught a Cottontail in a dive. Truly these birds are all at once graceful and terrifying.

Red Tailed Hawk with the Cottontail

Lastly, we give the Most Personality award to the Mexican Jay who would not let me go anywhere until I took his picture. The guy talked to me for MINUTES.

Mexican Jay

I have such a deeper appreciation for these animals. What personality, song, coloring and habits they each have. We were able to enjoy them simply for being the wonders that they are. Whether we could find them in our bird book or not we took in their song, chirp, warble, caw or screech. We saw their shadows pass over us as they hunted. We hiked with them all around us as we moved. We got to see them in their home and we left our deepest thanks and for some, we wished we could, "squish" them goodbye.