Deer Cam – Spying on Nature

This is a large male bobcat. A really spectacular picture. Although the males are only about 30 pounds, I wouldn’t want to run into one. And my granddaughter and I had just walked down the drive earlier that morning! Yikes!

One of my favorite gadgets is our deer cam or trail cam.  Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure…and surprise of catching many critters on camera.  I’ve moved the camera around the property several times but it seems that the most active spot is a place on our driveway where it crosses a creek.  There are woods on either side with some fields nearby.  Although much of the animal traffic seems to be at night, I’ve captured some pretty spectacular daytime shots, too.

Coyote with pear. Taken in back orchard this summer. About 40 feet from the house.

Check out the photos and enjoy a brief visit to my part of the world.  I’m not including all the neighborhood cats, multiple pix of my dog (and some other dogs), the delivery people and other vehicles and tractors.

By the way, a trail cam makes a great present to the outdoor lover in your life.  We have two cameras but I’d love to have more.

Buck in velvet this summer

Heron strutting down the driveway.

A very large rooster strutting down the drive. Probably an escapee from my neighbor’s chicken house.

Mystery critter. I had moved the camera nearer the house and it was also near our security light. I kept seeing this creature pass in front of the lens. I finally concluded that it is a photo of a bat in action. What do you think?

Is this my best side? I get so many photos of deer (deer cam, right?). The light is infrared so they can’t see it, but I think they hear it click when it takes a picture.

Two raccoons heading up the drive for a midnight snack. Probably the culprits for the losses in my neighbor’s chicken house. They are NOT cute. They are mean and vicious and can destroy a garden in a night.

A large coyote with a bite mark. I’d hate to see what gave it to him.

Coyotes often travel in packs. While usually shy, they were nightly visitors to our orchards this year.

Wild turkeys are very crafty and great survivors in the woods. They actually can fly and manage to raise a brood every year.

Many possums in the area. I don’t particularly like them but they are reported to eat thousands of ticks each day. That is good. They will also break into a chicken house and eat the eggs and baby chicks. Not good.

Groundhog. Not a desirable creature as they tend to dig out building foundations and otherwise become pests.

A standoff between a crow and a squirrel. It appears that the crow is holding something in his beak.

Night visitor. This is the scariest of all of the photos I’ve captured. The intruder is coming up the drive in the very early morning on Easter Sunday. (And, no, it’s not the Easter bunny!) With his knapsack and large knife, I hope that he was planning to do some mushroom hunting in the woods. But, also, the neighbor’s house was broken into that morning. Kinda creepy. Our dog was locked up unfortunately.

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Musicians and Artists – Keep Growing

Trombone Shorty

One thing that I’ve learned in life is that talent will only take you so far. You’ve got to keep growing.

Trombone Shorty

 

I was a little distracted this week and was thinking today what I might post on Sunday.  Tonight as I was painting in my studio, I was listening to American Roots on NPR.  They were talking with Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) the fabulous musician from New Orleans.  He said something that really hit home.

He was talking about how he is sometimes criticized because he always wants to branch out and try new things.  “You’ve got to try new things so that others that follow you have something to build onto.”  That just made so much sense to me.

I’ve seen so many artists who do the same thing, year after year after year.  While sometimes their tenacity is admirable, most of the time I’m struck with the thought, “how boring.”  What does that feel like? To keep doing the same thing everyday? How are you improving and what are you leaving for the following generations?

I think Trombone Shorty was referring to taking what you have, the talent or skill, and building on that. Take your skills, twist them a bit, and see what happens.  Any artist who has tried this knows that sometimes it turns out like crap.  But other times, it’s magic.  THAT is what we’re after, right?  Some magic.

Try something new today.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Maybe it will be another piece for the garbage…but maybe, just maybe, it will be MAGIC!

Plein air painting, Brooks Bridge, Martin County, Indiana

Plein air painting of Brooks Bridge, oil on canvas board, Kit Miracle

I went plein air painting with my friend Bill Whorrall on Monday.  It was a beautiful and unseasonably warm December day with temps in the 60s.  However, the wind was brisk which posed some problems later.

Brooks Bridge across the East Fork of the White River in Martin County, Indiana

Bill lives in Martin County, Indiana which is lovely and boasts a variety of terrains – rivers, stone ledges, hills, woods.  We decided to paint this one lane bridge, Brooks Bridge, which spans the East Fork of the White River south of Shoals.  We had spotted this location before but the ground was too wet to drive on.

While we were painting, we saw about four vehicles, including a four wheeler; probably the farmer checking us out.  (It’s hunting season and there are lots of poachers.)  I just waved and he drove back.  The sparse traffic is probably why the bridge is only one lane.  Yeah, impossible for you city people to believe but they still exist.

Bill was working on some ink drawings that he created with sticks and twigs as drawing instruments.  You can see the results here.  Really neat.

Plein air painting along the East Fork of the White River south of Shoals. My friend Bill Whorrall is drawing with ink and sticks.

Painting half done

I decided to use a canvas panel toned with yellow paint.  It was pretty bright but where it shows through, it seems to add some magic.  I like it anyway.

Plein air painting of Brooks Bridge. The wind nearly took my easel right after I took this photo!

The only real problem was that the wind picked up throughout the morning.  A strong gust nearly knocked my easel into the river!

I tweaked the final painting in my studio, darkening the details and adding highlights.  It’s sometimes difficult to really see and judge colors and contrasts in the bright sunlight.  What do you think?

Yeah, it’s for sale at my Etsy shop.

Ladybug Teapot, a Whimsical Painting

Ladybug Teapot, oil on canvas, 12 x 16, Kit Miracle

This playful still life was inspired by the whimsical ladybug teapot that I found in my prop cupboard.  It’s actually a teapot and cup combination which I paired with some red apples and bright green fabric.  Check out the step-by-step of how this painting was created here.

The painting can also be found on my Etsy shop, KitMiracleArt.  A great gift for your favorite tea lover!

Urban sketchers

Urban sketchers is a group of people from all over the world who sketch their local areas and post them online at Urban Sketchers.

This is a little different from plein air painters but in the same vein. Sometimes they get together at various locales, but their different styles are inspiring.  It is also great fun to view the different parts of the world that they sketch.  Many of the paintings are pretty complete while others are really just “sketches.”  Check them out!

Appletini – Something Different

It was a busy week here on the farm with company and the big Thanksgiving feast.  The weather has been pretty great, too – all sunshine and balmy temperatures.  In November, this means more outdoor chores, such as, chopping firewood, cleaning gutters, etc.

Appletini, oil on canvas, 16 x 12, Kit Miracle

All of these activities mean that I only completed one painting this week.   I call it Appletini since it features a big red apple in a martini glass with a silver shaker behind it.  The reflections were what really attracted me.  This is similar to previous paintings that I’ve posted on here, Apple Jack, and Two Lemons and a Martini Glass.  I don’t know why but I like placing objects in unusual situations.  Props courtesy of Goodwill thrift shop.

I’m not quite sure if I’m finished with the painting but I probably am.  What do you think?

Of course, available on my Etsy shop and can be shipped in time for the holidays.

Good Framing Makes A Difference

Times Square at Night, professional framing, Kit Miracle

Recently I posted about how to frame your artwork on a budget.  This post is about how professional framing and presentation can bring out the best in your artwork.

This is also a follow up to a post I made in May about something different, a watercolor and India ink painting I created of Times Square at Night.  An acquaintance saw the post and was thrilled.  She and her husband had lived in the Theatre district near Times Square for nearly 30 years before moving to New Jersey.  She bought the painting as a surprise for her husband’s birthday.

When I mailed it to her, I told her that I had planned on framing it with a white mat and black frame.  This is what she and her framer came up with.  SO much better than anything I had imagined.  Professional framing really brings out the colors of the painting while displaying it to its best.

So, framing on a budget or professional framing, you choose.

Studies in Red – Oil Paintings with Heart

I’ve always liked red paintings.  When I did art fairs for many years, they seemed to be very popular with my patrons, too.  Everyone has room for a red painting to brighten up that special spot.

The four paintings that I completed this week are predominantly red or at least in the red/orange family.

The Birdcage, oil on canvas. 12 x 16, Kit Miracle

The first one, The Birdcage, features the antique birdcage that I bought at a flea market earlier this summer.  I paired it with some bright red fabric printed with beautiful little birds.  Then I decided to do a tea theme with a teacup and small teapot, along with some luscious lemons.  Although the painting is a little busy, especially after the simplicity of the others that I’ve been working on lately, I think it works.  Boy, that birdcage was difficult to paint!  The other challenge was to depict the birds on the fabric without letting them take over the composition.

The Conversation, oil painting, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

The second painting I did this week is called The Conversation.  I can just imagine two friends having a lovely talk in the afternoon sunshine.  It looks as if they just left, doesn’t it?

Lamplight, oil painting, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

Then I painted this bright interior painting called Lamplight.  This depicts an interior scene, perhaps an entry hall, with a lamp and a simple bouquet of red flowers.  The gold frame of the mirror helps connect the objects on the table.

A Sunny Corner, oil painting, 10 x 10, Kit Miracle

My final painting this week I call The Sunny Corner.  I’ve always loved the play of sunlight and shadows on interior walls and floors.  The effects are often fleeting but beautiful, nonetheless.  The chair just invites the viewer to take a rest and enjoy the sunshine.

Visit my Etsy shop, KitMiracleArt, to see many more painting details.

Cesar Santos, artist extraordinaire

Another favorite contemporary artist that I like is Cesar Santos, one of the most versatile young living artists.  I love his videos on You Tube.  This one is about a drawing he did which matches any “master”  I’ve seen.  This Cuban American is an inspiration to us all.  His videos are fresh and informative. Check him out.

Here is a link to his website.  http://www.santocesar.com/

Onions and Garlic, a step-by-step demonstration

Onions and Garlic, 12 x 16, oil on canvas, final- Kit Miracle

I’ve been painting a lot of still lifes lately.  This one was inspired when my husband came home recently with a bag of big, beautiful garlic bulbs.  I quickly grabbed them before he could put them in a sauce or plant them in the garden.  Then I went “shopping” through the house and refrigerator, and even my prop closet for the rest of the items I needed for a still life.  This one reminds me of something by Cezanne or Renoir.  The impressionists were known for beautiful paintings featuring simple household items.

If you would like to see a demo of this painting step-by-step, click here for the demo page.  The painting is for sale on my Etsy shop, KitMiracleArt.  Paint has to dry though!