Category Archives: animals

Pet menagerie

This post is about our menagerie of pets currently residing on the home place.  We’ve had several dogs, a few cats, and now a feathered friend.  Two of the pets arrived this year.

Cheeky the parakeet loves to have his cage rolled outdoors on nice days. In the shade, of course.

First there was the addition of Cheeky the parakeet.  This is the first time that we’ve had an indoor bird so a bit different from the flocks of chickens we’ve had.  Cheeky loves to have his cage rolled out onto the back porch where he can survey the yard.  He gets excited when he sees other birds but otherwise seems happy.  He particularly likes to have some grass and clover added to his feed.  And when he gets going, he gives the most interesting concert of warbles and chirps.

Leo at a few weeks old. Ready for adventure.

Leo begging to sit in my lap while I paint. Not happening. But look at those eyes!

Leo taking a cat nap in my studio, right under my easel.

Leo the cat is our newest addition in June.  I wasn’t prepared to have another cat after our old one died at the ripe old age of twenty-two.  But, well, he was really cute.  Leo has become a “mom” cat as he follows me wherever I go.  He particularly likes hanging around in my studio.  We initially had some disagreements on what he could climb on and what was off limits.  Some firm scolding and a squirt bottle seems to have solved that problem.

Mikey the border collie. I can hardly take a picture outdoors without him photo bombing it. At least a tail or head or something.

Mikey in his favorite chair on the patio. Doesn’t look comfortable to me but he likes it.

Finally, there is Mikey the dog.  Border collie to be more precise.  This is our second border collie.  They are very smart dogs but have really strong personalities.  They like to herd everything, including when I push the wheelbarrow around the yard.  He also photo bombs nearly every single outdoor photo that I take.  How does he know?  Mikey is a great guard dog.  His job this time of year is keeping the raccoons out of the corn patch.

So, that’s our pet family.  Not about art although I predict they will appear in some future paintings.  Mikey already has.

Year of the Pig

Year of the Pig, green background, original painting, 6 x 6, Kit Miracle

The Chinese Year of the Pig begins on Tuesday, February 5th.  I had this cute little pig teapot and decided to paint it for a close family friend who is Chinese and whose birth year is the Pig.  Actually, I painted two versions.

The painting is a very simple portrayal in acrylic on a canvas panel.  Although the teapot is small, the pig is big on character.  It was very fun to do after some of the more complex paintings that I’ve been doing lately as I don’t usually paint on this small scale except for watercolors.

The Year of the Pig (birth years 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019) portends good luck for the people born in this year.  They are hard workers, energetic and enthusiastic.

So, to my friends of Chinese background, and to everyone else, Happy New Year!

One version of this painting will be listed in my Etsy shop.

Year of the Pig, brown background, acrylic on panel, original painting, 6 x 6, Kit Miracle

 

Dreaming of Rabbits

Dreaming of Rabbits. Border collie painting, 18 x 24. Acrylic on canvas. Contemporary impressionism. Kit Miracle

This is a rare quiet moment of my dog Mikey.  Anyone who has ever been owned by a border collie knows that they are power plants of energy, always ready for a walk, a ride or a new adventure.  Mikey spends much of his days chasing squirrels, birds, rabbits, anything that moves, really.  Here you see him in one of his other favorite pastimes.  He climbs up onto a patio chair and takes a nap, even if no one else is around.

Artists who paint in a realist fashion are always advised to paint what you know.  This is what I know.  Just a common, everyday scene.

Painted on canvas in a contemporary impressionist style. Check out the muted colors of the shadows and the impatiens flowers.  The lovely, soft colors are so easy to love.

Yes, for sale here:  KitMiracleArt.

 

Baby wrens

Baby wrens in nest.

I love house wrens.  Every year we have a nest on the front porch, either in a fern or in the wren house.  This year there are five baby wrens.  I counted the other day but you can only see four beaks in this photo. I love to watch the busy parents feeding this brood.  I can’t imagine how many bugs, grubs and worms they bring but it’s constant this time of year.  I was watching through the window  earlier today while working at my computer.  Although I’m sure the birds saw me, my presence didn’t seem to affect them at all.  They have a very bright chirrup, chirrup, especially if they’re alarmed as when the dog decides to nap on the porch, too.  We’ve even found them nesting in the pocket of a shirt my husband had hanging in the shed.  (Apologies for the bird poop, but that’s country life!)

UPDATE:  The babies fledged the day after I took this photo.  I saw a wren already looking at one of my hanging flowerpots which is another favorite nesting site.  Might get another family this summer.

Is it or isn’t it?

Female bobcat early morning.

Female bobcat early morning.

We moved the deer cam up into the woods. In addition to deer, squirrels, etc., we caught this photo. I think it’s a female bobcat which typically weigh between 15 and 22 pounds. Unfortunately, the photo was taken at dawn, around 7:45 on Sunday so it’s in a grey light, not either day or night. It’s about twice as big as a house cat (which don’t last too long in these woods with so many coyotes around). If you zoom in on the photo, you’ll see that the legs have bands and that the back legs are longer than the front giving the bobcat its characteristic cheetah-like walk. Anyway, stay tuned. There may be more pix to come.

Night visitors

Living out in the near wilderness, we are often beset with furry critters set on eating our produce. Our 90 acres is more like a big park than a real farm. We don’t mind sharing but…there’s plenty for the animals to eat without invading the garden and orchards.

Recently we noticed that something was munching on the fallen apples. So we set up the deer cam in the orchard. My goodness, but there is a LOT of activity out there. Plenty of deer, lots of raccoons (and babies), and one slinky coyote. This isn’t counting all the rabbits and squirrels that set off the camera.

And for those of you who think raccoons are cute little masked bandits, think again. They are vicious creatures who just enjoy the pleasure of killing a whole flock of chickens in a single night.

Anyway, we’re really trying to capture a photo of a bobcat or mountain lion rumored to be living in these parts. We’ll move the deer cam into the woods soon and see what we will see.

Day visitors - a whole herd of deer munching on peaches  8:45 a.m.

Day visitors – a whole herd of deer munching on peaches 8:45 a.m.

Big buck 10:15 p.m.

Big buck 10:15 p.m.

Raccoon stealing bait from trap 5:08 a.m.

Raccoon stealing bait from trap 5:08 a.m.

Wylie Coyote 1:43 a.m.

Wylie Coyote 1:43 p.m.

Evening muncher 6:45 p.m.

Evening muncher 6:45 p.m.

Choosing a painting subject

A simple spring subject.  Oil on canvas, 11x14

A simple spring subject. Oil on canvas, 11×14

I’ve often been asked how I decide what to paint.  To me, the answer is obvious.  Just as writers are advised to “paint what you know,” so, too, should painters.  What interests you?  Do you have a passion or special message?  For me, just walking out the door will often suggest a subject.  In fact, I once had an exhibit which was solely painted from “my 90 acres,” i.e., everything and everyone was from the home place.  That was a little challenging as I do get out and about, but it was a good exhibit.

This painting that I completed yesterday is a scene just out my studio door.  The dog and some spring bushes.  Pretty simple.  However, if you look back at some of the famous painters of the past century, regional artists or French Impressionists, some of their best work was of ordinary daily scenes.  I don’t live near the ocean or the Rocky Mountains, so my usual subjects are the soft hills here in southern Indiana, small villages, flower gardens, vegetables, my favorite people and places.  Try taking a look around your own home town with new eyes.  You’ll be surprised at subjects which suggest themselves.  Good luck!