Saturday, November 27, 2010

ssssEEEEttt

"ssssEEEEttt."
November 18, 2010.

A screech owl in a sugar maple is an echo chamber. This looped continually from daylight until about 4:37 p.m when the owl judged it was dark enough to depart.

The birds' reactions aren't unreasonable. When I clean out the owl boxes in the spring, there are usually Cardinal, Cedar Waxwing, and thrush feathers among the bedding.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"& So?" (Is that all there is?)

"& So?" (Is that all there is?)
Photo collage. December 2009/November 2010.
Collaboration with earthworms, starlings, crab apples, and hackberries on prepared asphalt driveway.

In fall, 2008, I used a squeegee to paint the background with a mix of water-based emulsions, clay fillers, latex polymers, and bitumen. The piece cured for over a year until it reached Munsell N7. Then, and only then, was it ready.

"& So?" is a very large piece--roughly 100 feet by 15 feet in its entirety--and is laid out on a precarious, sloping surface, which is very difficult to work on when it's wet or covered with substances with inherently low viscosity such as ice or snow. It took over two years to create.

Asphalt is an interesting medium to work upon, but most serious artists have nothing but contempt for it. Training the birds and earthworms took more time than I care to admit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

". . . , dust to dust"

"Under the rug: EntROpY"
(manipulated photo/collage)

The Letter People were the stars of a strange t.v. program.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Typha

"Typha."

This is probably the last windy day soccer practice piece. It's an October scene. Not to be confused with Typhoo or Typhoo or Typhoo. Cattail tea probably wouldn't have much taste.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Digger Wasp

Digger Wasp (species?)
Haiti, November 23, 2009.

These digger wasps were all over the upper part of the beach we visited on Haiti last year. This one had dug a hole inside a boot print.

Digger Wasp (species?)
Haiti, November 23, 2009.

Fraxinus ad finem

"Here they come!" panel 1 of 4.

I think we're all going to miss our ash trees.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Eyes:Ears:Ayer

"Eyes:Ears:Ayer"

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A funny name

"What's in a funny name?"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quiscalus in space

"Quiscalus traveling through space sees his former self."
(Collaboration with William Hull)

This is a reworking of the Quiscalus quiscula piece from October. I can't remember what Photoshop trips I clicked on to get something that looks like a grackle in a spaceship, but it does look like a grackle in a spaceship. Bill Hull sent me a photo last winter of a Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) drinking coffee in Costa Rica; I have no doubt that eventually members of Quiscalus will travel through space and time, probably surpassing human efforts. I have that much faith in grackles. The first Great-tailed Grackle I saw was in Cozumel. It was pecking at a dog lying by the side of a road. I thought the dog was dead, but it wasn't. Some tourists riding by on mopeds woke it up.

At the November Cincinnati Bird Club meeting, there were a number of bird skins that the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History brought for an identification quiz. Bird skins can be tricky to ID, since the shapes and states of the birds are nothing like they are in life. Stuffed eyeless skins on sticks, invariably with flattened backs from spending their lives in a museum tray. But museum collections are treasures and it's a treat to look at the specimens. Last night, they had a Great-tailed Grackle collected or found dead in Texas. That's one species that's hard to confuse with anything else, whether it's stuffed or alive, pecking at a dog's back or drinking coffee.

For photos (and videos and sound recordings) of Great-tailed Grackles and other Quiscalus members, including the former self Quiscalus the space traveler is observing in the piece above, see the World Bird Guide on Bill's Mangoverde site. Click on "Passerine" then click on "Troupials and Allies." You'll get a wonderful list of birds.