Morton Pumpkin Festival Art Show

The Hawk & the Goldfinch – 2nd Place, Morton Pumpkin Festival Art Show, Professional Division

The Morton (Illinois) Art Guild hosts an annual art and photography show during the annual Pumpkin Festival. I always enter something, just to support the MAG and local art community. There are three divisions and a “junior” segment. There were 96 entries this year in the art show, which is amazing. The show has grown every year, and every year, the subject matter becomes more diverse. This year I entered The Hawk and the Goldfinch in the Professional Division, and was honored to receive 2nd place! It surprised me that many of the winning paintings chosen in each division were of birds or animals! I hope this means that more people are paying attention to nature! It’s something we desperately need to do!

Shades of Gray – St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature & Wildlife Art Exhibit

Shade of Gray

Shades of Gray has been juried into the St. Augustine 6th Annual Nature and Wildlife Art Exhibition. The exhibit will be held at the St. Augustine Art Association Art Center, St. Augustine, Florida. The opening reception and awards ceremony will kick off the exhibit on July 25th, and the exhibit will run through August 31, 2015.

Shades of Gray is a 12 x 16 painting of a gray wolf created in acrylic on black canvas. The only “color” in the painting are the wolf’s eyes. Reference photos for this painting were taken at Animals of Montana.

Spring – Where ARE you!!???

Mother Nature gave us another 2.5 inches of snow yesterday; not a lot, true. But now we are waiting for the next TWO storms, the first of which is supposed to bring another 6-8 inches of snow. We are used to snow in the Midwest. But we, like everyone else, grow increasingly weary of winter, cold, snow and the biting wind. While we haven’t received anywhere near what Boston has (kudos to Bostonians for having to deal with that!), I frankly cannot wait until Spring arrives. This next storm is coming in on March 1st – and as the saying goes, “If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.” If that’s true, by the end of March, perhaps we’ll see pretty spring flowers, like this Iris after a gentle spring rain.


After the Rain – Iris


Who’s Ready for Spring???

Last night we dodged a bullet – the snowstorm went south of us where it dumped up to 11 inches of snow in some areas! Whew! Glad we missed that! It’s nearly the end of February and I’m looking forward to Spring! How about you! This little tree is just off my deck. It’s a flowering crab apple tree. In Spring, it has pink rose like buds that open to pretty white flowers. Last Spring the tree was covered in them and the bees took advantage of that! In the fall, cherry-like red berries appear that last well through November. The birds love them! It’s rather ironic though that when the flower petals drop to the ground, it looks like it snowed – again!

Silver Drift Crabapple

Silver Drift Crabapple Tree

Urban Wildlife – Whitetail Deer Fawns

Can I get an “Awwww” ? This pair of whitetail deer fawns were regulars in my back yard from the time they were born and their mother let them come up from the ravine to play. They ran all over my yard and my neighbor’s yard, chasing each other and just having fun. The following summer, they, their mother, and a new set of fawns came up to visit. The third year, the doe only had one fawn, but all of them were in the yard at different times, enjoying the berries, leaves and even parts of my garden.

Whitetail Fawns

Whitetail Fawns

Wildlife of Sedona

Well, there just wasn’t much “wildlife” to be seen in Sedona, except for these little lizards, that were everywhere. I photographed this Spotted Whiptail Lizard early one morning as I was photographing the beautiful view just outside Sedona. On that cool morning, all he wanted to do was warm himself in the sun! These little creatures were everywhere! I even had one in my motel room. He didn’t eat much, didn’t complain, or take up much space – so I let him stay.

Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Spotted Whiptail Lizard

Black Chinned Hummingbird

I attended an art fair in Salida, Colorado in 2009. Outside our motel room there were several hummingbird feeders. Early one morning I was able to photograph these little birds as they fed from one of the feeders. We have ruby throated hummingbirds in Central Illinois where I live but I haven’t been able to get a really good picture of one of them.

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a habitat generalist, found in the western United States in lowland deserts and mountainous forests, and in natural habitats and very urbanized areas as long as there are tall trees and flowering shrubs and vines.

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Bell’s Landing – Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

About an hour’s drive from my home is a place called “Bell’s Landing.” Its part of a wildlife preserve but folks are allowed to fish there with certain restrictions. I like to go there because of sights like this. The day I photographed this Great Blue Heron was quite windy as you can see from the raised feather patches on his body. Both he and I were fighting to stand in the strong wind and I was lucky not to get blown over as I tried to capture this bird with my camera.


Went out to my car one afternoon last fall and notice something large in my yard. I realized it was a Cooper’s Hawk. I went back into my house to grab my camera, only to realize the long lens was in the camera case and the battery was on the charger. I hurriedly put it together and luckily he was still there when I went back outside. The picture isn’t the greatest, but it was a once in a lifetime shot!


Cooper’s Hawk

Furry Critters

One of the things I greatly miss about my old house is the wildlife that frequented my back yard. While not totally void of “critters”, my new home doesn’t have the variety I was used to seeing. So, every critter I see, I truly appreciate! This cottontail lives close by. There is a little garden in front of my deck with hostas and a bush or two. Last fall, we covered the plants with leaves, and every day he comes to sit under the bush where he can barely be seen, but still gets to enjoy the afternoon sun.