The garden is in and coming up fast! So it felt like the right time to paint some veggies for the summer craft shows! Yesterday I finished this painting of a basket full of Rainbow Chard. Prints of this painting will be available soon on trivets, placemats and coasters at my summer and fall shows. Hope to see you there!
Just wanted to let you know that I will be headed north to Maine the first week of May. There will be a little gap in shipping orders the 2nd week in May but I'll be back in business at my Rangeley home and studio by the third week of May.
I also wanted to let you know that my Airbnb bungalow in Mount Dora has availabilities during May, June and July. If you are coming to Florida or are already here and want to spend a few days in this quaint little town check it out here at www.airbnb.com/rooms/6832459.
And if you are coming to New England this summer please stop by one of my shows. The schedule will be posted in the Shows section soon! Have a great summer! Cheers, Dan
Last winter I traveled around Florida quite a bit... gypsy fashion...staying in areas near art and craft shows. I did shows on
weekends.....photography and painting during the week. For a period in January I was staying at a Yoga Retreat east of Sarasota near the Myakka River State Park... known to be a good place to observe and photograph wildlife. One night about sunset I heard the distinctive voice of a Sandhill Crane nearby, got my camera and went off to see if I could find it. Sandhill Cranes are often found in surburban backyards in Florida as their natural environment is becoming increasingly over run by development in the state. I had been planning to do a painting of this large wading bird, including its reflection in water. I found the crane and it was my good fortune that it was feeding along a "shoreline" (it was actually a puddle in a yard near the house where I was staying) and I got a few pretty good photos at sunset.
I finally got around to doing the painting (I ended up painting the crane in a more naturalistic setting). Reprints will be available on Placemats, Trivets, and Coasters starting tomorrow, January 2, in The Villages, Spanish Springs Craft Show.
Happy New Year.
A few years ago I put in a few lilac bushes around the house in Rangeley. I've always loved lilacs....especially when they bloom in early summer. And so do butterflies! This summer there was a pair that hung out one day for hours around the lilacs and garden....giving me plenty of time to observe and shoot a few photos. I get quite a few requests for a butterfly paintings so I didn't want this summer to get away before painting one. Finally finished this one up today. Its a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, a familiar butterfly native to eastern North America. Hope you enjoy it. Prints of the painting will be available on Centerpieces, Trivets and Coasters soon. Keep an eye on the Store and upcoming fall Shows.
The other day I decided to paint a turtle. Not really quite sure why except that I kept thinking about how the shell would make a nice trivet design and I think a lot about trivets. At first I was thinking big turtles...like a Sea Turtle... since I spend a lot of time in Florida. But instead I decided to start small. And it seemed appropriate that I would start with the Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)... little ones...about 4-6 inches and ironically just about the size of a coaster! So I settled on a Southern Painted Turtle usually found along the Mississippi River to the Gulf Coast....mostly in marshes, ponds, lakes and creeks. The Southern Painted Turtle will be available on Coasters (and Trivets) very soon!
Next up: A Florida Sea Turtle!
It looked like the perfect sunny day to till the garden but after several days of rain here in Rangeley the soil was just too soupy! So I decided to do some work potting flowers down by my storage shed and old wood pile. While I was working I saw what I thought was a crow fly into the trees behind the wood pile. But then a pileated woodpecker popped up and started foraging for bugs!
This 16" bird is majestic! Almost pre-historic in appearance. A noisy beast too. Always commands one's attention. I usually stop everything when I hear or see a pileated woodpecker. And this one was just a few feet away. So I grabbed my camera, took a few shots and he was gone.
On a walk in the area recently I saw the work of another, or maybe the same, pileated woodpecker.
David Attenborough, in his book The Life of Birds wrote:
"Woodpeckers hunt for insects which are beyond the reach of the tree creeper, beneath the bark and even in the wood below. The implements they use are not tweezers but chisels. A blow from a woodpecker's bills strikes a tree at about 25 miles an hour and does so with such force that the two mandibles of its beak would fly apart were they not, at that moment, held together by a special locking device. The shock of the blow is so great that if it travelled directly to the brain, the bird would be knocked unconscious".
Amazing what happens in our own back yard!
I was wearing a bright red shirt today when several hummingbirds started dive-bombing me! Their sweet little feeder was only a few feet away from the deck but I guess I looked like a much bigger flower! Ironically, I had just finished the hummingbird and hibiscus painting this morning and was enjoying lunch on the deck.
Other birds are coming around now too. Yesterday I had visits from a Northern Parula and several Black-Throated Green Warblers along with the more frequent visitors including Goldfinches, Chickadees, Juncos, Purple Finches and others. Its good to be back in Maine watching spring break out. Its a busy time...the garden got tilled and the lawn mower went in for a tune-up today. And I'm getting ready for the spring and summer shows with new paintings.... including the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Check out the Show schedule for upcoming shows....starting on Memorial Day weekend in Meredith, NH. Hope to see you there!
I think most of the snowbirds waited a bit before going back north this year. Its been a hard winter. I've been driving crowded highways for three days now in early May but am about to take a break in Boston for a few days before heading home to Rangeley, ME.
...by early March I had settled into a lovely little bungalow in the town of Mount Dora, FL. It was a good central Florida location north of Orlando for my shows and only about about an hour or so from where I grew up... in the 1950's! I thought it would be a good base for exploring some of the places my family used to visit when I was young. Our family used to go on "outings" and "retreats" to many of the fresh water springs in Florida ... Silver Springs, Silver Glen, Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs. I wanted to rekindle some of those memories.
Luckily I was able to do that when my son visited from LA.
I met a lot of great folks in Mount Dora, managed to get a few paintings done and had shows in Brooksville, Sarasota, Lakeland and The Villages while staying there. But then I moved back to the west coast of FL to Dunedin and loved being back there. Shows in Siesta Key, St. Pete Beach and Stuart rounded out the winter season.
After the Stuart show I was ready to head north! I caught a Sox/Rays game and a Dylan concert before leaving but it was 93 degrees out and I was ready to chill out in Maine for the spring!
So after a quick stop with family in Georgia I headed north...caught some nice blooms in Boston and at 5:30 AM on May 8th, soon after arriving in Rangeley, it was Ice Out! Spring has sprung!
And I can't believe that just as I was finishing up this note, I heard the loons on Rangeley Lake! They made it back OK too!
Hope to see you at the Spring and Summer shows!
"Back in the day", when I used to give lectures in Intro Psych on visual perception I always loved giving examples of how our unique experiences in life influence what we see.
I was sitting on my patio in Florida a few days ago watching the spring flowers bloom when suddenly an old grandpa with a wrinkled face and a big nose appeared before me in the shape of a flower. Then I suddenly had a flash back to the late 1950's when I was around age 12 or so.... out "Trick or Treating" in a small town in rural Florida....dressed up in a trench coat and with a (too big) rubber mask on my face....of Jimmy Durante! Masquerading as Mr. Durante I remember playing something on the piano and imitating his growly voice for my halloween "trick"! And getting plenty of treats and laughs!
So I still see examples today of how our perceptions are influenced by deep seeded memories going back to our childhood.
And that the beauty of a flower, or of a Jimmy Durante, is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
I swore I would never paint a rooster. I'm not sure why but I guess I thought it was just too "kitschy". But I kept getting requests for rooster trivets...its still a big kitchen motif I guess. And I was recently at a Yoga Retreat in Myakka, Florida when a Light Brown Leghorn Rooster crossed my path.... he was strolling through the weeds in the neighbor's back yard! It was a sign that I should paint a rooster I guess. So I took some pics and realized that this is one beautiful bird! Or chicken. Or whatever. So I decided to paint a rooster after all. I'm printing some up now on trivets, placemats and coasters!
This page is where I put stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.... news, photos, an occassional idea, work in process, etc.