Tag Archives: nest

Avian Brilliance

Could anything be more beautiful?

My mom and dad came for a visit recently, and when my dad walked in, he was carrying this. Found under the tarp for their wood pile.(Thank you, dad!!) I felt a little badly that these poor eggs were abandoned, but I will look forward to painting this nest.  This nest is in fantastic shape- and the avian architectural brilliance is always startling. Every piece of grass and animal hair is woven- just so.

As for me, I feel like I am starting to weave myself together as I come off from a busy busy couple of months.  Thanks to those of you who emailed me and made sure that I knew that this blog matters!

Sometimes I forget that my most artistically productive times are fed and nurtured by things that I don’t always give credit to.  Like walking, gardening, knitting, exploring, reading,  relaxing and playing with my family ….  and doing nothing. Sometimes I want to be efficient and productive, and I replace that quiet nothingness or repetitive, rhythmic (but seemingly mindless) activity with something that delivers a more quantifiable something. And I feel my creative juices eventually start to dry up….. I suspect that the physics of our souls are very very different from the physics of matter. Or perhaps I just need to get smarter about what kind of productivity I want (or need) to invest in.  So, though I know there are times when I just have to “get things done” that aren’t particularly nurturing to my creativity, it feels really really nice to get my feet back on the ground and create some margin for myself. One of these days I’ll get it through my head that creativity needs *space* to happen.  That sometimes it takes a whole lotta nothin for the best things to happen.

I can’t sign off without introducing you to my new blogging partner.

Meet Mouse.

Our new kitty, and the terror of the neighborhood. He totally owns everything around here (including us), eats at at least 3 houses, and chases our neighbor’s cats. And he’s only 5 months old. This is not necessarily a good thing. But this cat redeems himself with a personality the size of Texas. He is a study in fearlessness. And goofiness. 

And this cat knows all about margin.

Chaos and Riches

A little pre-show chaos in my studio:

I’ve been working, working, working, trying to finish up some things before Saturday. I’ve got paintings waiting in line for embroidery, almost finished…

Eventually, most of my work finds other homes, but I love the feeling of having a lot of finished work piling up. It’s like putting up jam for the winter…it feels abundant and delicious. I kind of gather it all around me, hoard it in my home, and enjoy my temporary riches. Maybe like a magpie with her secret treasures. I especially enjoy it before I’ve really shown it to very many people. I wonder why that is? It feels like it’s totally mine, and then, by degree, it goes out into the world, and is experienced by other people, and it becomes less mine, and more the world’s. 

Good thing that creating is truly one of those inexhaustible things.

And life, too, just keeps on delivering.  I visited my sister a few weeks ago, and she gave me a nest she found in her yard.  It is a wonderful nest- an urban bird’s masterpiece. It has dryer lint, part of a dusting cloth, colored string, rose petals, and part of someone’s window screen woven into it, among other things. It had a shoelace, too, that fell out before she had a chance to give it to me! If this bird could have fit a hub cap in there, it would have.

Here it is with a dress I found in an antique shop the same weekend. I love the way the scrappy little nest contrasts with the delicate thin cotton of the dress.

That’s all I’ve got for now- time for me to go wire some paintings and print some postcards!

A New Nest

As I was cleaning up in the yard the other day, getting ready to mow the lawn, I saw this….

I didn’t even know right away what it was, and I think I stepped on it.  It is a hummingbird nest, about the size of a golf ball.  You can’t see in this photo, but it still has tiny egg shards in it.  The lining is some really soft fiber, like a cotton ball.  I am starting to think my studio is a nest magnet.

I love the way each bird chooses completely different materials, carefully constructing and arranging.  This one used redwood from our mulch, and some of the moss that grows on the dead pine trees in my neighbors yard.  

A Nest Story

As many of you know, I am fascinated by nests. If this nest looks familiar, it’s because I’ve painted it several times…. isn’t it beautiful?

This last winter, as my studio was nearing completion, I noticed a nest lodged in a tree that overhangs one of the skylights.  It was way out on the end, perching there, looking like it should have fallen out long before. It looked stark out there by itself, without even the leaves of the tree to put it into context.  I thought about getting up onto the roof to look at it, but decided that it was out of my reach, a bit too high up for me to get to.  If I stood in the right spot in my studio, I could look up through the skylight and see it. 

One night, the wind picked up, and we live out here on the Northern California coast, which means that it really picked up. It was absolutely howling, all night, with driving rain.  A few times that night, I woke from the noise of the storm, and looked out my bedroom window to check on the nest, and each time was amazed to see it still hanging in there, swaying like a crazy thing on the end of that branch.  In the morning, I checked again, and it was still there.  Amazing.  By then, the wind was dying down, and I was relieved to see that the nest had survived.

Later that morning, I went out to the studio to make sure that the skylights had not leaked.  Everything was fine, and as I was leaving to go back into the house, something caught my eye. There, on one of the wet flagstones by the door was the nest, still clinging to a little section of the branch, looking for all the world like an offering.