Tag Archives: nature

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Red leaf (C) 2013

I ventured into my “backyard” (or whatever you call the outside of your apartment) to do a little picture taking, and these pictures are some of my favorites from the stroll. I’m fortunate that I open my eyes every morning to a view some would kill for. I peer through the vine-covered tree trunks and see a pond. The palms grow in patches at the feet of the trees, and occasionally the wildlife draws me outside for a closer look.

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Great Blue Heron (C) 2013

I often think that what I see everyday is photo-worthy, and I’ve made good on that thought a few times. It’s summer now, and the turtles happily cruise the pond and sometimes wander towards even the parking lot during their carefree days. If you walk out onto the dock, you’ll see them swim towards you, hoping for a handout of breadcrumbs or other snacks. For such a slow mover, the turtles sure move fast in the water when they want to.

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Apple Snail with eggs (C) 2013

Some small fish also gather to beg – which leads me to believe that a resident often makes their way out to the dock to give the turtles a special treat.

On the legs of the dock and long woody stems of aquatic plants that jut out of the water, pink columns seem to “grow” above the waterline. A closer look reveals a clutch of eggs, and a giant apple snail laying a late-season clutch. The eggs are everywhere. Anywhere they can lay them, they do. And in some time, more baseball-sized snails will patrol the pond.

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Under the dock (C) 2013

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Red-eared Slider in water (C) 2013

A Great Blue Heron slowly stalks the bank, looking for his next meal. Probably some small fry that enjoy the warm water close to the bank. Still as a pole, the heron moves slowly in the grass, striking quickly when its prey is within reach.

I’ve seen ducks, Canadian geese, Snowy egrets, cardinals, vultures, and many other varieties of birds in my neighborhood. Florida is surely a state “for the birds”.

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Creeping vines (C) 2013

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Vine roots (C) 2013

Frogs serenade the night, loudly on more humid nights, and sometimes you’ll find them sticking to the windows and peering into your home. There are some even as small as a fingernail that hop through the grass in the evenings.

Lizards, particularly anoles, peruse the palm leaves and climb the stucco of my building. Curious and personable, these guys show little fear of humans. I’ve seen skinks, including one variety with a rainbow-colored tail. I’ve yet to stumble upon a snake, and I’m thankful for that!

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Anole on palm (C) 2013

When I was younger, I ventured outside and could tell you all about the critters that lived in my neighborhood. I wouldn’t have known the variety of creatures that dwell in my picture-perfect view if I never ventured to take a closer look. I’m sure my big backyard has more secrets to share with me down the road.

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Bird of Paradise – *available for purchase*

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“Bird of Paradise” 2006 acrylic on canvas board 9×12

My favorite flower – the bird of paradise, or Strelitzia. There are 5 varieties of the plant, which is native to South Africa. I saw these often, growing up in southern California, and I’m surprised I don’t see them here in Florida. They grow in a large bush, and occasionally I’ve found the cut flowers for sale at Whole Foods. A little unusual, perhaps, in the cut flower world, but I love them.

“Bird of Paradise” is available for purchase! It is 9×12″ on canvas board and ready for framing. You can purchase it at my etsy shop by clicking HERE. The price is $75 plus shipping. 🙂

Moose in Fall

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“Moose in Fall” 2010 acrylic on canvas board

The moose is one of my favorite animals, and I’ve been lucky enough to see them in the wild myself on several occasions. The moose is a massive animal – the sheer size of them is something to behold, with 7 feet their average height at the shoulder. The older bulls can grow antler spreads up to 6 feet wide that weigh 90 pounds! Can you imagine carrying around 90 pounds on your head? The antlers grow in at the rate of up to 1 inch per day, and are shed yearly. Another interesting fact – moose have 4 more DNA chromosomes than humans.

Of the more exotic animals I’d like to throw a saddle on and ride, the moose is up there with the giraffe. Here and here are some examples of other people with crazy ideas about saddling moose or hitching them up to wagons. The latter seems to be more popular.

Either way, moose are spectacular animals, and I enjoy capturing them in my artwork.

“Moose in Fall” was painted for and hangs at my parents’ home.

Purple Sunset

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“Purple Sunset” 2007 acrylic on canvas board

One of the places that I have always wanted to visit is Hawaii. I’ve visited beaches from California to Florida and Mexico, and each of them I have found uniquely different from the other. I’d love to walk on the black volcanic sand and see the green cloaked mountains rising sharply from the sea, eat some local food, and enjoy the island life…if only for a short while.

Someday I will make it to Hawaii. But in the meantime, images of its beaches and sunsets have been the subject of a lot of my art. I’d love to climb into this scene and drift in the breeze in that hammock!

This piece was painted for a friend and brings the scenery of Hawaii to a Colorado home.

Pikes Peak in the Clouds

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“Pike’s Peak in the Clouds” 2010 acrylic on canvas board

As some of you may know, Colorado was my home for many years. I spent many mornings driving to work with picture-perfect scenery just beyond my windshield. Painted here is a very familiar scene to me–the Front Range rising up from the eastern plains, with Pike’s Peak at its apex, shrouded in clouds….or covered in snow, or wrapped in the sunrise….Needless to say, I took lots of pictures, even from the front seat of my car.

Pike’s Peak stands at 14,114 feet, a far cry from the elevation of my current home at 23 feet. Pike’s Peak is the famous place referred to on all those covered wagons headed west for the gold and silver rushes (Pike’s Peak or Bust), and Colorado itself has a long mining history. Today you can drive to the top of the peak during the summer months for a dizzying walk in the thin air, and there is still an annual “Pikes Peak International Hill Climb” where daring race car drivers from around the world race up the mountain. If I haven’t convinced you to become a tourist yet, just take my word for it and get in the car.

This painting belongs to my dad.

Teton Morning

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“Teton Morning” 2010 acrylic on canvas board

“Teton Morning” combines my love for nature and animals. I seem to have a fondness for large, hoofed mammals, as they seem to be up there on my favorites list. I’ve always loved horses, but I also adore moose, and of course, pictured here, the elk (or wapiti…I recently learned from my global postcard swapping that in Europe, the Eurasian elk is actually a moose!).

One of the coolest things about elk, aside from their size and incredible antlers, is their call, or “bugle”. I’d relate it to the sound of a whale’s song. Here is a link to a youtube video so you can hear it for yourself if you’ve never heard one before.

Elk like this are very prevalent in Colorado, and my many trips to the wilderness there inspired this painting.

It hangs in the home of a friend.