Tuesday, May 06, 2014

New at the Gallery

New Drawing: "A Dee Dee Dee". Charcoal and chalk on gray-toned paper.

There are six new pieces available for purchase at the Lincoln Gallery this month, including the first four in the "Bird to Be" egg series and framed drawings of a grackle and black-capped chickadee.  I'm sad to report that my chickadee model has not been sighted for several months now; I hope he just moved on to better territory instead of becoming a convenient cat snack.

Number 3: A bald eagle egg. I haven't seen as many bald eagles as I have in years past.  Several pairs make their home just up the road from us, but what with all the recent urban development (Three large fields are being bulldozed even as I type) I wouldn't blame them for moving elsewhere. These majestic birds were on my mind as I painted this piece.  Did you know that, although bald eagle eggs are generally plain white overall, they can sometimes take on a stained, mottled appearance from damp pine needles? No one knows why eagles use pine needles to line their nests, but some theorize that it might serve as camoflage, or as an anti-bacterial, or to help keep pests away.  It's interesting to note that the largest recorded nest in the world was built in Florida by bald eagles over several decades: 9'6" (2.9 m) wide and 20 ft (6m) deep. When it was entered into the Guinness book of world records in 1963 it was estimated to weigh a staggering 4,409 lbs (2 tonnes)!

Number 4: An osprey egg. There used to be a pair of ospreys that would sometimes hang out over by the wetland crossing on Timberline Road.  I haven't seen them for a while, either. They might've been from the 1990's Colorado Department of Wildlife "Operation Osprey" Program to re-introduce them to our area. Several clutches of nearly-fledges chicks were transferred from Idaho, and reportedly a few survived to breed.  Osprey eggs are beautiful: a light buffy-peach color, with warm brown speckles. I've never seen one in the wild, but there are several "nest-cam" websites where you can watch osprey parents raise their chicks in real time.  Here's one that's operational right now:

Speaking of nests, I have to clean mine up sometime today.  After fighting off a cold and then a pulled shoulder, the studio has gotten to be quite the mess! Maybe a few pine needles might help...

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