Monday, May 31, 2021

Building and leaving the nests

       Spring has sprung, people are vaccinated and leaving the nests they built during the pandemic. The robins and I have been creating. I found a delightful video put out by Amanda Hilburn:  Painting a Nest With A Palette Knife - YouTube about how to paint four nests at a time using palette knives. In the past I have only used palette knives to mix paint, so this was an adventure. I had so much fun, I painted four more and plan to paint more to drop off at friends.'

       At the same time, a mother robin was building nests in several spots under the deck roof, just outside our back door. I became obsessed with photographing the building of the nest with dry grass and mud, watching the mother shape the cup of the nest where she would deliver. 
How we have thrilled daily as the birds appeared, grew and are about to fly. A wonderful video can be watched at made by a young father and his daughter. Below are my photos of our robins. Unfortunately, they fledged today before breakfast and we missed their first steps out.

      I had some very small canvases; and I put the nests in different spots on each. I used a small piece of cardboard to squeeze out my colors. I used a two-inch palette knife with a point to lay out black for the center, brown loosely around the edges, and then added a yellow gold and white, one atop the other. A little gold or white strips around the black gave depth. I went back to lay in the background and sides with titanium white, mixed a little here and there with bits of black or brown, but mostly white. I cheated a bit with a tiny brush and I touched up some of the straw. I used turquoise for the eggs, mixed with white and touched up with a little background color. I rounded off the eggs by darkening the edges. Amanda does it better. 

      I recommend you paint a nest or do as Terry Gay Puckett did and paint a totally different scene. I am trying to think how to add some of Emily Dickinson's lines on birds and nests. Google "bird nest quotes" to pick up some or write your own. Time flies. Baby robins are the size of their parents in two weeks, and sadly ready to fledge; but then it is almost two weeks more to be strong enough to fly and learn from other robins.


Saturday, May 1, 2021

May Day ...Celebrate


       The sun is out. May Day beckons one to create festive baskets for neighbors' doors. There are numerous videos and instructions to make cone baskets with ribbons, filling them with flowers, and secretly leaving on a door handle! Next year for certain! Google May Day baskets and join me next year.

       Today I want to share the birthday card part of celebrations. Every time the grandchildren had a birthday I made a card to go with their gift. At first the cards were mini journal quilts and with age have become mini posters. I rely mostly on Comic Life, a Plasq company to create since it is fast and fun. Great company to deal with. You can try it for free. First, some quilts:

Hannah at 5

Erika at 2

    For paper cards,  open the Comic Life app, choose a page to work on, find a photo to use and write a poem that fits the grandchild this year. I find ways to insert the poem in a bubble, choosing different backgrounds, fonts, balloons. You have to be flexible, expect changes over the years but not be shy to look around for all that is offered to play with and click on. The tools are not just for comics!

And it is not too late to make a May Day basket!