Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Waxwing Painting etc

My latest painting is small, 8x10", but it took forever. I got discouraged with it from the get go and kept setting it aside. Eventually I forced myself to finish it although I may do more adjustments. 
I think that Bohemian Waxwings could potentially make a glorious subject for a painting but so far I have been largely disappointed with my many efforts.
I have been seeing a lot of them this Winter but have not tried to photograph them. I already have dozens of photos of waxwings.
I will flesh out this post with some recent photos by Bart Quimby. These photos were taken from Bear Mountain near his house.
Bear Mountain looks relatively flat on top but has very steep sides. I have never climbed up there.
A makeshift cairn on top. That is Knik Arm in the background.
This may be Peter's Creek but I'm not sure.
This is a mountain I have climbed many times, Mt. Baldy. Bart used to climb it every morning before work. Now he is retired.
The first time I climbed it in 1997, I sat down on top to take in the scenery. Then I heard some soft clucking. I looked around and then noticed that some of the rocks around me were moving. When I focused on them I realized that they were Rock Ptarmigan. They were all around me.
I never climbed it in the Winter. The cold and treacherous footing does not discourage Bart.
Bart even climes it in the dark. This is Eagle River at the foot of Mt. Baldy.
A nice panorama. Anchorage lies on the other side of the mountain on top.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Wild Week

The weather this week has been dramatic. On Monday Anchorage got about a foot of fresh snow. Then the cold set in. Day after day the high temperatures never reached zero. On Thursday it got down to -20f at my house and much colder in other parts of town.
Today's temperature reached 14 degrees and it felt like a heat wave by comparison. It snowed about a foot of fresh snow today and it's still snowing.
I walked a short distance down my street to document the snowstorm.
If you look closely you can see the man on a ladder repairing the shingles on his roof.
I noticed a Raven sheltering in a tree.
It was actually playing among the snow covered branches.
I honestly believe that it was enjoying the storm.
It was doing a lot of talking to no one in particular.
It was joined by another Raven across the street.
Watching the news I can see that much of the country is experiencing extreme weather. At least we have no flooding.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The New Book

It has been a few months since I have posted any new artwork. That does not mean that I have been doing nothing. Lazy yes, idle no.
I have been busy illustrating a children's coloring book. It came out a few days ago and the author, Barbara has been busy promoting her 4th book in the series. Her other books have been locally popular.
The book is for children but the illustrations are not cartoonish.
The book is meant to be an introduction to local Alaskan birds.
I did not put a lot of detail in the drawings because we want to encourage children to color in the birds themselves..
The easy to comprehend text is facing each drawing. There is space at the bottom for children to write their own thoughts.
Northwestern Crows.
Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Varied Thrush.
Wilson's Warbler.
Yellow Warbler.
Savannah Sparrow. It took me an hour or two for every drawing, 8 and a half by 11 ". Soon I will start on the aquatic birds of Alaska. Check out www.oceanotterpublishing.com for more info.
A few months ago I finished this simple 8x10" Canada Goose painting.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Walk in the Park

The other day I temporarily woke up from hibernation and decided to take a stroll around my neighborhood. This is my non-descript building with frost encrusted trees.
The frost encrusted just about everything. It looks cold. You should try standing outside in it for a few hours.  You will want to go back into hibernation.
My feet carried me down to Russian Jack Park at the end of my street. There were other gluttons for punishment out walking in the bitterly cold  weather.
I like this photograph  because it illustrates the oppressive Winter feel.
It is all so beautiful to look at, but sucks the warmth right out of your bones.
The sign says, No Overnight Parking. Anyone who tries to stay in their vehicle overnight would be a frozen popsicle by morning. 
I was hoping to spot some wildlife but everything was dead silent and still. I only heard, Common Redpolls, Pine Grosbeaks, and Ravens. They would not show themselves.
Chester Creek is just about the only water that does not freeze over in the Winter. I was hoping to spot a Dipper but no such luck.
The footbridge across the creek really shows a heavy coating of hoar frost.
That is because the creek sometimes creates ice fog.
This Nordic Skiier is getting pulled along by her dog. The dog was loving every minute of it.
Some people have to trudge along like me without a dog.
I;m not sure if the sign was telling me to go slow, or informing me that I was slow. Anyway I got enough exercise and walked back home for lunch.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Northern Lights and Cranes

Since I never seem to go  anywhere or pull a camera out of the closet these days, these photos are Bart's. The photo above was taken at Fire Lake, very close to Bart's home in Eagle River.
The Aurora Borealis has been very active this Winter.  I have not gone to see them even once. Shame on me. I think Bart got these photos at about 2:00 AM.
Green is the dominant color of the Northern Lights, but other colors sometimes show themselves. People on the North Slope of Alaska claim that they make faint popping or crackling noises. I have not heard them.
A few months ago Bart photographed Sandhill Cranes in Palmer as they gathered for their Southbound migration.
He managed to get much better flight shots than I have gotten.
See what I mean?
I never even bothered to photograph cranes this year. Hopefully I'll be able to drum up more enthusiasm when they return next year.
They are truly majestic birds and relatively easy to approach in this part of Alaska.
Whenever I see cranes they tend to be sedentary and I lack the patience to wait for action shots. Therefore I have few action photos of cranes.
What a great shot that Bart got.
Earlier Bart went to an area called Shroeder Lake, Mosquito paradise.
The approach to the lake is more interesting than the lake itself.