Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 40: Okinawa!

Many thanks to Jon for helping me move the damned futon today.

Sing along, everybody: “Drivin’ down Highway 25 in my big ol’ U-Haul truck! Ooooohhh, I’ll be drivin’ down Highway 25 in my big ol’ U-Haul truck! My. Big. Ol’. U-. Haul. Trruuuuck!”

OK. If that isn’t a tune you know, try this one from Okinawa. You probably don’t know it, but I hope you enjoy it. Cheers. 

Length of Feather: 1”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 39: Peas in a Pod

Many thanks to Glen for helping me move the damned futon today.

U-Haul is packed. It is filled it floor to ceiling, nice and tight, with no need to tie anything down.  Got everything in that needed to fit. Most people hate moving. True, getting sofas and dressers around tight corners and through doors is often a miserable activity. But I really do enjoy packing the truck. I like spatial puzzles. It’s life-sized Tetris with a workout and practical consequences.  Who needs a Wii?

Length of Feather: 3 1/2”

Packing of the truck in progress. To the roof!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 38: At the Edge. Gonna Jump. Gonna Fly.

The painting on this feather is of Otto Lilienthal preparing for a small ornithopter flight on August 16, 1894. He was a ground-breaking German aviator ((Berlin’s busiest airport bears his name) and the first person to make repeated successful gliding flights (he was an inspiration to the Wright brothers).  Because he was gliding, he had to find (and build) high jumping-off places. I find myself at the edge of my own metaphorical cliff (well, perhaps more like a hill with a tower I’ve built—like the sorts of things Lilienthal constructed). The move is here. I load the U-Haul tomorrow and drive the day after. Not completely sure where all of this is going to land me. I’ve got a good glider and I can steer. But a lot depends on the wind and how well I ride it. I haven’t made this jump before.

Length of Feather: 9”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 37: Gliding to Germany

This is a commissioned Duo Discus glider that is on its way to Germany. My mother was an active member of the American Red Cross when she was in high school and college (I love the photos of her in her uniform. She looks sharp.); She traveled to Poland and Germany in 1968 with the organization. While she was in Poland she took a flight in a glider similar to this. We were talking on the phone this morning about how she’d love to get back to Berlin someday to see the absence of the Berlin Wall. Her father had a half-sister who got stuck on the East side of the wall when it went up. We still have the notebook where he kept track of the care packages of things like sugar, coffee, and clothing (things hard to come by in East Berlin) that he sent. Half of the packages made it through, the rest stolen by postal officials.

Length of Feather: 9”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 36: From Russia with Love

My MacBook has been running slow, so I pulled up instruction on everything I need to do to delete duplicate files, clean out the cache, etc. I wondered if there was a possibility that my computer had a virus (which is rare for Macs). I’ve been receiving regular traffic from suspicious websites in Russia on this blog--evidence that points towards the Mac Flashback Trojan. It turns out I’ve managed to avoid opening the malware. I’ve just got too many photos and mp3s. The spring cleaning continues. 

Length of Feather: 9"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 35: Radish

I went to the Starkville Community Market this morning and bought three varieties of radishes (to share with Damen), white onions, green onions, strawberry jam and a piece of baklava (which I watched Lisa make on Thursday).  I haven’t done much with my garden here in Starkville this spring since I knew I’d be moving to Jackson this summer. I’ve got parsley, cilantro, mint, chives and dill that I started during the winter (and will transplant/give away this coming week), but I haven’t started anything else. I’m looking forward to getting cucumbers and tomatoes started asap.

Length of Feather: 5”

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 34: Hang in There

For Damen. 

Timothy Ambrose Wallace only wants to fly. It is spring and school is about to let out for summer recess. He sits next to the window in his first grade classroom where he can drift into the sky and daydream about the grand adventures that are on their way. Uncle Tim and his father have agreed to bring him along for his first real trip, now that he’s finally large enough to assist with the rigging. They’ll be gone for a month. They leave in ten days.  

Length of Feather: 11”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 33: Brrrraaaainns……

I finished reading Max Brooks’ World War Z yesterday. It was a thought-provoking account of the zombie apocalypse and how we would deal with it as individuals, as comrades, and as nations. I enjoyed it. Why do zombies stir deep psychological responses in us? There are many reasons; One is that it is our loved ones who become the monsters (assuming we are survivors). Those closest to us are our most immediate danger and they must be quickly destroyed or abandoned in order to save ourselves. There is immeasurably more pain in being responsible for the transformation or death of a friend. We recognize the monster. We search for the good we wish was still in them. The sweeter the memories, the greater the pain. The more deeply we love, the more it hurts when it is lost.

Length of Feather: 11"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 32: Bookish

I have packed all of my books, papers, CDs, and LPs into boxes and I'm ready to move them to Jackson. When I started packing, I put all of my LPs into one big plastic bin. They all fit perfectly--nice and snug, together in one place. Brilliant! But then I tried to move the box. Not so brilliant. And so they were taken back out and divided into boxes snagged from the liquor store. There really is no better way to move books and LPs.

Length of Feather: 2 1/2"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 31: Up All Night

I’ve been sleeping well lately, but I’ve also been able to keep the sort of schedule I like: up until 1AM painting, then sleep until about 9AM. I’ve never enjoyed teaching morning classes, which involve waking at 6AM, being on campus by 7AM and being ready to speak comprehensible English in front of 70 sleepy people by 8AM. I partially compensate by turning the volume up on the stereo. Stravinsky and Beethoven should be loud (though the math professor in the classroom next door begs to differ). 

Length of Feather: 1”
Price: SOLD

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 30: Mary Jane

This is a second portrait of the dog from Day 21: Husky Boy. I have since learned that the dog’s name is Mary Jane, thus the Husky Boy title of the previous post isn’t quite appropriate, not that Mary Jane, herself, minds. 

Length of Feather: 5"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 29: Orange Sherbet

I used up the leftover pink and yellow paint at the end of the day to make this butterfly. Even though the feather painting takes very little paint, I still find myself being thrifty with it, trying to use up any last bit sitting on the palette that is still wet. I have small condiment cups that I use to cover wet paint to keep it from drying out as I work. If I can get a good seal, those keep the paint good overnight. When working on large acrylic paint projects, I’ll use plastic wrap on the wet mixed paints to keep them in a usable state.

Length of Feather:  3 1/2" 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 28: Snake Eyes

Snakes have wonderful facial features that range from cold evil to sweet goofiness. I find their eyes fascinating. Some snakes have black eyes; many have brightly colored eyes; some have vertical and some have horizontal slits; some have eyes that are not slit at all that, with a round pupil, have a very human quality to them.


Length of Feather: 3”   

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 27: Painting Party!

I had visitors today. Lynn brought over Lindy and Grant. Lindy is in kindergarten and Grant is in fourth grade. We all painted feathers, framed our favorites, and then played freeze tag and red-light-green-light in the yard. It was a great afternoon! I had so much fun! Woot!

All four of us shared the palette. The coordinated weave of arms when we were all reaching for our prospective colors was a hoot. Great cooperation and focus. We painted for well over an hour. 

Photographing before framing.
Work well-done by everyone.
Lindy chose to have all three of her feathers framed together, so here they are matted and ready to go. She showed off her cursive writing with her signature. The feather on the left is her interpretation of my Day 13 feather, which was her favorite. I like her version too!  
Grant's parrot on a parrot feather. This is the one he chose to frame, which he mounted on black.

After painting things on feathers, Grant painted a picture OF a feather with an owl on it
(which I said looked like an ewok)
Grant painted a parrot on a parrot feather, a peacock on a peacock feather, this blue heron, and this awesome fire-breathing blue-tailed skink, which I am very happy I get to keep as a thank you present. It rocks!

Lynn started painting a circular chakra design, but we decided that the addition of a head, tail and feet would make it into an excellent turtle. An excellent turtle it is. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 26: Foxtrot

This feather was commissioned for a bridal shower present. It’s not my own design, but is taken from the picture on the wedding invitation that was drawn by the bride, Heidi.  It is wonderfully whimsical. I hope that I've done it justice. Warmest wishes to the bride and groom. May you always be as sweet and charming and well-matched as your fox selves are. Congratulations. 

Length of Feather: 12”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 25: Blue Haiku

Spring raindrops appear
Yellow umbrella opens
Sleepy owl stays put

Length of Feather: 4”                      

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 24: Who You Lookin’ At? You Lookin’ At Me?

These are owl eyes. It’s one of my most popular feather designs even though it’s one of the simplest things I do. I think people are drawn to the feathers with eyes because it turns the whole feather into a creature and the piece is about the personality of the feather rather than about painting. I like that. No matter what I’m painting, I take time to contemplate what is best for each particular feather that fits its natural features. That’s one of the things I like best about painting feathers: Each one is unique and demands a slightly different approach, forcing me to be more creative and flexible. Limits are what allow creativity to come through. The more limits you have, the more creative you have to be. In college, I loved the challenge of recreating master paintings by artists such as Van Gogue and Rembrandt, but being limited to only two colors on my palette. I learned so much about color through those assignments.

Length of Feather:  5”              

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 23: Yo Dawg, I Heard You Like Feathers

So I put a feather in your feather, so you can look at a feather while you look at your feather. 

For Beth.

Length of Feather:  8”                     
Frame: Black 11 1/2x5 1/2”          
Price: SOLD

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 22: Mother Owl

For my mom.

This is a portrait of the owl living in my parents’ yard in Montrose, Alabama.  They live right on Mobile bay and there are several wonderful old live oaks on the property (photo below). The owl sometimes swoops through the trees in the evenings. Mom and dad have collected and enjoyed owl art since they married in 1969, making the resident owl even more appreciated. When I was very young and we lived in Ohio, we once came back from vacation to find a baby owl perched on a curtain rod in the living room. Birds and bats would occasionally find their way down the chimney and into the house. We always did well to open the front door, turn off the lights in the house, turn on the porch light and encouraged our guests out with brooms (with a bit of squealing and giggling when our winged visitors came swooping towards us). Those evenings of bird and bat corralling are such great childhood memories. I’ve got so many rich and wonderful memories from my childhood that I could fill pages with them, but because I’m keeping each blog post to a paragraph, I’ll save them for later. Even though I’m sometimes impatient and angry, I am so grateful and proud of you for how I was raised. Mom and dad, thank you. 

Length of feather:  2 1/2”

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 21: Husky Boy

I’ve never personally been a dog-owner, although I love dogs and cats and all sorts of other animals. Grandma Gooding had dogs and one of the many great things about visiting her house were the dogs—sweet, shaggy, happy, goofy, lovable mutts. They liked to sit on the couch at the end of the day and eat celery and carrots with us. We would bite off little chunks of the vegetables to share with the Cricket (who jumped up and down like a cricket as a puppy) or Pepper (who was the color of salt and pepper). Cats have been a part of my household for most of my adult life even though I’m desperately allergic. I am currently without a cat, and also currently without asthma. Go figure. I would like to have a dog. That may be something I look into sooner rather than later.

Length of Feather:  3 1/4”              

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 20: Pop

Today is Pepsi Pops with the Mississippi Symphony. I grew up in a pop region of the country. For the past decade I have been living in coke country according to the map, though most people I run into here are more likely to say soda. Click on the graphic below to find out where you live:

Length of Feather:  5 1/4”              

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 19: Itty Bitty Cardinal

For my Great Grandma Gooding

This little guy is about the size of a thumbnail (painted on a grey macaw parrot feather). Great Grandma Gooding collected cardinals. She lived into her 90s and most presents that I saw given to her during the time that I knew her had something to do with cardinals, thus she had all sorts of collectables housewares decorated with red birds. They are beautiful birds that pop against Ohio's winter snow. Did she have as much of a passion for them as those who gave her gifts assumed or hoped? It often happens that when one mentions that they like a particular thing, loved ones will glom onto that idea because they want to give gifts, but are unsure of what is privately meaningful in one’s life. Before you know it, you’ve acquired a collection of something that you were simply happy to admire and enjoy in its natural state, but had no need to own. How many collections start that way?  

Length of Feather:  1/2”     

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 18: That’s What I Like About the South

For Malcolm.

If you don’t know what this is, 
this website will explain all: 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Day 17: If Cats Could Fly

Not only does Tim Mulligatawny oversee the maintenance of the large airships in the H.M.A.R.C. fleet, but he also develops improved solo flight equipment. This is one of his wing designs. Cats hunger for the sky, and so they take flight with mechanical wings and blimps that are lighter than air.

Length of Feather:  7”                     

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 16: Shoebox Butterfly

Butterflies are one of the best-selling subjects for my painted feathers. In fourth grade I found a monarch butterfly with a tattered wing and I kept it alive in a shoebox for a week. As though it happened earlier today, I feel like I have a crystal clear memory of standing in the front hall by the coat closet with the butterfly resting in my cupped hand. It relieved itself in that moment, in the late afternoon, with sun at an angle that made the wood floor and trim in the hall glow yellow and warm. I remember thinking how rare it is that one is even aware of the existence of butterfly poop, and I felt deeply sad that I couldn’t do more for the butterfly, hoping that it wasn’t terrified of me and that it’s broken wing wasn’t causing it terrible pain.

Length of Feather: 4 1/2”               

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 15: Man in the Moon

I love love love the films of George Méliès. There are quite a few available at the Internet Archive. I’ve assigned them on several occasions to my students at MississippiGovernor’s School, where the class has created soundtracks for silent films, filmed their own material (with the inclusion of some of the nifty special effects pioneered by Méliès) and edited public domain footage to create some rather sweet, goofy projects. It makes me grin to see 17 and 18 year olds get fired up about silent film.  George and Buster, you are still loved.

Length of Feather:  3 1/2”    

In memory of my father.           

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day 14: Timothy Ambrose Wallace

Timothy is the fourth-oldest of the Wallace kindle (kindle being the term for a litter of kittens: kindle of kittens. A very nifty collective noun that is so much more than an electronic reader. Work it into one of your conversations today.).  While he’s not the oldest, he is the biggest handful. He is named in honor of Theophilus Ignatius Mulligatawny (Tim for short), who is also a fourth-born son, and a handful in his own right. Little Tim thinks the world of his uncle Theophilus and has been known to stow away on just the sorts of airships he will one day captain himself. 

Length of Feather:  3 1/2”