Tuesday, July 31, 2012

See Ya Later, Alligator

For Mom and Dad.

My parents live right on the water on the Eastern side of Mobile Bay. There's a creek on the neighbor's property that often changes course with shifts in weather, the seasons, and attempts to control it with retaining walls. It has recently developed a pond right near the shore, which is now occupied by at least four alligators. It appears that one is the five-foot-long mother, with the others being smaller, and thus presumably her offspring. Animal control won't come and get them until they demonstrate that are an immediate threat. This is not welcome news for the neighbors with small dogs and children.

Length of feather: 4 1/2"

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 100: Fin!

Today is the last day of "100 feathers in 100 days."  It's been a pleasure, and even though I will stop the number countdown for now, I plan on keeping up the momentum with new posts every day. This initial push has forced me to paint and write daily, which is just what I needed this summer. Regular, disciplined practice is an necessary habit to develop in every creative art--writing, music, dance, visual art, etc. I'm grateful for all of my friends and family who have continued to read the blog. It has helped me stay on task during this time of transition. More to come. This is just the beginning. Thank you, friends.

Length of feather: 3"

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 99: Almost There!

100 Days, 100 Feathers: Might. Not. Make. It! Almost There! I think I can! I think I can!

This experience has been really good for me. I do believe that I will keep blogging each day even after this first countdown is completed.

Length of feather: 3"

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 98: Source

I get most of my feathers from an Alabama peacock farm that is located between Foley and Fairhope. It is a wonderful, magical property that includes all sorts of birds, llamas, alpacas, miniature horses and cows, and goats. There are lovely, old shade trees and rolling green pastures. There is clearly a lot of love for the animals and the property. It is a good place.

So rather than another painted feather today, here are photos of the birds that have provided many of my feathers, along with a few friendly cows and goats. Lots of lovely feathers, indeed!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 97: Trio

For Mom, with apologies.

I promised you an aligator for today, but it's the whirlwind of activity has been busier than I anticipated, so our pointy-toothed friend will have to wait a few more days before she comes out to play. Until then, enjoy this simpler feather design, and be careful down by the pond. Cary a big stick and be ready to RUN!


Length of feather: 1 1/2"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 96: Chinese Crane

I was surprised by a wonderful e-mail from China this morning. One of my feathers that was purchased at the Starkville Cotton District Arts Festival in April has made its way to the Southeastern part of the People's Republic of China as a gift. In the email, the Liangs share that the crane is a Chinese symbol of longevity, which is especially appreciated by Mr. Liang, who will be turning 60 in August. I am deeply honored by how beautifully they have displayed and photographed the feather.

I do love to connect internationally. My group of friends in school always pulled in the various exchange students; I get a little thrill sending packages internationally (which I do a lot with eBay); I love international travel (which I don't get to do nearly enough); I love experiencing new foods, ideas, customs, and people. I struggle terribly at learning foreign languages, but I somehow still connect easily with friends from other cultures.

I once had a sweet, clunky conversation with a Spanish-speaking cab driver in Puerto Rico, where I managed to mangle my way through saying that all the Spanish I know I learned from Sesame Street. He replied enthusiastically that all the English he could speak was also learned from Sesame Street. Connections don't even need that elementary language level. Just showing up with an open heart is often enough.

Length of feather: about 5"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 95: Chick Ball

The Eighth Annual Jackson Free Press Chick Ball is set for July 28th at Hal and Mals. The event is raising funds for a rape crisis center at the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl, MS. The festivities start at 6PM with live music and a silent auction of donated art, gift certificates, and "men of distinction." To see the complete auction guide, go pick up your copy of the Jackson Free Press or find it on their website. Learn more about the JFP Chick Ball, and come out on Saturday night to have a good time for a good cause.

Length of feather: 14"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 94: Mississippi Shrimp Boats

For mom.

Even though I grew up in Ohio, I spent every summer on the Gulf Coast, with time divided between Pensacola, Gulf Shores, Dauphin Island, Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans. My mother grew up in Pensacola and we have friends and family all along the coast. Over the years, I've eaten a lot of Gulf shrimp that we bought right off the boat. It really is a wonderful thing to go down to the docks each morning to pick up the tasty things you're going to cook for lunch that same day.

Length of feather: 22" (my longest one to date)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 90: Texts From My Dog

October Jones gets texts from his bulldog, which he posts on his Tumblr page: Text From Dog. It's not really family-friendly, but I think it is rather awesome. I recommend it if you won't be offended by the sorts of things that go through a dog's head in a typical day.

My little buddy in the fez here looks a bit like October's dog, and reminded me of his webpage.


Length of feather: 3"


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 89: Monkey Likes His Fez

OOooooooo oooooo ooooo! Eeeeee! Eeeee! Ooooh Ohhh Ahhh aaaah aaaah! Eeee! Eee! Oooo! Ooo! Ooo! OOo! Eeeaaahhh! Ahh Ahh Ahh! Oooooooo! Ooooooh! Oooooo! Ee! Ah! Ah! Oooo! Eeee! Eeeee! Eee! Ooooooo! OooOOOooOOo! Oo! Oooo! Aah! Eeee! Eeeeeeeeee!

Size of feather: 3"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 87: Kitchen Cabinets

These butterflies are straight out of the 1970s. They look like mom's kitchen cabinets, which were painted yellow on the outside and bright 70s orange on the inside.

They were eventually stripped down and refinished to let the natural wood show through, and the avocado green appliances were replaced with beige. I hate beige.

Length of feather: 4"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 86: Corn Flower Blue

There aren't any corn flowers in this part of Mississippi.  I miss corn flowers. I shall paint some later this month; It was the color of this butterfly that stirred up the memory.

Length of feather: 3 1/2"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 85: Bubblegum Butterfly

Nafzinger's ice cream factory was a regular destination for families with kids, for teenagers, and for everyone else in town on Saturday nights in the summer. The factory was located several miles outside of town in a corn field and it had a pink ice cream parlor decorated with giant plastic candies on the front corner of the building. It smelled sweet and unlike anywhere else I've ever been. If I ever smell that sticky, fruity, smooth scent again, I will be immediately transported back there. They scooped out giant scoops of ice cream, piling as much in the cone as was possible. There was a patio outside that had a large ornate water fountain and a live monkey in a cage. I loved going out there to see the monkey and get ice cream. It was so exotic and wonderful. A lot of the kids preferred the rainbow-colored bubble gum ice cream since they could eat their dairy treat and then end up with a mouth full of bubble gum to continue chewing afterwards. I didn't like gum, so I never chose that flavor. Their chocolate peanut butter cup was out of this world. I was especially happy when I got a giant chunk of that frozen peanut butter. SO good. 

Length of feather: 2"

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 84: Laaaambert, The Sheepish Lion

This wooly sheep makes me think of one of my all-time favorite Disney cartoons (1952):

Length of feather: 6"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 83: Pretty in Pink

Pink and black and white look great together. I remember that being a popular color combination in the 1980s. I had a great sweatshirt that was embroidered with over-sized pink numbers, and black and white racing checkers. It's a combination that will continue to cycle back again and again over the decades.

Length of feather: 3"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 82: Patriot

I don't consider myself particularly patriotic, but it makes me angry when people don't follow good flag etiquette. I do not fly a flag for any holiday. I don't like wearing any sort of jewelery or clothing with the stars and stripes. I think burning the flag as a symbolic gesture is fine. But when I see people let it touch the ground, don't properly light it at night, fly a tattered flag, or don't fol it correctly because they are lazy or simply don't know, I scowl. Etiquette matters to me. I also scowl when people don't know how to properly set a table for a formal dinner service (even though I usually eat my own dinner while sitting on the couch).

Length of feather: 2"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 81: Katrina

I was living in Starkville, MS when Hurricane Katrina blew through town. Power was out and rain was pounding down, but we still had gas so I was able to cook with the stove during the storm. I baked a lovely green been casserole in the dark for dinner that evening.

Length of feather: 2 1/2"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 80: Love-Struck Lizard

This handsome fellow is punch-drunk in love with yesterday's anole. Hiccup. Hiccup. Hiccup. Siiiiiiiggggghhhhh........

Length of feather: 12"

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 79: Sweet Little Lady

This little lady is just hangin' out, chillin', in no particular rush. She had her lunch. Unlike the boys, she feels no need to compete with the others or show off. No birds or cats in sight. She knows she's cool. 

Length of feather: 12"

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day 78: The Gnomes of Oakland

For the past several months, four-inch-tall painted gnomes have been mysteriously appearing, bolted to the bottom of telephone poles, in the Cleveland Heights neighborhood of Oakland, CA.  Several bloggers who live there have noticed it and none of them knows who is doing it. The blog The Fairy Room has been documenting the phenomenon with lots of good photos and detailed descriptions. Check out their article and the photo album collected by David Colburn.

To honor this infestation of little friends of the forest (...well, urban jungle in this case, seeing as they are roosting in the heart of Oakland), I am posting several of my garden gnomes that I painted back in April.

Average length of feather: 1" to 2"

2/1/13 UPDATE: The Gnomes of Oakland are making national news (which you likely know if you are reading this blog post today). See my other post on the Oakland Gnomes and Google them. They have recently been covered by major news providers such as NPR, the New York Times, and MSNBC. They have won a fight with the phone company and are not being evicted from their telephone pole nests. It's a great story.