Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The weather this past week has been as fickle as a teenager. It begins to get hot, and just when we are settling in to it, the wind picks up and blows the heat away. Today is cool and pleasant. It makes for nice walking in the morning. Here are some desert animal highlights, both from walks and from out-the-kitchen-window sightings.

Our friend "Bald Tail" returned for a drink of water. 

I would not have seen this coiled up rattler if Pono hadn't plopped down just 5 feet from it to get a drink of water from me. As I gave Pono his drink, I just happened to see it out of the corner of my eye. Effective camouflage!!! Once you see a snake on the trail, everything else for the rest of the hike looks like a snake! I call it "getting the slithers." It's good to be hyper aware at this time of year.

Another painting from the new series:
"Dissipate." Oil on canvas, 36 x 12 inches. 

Friday, May 16, 2014


I have been seeing more fast-moving quail families lately. I can hear a male quail calling from the top of a yucca as I type this, but I can't see him. (I know you're there, Mister!) I thought I would share a few of the better photos I have taken. I wish I had better photos of the family with the really tiny ones. They are so amazing - you can't believe something with legs that short can move so FAST!!! A wonder.

Do you see the cottontail rabbit in the shadow? Well, every now and then that rabbit would chase the quail. I have no idea why - just to see them scatter?

I have recently updated my website with some of the new work. I would love it if you have a chance to take a look and tell me what you think. Can you navigate with ease? Do you have a favorite new painting?

Temperatures are creeping up - 93 today.

I think cool thoughts and paint with cool colors and that works just fine.

"Drifters." Oil on canvas, 20 x 20 inches. 
 I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I do appreciate your comments and emails. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your comments.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Bald Tailed Coyote

This morning I saw my first family of quail with scurrying chicks!!! It was so exciting that I stayed at the window for awhile to see if they would come closer. Slowly but surely, they were making their way closer to me and my camera when out of the desert comes a coyote, scattering the quail and causing quite a din! The coyote turned and I realized he (she?) was either recovering from mange or just beginning to get it. No fur on tail!!! I was able to snap two quick photos before the sight of me through the window frightened Ms. Bald Tail away. Just another day in the desert.....

I am kind of hoping this coyote was recovering from the mange, because I do always enjoy seeing a healthy coyote. I saw Bald Tail again this afternoon, while out with Pono, and fortunately I saw him/her before Pono did. (I was able to grab Pono the dog and prevent him from a good coyote chase.)

I am almost wondering if this is the same young coyote who visited the backyard last year with even less fur:

I also have a pigeon (I know, a PIGEON?!!???) that's been trying to take over a dove's nest under the eaves in the back of the house. Crazy bird!!! I have resorted to scaring the pigeon away with a broom, when I see her. I don't know why she thinks she can take over someone else's nest. And you thought only people were nuts.

In the studio, I am progressing on the new series with a new format:

"Convergence." Oil on canvas, 36 x 12 inches. 
I will be shipping three of the new abstracts to The Red Arrow Gallery in Nashville, TN tomorrow!!! How exciting!! (Thanks, Katie!)

Happy Mother's Day, to all of you Mothers out there!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


We had quite an amazing walk this morning. About 2 weeks ago, one of the usual trails was filled - literally covered - with caterpillars. The flowers were still in nearly full bloom, and each one seemed to have a caterpillar climbing on it. I admit, I didn't take a single photo, feeling somewhat queasy by the prospect of so many caterpillars. Today, the same trail was filled with butterflies. (I think they were American Painted Lady butterflies, but I'm not sure.) It was rather magical to walk around, surrounded by butterflies. M, Pono and I were having a nice little butterly walk, with M out in front. Suddenly, M stopped, turned and grabbed the dog. "SNAKE!" While he held the dog, I, (of course) had to go in for a closer look. Lo and behold a rattlesnake caught in the middle of breakfast!!!! (Okay, Dad, I know you aren't a big fan, so you should probably cover your eyes. This goes for any of you who are a might sensitive.)

This last photo was taken about 8 minutes later, after we had hiked further and I decided I had to go back for another peek. I mean, it's not every day you see a snake swallowing a rat, right?

I think it's a speckled rattlesnake, possibly a Panamint speckled rattlesnake. M thinks it's a Western Diamondback. In either case, it was quite impressive, and maybe more than a little revolting on some level, no matter how much you love nature. (and snakes.) And now I wonder how many of you are going to comment about how I can take a photo of a snake swallowing a rat, but not a photo of a trail covered in caterpillars......

All I can say is that the world is full of contrasts of all kinds. Today, the contrast being one of a hike where it began as air filled with butterflies and had a snake in the middle. The end was rather anti-climactic, to say the least.

Happy May, everyone.