Friday, August 25, 2006

Taking a Hike

Some days you just have to get away from it all and gain a little perspective.

Stop and listen to the near silent splatter of the melting snow.

Feast your eyes on nature's bounty.

Feel diminutive and fragile as you teeter on the edge of an unstable screefield.

Friday, August 18, 2006

On Friendship & Roses

I painted this back in late April when my native roses were blooming. I was simultaneously considering the common ground shared by friendship and roses . . . .

"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." -- George Washington

Inspired by Pema

If you missed Bill Moyer's recent interview with Pema Chodron, you seriously missed out! She is an American Buddhist nun and she pretty much rocks the casbah! I plan to buy at least one book from her, but even listening to her for just about 40 minutes imparted a new attitude in me toward the chaos of life changes. Specifically she spoke about how upheavals in our lives often leave us feeling lost or ungrounded and how we detest that feeling so we grasp at straws to avoid or fill it, yet we miss a lot of the potential that exists in those spaces in our lives. VERY COOL. As an artist who is often timid about putting a paint brush to a blank, white sheet of paper, that attitude is priceless.

On the Auction Block

Get it while it's hot. . . . ;)

This original watercolor painting will be put up for auction at the Olympic Music Festival. Unfortunately I haven't titled it yet, and I only have a few more days to do so. It seems (what I consider) my better paintings are elusive to entitlement.

Going once . . . .

August Art Walk

Occassionally I will be posting images of watercolor paintings I have recently thrown together. They will therefore be lumped together based upon temporal association, not based upon subject or style. While I am willing to post photos of my art (of negligible digital quality-- to deter plagiarism) to the internet, I will make a point of reminding everyone that all images are copyrighted. Comments & criticism are welcome.

"Garden Alchemy"

"Sunbreak in the Rainforest" my personal favorite

"Awaiting Autumn"

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Nutty Bird Brains

There are many in the scientific community who prefer to frown down upon the cranial capacity of animal species. I have witnessed this bigotry first-hand. The following quote is an excerpt from "Animals in Translation," a wonderful scientific exposé on the mental landscape of animals written by Temple Grandin. This excerpt relates a story about a scientist, Dr. Pepperberg, who has been working with two African grey parrots, named Alex and Griffin.

One day their corporate sponsors were visiting Dr. Pepperberg's lab, and she and her staff wanted to show off what Alex and Griffin could do. So they put a bunch of colored plastic [magnetic] refrigerator letters on a tray and started asking Alex questions.

"Alex, what sound is blue?"

Alex made the sound "Sssss." That was right; the blue letter was "S."

Dr. Pepperberg said, "Good birdie," and Alex said, "Want a nut," because he was supposed to get a nut whenever he gave the right answer.

But Dr. Pepperberg didn't want him siting there eating a nut during the limited time she had with their sponsors, so she told Alex to wait, and then asked, "What sound is green?"

The green example was the letter combination of "SH" and Alex said, "Ssshh." He was right again.

Dr. Pepperberg said, "Good parrot," and Alex said, "Want a nut."

But Dr. Pepperberg said, "Alex wait. What sound is orange?"

Alex got that one right, too, and he still didn't get his nut. They just kept going on and on, making him sound out letters for his audience. Alex was obviously getting more frustrated by the minute.

Finally Alex lost his patience.

Here's the way Dr. Pepperberg describes it: Alex "gets very slitty-eyed and he looks at me and states, 'Want a nut. Nnn, uh, tuh.'"

Alex had spelled "nut." Dr. Pepperberg and her team were spending hours and hours training him on plastic refrigerator letters to see if Alex could eventually be taught that words are made out of sounds, and he already knew how to spell. He was miles ahead of them.