Category Archives: Batik

Visit Your Local Fair


my California Quail, watercolor batik, 18″ x24 “

Summer is winding down but you may still have time to visit a local fair.  These fairs bring back happy memories from my childhood (3-legged race, anyone?)

The Napa Town & Country Fair is open now through Sunday August 12th.  I noticed several members of the Napa Valley Art Association are exhibiting in professional art including yours truly. 

I was happy to may my California Quail recognized for Fifth place in multi-media.  It really is watercolor, but I entered it in multimedia since it’s adhered to a board with acrylic matte medium.

The professional art division along with all Senior divisions is exhibited in Chardonnay Hall.  The fair is open daily from noon to 10 pm, closing at 9pm Sunday.  

Western Bluebird


Western Bluebird

The beautiful blue-and rust Western Bluebird is actually a small thrush.  They swoop over open fields to catch insects.  They can also be attracted to backyard feeders with mealworms.

The bills of Western Bluebirds are not equipped to dig their own nest holes, so the presence of cavities in trees or posts, old woodpecker holes or nest boxes are very important.  When building or purchasing a nest box for a bluebird, make sure you have the correct entrance hole size;  the diameter is different for the eastern bluebird.

You can read about Western Bluebird nest boxes at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology NestWatch site.

Woodpecker Specimen- Nuttall’s


Woodpecker Specimen- Nuttall’s

This female Nuttall’s Woodpecker was the unfortunate victim of a window collision.  Up to 1 billion birds die from window strikes in the U.S. each year, according to a 2014 study. 

To reduce bird strikes, it is suggested to remove all bird attractants near the windows, carefully place bird feeders, or to partially cover the windows.  Remedies are available according to the Bird Collisions Program of the American Bird Conservancy. The group offers extensive information on preventing collisions on its website.

Red-shouldered Hawk


Red-shouldered Hawk

A medium-sized hawk, our California subspecies is rich reddish-orange on breast, head and shoulders.  The wings are strongly patterned black-and-white and the tail strongly barred.  

Red-shouldered hawks are typically seen in riparian woodland habitats.  Since 1900, their population has declined due to the clearing of wet hardwood forests.  Red-shouldered hawks and other raptors also suffered from DDT exposure causing brittle eggs until that pesticide was phased out.

Black-headed Grosbeak



Black-headed Grosbeak

This chunky bird has a heavy conical bill and a fully orange belly which distinguishes it from the Spotted Towhee. Often hidden in dense foliage, they are usually identified by their rich melodious whistling.  The song is similar to a Robin’s but faster and less broken.

Back-headed Grosbeaks prefer habitat with mixed riparian woodlands including large trees, however they will visit suburban parks and backyard feeders 

Loss of inspiration

I’m afraid I’ve hit a bit of a snag in my blog for Art in the Library.  I’m having trouble getting motivated after one of my subjects died.  Our lovely pet Lucky was dying from cancer and we finally had to him go.  He was my constant companion; my home office seems very quiet now.

We miss you, Lucky.


Waiting for Supper, watercolor batik

Quail Strut


Quail Strut

Our golden foothills of California are a favorite habitat of this colorful quail.  The male often stands vigil on a tree stump or fence post, claiming his territory and warning his flock with his distinctive call to take cover in the underbrush.

The distinctive call sounds like Chi-ca-go!

California Quail


California Quail

Established as the California state bird in 1931, the birds was known for it’s hardiness and adaptability.  Also known as the valley quail, these birds have a distinctive black plume that curves forward.

These quail prefer low growing shrubs or woodpiles for cover.  Adapting well to human populations, these ground nesting birds are subject to predation by feral cats.  Conversion of small farms to large agribusiness without hedgerows has a negative impact on its habitat.