Category Archives: Batik

Napa Library Exhibit

I did it!  I actually made the deadline completing 32 artworks and installing them in the Napa County Library yesterday.

For those of you interested in the business side of art, I thought I’d describe my exhibit process.  I took some extra time to lay out the work on paper.  It made for a late night previous to installation day, but it really made the actual install go smoothly.

I made a quick line drawing of the exhibit area in Photoshop and then created small tiles of each artwork and placed them on the layout.  I didn’t pay attention to sizes or quality of the tiles.  I just wanted to co-ordinate the subjects and color palettes a bit.

I’ve included a web-friendly version of my layout here.  This preview worked really well, and I only ended up swapping two of the images in the actual display.


exhibit layout

Napa County Library exhibit

Great Blue Fisherman


Great Blue Fisherman


Great blue herons can adapt to almost any wetland habitat as long as it holds fish.  Their primary diet is fish although they have been known to eat a wide range of shrimp, crabs, insects, amphibians and even small mammals.

Herons are known as very clever anglers.  Some have been observed to drop insects or human foods they do not eat themselves like popcorn or bread into the water to attract fish.

Great Blue Heron


Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron is a tall wading bird common near water throughout North America.  It is the largest heron in North America and can take advantage of deeper waters than other heron species.  Despite their large size, they have an astonishing ability to take flight in an instant due to a trait they share with all birds:  hollow bones.

Since Herons are dependent on water, they are subject to environmental challenges of wetland habitat losses.

From ancient times, Herons have symbolized wisdom and patience as they keep a solitary viigil beside a river, lake or pond waiting for passing prey.

Resting Anna’s Hummingbird


Resting Anna’s Hummingbird

Hummingbirds have a metabolic range beyond that of most animals.  On the high end, in order to hover and fly forward quickly they flap their wings between 12 to 80 beats per second.  Some species have been clocked at 49 mph.  Heart rates can reach as high as 1260 beats per minute.

On the lower end, hummingbirds can conserve energy nightly and when food is scarce.  They actually goi into a state of torpor, similar to hibernation, and their metabolic rate drops to 1/15th its normal rate.

Flower nectar fuels this metabolic miracle.  If  you don’t have a flower bed, consider putting out hummingbird feeders sweetened at the rate of  1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water.

Anna’s Hummingbird

This post is a repeat of a subject that I will be featuring in my library exhibit.  The artwork is new.


Anna’s Hummingbird, watercolor batik, 18″ x 24″

Did you know that our Anna’s hummingbird, native to the west coat of North America, was named for Anna Massena, Duchess of Rivoli?*  Anna was the first lady in waiting to Empress Eugenie of France for most of the 1800’s.

In the early 20th century, the Anna’s hummingbirds only bred in the regions of Baja and Southern California, but due to the introduction of exotic ornamentals throughout the world, their range has expanded.  Some birds have been seen as far east as Newfoundland.

The Anna’s hummingbird population is a Species of Least Concern, but that doesn’t mean you should take a sighting of these precious birds for granted.  The Audubon Society has scientific models that indicate climate change will cause the habitat these birds rely upon will “shrink or move or both.”**

You can make a difference by providing habitat for them in your own backyard.


**Hummingbirds and Climate Change, Napa-Audubon Society


Acorn Woodpecker Pair



Acorn Woodpecker Pair

We have a wonderful old oak behind our home, but the lower limbs are dying.  The acorn woodpeckers have taken full advantage, turning these dead branches into their acorn granary.  They are entertaining to watch and their raucous calls and threats to would be thieves are unmistakable

Wikipedia informs me that this call was chosen by artist Walter Lantz as the basis for his Woody Woodpecker cartoon character.  The inspiration for the image of Woody however, is patterned on the Pileated Woodpecker with its prominent crest.

Acorn Woodpecker Fledgling

A baby acorn woodpecker waits for a family member to bring him food.  Acorn woodpeckers have complicated social lives with up to 4 males and 3 females tending the same nest hole.  The young stay with their parents for many years helping to rear additional young.


Fledgling Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker


Acorn Woodpecker

The clown-like acorn woodpecker lives in large groups throughout western oak woodlands.  The group spends most of its time collecting and protecting acorns that they store in a single dead branch or tree called a granary tree.  They will also bore acorns into human-made structures, often stuffing them into our wood siding and windowsills.

The Acorn woodpecker population is considered stable, but it is heavily dependent on oak woodlands.  Habitat degradation in the form of Sudden Oak Death (caused by the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum) is having a serious impact on western oak forests.  Encroaching suburbs and agricultural development of vineyards is also a concern.