Red-shouldered Hawk

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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.

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Black-headed Grosbeak

 

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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.

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Waiting for Supper, watercolor batik

Quail Strut

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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

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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.

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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

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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.