Thursday, November 25, 2010

"And Then HE Said..."

"And Then HE Said...," collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There's lots to be grateful for at the Thanksgiving table this year.  My top three are: the love of family and friends; the blessings I receive daily getting to do work I am passionate about; to have had the guiding love of my father for 51 years.

I wish you all much happiness for the day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wistful (Wishful) Puffin

Wishing for Spring, collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There once was a puffin named Martie
who, when invited to party,
said "I'm saving my coins
and girding my loins
'Cause I'm leaving this cold, frozen Arctic."

As usual, I have taken liberties with the facts in my painting.  Atlantic puffins head for northern climes during warmer months to breed and actually spend the winter at sea.  This makes it hard for scientists to study their winter behaviors and habitats.  Puffins have waterproof feathers and can drink seawater, which I find amazing.

You can learn more about Atlantic Puffins here.  They are not yet endangered, according to the site, but they are threatened.

I am not like some of you hardy folk who relish bundling up in layers of clothing and setting out to frolic in the snow, the deeper the better.  Nah-uh! 

There once was an artist, Elizabeth,
Who, when exhaling, could see her breath.
She dreamed of the sand,
frozen drink in her hand--
 frozen feet, instead, had Elizabeth.

Stay warm, everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Who Knew...

  • That I would be able to set up a blog all by myself?
  • That I would still be blogging after TWO YEARS?
  • That I would find such a great community of fabulous people who were also blogging?
  • That I would so enjoy sharing the process of my art and my writing?
I had no idea what I was getting into on November 17, 2008.  But I know now!

My world has expanded, and my life has been enriched in many ways. Thanks to all of you for the advice, companionship and the great blogs that you write.

 (What did I do before I was a blogger?)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mother and Child

Mother and Child, acrylic, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Do you suppose a mother royal penguin feels guilt about failing her child?  I don't really imagine that she does.  Her life is too hard and too full of all it takes to survive.  Of course, her offspring's survival is the main goal of her maternal role, and she is, after all, a bird and not a human.  

Nonetheless, it must be nice to be free of guilt and worry about the moral and ethical development of said child; does he/she need glasses for all these years (and the mother not know it, for pete's sake!) --and anxiety that time is running out to do all the teaching a human mother is supposed to do.  Now, I'm lucky because I have a human father in my child's life to help in the nurturing of my not-so wee-ones.

That's one of the cool things about these penguins, as you may know.  They mate for life and shift the egg-child and the responsibility for its warmth until hatching back and forth for 35 days.  They rotate 12 day shifts.  

They also share the babysitting duties, the father often taking the first 10 to 20 days while the mother brings them both food.  (This sentence reminds me that my husband got right put out once when someone asked him if he was babysitting our older child.  M.H. responded, "I'm not babysitting; I'm parenting.")  Go, M.H.!

I love the fact that penguins are colonial animals, meaning they live in large groups together and often share care giving in nurseries of sorts. We do that.

One big difference between our children and a penguin child is that after 65 days a penguin chick has its adult feathers and is ready to fend for itself.  Our servitude is considerably longer if we're lucky and terminally long if there is failure to launch.  

If, from my more or less random musings on the life of the royal penguin, you have been left with the impression that I'd prefer her life to mine at the moment, consider that it is college application time at our house.  

We will survive it.  (I know this because we've been through it before and lived to tell the tale.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Papa Bird

Papa Penguin, acrylic on canvas, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Ran out of time for story today, but here is a new painting.  I'm working on a number of small paintings to be ready for our small works show in December at LibertyTown. 

Welcome to my new followers!  Thanks so much for joining me on my creative roller coaster....

Friday, November 12, 2010

"I Said, Fly SOUTH!"

"I Said, 'Fly South!'" collage/acrylic, 6 x 6
Elizabeth W. Seaver

As the day and hour of Fall Migratory Take-off approached, General Snortfeathers flew in tighter and tighter circles, anxious about this year's trip.

He bellowed in private to his wife, Clarissa, "This is the most ill-prepared bunch of silly geese I have ever had the misfortune to lead for migration!  In all my years of...."

"Yes, Dear, so you've said," Clarissa interrupted.  "Why don't you go read your new Tom Clancy novel and relax.  There will be little time to do so in the next weeks."

"Don't I know it," he muttered crankily as he threw himself into his recliner.

Finally the last preparations and packings were complete, and the day arrived for the squadrons to take off for warmer climes.  Dorcas was there to say goodbye and to ease the jitters of the recent graduates from Dorcas Bird's Fly the Sky Solo School.  She waddled back and forth among the V-Groups settling feathers and giving last minute instructions.

"I know it's thrilling to be traveling high above the earth and to go to places you've never seen before, but you do want to GET there, so remember to keep your V-leader in sight at all times," Dorcas admonished an excited group of this season's fledglings.

She worried about Elvin Twig, however.  He was, in fact, a lovely young gander, but he had his head in the clouds most of the time.  Dorcas had had to draw on her entire bag of tricks in the classroom to teach Elvin to fly.  He passed Migratory Navigation by the skin of his beak, which performance secured him the last position in the next-to-last squadron taking off that year.

General Snortfeathers always flew at the head of the final group, taking with him an experienced group of birds who had been trained to handle emergency situations handed on from any of the groups in the sky.

As he and Dorcas and Clarissa honked goodbye to the preceding flock, Snortfeathers noticed Elvin.  

"Dorcas, what's with that graceless, knock-kneed fellow who tripped on take-off just now?"

"Well, sir, Elvin is very special.  He writes the most beautiful poetry, and you should see his paintings!" Dorcas temporized.

"I just hope I continue to see his tail-feathers," the General harrumphed under his breath.

It was time.   

"All right, Group, get into formation.......take off!" he shouted.

In a thundering rush the Snortfeathers Squadron lifted into the air, each bird quickly finding his or her established place, leaving Dorcas watching and waving from the edge of the pond.

Before she had time to turn away, remembering the state of her nest, a lone goose flew right quack into the General's formation.

"Oh, Elvin." Dorcas sighed.

Very faintly she heard a familiar, martial bellow, "I said, 'Fly SOUTH!'"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tardy for Take Off

Solo Flight, collage/acrylic, 5 x 7, Elizabeth W. Seaver

Dorcas wasn't ready for Fall migration.  She had too many things to do.  The flock was going to have to leave without her on their way south for the winter.

"You know how it is, General Snortfeathers," Dorcas explained to her flight commander two days before takeoff.  "I am rushed off my aching webbed feet trying to get the last class of ducklings ready to leave.  Then, I have to clean out the refrigerator and sweep the down out of the corners to leave my nest just like I want to find it next Spring.  Remember what happened this year?  I got back to find the grackles in residence!"

Dorcas gave a shudder and shook out her tail feathers.  "THAT'S not happening again!"

"It's highly irregular, Dorcas.  We rarely leave one of our leaders behind," the old bird replied gruffly.

"I'll be fine." she answered firmly as she bustled out the door.   "You all just get started, and I'll catch up.  I'm in good shape after teaching six Basics of Flight classes this summer.  If we have a bumper crop of fledglings next year like we had this year, you're going to have to hire another instructor!"

General Snortfeathers shook his head as he watched her waddle away.

"I hope she takes time to stop by and get the flight plan from Major Whistle," the General quacked quietly to himself, "Or we're going to have to hire TWO instructors next year."

To be continued

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bird in Footwear

Bertie Goes A'Courting, collage/acrylic, 22 x 28
Elizabeth W. Seaver

Bertie is not lazing on a Sunday afternoon, but he does bicycle every Wednesday evening and is bound to be proposing on a Saturday night (for you Queen fans out there!)  Here, he is taking a posy to his sweetheart...well, don't you put on your spats when taking an important bike ride?  He can't quite reach the pedals, but his Prius, which fits him much better, is in the shop. 

In Bertie's world it is still summer, and I have to say "hooray" about that.  Perhaps that is the most fun thing about being in the creative arts--you may compose your own universe out of thin air and imagination (and I do expect thin air adds much to imagination.)

* * * * * * 
In other news:

Zolo is an award-winning toy design company in our town.  It is the brainchild of the creative partnership of Byron Glaser and Sandra Higashi.  This month in the main gallery at LibertyTown, we have on display a selection of their toys for sale, plus a bit of their history as a design team and a company.   It is a colorful, fun exhibit.  Here are a few shots of the Zolo installation in the gallery.

These are the original wooden sets of toys, four of which are out of production.  Zolo 5 is the center one in front and is the current product.

You can see packaging here, as well as sample fun figures you can make from the various sets of interlocking pieces.  (Think Mr. Potato Head, but lots more fun and variety.)
The illustrations on this wall are from their first book, which was done before computer publishing.  Each page is an original, intricate collage, masterfully assembled.
Zolo deco is a set of wall stickers that can be repositioned.  Make your own kooky characters.  Each set has 47 different pieces to play with.

These are PupHats, a hat and a puppet in one warm, fuzzy head covering!

Close up of a piece of the original set of Zolo toys on display.
Check them out.  Books, fun toys, great price--what could be better for little and big people on your holiday shopping list? 

It'll be on my list for Santa, for sure!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cirque des Oiseaux

Cirque des Oiseaux, collage/acrylic, 15 x 30
Elizabeth W. Seaver

There once was a bird who juggled.
While up on the high wire he puzzled,
"Should I go on with the show?
Would anyone know,
if one of the oranges I guzzled?"