The elegance of terns: First Friday Art

I have always been impressed by the elegance of terns. Terns in flight have pointed wingtips and some species have deeply forked tails. Today I’m sharing a stylized pencil sketch I did of a Forster’s tern. These wetland birds can be spotted in much of North America at certain times of the year.

the elegance of terns

Here are a few Caspian terns I saw at The Narrows in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, south of Burns, Oregon. They don’t have the black-tipped bill and forked tail of Forster’s terns, but still have the elegance of ferns.

Caspian terns

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

If you’re looking for something artistic to do this month, consider participating in Inktober. Create a pen-and-ink drawing every day for a month based on prompts. Fun and challenging!

Landscape of Dreams mural: Monday Mural

This brand new Landscape of Dreams mural shows special sights you might see near Bend, Oregon. The mural is located in southeast Bend at the Bend Upstyle store.

The dream-like mural includes a landscape of volcanic peaks surrounded by towering trees and colorful wildflowers. A bighorn sheep ram gazes into the distance. Meanwhile, a longhorn bull, with a quail perched on one horn, looks directly at you. What’s the quail whispering to the bull as they drift through the landscape?

Landscape if Dreams mural

This rendering of Landscape of Dreams was created and painted by Kelly Odden of Kelly Thiel Studio. She was grateful for the assistance of her friend, Kristen Buwalda, for several hours.

Kelly, whose studio is in Bend, creates sculptures and paintings that include impressionistic portraits of animals and people. When I contacted her about the mural, she said the following:

“One of the best parts of working there was the folks who would stop by to chat, watch and ask questions! I had everybody from house painters to moms with sweet, disabled children come over to chat. It was wonderful to connect with others like that!” 

We are lucky to have so many special artists sharing their work in and around Bend!

Monday Mural

Bison jump sculpture, painting, & poem: SS & LAPC

Bison sculpture

Bison jump sculpture in Cody

I saw this impressive bison jump sculpture at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. Free Fall, created by T.D. Kelsey in 2001, depicts a hunting method in use for hundreds of years. Hunters herded bison toward a steep cliff, where they fell to their death. As I’ve mentioned before, bison are dangerous and this is a safer alternative for harvesting them. At the base of this sculpture, piles of bones appear in a recreated archaeological dig.

Sculpture in Cody

T.D. Kelsey was born and raised on a ranch near Bozeman, Montana. T.D. Kelsey: Realist, Romantic, and Inspired Sculptor describes his background, including time spent as a rodeo cowboy, pre-med student, rancher, and airline pilot. With encouragement from his wife, Sidni, Kelsey eventually began working full time as an artist. His love for animals shows in this piece and other sculptures and paintings he created over the years.

Free Fall Sculpture

Painting of buffalo jump

I’m also including a 1947 painting entitled Buffalo Drive, by William R. Leigh. This painting, located downstairs at the Center, shows the view from the top of a bison drive. Native people waved bison skins and sticks to scare the animals over the cliff. Later, they employed horses to move the animals. However, W.R. Leigh’s Buffalo Drive notes they did not use the woman’s pack saddle pictured for this activity. Riders rode with only a pad for quick dismounts and mounts.

Buffalo Drive painting

Born in West Virginia, W.R. Leigh studied art at the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, and the Royal Academy of Art, Munich, Germany. While in Germany, Impressionism was gaining popularity, but he preferred a more realistic style. In 1906, Leigh visited New Mexico and in 1910, he went on a hunting expedition in Wyoming. Inspired by what he saw, he began creating bold colorful paintings of the American West. William R. Leigh, Frederic Remington, and Charles M. Russell are regarded as pioneers of art depicting the West.

Bison jump nonet poem

Both of these works of art show a bison jump from different perspectives. I’m concluding this post with one more interpretation, a nonet poem I wrote on this topic.

Bison in Yellowstone National Park, WY

Pushed across the plains by First Peoples
Astride mounts, chomping at jaw ropes
Triggering a stampede,
Running from pursuers
Herded together,
Eyes wild with fear,
Jump off cliff
Escape
Fall

Sculpture Saturday (SS)

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Looking Up/Down

A flying unicorn mural: First Friday Art

This is a flying unicorn mural I painted in my daughter’s room when she was little. She could not decide between a flying horse and a unicorn so I painted both in one. 😀

I prefer working on small projects and had never worked on something so large. Piles of eraser dust accumulated on the floor beneath my rough sketches. I used acrylic paints, and a lot of patience, to complete this mural.

flying unicorn mural

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

First Friday Art

Daisies Three Ways: One-to-three & Friday Flowers

Here are pictures of daisies three ways I took on the Mill A Loop trail in Bend, Oregon. I used Corel PaintShop Pro 2021 to do the photo processing.

The first two show the original photo compared to a soft focus adjustment. I think it works well for these soft flowers.

Flowers in Bend, OregonDaisies three ways

The second two show the original photo compared to a colored edges effect. I like to draw and this effect created a work of art, minus all the erasing I usually do. 😉

Flowers in Bend, OregonColored edges effect on flowers

The last images compare the original to a ripple effect. It appears the flowers are growing beneath the water’s surface in an alternate reality.

Flowers in Bend, OregonDaisies three ways

I admit, I tend to use the same settings on my photo editing program. It was a fun challenge to showcase daisies three ways while exploring some of the other options.

One-to-three Photo Processing Challenge August 2021

Friday Flowers

South Tunnel Murals in Bend: Monday Murals

The South Tunnel Murals, designed in 2012 by local artist, Paul Allen Bennett, are located in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. These works were completed by 20+ designers from Nike working side by side with Arts Central Art Academy students and Boys and Girls club members.

South Tunnel Murals

See the tracks of shoes running along the lower border? I wonder if those could possibly be from Nike shoes. Hmm…

Bright paintings in Bend

These brightly colored images of fish echo the inhabitants of the Deschutes River, located right next to this tunnel.

Fish paintings in Bend

For now, there are no paintings on the exterior walls of the South Tunnel Murals. I’m hoping another artist will brighten up the dull concrete like they did for the “Tunnel of Joy” nearby.

South Tunnel Murals

Monday Murals

Kingfisher art – sketches & paintings: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing kingfisher art. I drew the following images several years ago. In studies such as these you attempt to capture the essence of the subject. You’re not going for detail in this type of drawing.

Sketches of birds

John James Audubon

I’m also sharing images of belted kingfishers from a couple wildlife artists. The first painting is by John James Audubon. It’s featured in The Birds of America, published in 1827. I was fortunate to see a volume of this book in a library at a university.

At present, there are only 120 complete sets of The Birds of America known to exist. The 435 engraved plates used to create the original books measure 39″ x 26.” These enormous illustrations helped educate the public about the importance of birds. Interest in The Birds of America persists to this day. In 2018, a full set sold for $9.65 million dollars.

Kingfisher art by Audubon

Louis Agassiz Fuertes

This second illustration, by Louis Agassiz Fuertes, features a Black-billed Cuckoo, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and a pair of Belted Kingfishers. This plate was in Birds of Massachusetts and other New England States, published in 1925. This three-volume set was written by ornithologist Edward Howe Forbush and illustrated by Fuertes.

You may not recognize Fuertes’ name, but he was a gifted artist and ornithologist. In fact in 1891, at the age of 17, he became the youngest member of the American Ornithologists’ Union. He admired the work of Audubon but had his own style of painting.

Paintings of Kingfishers & Cuckoos

Both of these artists worked from specimens they collected in the field to create their kingfisher art. Audubon is known for positioning freshly-killed subjects with wire armature, a revolutionary technique at the time. However, Fuertes put more time into studying birds in their natural habitats. Some think this knowledge gives his paintings an added “sense of vitality“.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Woodland scene mirror: First Friday Art

Woodland scene mirror

This is a woodland scene, painted and carved onto a 10″ x 10″ mirror. I created this work with acrylics in a folk art style and carved around the edges of each element. A meandering creek hosts a coyote, raccoon, and leaping salmon. Tall evergreens border the shore. The bald eagle is soaring over snow-capped peaks in the distance. This woodland scene is loosely based on where I used to live.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Seeing things differently with photo edits: LAPC

Photo editing is all about seeing things differently. I had fun with my Corel PaintShop Pro editing program in this post.

Making colors shine

I was impressed by the rainbow of colors at our local Farmer’s Market. This photo looked like it would be a good candidate for the kaleidoscope special effect and I was right. Wow!

Farmers marketSeeing things differently kaleidoscope of veggies

The color or the structure?

I took this picture near Grizzly Peak in Wyoming and I couldn’t decide which edit I liked better — color or black & white? The blue sky in the background pops in the color version, while the structure of the trees gets your attention in black & white.

Sylvan Lake, WyomingSeeing things differently in Wyoming

Eliminating distractions

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Alley Art in Bend, Oregon – Part 2: PPAC

Here are ten pieces of alley art you can view along NW Gasoline Alley in Bend, Oregon. I previously featured artwork decorating another alley in Tin Pan Alley Art in Bend.

This collection of artwork is part of a public initiative supporting local arts and culture in Bend, Oregon. The paintings take Bend’s outdoor lifestyle into consideration.

The people in Alley Art

The first piece is Firebreather by Avlis Leumas. This artwork serves to recognize the work of wildland firefighters in the past, present, and future. When it sells, half of the proceeds will go to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a group providing emotional and financial support to firefighters.

Alley art - Firebreather. Bend, Oregon

This piece, by Sheila Dunn, is a portrait of legendary Bend skier, Emil Nordeen. He moved here from Sweden in 1920 and was instrumental in establishing the Bend Skyliners Mountaineering Club. The group promoted local skiing as well as search and rescue and alpine climbing.

Emil Nordeen - Bend, Oregon
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Wonderful colors inspired by a song: LAPC

This week I’m featuring pictures of green, red, blue, and white. These are colors in What a Wonderful World, a song that brings back a special memory. Many years ago, I helped a kindergartner class with an art project related to the song. I assigned each student a color and let them paint anything they wanted. It was a “wonderful” experience!

Here’s my take on the colors from the song.

This picture shows the vibrancy of green foliage surrounding a great blue heron in Troutdale.

Wonderful great blue heron

Here’s a picture featuring the power of red in an up close portrait of a hibiscus.

Close up of hyacinth flower
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A husky pocket pet: First Friday Art

Here’s a husky pocket pet I painted on a rock. This breed can sometimes be a handful.

A husky pocket pet by Siobhan Sullivan

But in the right hands, they’re great pets. Here it is curled up in a cozy blanket.

Painted rock by Siobhan Sullivan

My first dog, J.C., was part husky. One of the things I remember most about her was her thick undercoat – a common trait of huskies.

After brushing her, I understood how people such as the Coast Salish once made blankets from dog fur.

A Woman Weaving a Blanket by Paul Kane. 1856.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? If so, include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Miller cabin in the morning: Monochrome Monday

Miller cabin in Bend, Oregon

I took this photo of the Miller cabin in the morning at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. I used the platinum process for this image. This method, popular from 1873-1920, was discontinued due to the high cost of platinum.

Monochrome Monday

Bits & pieces of a whole: LAPC & Sculpture Saturday

I’m always amazed by artists who collect seemingly unrelated bits & pieces of things and combine them into impressive works of art. This week I’m featuring War Paint by Greg Congleton. I have featured some of his other artwork on my blog since he’s one of my favorite local artists.

On a recent trip to Prineville, Oregon, I made a point of stopping to see this work. Greg created this piece in 2020. I decided to photograph the details of this sculpture more closely.

Here it is as you approach it from a distance.

War Paint by Greg Congleton

When you get a little closer, you can see the attitude of the horse and the rider.

War Paint by Greg Congleton

Greg is a master at showing expression in his welded metal sculptures. Look at the horse’s reaction to the situation.

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Deschutes River mural in Bend: Monday Mural

Deschutes River mural in Bend, Oregon

The Deschutes River mural is by husband and wife artists, Paul Bennett and Carolyn Platt. The artists created this mural in 2012. This piece, along with their Dogs mural, is on display at the Strictly Organic coffee shop. These works are in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.

In this shot taken from a distance, you can see the smokestacks of the old mill building that now houses a REI store.

Mural in Bend, Oregon

Monday Mural

Sockeye salmon 2-sided rock: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing a sockeye salmon 2-sided rock painting I created. On one side you see what this fish looks like when it’s spawning, and on the other side you see what it looks like at other times in its life cycle. They look SO different!

Sockeye salmon travel from the ocean to freshwater to spawn. Kokanee are a landlocked version of sockeye. If you’re lucky enough to catch one, they are especially delicious smoked.

Here’s a video of sockeye spawning in the Adams River in British Columbia, Canada. The 3-minute video, by Luke Gibson of Life of Luke, shows aerial and underwater shots of the fish. I loved his creative solution to filming underwater shots on a limited budget! A true artist will always find a way to work around obstacles.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Rainbow Splendor, Troutdale: Sculpture Saturday

Rainbow Splendor is a large statue of trout jumping in downtown Troutdale, Oregon. This work is by local residents and world-renown artists, Rip & Alison Caswell. A smaller version is for sale on their website.

Rainbow Splendor sculpture

Sculpture Saturday

Snowy plover on scratchboard: First Friday Art

Snowy plover by Siobhan Sullivan

Today I’m sharing a simple drawing I did of a western snowy plover on scratchboard. This drawing shows stippled sand, waving beachgrass, and an alert snowy plover ready for action. This tiny shorebird is classified as a federally threatened subspecies. In Oregon, certain areas along the coast restrict activities from mid-March to mid-September, when plovers nest. Snowy plovers also breed on alkaline flats in eastern Oregon.

If you want to see how an amazing group of animators interpreted shorebirds, watch Piper from Disney. The star of this Oscar-winning short is a sanderling, but snowy plovers show similar behaviors. The artists who made this film spent a lot of time studying shorebirds and it shows. Enjoy this clip!

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Mayors Square Mural in Troutdale: Monday Murals

This photo of the sun-dappled Mayors Square Mural reflects past times in Troutdale, Oregon. Muralists Dwayne Harty and Tammy Callens created a depiction of what the town looked like in the early 1900s. Completed in the fall of 2016, this work shows every type of ground transportation available in the beginning of the 20th century. The mural includes a train, horse & buggy, automobiles, bicycle, freight truck, and freight wagon.

Mayors Square Mural

Monday Mural

Using digital magic to edit photographs: LAPC

I like using digital magic to bring out the best in my photographs before I post them. I use Corel PaintShop Pro, a less expensive alternative to Photoshop.

Clean up an image

This is a slide I kept in my tent during fieldwork and tiny spots of mold had grown on it. They couldn’t be removed physically so I used a digital scratch remover and cloning tool to erase them.

Edting with digital magic
Steens Mountain, Oregon (Unedited)
Purple mountain majesties Steens Mountain, Oregon
Steens Mountain, Oregon

Crop an image

I took this picture of a pair of burrowing owls at the High Desert Museum. There was a lot of glare on the window of their enclosure. I cropped the photo, and in the edited version, they look like they’re in a natural setting.

Editing with digital magic
Burrowing owls, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon (Unedited)
With two you can share wisdom. Burrowing owls at High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon 2016
Burrowing owls, High Desert Museum, Bend, Oregon
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Memories of a bison: Sculpture Saturday

This morning I woke up with memories of a bison. This is Wooly Bully by local Central Oregon artist, Greg Congleton. This sculpture used to be in the Old Mill district of Bend but was moved several years ago.

memories of a bison

The artist includes collected bits and pieces of everyday and historical artifacts. For example, the guts are made from four cylinders and a crankshaft. The eyes are -7/8 inch hitch balls. The lungs are made from a Model A Ford horn. He has the vision and talent to incorporate the unexpected into his unique works of art.

Sculpture in Bend, Oregon

Maybe I was having memories of a bison because I was thinking of Yellowstone National Park. I hope to visit again soon and view the animals that inspired this outdoor sculpture.

To see a couple more of Greg Congleton’s pieces, and those of other artists, see Outdoor Horse Sculptures.

Sculpture Saturday

Gentle lion on a box painting: First Friday Art & CFFC

Here’s a gentle lion on a box painting I did several years ago. I was going to sell this acrylic painting but decided to keep it instead.

Gentle lion by Siobhan Sullivan

It’s the perfect size for a stack of sticky pads. They serve as external hard drives for my brain. 😀

Painting on a box by Siobhan Sullivan

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC) – Non Alive Animals

Rocky start to photography: LAPC

For me, it was a rocky start to photography. As I mentioned on my About page, I dropped out of Photography class in High School. I was failing the class. My focus was still unclear during those rebellious years.

College and beyond

A rocky start to photography
Maidenhair fern printed in my darkroom

In college, everything changed when I roomed with two Photography majors. In one of the places I lived we converted a bathroom into a makeshift darkroom. I spent a lot of time in that room, unrolling spools of film in semi-darkness and immersing prints in sharp-scented fixatives.

I also served as a part-time muse since the college required Photography program students to take one roll of pictures a day. The infrared picture of me below, dressed as a lion, was taken by my roommate Jill.

Infrared lion with wine
Me dressed as a lion with wine in infrared

During one winter break, we left our rented house to spend time with our families. I arrived back at the house days ahead of everyone else. A catastrophe greeted me. Unbeknownst to me, my out-of-state roommates neglected to pay the electric bill—they assumed our rent included electricity. The electric company turned off our power when no one was in town, and the house was ice cold. The pipes had broken in the ceiling, releasing a steady stream of dripping water. My first thought was, “Her photos!” I scrambled to salvage my roomie’s pictures from her drenched room. String zigzagged from wall to wall and I hung up the saturated prints.

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Cheerful words on my walk: Monochrome Monday

I saw these cheerful words on my walk in a local park. I’m thankful for the unknown artist who is making everyone’s days a little brighter. 😀

Cheerful words on my walk October 2020

See other examples in Encouraging words on my walk and Hopeful words on my walk.

Monochrome Monday

Black-necked stilt pen-and-ink: First Friday Art

Here’s a black-necked stilt drawing I created with pen-and-ink. The rushes surrounding these birds echo their tall slim form.

Black-necked stilt by Siobhan Sullivan 2020

Here’s a stilt I saw in the spring in Harney County, Oregon. Black-necked stilts have an almost regal quality to them. They move as if in a procession, slowly and deliberately.

Steens mountain tour, black-necked stilt in eastern Oregon 6April2018

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Music from my singing dog – Happy Howl-idays!

My dog, Tesla, loves to sing along to music. She especially likes harmonica music. Here’s her version of Jingle Bells.

You may not be able to hear it very well in the background, but here’s who Tesla was singing along with. This talented musician plays 10 Christmas carols in 5 minutes.

May music find its way into your holiday celebrations.

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Andersen

25 Day Christmas Challenge – Day 25 Christmas Morning

Birds on my Christmas tree: LAPC & SS

Many of us won’t be celebrating the holidays with close relatives, but we’ve grown closer to bird “families” in our yards. Interest in birding is soaring and people are flocking to this activity during the pandemic. I’m sharing the joy of birds in these photos of ornaments I’ve collected over the years.

Bluebirds capture the essence of the sky in their plumage. I’m hoping we have more bluebird days to look forward to soon.

Birds in my tree 19December2020
Mountain bluebird

Flocks of whooping crane birds fill the landscape with their unique “unison” call. Maybe people can heed the call towards unison in the upcoming year.

Whooping crane ornament December 2020
Whooping crane
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Canada goose sculpture at dawn: Sculpture Saturday

The sun was rising and it was snowing lightly when I walked by this Canada goose sculpture in Bend, Oregon.

Canada goose sculpture at dawn
Sunrise over Canada goose sculpture

Here’s what it looks like with a bit more snow.

"River Geese" by Peter Helze Mill A Loop Deschutes River Trail Art3 2March2018
“River Geese” by Peter Helzer

This life-size bronze sculpture is by artist Peter Helzer. “River Geese” is part of the Art in Public Places initiative in Bend.

Canada goose pair and gosling 3June2017
Canada geese pair & gosling

There are plenty of real life Canada geese in this neighborhood to keep the artwork company. The Deschutes River, and the Bend Whitewater Park, is directly behind this sculpture.

Sculpture Saturday

Mother Bear in Madras, Oregon: Saturday Sculpture

This Mother Bear sculpture is in a roundabout located in Madras, Oregon. Christopher Buffalo Folsom created this work of art. Can you spot all three of the mother bear’s cubs?

Mother Bear in Madras, Oregon

Saturday Sculpture

A calm jay painting: First Friday Art

California scrub jays are usually a loud and active kind of bird. I shared this painting I did of a calm jay exactly four years ago today after a hectic political season. I wanted to show that a sense of calmness can return even after a time of chaos.

Calm jay by Siobhan Sullivan Oct 2020

The jay pictured above, and the one below, appear calm on the surface. But underneath those calm exteriors, there is a flurry of activity. Their minds are running through a lot of “what ifs” and their bodies are ready to spring into action.

Jay getting a drink

Today we are facing many challenges and “what ifs.” It may be difficult, but I hope you’re able to capture moments of calm, no matter how brief, before you flutter to your next destination.  

First Friday Art

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.

Fungie the dolphin: Sculpture Saturday

This is a sculpture of Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin who has lived in and around Dingle Bay in County Kerry, Ireland for 37 years. He has brought much joy to visitors and residents over the years. Unfortunately, he has not been seen for over a week. A large scale search is underway.

Fungie the dolphin in Ireland

Fungie holds a place with Guinness World Records for being the longest-lived solitary dolphin in the world. He is thought to be in his forties.

Sculpture in Dingle, Ireland

I am sending good thoughts his way…

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

Irish Blessing
Dingle Bay, Ireland

Sculpture Saturday

High Desert Hideaway Hut: LAPC

High Desert Hideaway hut in Bend, Oregon

I showed you how I created this mural but I didn’t show you the inside of my High Desert hideaway hut. This 8 foot by 16 foot hut used to be a garden shed. We repurposed it into a guesthouse for visiting relatives and a studio space for me.

This $50 thrift shop door we installed is interesting on the inside and outside. What a great find!

  • Thrift shop door
  • Thrift shop door
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American kestrel study in pencil: First Friday Art

American kestrel study

This month, for First Friday Art, I’m sharing an American kestrel study I drew in pencil. When I took an ornithology class in college we learned about anatomy by studying specimens in a museum.

These sketches helped me learn more about birds, but they also turned out to be great tools for future works of art. I have referred back to them when working on pen-and-inks and paintings.

Here’s a photo of an American kestrel I saw in Malheur National Forest last year. They have beautiful coloring.

Kestrel in Malheur National Forest, Oregon April 2019

Do you have some artwork you would like to share? Use the First Friday Art tag.