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

Showy layers of a poppy up close: Macro Monday

Showy layers of a red poppy up close

Showy layers of crepe paper-like red petals encircle a yellow melon-shaped ovary. Golden-anthered stamens stand guard over the precious seeds within.

Monday Macros

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.

Continue reading

Oak tree at Newgrange: Thursday Tree Love

Oak tree at Newgrange

I saw this old oak tree at Newgrange, County Meath, Ireland last winter. I think they are one of my favorite trees without leaves. Look at those branches!

Thursday Tree Love

Juniper caught misty moon poem: Monochrome Monday

Juniper caught misty moon on a chill winter night
Struggling to escape, moon gave up on the fight

Juniper caught the misty moon

Scrub jays gathered atop the great tree
Pecking and prodding until moon was set free

scrub jays infrared

Monochrome Monday in infrared

An ancient pathway in Wyoming: WPWC

These American bison are following an ancient pathway along the Gibbon River in Wyoming. The well-worn trail has been carved into the turf by the hooves of many.

An ancient pathway in Wyoming

Here’s a slightly closer view of the bison. Though they may look docile, you don’t want to get too close to these animals that can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and travel at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. I photographed them while safely inside the car.

Bison coming at you in Yellowstone National Park,WY 30May2018

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Path

Frost spikes haiku: Haiku Challenge

Frost spikes on a fence

Captured by frost spikes
Struggle against winter’s grip
Glints of sun, released

Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #341 — Frost and Glint

Yew branches up close: Macro Monday

Yew branches August 2020

This yew plant in my garden measured three feet in height for many years. I don’t think it was fond of our High Desert temperature fluctuations. Last year it finally grew taller so now it’s almost five feet tall.

Yesterday I caught one of our resident “landscapers” chewing on the new growth. Guess he thought it needed a trim. 😉

Buck mule deer

Macro Monday

Oceans of Emotion – Ireland & Northern Ireland: LAPC, OWS

Today I’m featuring images portraying oceans of emotion from a trip last year to Northern Ireland and Ireland. The images reflect the eight basic emotions defined by psychologist, Robert Plutchik.

Northern Ireland ocean views

Anger – Winds at the Giant’s Causeway were reaching 80 miles per hour. As each wave crashed upon the shore, froth shot out of a hole on the left side of this picture. It was as if Mother Nature was foaming at the mouth.

Oceans of emotion - Giant's Causeway
Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

Fear – The incoming storm frightened most of the tourists away from Carrick-a-Rede. It shut down shortly after we crossed due to high winds.

Carrick-a-Rede Northern Ireland
Carrick-a-Rede, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Continue reading

A decorated tree: Thursday Tree Love

I saw this decorated tree near Sisters, Oregon. There was a nice contrast between the rough brown ponderosa pine bark and the delicate tufts of fluorescent green lichen.

A decorated tree October 2020

Thursday Tree Love

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

Marvelous Malachite up close: LAPC

Today I’m sharing close up photos of marvelous malachite. According to geology.com, malachite is a “green copper carbonate hydroxide mineral.” The site also refers to its striking green color and that’s why I collect it.

This first piece has a rough texture and interesting shape. For scale, it measures 1.5 x 1.0 inches.

Marvelous malachite up close January 2021
Rough green stone close up January 2021

The second piece is opposite of the first – rounded shapes and smooth textures. It measures 3.75 x 1.5 inches.

Marvelous malachite up close January 2021
Close up of green stone January 2021
Continue reading

What birds do you C?: Bird Weekly Challenge

What birds do you C in this post? The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge this week is birds that start with a “C.” Can you guess what each bird is? Answers are at the end.

1. This hawk likes to hang out around bird feeders to pick up a quick snack of songbirds. It’s a medium-size accipiter that lives in forested habitats

Cooper's Hawk September 2015
Bend, Oregon

2. This songbird’s name comes from its habit of foraging through piles of discarded grain. It’s common throughout parts of Europe and Asia.

What birds do you C March 2020
Carrigtohill, County Cork, Ireland
Continue reading

A blooming cosmos up close: Macro Monday

A blooming cosmos

A blooming cosmos is one of my favorite sights to see in a garden. We had several colors of cosmos in our garden this summer, but this magenta-colored flower was my favorite. I love how the color contrasts with the bright yellow center. The bees appreciated them as well.

Macro Monday

Special photos from 2020: LAPC & SS

It’s time to share special photos from the past year. Please enjoy this selection of nature, history, and art photos from Bend Branches.

Nature Photos

One day, while playing around with editing effects, this mirror image of autumn leaves sparked my imagination. I saw a woman wearing a crimson cape in the photo below. The short story I created, The Tree People of Autumn , is based on edited photos of trees.

The tree people of autumn

I tried to turn my camera towards things in my yard more this year. Here’s one of my prickly pear cactus in bloom.

Prickly pear cactus with petals radiating Bend, Oregon 4June2020

We created a big vegetable garden this year. Some of our produce may not have won ribbons at the fair, but it was entertaining. 😊

Three-headed carrot Bend, Oregon August 2020
Continue reading

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.

Struck by Lightning – Bye 2020!: TTL

Struck by lightning western juniper tree June 2020
Western juniper tree struck by lightning near Brothers, Oregon

I’m representing my feelings towards 2020 by showing it being struck by lightning. Yes, there were some great moments, but I’m glad to be saying bye to this particular year.

See how all the other western juniper trees around this tree are thriving? Can you see the sliver of blue in the distant sky? Once the dark clouds dissipate, we’ll have a brighter future where more of us can thrive.

Happy New Year!

Thursday Tree Love (TTL)

Halters & bridles of old: Monochrome Monday

Halters & bridles at Fort Rock, Oregon  November 2020

Halters & bridles on display at the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum in Fort Rock, Oregon.

Monochrome Monday

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

A visitor in the cottonwoods: Thursday Tree Love

I saw this visitor in the cottonwoods in Fields, Oregon. Great horned owls like to hang out in this particular stand of black cottonwoods. I was on the Circling Steens Mountain tour that’s a part of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival.

Visitor in the cottonwoods - great horned owl April 2018

The trees weren’t leafed out yet on this April field trip, but that made it easier to see birds. Cottonwoods like to have wet feet, as you can tell in this photo.

Black cottonwoods near Fields, Oregon April 2018

If you visit this area, be sure to sample one of the famous milkshakes at The Fields Station.

Thursday Tree Love

Oregon grape up close: Macro Monday

Oregon grape up close in my yard dressed in seasonal colors. The prickly leaves on this semi-evergreen shrub get burgundy highlights in the fall. Oregon grape plants have yellow flowers in the spring and purple berries in the summer. It’s striking year-round.

Oregon grape up close October 2020

Macro Monday

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
Continue reading

Waterfowl on the Deschutes: BWPC

At this time of the year, you see a lot of waterfowl on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. I paused to look at this group of mallards until…

Waterfowl on the Deschutes River December 2020

This happened. No he didn’t hit me, but I thought I better continue on my way.

Mallard flying at me! December 2020

Then I saw this big gray-white camera shy bird next to a pair of common mergansers. What is that?

Trumpeter swan & common mergansers December 2020
Continue reading

The softness of snow: MM, SS, & Six Sentence Story

Peering through a branch-lined portal at the softness of snow.

The softness of snow on junipers

Where frosty starbursts emerge from the desert soil.

Bunchgrass covered in snow

And wise elders rejoice, reaching to the sky with arms contorted by the years. Ancient trees collect the bountiful flakes falling from the sky to share.

Ancient juniper tree near Bend, Oregon

They tuck the next generation under downy crystalline blankets. When spring awakens them, they will change into new beings who will continue the cycle and share the softness of snow.

The softness of snow covering pinecones

Monochrome Monday (MM)

Sunday Stills (SS) – Winter Wonderland

Sunday’s Six Sentence Stories – Change

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

Western larch – A beauty in gold: Thursday Tree Love

One of my favorite local trees is the western larch, Larix occidentalis. This conifer tree is unique because it drops its needles in the winter. Before they litter the forest floor, the needles turn a distinctive golden-yellow color. They stand out from the deep green shades of surrounding trees.

Western larch near Sisters, Oregon October 2020
Young western larch tree

They have a delicate, almost lacey, growth form. Look at these needles radiating out in little groups of 15-30 on this branch. They are softer and more flexible than some of their pine tree cousins.

A home for wildlife

A wide range of wildlife relies on larch for food and cover. Squirrels feed on the cones and cache the seeds for future use. Songbirds nest and forage in their branches. They are especially important to pileated woodpeckers. This tree is an important food source for several kinds of grouse. Large mammals forage on the needles as a last resort since they are not as tasty as other trees.

Continue reading

Kitchen at Kam Wah Chung: Monochrome Monday

Kitchen at Kam Wah Chung October 2018

The items of various shapes and sizes in the kitchen of Kam Wah Chung stand out in black and white. I visited the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon a couple years ago. As I described in my post about that experience, it was like stepping back in time. This small building served as a general store, apothecary, doctor’s office, boarding house, religious center, and meeting spot for the Chinese people of the community in the late 1800s. Most worked in mines or on railroad line construction.

The co-owners of this business were Lung On, aka “Leon”, and Ing Hay, aka “Doc Hay.” As a result of their hard work, the business thrived for many years. Lung On passed away in 1940. Ing Hay moved to a nursing home in Portland, Oregon in 1948. The building stood vacant until it was opened in 1967. It contained a treasure trove of artifacts–over 30,000 have been cataloged so far.

Visitors can visit this site with a guide to learn more. It is a fascinating tour, made more interesting by the fact that the owners of this business were directly affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It is a part of history many of us never learned. Seeing a site such as this makes overlooked parts of our history come alive.

For information on tours, visit the Oregon State Parks site. Note Kam Wah Chung is only open seasonally and may be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Aspen trees far away & up close: LAPC

Aspen trees in the fall are beautiful from far away and up close. I’m featuring autumn portraits of aspens in central and eastern Oregon.

A far away aspen stand glowing in a blaze of color on Hart Mountain.

Aspen grove on Hart Mountain, Oregon  October

Moving in closer to… an aspen-lined meadow at Aspen Day Use Area near Dillon Falls.

Aspen trees bordering meadow
Continue reading

Another lovely lichen on the forest floor: Friday Fun

Another lovely lichen

I saw another lovely lichen begging for me to photograph it. This fluorescent green lichen was on the forest floor in a ponderosa pine forest near Sisters, Oregon.

Friday Fun – Lichen

Sheepdog & pine basket: First Friday Art

To help celebrate the holidays this year, I’m sharing two pieces – a sheepdog & pine basket. I painted this Old English sheepdog on a rock for a friend. Doesn’t it look comfortable? This breed’s fluffy coat makes them appear much bigger than they are.

Sheepdog & pine basket

I’m portraying this rock on a small pine needle basket that I usually display on a wall. Though I’ve made pine needle baskets before, I didn’t make this one.

This piece was in an antique store so I don’t know its history. I love the pinwheel pattern in the center. Some unknown artist put a lot of time into creating this basket. Its delicate center, surrounded by the strength of the bundled pine needles, is tied together with radiating lines of tiny stitches.

Pine needle basket

First Friday Art

Hope you liked my sheepdog & pine basket artwork this month. Do you have artwork you would like to share? Include a First Friday Art tag on your post.