In a High Desert yard: LAPC & Weekly Prompts

Like the rest of you out there, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home. This week I’m featuring photos taken in a High Desert yard near Bend, Oregon.

If your gaze is focused downward lately, look at the elements of earth in a new light. This layer cake rock is interesting in color and form.

Igneous rock boulder 15November2020

As your gaze moves up, notice the textures you may have overlooked. The multilayered bark of juniper trees always catches my attention.

In a high desert yard May 2020

Though we can’t be together right now, we get the opportunity to watch those who can. These Eurasian collared doves are sharing a tender moment.

Eurasian collared doves May 2020

We can smile at those taking advantage of the situation. These two mule deer bucks are pausing to share a drink while my dogs are inside.

In a High Desert yard - 2 bucks September 2020

And when all seems bleak, we may be rewarded by lightness at the end of the day. Spectacular sunsets are a surprise worth waiting for.

In a High Desert yard - sunset October 2019

If we keep looking up, things should get better. In a High Desert yard, this splash of color emerged after a dark storm – a special gift from Mother Nature. πŸ˜€

Rainbow over junipers June 2020

Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Found in the neighborhood

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – The Gift

In the morning light – 4 haiku: LAPC

In the morning light
Fireworks light up the fall sky
Amazement above

In the morning light sunrise October 2020
High desert sunrise

When the day breaks bright
We find our comfortable place
Basking in its warmth

Pixie-bob cat October 2020
Pixie-bob cat

In the light of day
Our differences stand out
Yet we share our songs

In the morning light - Songbirds drinking water
American robin, house sparrow, cedar waxwing, & lesser goldfinch

In the morning light
Snow melts from prickly branches
Revealing warm hearts

Snow on high desert cactus October 2020
Cholla & prickly pear cactus

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – The sun will come out tomorrow

The tree people of autumn: LAPC, RDP, & SS

When the warmth of summer slips into the shadows, the tree people of autumn emerge. No one notices them at first. Their queen guides them concealed beneath a cloak of crimson leaves.

The tree people of autumn

The tree people camouflage themselves as creatures of the forest. Their colors shift as their power increases.

Sometimes they appear as deer, leaping through the forest with antlers of glowing gold.

Golden fall leaves reflected image

Sometimes they appear as butterflies, unfurling wings to capture the scarlet of the setting sun.

Red fall leaves reflected image

And when the tree people prepare to rest, the storyteller puts on his towering yellow hat. He raises his arms and tells tales that lull them into a deep sleep.

Green & yellow reflected fall leaves

So when you pass by a stand of falling foliage, remember the tree people of autumn. They will emerge again next year to amaze you with their color and power.

The tree people of autumn September 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Focus on the Subject

Ragtag Daily Challenge (RDP) – Shadows

Sunday Stills – Leaves

Dillon Falls, Oregon in the Fall: LAPC

We recently took a short drive west from Bend to visit Dillon Falls. Splashes of color border the river near the falls.

Dillon Falls, Oregon

Temperatures were cool and we didn’t see anyone else on this early morning trek.

Dillon Falls, Oregon

The short trail to the falls is lined with manzanita shrubs – one of my favorites! They have so much character.

Manzanita shrub October 2020

Tangled Ponderosa pine branches also caught my attention.

Ponderosa pine branches

The Deschutes River winds its way through colorful foliage and cascades through lava rocks. Newberry National Volcanic Monument is located just east of the falls. The Lava Lands Visitor Center (opened seasonally) gives visitors all kinds of info about this region.

Deschutes River rapids

We visited Dillon Falls as a treat for my birthday. Here’s a short video taken from the top of the falls and panning to the south. It’s a peaceful spot to see some of our local wonders.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – What a Treat!

Rockridge Park – Trails & More: LAPC

Rockridge Park, in northeast Bend, is a nice place for walks and more. Bend Park and Recreation preserved features of High Desert habitat in this 36-acre park and added a few unique activities. It’s one of 82 parks in the city.

You’ll see a “forest” of juniper tree trunks near the small parking area. This play area for kids includes black “talk tubes” that connect underground. Primitive cell phones. πŸ˜‰

  • Rockridge Park in Bend, Oregon October 2020
  • Play area in Bend, Oregon October 2020

I’ve been keeping an eye out for fall foliage and this park had several colorful trees. The maple trees are beginning to turn red and the paper birch leaves are turning a lovely shade of gold.

  • Fall maple trees October 2020
  • Fall birch trees October 2020

The trails in this park include a paved one-mile+ trail and more than a mile of unpaved bike trails. The beginner and intermediate bike trails include boardwalks and other obstacles.

Bike trails in Rockridge Park Bend, Oregon October 2020

There are several comfortable benches along the trails.

Bench in a Park Bend, Oregon October 2020

The playground is located along the southern edge of the park. There’s a 9-hole disc golf course in another section.

Playground in Bend, Oregon October 2020

This park also has an 11,000-square foot skatepark with a curving “lunar -landscape” design.

  • Rockridge Skatepark in Bend October 2020
  • Rockridge Skatepark in Bend October 2020

For those of you with canine companions, Rockridge Park is a good place for a SASS walk. Stop And Smell Stuff!

A dog walk in Bend October 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – A Photo Walk

Focus on the form of cactus: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Symmetry. I decided to focus on the form of cactus in my garden by showing them in infrared. It highlights their prickly symmetry well.

Focus on the form of cactus in infrared 1October2020
Close up of cholla cactus infrared 1October2020
Cholla cactus fruit up close 1October2020
Prickly pear cactus in infrared 1October2020
Focus on the form of catus - Prickly pear fruit 1October2020

To see some of these cactus blooming in brilliant colors, see Prickly and pretty.

Hope in a sunrise – tanka poem: LAPC

A sliver of hope
glimmers on the horizon
A dark bud opens
delicate petals unfurl
Hope blossoms, filling the sky

A sliver of hope sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020
Sunrise of hope in Bend, Oregon Sept 2020

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Inspiration

Plateau Indian Beaded Moccasins: LAPC

I’m featuring pictures of Plateau Indian beaded moccasins for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. The challenge this week is “A labor of love.”

After so much was taken away from Native Americans, creating beadwork became a labor of love. They preserved parts of their culture by decorating everyday items.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Prior to the European invasion of North America, Native Americans decorated their clothing with shells, porcupine quills, and bones.

Beaded footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

In the early years of European settlement, pony beads were often offered in trade. Seed beads became available in the late 1800s. Seed beads are smaller and come in a wider variety of colors compared to pony beads.

Beaded footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Many of the designs used in the early years of beading were geometric. They generally included symbols important to specific tribes and regions.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

Techniques for applying the beads varied. One technique involved threading several beads onto a thread. Thread on a second needle tacked these lines of beads onto the material.

Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

By the late 1800s, realistic designs became more common. For example, patterns often included local flowers and wildlife.

Footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

In the early 1900s, more types of beads were available and designs became more elaborate. Interest in buying beadwork increased. As a result, designs changed to include marketable patterns, including American flags.

Children's footwear, High Desert Museum, Oregon August 2020

These Plateau Indian beaded moccasins, displayed at the High Desert Museum like works of art, showcase the skills of their makers.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – A Labor of Love

The Oregon Garden in late summer: LAPC

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is to pick images that go with five possible words. I chose to use all five.

I am featuring pictures from a late September trip to The Oregon Garden, in Silverton, Oregon. It’s an 80-acre botanical garden that is beautiful to visit during any season.

This mixed border is an “exuberant” mix of colorful flowers of various sizes and textures.

The Oregon Garden mixed border September 2018

This planting looked “comfortable” with every plant spaced out so you can appreciate the details.

Landscaping in botanical garden in Silverton, Oregon September 2018

These chrysanthemums are “crowded” together in a quilt of color.

Chrysanthemums September 2018

This landscape is “growing” red as fall approaches.

The Oregon Garden September 2018

The cactus garden is “tangled” with the spiky leaves of prickly pear.

Prickly pear cactus in Silverton, Oregon September 2018

It can get crowded at The Oregon Garden, so if you don’t want to get tangled in traffic, plan your visit for a comfortable time of day so you can experience this growing attraction with the exuberance it deserves.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Pick a word

To see how our efforts have paid off in our own growing garden space, see Garden of Plenty, posted a couple days ago.

Household treasures from a different angle: LAPC

I am sharing photos of some of my household treasures taken from different angles. I used a tabletop studio to take these pictures. The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is Everyday Objects.

The first two pictures are of a cricket cage I’ve had since I was about eight years old. I distinctly remember taking it in for Show and Tell. The crickets were chirping in the darkness within my school desk.

This is an antique egg beater I purchased at an antique show in Portland, Oregon. I’m not sure if the parts were meant to go together but that’s how I bought it. I use it regularly and it works great!

This is one of my favorite rocks. I collected it near Thermopolis, Wyoming at a place called the Smorgasbord. I was carrying a field thermometer with me and I will always remember the reading that day. 126 degrees Fahrenheit!

The last two pictures are of a fork and spoon I used as a toddler. The backs are stamped “Atla – Denmark.” It’s not surprising that I have a deep love of wild creatures after learning how to eat with this particular fork and spoon.

All of these items have one thing in common. When people see them, they want to touch them and look at them more closely. Household treasures can be a treat to the eyes and your other senses.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Everyday objects

High Desert Mural: LAPC & Monday Mural

High Desert Mural Siobhan Sullivan 17 August 2020

I have been busy filling up space and time by creating a High Desert mural. I recently posted more details on creating my Outdoor Pronghorn Painting. This weekend I added three additional paintings to the mural.

Outdoor pronghorn painting by Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

As I mentioned in my post about the pronghorn painting, I use photos I have taken and other sources to do my first sketches. I like to refer back to field guides and set them up for easy viewing.

Work space for drawing an American badger August 2020

Creamy white paint is painted onto each piece to make the colors stand out. Here are the three back painted pieces.

High Desert mural rough drafts Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Once I start applying the colors, the piece of paper I use for cleaning my brushes and trying out color mixes becomes a work of art.

Brush cleaning and mixing paper August 2020

Why did I choose these specific critters? They are all characters in books I’m working on. I once heard an author speak about surrounding himself with “artifacts” his characters use while he is writing. I’m displaying some of my characters so that I’ll see them every day, even on the days I’m frustrated with writing and revising.

Manuscript Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

Black-billed magpies are one of my favorite local birds. In my work-in-progress book, the magpie character is named a Chinese word that means “bright.” They are very intelligent birds.

Black-billed magpie Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

The golden-mantled ground squirrel helps save the day in the book she is featured in. Her name means “green” in Spanish because she is the protector of green petrified wood.

Golden-mantled ground squirrel Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

The American badger is featured as a secondary character and is also featured in a fable. Though unnamed, the badgers are important characters.

High Desert mural - American badger Siobhan Sullivan August 2020

I particularly liked how this painting turned out – especially the eye. This badger is guarding some of the rocks featured in my I like rocks! post.

With the addition of these three animals, my High Desert mural is complete. Well… at least until I come up with another idea for a book. πŸ˜‰

Lens- Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Creativity in the time of Covid

Monday Mural

Arches National Park in bloom: LAPC

In early May 2017, we visited the national parks in Utah. With temperatures in the 90s, we didn’t exactly avoid the desert’s heat, but we were happy to see Arches National Park in bloom.

These plants grow well under the hot, sunny conditions. Here are a few of the plants we saw in bloom. Some are big and bold; others are small and subtle.

Arches National Park in bloom May 2017
Blooming cactus in Utah May 2017
Evening primrose in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park in bloom, yucca plant Utah May 2017
Blooming wildflowers and grasses in Utah May 2017
Arches National Park wildflowers May 2017

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Under the sun