Friday, February 27, 2015

Bird Yoga

As ridiculous as this posture seems, I managed to get a quick sketch done and take a pic. The little guy was watching a starling gorge himself on suet just above. But being a patient bird, eventually he was rewarded with bits and pieces that fell all around him.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Winter Woes

The weather report from last night was for snow, sleet and freezing rain. I thought I'd wake up to cats and dogs scattered all over the yard at the very least. But all that greeted me was a light rain and a deck full of black. The boat tail grackles have arrived and joined the starlings.

Chance of Rain  copyright E.M. Corsa

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Shelter from the Storm

My island had a bit of snow fall today. I know it's insignificant compared to what the rest of the country is living with but for us it's a big deal. Students were released from school at noon, people made quick trips to the grocery store for essentials in case we lose power (a constant threat here), and extra bird seed was strewn here at The Crooked Little House. Like many people living on the Outer Banks, my birds are not used to snow. I managed to get a pic of my pine warbler huddling under the horn in the bare trumpet vines. Tomorrow we may get a glint of sun and our blanket of white will melt away.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Between Heaven and Earth

Check out my new blog, Between Heaven and Earth. You can read about how this series came about and see additional images. I will post new pics as paintings are completed.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Still Beautiful

I am always sad to see any creature that has died in an untimely fashion. I say untimely because I doubt this lizard would have died at the entrance to my garage unless he expired from the cold or had been injured by another critter. I'm guessing he was looking for a warm place to hide.

This is an Anole. Most people who visit my island see them scampering across decks sporting a bright green color and sometimes a pink dewlap appears when they are issuing a warning or looking for a mate. But when the weather becomes damp or cold, they can change to a dark brown or grayish color, hence the nickname, American Chameleon.

As a way to honor an animal, I always like to do a sketch and study the beauty of the animal. What a gift it is for an artist to have this opportunity. He will remain in the freezer so I can study him again at a future date before his burial near the hedgerow at The Crooked Little House.

This pic was taken overhead and the sketch was done when I was sitting to the right of the lizard. That's why the image doesn't match up. I also lightened him a bit to show more details like the barring around his body.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A New Season

Here at The Crooked Little House, spring comes early. It may be freezing outside but the light is changing and the sap is running. And my first show of the season is fast approaching. I'll be introducing my new series, Between Heaven and Earth, and I'm working on a group of minis for those who have space limitations or just prefer small works. I have to say, I love these petite (all 5 X 7 inches or less) watercolors. Anyone who works in miniatures knows there is as much work in one of these as there is on a larger piece, sometimes even more with additional difficulty to express what you want to say. So I'll share one of my minis today. The image measures three inches square but hopefully has a big voice.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Augury Anyone?

Copyright E.M. Corsa
After a nasty cold and a sleet-lined driveway, I finally managed to get out of the house and do some errands yesterday. When I arrived home, I found two beautiful cardinal feathers at my front door. This was a first since I have never found one before. There was no sign of a struggle so I don't believe the bird had been attacked. I believe I had been given a gift.

Augury is the general term used for divination by the flight of birds. Ornithoscopy or ornithomancy is the study of omens associated with birds, particularly those on the wing.  Alectryomancy is the word applied to birds that feed on grain or seeds, producing "letters" which are then interpreted. And oomancy or ovomancy is the reading of egg whites as they drift about in water.

If you are inclined to believe in such things, cardinals (and their feathers) symbolize personal power. They invite you to balance intuition and perseverance in order to reach your dreams and goals. If you know me, I do both on a regular basis, but lately I have been neglecting the perseverance part for a number of reasons. So was this a sign left for me? I tend to pay attention to anything in nature that is out of the ordinary.

When I finally got settled, I checked my email and the one project I had put a lot of effort and intuition into had come through with flying colors. To borrow my son's phrase, "Just Sayin'".

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Undesirables

I have always felt sorry for some birds. Most people hate the cowbird because it lays its eggs on other birds' nests; the house sparrow (which is actually a finch) can be murderous to baby birds; and the starlings that arrive in droves to gobble up everything in sight leaving nothing for the little ones.

But these birds are not malicious. They don't plan their actions as humans do. This is just how nature created them, it's who they are. And I believe nature knew what it was doing and if man stopped interfering, perhaps we'd have a better balance in the world.

I happen to like starlings and find them beautiful with their mustard colored beaks and tangerine legs. I have found ways to feed them and put food for the more timid birds in places the starlings can't reach. So especially on these cold mornings, be compassionate towards the "undesirables" whoever they may be.

copyright E.M. Corsa

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Which Way is Spring?

I awoke to an icy apron of ice and snow covering the yard at The Crooked Little House. As I slid my way across the deck to put out fresh water and food for the birds, my little wren was perched carefully on the rail waiting for me. Perhaps he can point me in the direction of spring.

Copyright E.M. Corsa

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Patch of Blue

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015
A patch of blue from my series, Between Heaven and Earth, to brighten your day. The background is one of my plein air cloudscapes.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Morning Study

One of my favorite pleasures is to sit with a cup of coffee in the morning and sketch the birds at the feeders. It's a pleasant way to let my brain wake up, directing my hand while my eyes do all the work. Later on, the brain can kick in for the rest of the day's activities.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015
I love this wee warbler, and I look forward to capturing him in all his antics. This sketch was done a few days ago but this morning I observed him in the same spot, once again looking upwards. On this brutally cold morning he was just waiting his turn, watching the starlings fill their bellies at the suet feeder. He knows his time will come. And if the feeders become empty, he knows they will be refilled in a timely fashion.

Today was the first morning I can recall that all the birds, the sparrows, finches, wren and even the grackles arrived and waited just a few feet away while I restocked the store. My hands were hurting from the cold so I can only imagine how much they needed some energy this morning.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Tell me the story about how the Sun loved the Moon so much he died every night to let her breathe.
                                                                                                         - author unkown

Happy Valentine's Day.
Spread the love.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tea and Honey Please

Copyright E.M. Corsa 
I thought I'd make it through this winter without catching a cold. But the telltale sore throat appeared a couple of days ago and the rest of the misery arrived this morning. So I'm holing up for the weekend on my couch where I can watch the birds. Beside me will be pencil and paper, books and lots of cups of tea; and of course, Buddha and Erb.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Morning Has Broken

Because I work so late at night, I do not get up early. But for some reason, perhaps I got a really good night's sleep, I was up before the cats. When I manage to greet the newborn day, I can usually spot this brilliant fellow atop the pine tree heralding the arrival of a new day. What a welcome sight on a cold winter morning!

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A New Offering

From my new series, Between Heaven and Earth.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bird and Blossom

I spent some time enjoying birdsong and sunshine yesterday. The Crooked Little House is slowing pushing out winter and bit by blossom, welcoming spring.

Mr. No-Tail continues to arrive each day. Don't feel sorry for him. He flies beautifully. He makes the best of standing out from the crowd, and with Valentine's Day approaching, I am sure he will have no problem attracting a valentine of his own.

My quince is getting ready for Valentine's Day too and will soon be bedecked with flower finery.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Morning Mystery

I had a restless night so I decided to sleep in this morning. After rousing myself from a warm bed, I fed the cats and ventured outside to replenish the feeders since I saw my wren waiting patiently on the deck rail. And then I saw it, a box sitting on the top step with the lid partially opened.

My house is rather private, tucked atop a steep dune. It was a bit unsettling to think of someone at my front door while I was still walking in a dream. I have found things at my door quite often; mostly from people who figure out where I live, enjoy my work and just want to leave a little something. Occasionally they show up at ungodly hours to meet me and see The Crooked Little House in person. I have found people driving up and down the street looking for me. I have even found them a few feet from my pergola watching all my birds. But it's winter now, and the visitors are back at their homes. So I'm hoping this gift was left by a friend.

I brought the box inside and cautiously lifted the lid to reveal a bale of turtles, all shapes and sizes and colors. Turtles represent protection and intuition, both of which I can never have enough of and am grateful to receive.

So whoever you are, I thank your for your gift. Maybe next time, leave me a note so I can thank you in person.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Grace on a Branch

Each morning I watch two pine warblers, dressed in yellowy green costumes visit the feeders. A perfect subject for one of my cloudscapes for my new series, Between Heaven and Earth.

I am pleased with the simplicity of this series; creating (I hope) a moment of stillness, evoking the beauty of the world and all its grace.

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Early Bird

We all know that the early bird gets the worm. Can you figure out what worms are along the top side of this painting?

Copyright E.M. Corsa 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Quick Study

When my family was here over the holidays, of course they wanted to stop in some of the local stores to find some souvenirs to bring home. One day, we pulled into the Wings parking lot, one of the largest tourist shops on the beach, and discovered this gorgeous bird. Yes, I realize the dark humor in this.

We couldn't figure out how or why it had died since there were no visible wounds, and I couldn't leave the bird just lying there; it deserved better. I always carry equipment in my vehicle, whether to rescue a live animal or remove a dead one. You may think this is weird but many artists do the same thing. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to sketch from a "live" model, and it's also a way to honor this lost life,  appreciating how beautiful and remarkable it was.

I had a little time today to do a quick study. The proportions are a bit off, but I'll continue to study and do more sketches when I have time.

Mr. No-Tail

Let me first say, I know this pic is horrid, shot through the window. But this bird is so quick it's the only pic I've managed to capture. If you look carefully, you can make it out. I call him Mr. No-Tail because, as you can see, he is minus a tail - the whole thing is gone. But somehow he flies beautifully, landing alongside my one-legged finch to scoff up sunflower seeds. He's been arriving every morning.

The Crooked Little House has become the island of misfit animals - Buddha with half an ear, Erb with his paralyzed leg, and now the birds. But it makes my heart swell to know they can come here and get nourishment, and dare I say love.