Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cats and Birds!

We've been doing our share of bird watching as spring slowly settles into mid-Michigan. I've been watching with the camera. My favorites have been the goldfinches.


The day these were taken we had a light, fluffy snow and I loved the contrast of the lilac buds and the snow with the brilliant yellow of Goldie's wings!


Lizzie? She just watches!

These transition days can run my emotions ragged. Things that don't go to plan seem all the bigger when they crash, worries greater, sadness more intense. As I post this on April 9, we have had two inches of wet, sticky snow in mid-Michigan and more is due. Yet by the end of next week it's supposed to be in the 60s. The weather is as uppity-downie as I am! So when the sun comes, it's like someone injected a dose of joy into my world. (This photo was taken two weeks ago at Southern Exposure.)

Since my painting pets class at the end of March I have been practicing. First I took on my dear cat-angel Gypsy, the namesake of this blog and who will have been up at the Heavyside Layer for four years this May. I started with this.

And here's a closer look. The one eye is still a little wonky but there's some improvement in the method and media.

Feeling a bit more confident, I decided to tackle Lizzie again.

Getting better!

I've also had a couple of visits to Southern Exposure that you can check out HERE and HERE. I didn't take cotton wreath class but inspired by what I saw in the shop, I bought the cotton (I call it cotton on a stick!) and converted it into a simple wreath. I think I'll get some mileage out of this one!

I leave you with a recent page from the art journal, a reminder that soon enough it will be time to sail boats in a pond or on a lake.

Celebrate the simple beauty of today and cherish what we have now. Then smile and anticipate what is to come!


My name is Erika. said...

My goldfinches have been so enjoyable to watch too. Seems to be tons of them now! And your kitty paintings are very nice. That picture of Lizzie is a classic and such a cat look. I think she is thinking of goldfinch for dinner instead of her kitty kibbles. happy weekend. :)

Deb said...

Your paintings of the kitties are wonderful. And I love your bird shot.

Barb said...

Oh, gosh that last photo! I thought at first the wreath had patches of snow. I know what you mean about up and down weather. We might actually get rain today instead of snow. Maybe...

Angelsdoor * Penny said...

Hello Jeanie,
What a beautiful post! I love the photo of the iced leaves..
I tell you, your painting just get better and better.. I love the cats!
Enjoy your weekend.

Marilyn Miller said...

I love that last line, what a beautiful way to think of each day. The ice in the last photo to the yellow birds in the lilac are all beautiful. Love your paintings and the cotton wreath too. Hope your weekend is looking up. Sending a hug!

Joanne Huffman said...

I really like your pet pictures - very impressed by the eyes. Good work! The goldfinches look lovely. The cotton wreath is cool. Your art journal page is delightful - and nicely optimistic.

Arti said...

O I love the beautiful goldfinch! but try to scroll down quick to skip the other pics. (Sorry) Have been reading your previous posts, all beautiful. But couldn't find time to leave a comment. Have been very busy with caring. Yesterday the IV is out and no more antibiotics, so already seeing a change in energy and appetite.

Anne said...

I was just taking to a friend in missouri this morning. She mentioned cotton bole wreaths, something I'd never seen. I was loving the idea and then, less than 30 minutes later, look what pops up. Serendipity!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Both Lizzie and Gypsy are very, very well painted. I was truly impressed.

The goldfinches are gorgeous. I'm not sure I've ever seen one here, but we get mostly robins, cardinals, sparrows, and crows. And squirrels, of course!

I think there are days we all feel like you, but keeping busy, even if it's in your home, takes all those ups and downs away.

Cotton bole wreaths are suddenly very popular. I'm impressed with yours! I can see you getting lots of mileage out of this one.

Have a fun filled day, even if it's snowing! I would GLADLY take some of that much needed moisture off your hands. We still have fire dangers here in KS.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

We had to take down our feeders temporarily and I really miss the goldfinches, so your photos are a very cheerful gift. I'm affected by the weather, too, but Zoloft helps me keep functioning during our long dark winters. Here's hoping that spring is just around the corner.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Getting way better! Bravo, you:)
I love the way you paint your love for each subject you tackle.
I can see and feel it.
Like your zest for life, it's palpable.
I love that about you:)
Much love to you in the uppity-downy,

Karen S. said...

If Lizzie is anything like my kitty, she's thinking in her sweet little head, how can I catch one of those birds! Ha! Ha! What fun photos and that ice is really cool!

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

The gold finches are so pretty. I have a couple who come every summer. They should be arriving soon.

You are getting to be quite the artist with your paintings.

Hope you get your Spring soon - have a great Sunday.

Sally Wessely said...

Jeanie, as I read this, I was struck by how productive you are. Really girl, you just keep on creating. You are such an inspiration to me. I realize how little I do anymore. I was in the fabric store the other day and felt like my creative juices are all dried up. I need to take some classes and get rejuvenated.

The photo of Lizzie at the window is wonderful. The finches are spectacular. When it came to the portrait of Lizzie, I let out an audible "ah." She is so wonderfully precious in the painting that you have done of her. She looks so soft and sweet. I love the touches of pink. The background is really nice.

I hope that your days are becoming a little less up and down despite the snow and crazy weather. It has been like that here too. It becomes quite distressing. I see blue skies outside my window. They were so grey earlier. I think I will take Boston out for a spin around the block. It will do us both good.

Sandra Cox said...

The birds are gorgeous. And look at that Lizzie sweet.
You did a wonderful job on your paintings.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Jeanie.

YOU AND I are in the same weather boat! GRRRRRRRRRRRR or should I say:


I never, ever was effected by the weather for the entire 29 years we've been away from Southern California. While living in Boston and here in Minneapolis, I've just gone with the flow. Until now.

I think my frustration with the up and down weather, cloudy more than sunny days is now that I've taken up photography, the SUN is my most important subject! These gray days offer no interest, so I hear ya.

Now for the art. LOVE! LOVE! Even the "wonky eye" is captivating and STYLIZED and is worthy for a collage, anything. I love it. The second one IS more to scale and is also lovely and an improvement toward the more proportioned, but the wonky one, it's DARLING.

The painted them? I LOVE THEM! Right now I'm converting my white studio into spring/summer mode by adding some original sea themed art to my white marble mantle and even adding some aqua blue crystal prisms to my chandelier, just to get the sea blue theme I love going. GOTTA create our own springs, don't we?

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you're getting some sunny days to brighten your mood sometimes. Don't worry... The nice weather will soon be sticking around for a while.

We're still mostly getting storms, though some days are nice enough that we've even been able to have the windows open (sometimes most of the day, sometimes just for a short time).

shoreacres said...

If weather swings and unpredictability bother you, don't ever try varnishing for a living! I had to learn to deal with it, and believe me, it was much harder than learning the techniques of my craft. It's not only a day-to-day question of what I can do, but sometimes hour-to-hour. It requires constant adjustment. Sometimes I'm pretty good at it. Other times? Not so much.

You're so lucky to be able to see the goldfinches in their bright garb. When they're here, they're quite dull. Only near their time of migration might we begin to see some flashes of gold -- as they begin getting dressed up for you. I love the photo of Lizzie watching. The pose is one I see around here from time to time, although the old girl's getting more bored with birds than she used to be. right now, there's a cardinal having breakfast only a little more than two feet from her nose, and she's sleeping away. The bird seems to know it.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

You've been creating some beautiful things, as usual! I love that you worked on painting dear Gypsy. I can't believe he's been gone for 4 years already, though. :(

The weather has been awful here lately, too. We haven't had any snow accumulations but it's been cold and blustery with intermittent snow flakes. Boo. So I've been buying fresh flowers each week to lift my mood. I'm just so ready for spring but it looks like warmer weather will arrive this week!!!

The French Hutch said...

Jeanie, I think most of us feel this way with the weather's changes. It can be hot here one day and freezing the next. When you look out on the snow just think of all those amazing days you'll spend at the lake this summer with warn breezes and sunshine! In the meantime turn all the lights and lamps on, a proven fact it helps. Love the paintings of Gypsy and Lizzie.
Enjoy this Sunday, it will be gone forever tomorrow………….

Lynne said...

Lizzie says YES . . . to your painting with confidence! Very, very nice . . .
Finch pics against the snow are wonderful . . .
Loved that final "iced" pic too . . . but our poor perennials . . .
I think my Bleeding Hearts are terrified!
However . . . I am with you on this roller coaster snow/cold ride . . .
It has played havoc with my usual "up spirit" . . .
I decided to make a change today and surround myself with flowers and green . . . (photo style)
Maybe some form of osmosis will happen.
Plus I am going to UP my walking game so it helps how the clothing will feel.
If you know what I am talking about . . .

The Artful Diva said...

I like your sweet watercolors of your cats - you're improving a lot. The goldfinches are so dear - I've never seen one close up like that. Happy Spring thoughts going your way.

Katie Clooney said...

Jeanie... Your photography is stunning!! The goldfinches are so beautiful. As far as the cat with the wonky eye goes - I think it gives the beautiful kitty character. The photo of the kitty be the window is priceless with all the birdfeeders outside. I hope you have a wonderful week and the sun comes out soon.

Shelia said...

Hi Jeanie! Oh, those are beautiful snaps of the birds! You're doing such a great job with your photography! Your painting of little Lizzie is just wonderful! You are becoming quite the artist, my friend! :) Hope you've had a nice weekend.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Gorgeous photos and portraits -- from first to last! I especially love that last photo which is so indicative of the seasonal transition! Bravo!

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...


I am enjoying your painting journey, you are truly becoming an accomplished artist.

This was a treat to see these darling little finches!
Spring is on it's way:)

Sandra Cox said...

Your bird feeder location is perfect. You and Lizzie can both enjoy. The picture you painted of her was absolutely gorgeous. You should frame it.

Wandering Wren said...

Gorgeous little birds, lucky you! We don't get many birds in the garden, in fact, in our house it is the dog at the window watching our neighbours cats who are such a tease outside HIS window! I hope you have thawed out now, your photo of the ice on the plants is a great one and I'm guessing the upside of the weather is more time inside to paint?! You have done a great job with Gypsy and Lizzie and of course your cheery sailboats on the pond. Get ready with your blue and white paint today as we are going out into the surf on jet skis on my armchair tour of Victoria. We have blue skies and you can put some big splashes in the water!
Have a lovely day
Wren x

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