Monday, October 15, 2018

Kirkwood Day    8 x 8"   $35, unframed

On this rainy, chilly October day I am feeling quite happy.  My Name Your Price event has been very successful!  So far, 15 pieces have sold. 
Black-necked Stilt   10 x 7.5"   $50, unframed

Carolina Wren 2   10 x 7.5"   $50, unframed
It was a little sad to see them go but I am certain each new owner will love the works equally as much as I have.

The goal is to have all current pieces in new homes by the end of the year.  A lofty goal, indeed.
Pools   8 x 8"   $35, unframed

Summer Pond   8 x 8"   $45, framed
To that end, I am keeping the effort going.  My website has been updated with available pieces (some very new!) and the images here are also available.
Winter Pond   8 x 8"   $45, framed
These purchases are an investment in me as a business and, for that, THANK YOU!  Funds will go towards equipment and services needed to make my art business viable, competitive and sustainable as I jump back into the industry full time.

I still have more funds to raise and more art to sell.  So, as we approach the holiday season, if you know someone looking for just the right work of art as a gift for Christmas or another upcoming holiday, please consider sharing my art with him or her.  As an incentive, I will continue to honor my Name Your Price sale on all current works through the end of the year.

Keep scrolling down to see more works.  Feel free to contact me by phone or email with any questions or offers.  If the listed price does not fit your budget suggest a price that would.  I have not rejected an offer yet. Therefore, I am confident yours will not be denied, either.  Remember, there's a goal set that must be met!

You cannot see this but I am smiling ear-to-ear knowing how much my community appreciates what I do.  :-)





Waking Above the Clouds    11 x 7.75"   $50, unframed

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Eight Pieces Already Gone!

Spring Meadow
But this one and many more are still available.  Come to my Open Studio this weekend and see if there is a piece that resonates with you.

New England landscapes, bird paintings, scenes from all seasons.  Mount Washington, Chocorua Mountain, Lake Conway, salt marsh, meadow, mountain, lake, woods.  It's all here.

There is a painting for any room in your home from large, focal-point works to charming tiny works.

Bonus: several of my daughter's photography works will be available, too.

Name Your Price!
When:  Saturday, September 29 10am-2pm &
Sunday September 30 noon-4pm
Where:  3 Spruce Street Exeter, NH 03833

A Name Your Price event works like this: the potential buyer offers a price that either suits their budget or seems a fair price for the work (usually it's both).  That's it.  Not kidding.  To ease any anxiety or fear about making an offer consider this: my original prices are noted with the art on both my website and blog.  Use these as a guide in making your offer.  No offer will be rejected because I trust you will be fair to your budget and to my work.  It will be fun!
Salt Marsh 2

Eight pieces have sold already!  Email, call or text me with your query if you cannot come to Exeter this weekend.  Shipping is available.

Tell others.  Stop by to say hello.  Bring a friend.  Pick up a beautiful piece of art for your new home.  Make it a wedding gift for a new couple and their home.  It's not too early for holiday gift ideas, either.

I hope you can make it.  :-)




Saturday, September 15, 2018

Name Your Price Pop-Up Shop!

Foggy Hillside 5.5 x 7.5"  $35.00, unframed




This is it.  Your chance to own one of my paintings for a price that fits your budget via a "pop-up shop" in two weeks.

This is the Name Your Price event I mentioned in my last email.  How this works is you simply offer a price that suits your budget on any one of my paintings.  No offer will be rejected.  Not kidding.  It's for real!









Hidden Egret  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed




The event will help re-establish my illustration business.  All proceeds will go towards things like proper furniture, digital equipment, updated reference materials and professional services.

When:  Saturday, September 29 10am-2pm &
Sunday September 30 noon-4pm
Where:  3 Spruce Street Exeter, NH 03833

Nearing the End  5.5 x 7.5"  $35.00, unframed














If you cannot make one of these two dates but want to make an offer, contact me via phone or email.  Better yet, make an appointment to view the works in person.  Two pieces have already sold.  Accepting offers now!!





Standing Watch, Dusk in the White Mountains  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed
Some of the available pieces are on my website.  Additional works are posted below.  There is a piece for every room in a home: tiny, unframed charmers as well as large, framed works beautiful enough to hang as a focal point.  List prices are noted with each piece.  Use these as a guide to make your offer.

Rocky Shore  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed





Every sale helps.  Your purchase will provide a needed jump start while receiving a beautiful piece of art for your home.  Or gift it to someone special.  One more way you can support this effort: share this with family and friends who would appreciate what I do.  I am very grateful for your continued interest in my work.





Waking Above the Clouds  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed

Winter Path  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed

Winter Tangle  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed

Wren 1  10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed
Duck Flight 10.5 x 7.5"  $50.00, unframed 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My family first moved to Exeter in 2002.  Our first home was right on the edge of the Swasey-Henderson Town Forest with direct access just outside our door.  We jumped at the opportunity to explore the forest as often as possible.  It was a playground for instilling a sense of discovery and adventure into our then elementary-aged daughter.  Our efforts were well rewarded with sightings of beaver, birds, fisher cats and all sorts of rodents.  One memorable highlight was wing-patterns in the snow, ending in a divot covered in bits of fur.  This was evidence, we think, of an owl’s successful hunt the night before.  
My friends John and Andrea were both born and raised in Exeter.  They’ve deepened their roots by raising their own family here.  For the past decade Sean and I have walked the Swasey-Henderson Town Forest hundreds of times with John and Andrea and many other friends.  We occasionally spy a Barred Owl on these walks, with more regular sightings in 2016.  There is no saying for sure it’s the same individual we see or if there is more than one but the owl makes itself surprisingly visible at times.  There has also been a Great Horned Owl in the vicinity, possibly more than one.
There are approximately twenty species of owls breeding in North America.  Of these, there have been twelve recorded in New England.  So far, I have seen or heard three species in and around Exeter.  With over 2300 acres of open space around town there is plenty of habitat types to support a few more owl species.  If you zoom out beyond Exeter’s boundaries, there are far more forested, field and wetland habitats that many avian species, including owls, can easily access.
Barred Owls are territorial and non-migratory.  Their territory can be anywhere from 200-900 acres!  That is 0.75-1.5 square miles they will defend especially aggressively during nesting season, which is wraps up pretty soon.  They are monogamous, forming permanent pair bonds.  Courting begins in winter, usually February but can be earlier, near the nest site using much of the same awkward-looking techniques that us humans will use.  There is hooting, screeching, chasing, swaying, sidling and raising-of-wings involved.  An established pair will engage in mutual feeding and preening, too.  Sound familiar?  Maybe our Barred Owl is raising a few chicks this season, although I have not seen sign of it since last November.
A known predator of the Barred Owl is the Great Horned Owl.  This might explain why both species have been seen in the same woods.  The Great Horned Owl requires anywhere from 0.1 – 1 square mile of territory, the actual size depending on nesting density and food supply.  Hmm, let’s think about this.  The smaller Barred Owl requires a larger territory than his bigger cousin, the Great Horned Owl?  That seems kind of backwards.  I certainly have more to learn about this territory stuff.
While the Barred Owl’s preferred habitat is deep, swampy mixed-woods forests near waterways, the Great Horned Owl is opportunistic in habitat choices.  It has been as successful in a New England forest as it has been in the desert.
I remember the first time I ever saw an owl in flight.  It was magical!  At dusk over an open field on Plum Island in Massachusetts a Great Horned Owl glided against a backdrop of grayish-pink sky and silhouetted trees.  I knew immediately it was an owl and not any other large bird of prey because of the flat face.  You can’t miss that identifying feature.  The size of the bird and the surrounding habitat gave away its identity.  The glide was beautiful.  Low to the ground, nearly at eye level, it was most likely hunting.  So effortless yet very purposeful.  An owl’s wings are designed for silent flight.  The broad shape provides a large surface area that allows them to float rather than flap.  The leading edges of the primary feathers have a combed or serrated surface that shifts the flow of air, lowering the decibel level to near silence.  Amazing evolutionary advantage!
Great Horned and Barred owls share a similar diet: anything from small rodents and insects to amphibians and reptiles.  Both will take down small birds but the larger Great Horned Owl is known to take down animals larger than itself, such as Red-tailed hawks and young foxes.  It has even been known to wade into water for a meal!  Of course, as was already mentioned, the Great Horned will readily make a meal of the Barred Owl, too.  Definitely an opportunistic feeder.
A third species, the Screech Owl, is also part of the Exeter community.  I live within a mile of downtown and on two occasions (but as many as six years apart), a Screech Owl perched itself in a fir tree across the street from my house and whinnied the evening away.  Among the smallest of owl species, I was not able to see it on either occasion, unfortunately, but its unmistakable call was clear.  Soft, distinctive and even a little eerie, it can be quite unsettling if you don’t know the source from where it comes.  I heard it again just two nights ago in the middle of the night!
One clue to finding an owl is a behavior called "mobbing".  When a predatory bird is in the area prey birds will become agitated and collectively harass the predator as a means of driving it away.  This behavior is quite loud and very visible.  The mobbing might take place in flight, but sometimes the predator will try to outlast his agitators by staying put on a branch.  Either way, the agitated prey birds will easily lead your eyes to the predator.  Any prey bird will use this tactic to protect their eggs or chicks but, typically, crows will mob hawks and owls; in turn, Blue jays and smaller birds will mob crows, as crows are notorious egg and chick stealers.  Surprisingly, even the smallest of birds will go after a large bird of prey to protect its young.
Next time you head out for a walk in the woods or a walk around your neighborhood, pay attention to the sounds.  Look up and scan the tree-tops now and again.  Slow to a crawl, stand and listen….turn around in the spot where you stand.  You just might see a pair of large, round eyes staring right back at you!
If you have had any owl sightings near your home I would love to hear about it.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Onward,
Sandy



Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Town

2010 sketches from life using binoculars showing
Great Blue Heron, Cormorant, Osprey and Gulls
at the base of Squamscott River.
Exeter, New Hampshire is a New England coastal town that has invested a lot of time and money in preserving large amounts of public open space.  With miles of single-track trails and over 2,300 acres of protected land, Exeter, has become a draw for people who cherish their time in the woods.  On any given day, year-round, you’ll find hikers, dog-walkers, mountain bikers, Nordic skiers or runners enjoying the trails that cross through public and private lands, around and over ponds and vernal pools, alongside streams, under power lines and even under a major highway.  This open space is not contiguous, however.  There are many smaller conservation easements and several large parcels at different corners of the town.  The two I am most familiar with are the Henderson-Swasey/Fort Rock woods and the Oaklands Town Forest.  These two parcels are connected by a tunnel under route 101 and cover nearly 453 acres.
While I enjoy walking and snowshoeing through the forest with my Boston terrier, Oreo, it's the flora and fauna that keep me coming back.  These woods are very popular so it can be difficult to see the evidence of wildlife activity.  But it’s there if you look.  In fact, I find it to be one of the best places within town to view plants and animals of all sizes and varieties.  And despite this active use by humans you can definitely find yourself alone and not see or hear another soul.
Both Henderson-Swasey and the Oaklands are beautiful anytime of the day and through all seasons.  It’s a mixed-woods-riparian forest filled with hardwoods like beech, maple, hickory and oaks intermingled with pine and hemlock.  The landscape is similar to the foothills of the White Mountains, which is why it's so popular among mountain bikers.  Trails lead across ridgelines and along ledges.  Boulder fields cover the acreage and old rock walls crisscross the trails.  There’s plenty of water here, too.  Norris Brook flows through the Henderson-Swasey Town Forest, arising from a beaver pond and emptying into the Squamscott River.  Sloan’s Brook has its watershed deep in the Oaklands.  There are a great number of small wetlands and vernal pools, too, which frogs and other amphibians frequent.
Henderson-Swasey and the Oaklands may be the town “gems” but other public access properties offer an outdoor escape many of us crave.  Phillips Exeter Academy owns and manages approximately sixty acres of forested land with public access.  There’s also Rayne’s Farm, Jolly Rand/Riverwoods Nature Trail, Little River Conservation area, Connor Farm and many, many parcels of town land and easements managed by the Exeter Conservation Commission.  To top it all off, the beautiful Exeter and Squamscott Rivers run through town.  Along the length of the freshwater Exeter and the saltwater Squamscott Rivers the wildlife viewing has been astounding!  Meeting right in the middle of town, the two rivers are life sustaining for all sorts of wildlife and offer many recreational opportunities for us humans.  It’s a great spot for birding, as is the Phillips Exeter Academy fields and woods.  Everything from shorebirds to ocean birds to raptors, ducks, nighthawks, herons and migratory songbirds have been seen along, over and in it.  And it’s not just birds.  Red fox, fisher cats, river otters, mink and beavers make this area home.
2016 sketches from life using a bird scope showing Cormorants,
Gulls and Mallards along the Squamscott River.
In my 15 years as an Exeter resident there have been many amazing wildlife sightings in these open spaces.  So much so that, for the remainder of 2017, I will write a new post each month relating to the wonderful natural resources here in town, illustrated with my sketches.  I hope to bring some delight and wonder to a broader audience who might not already be aware of their surroundings.  Maybe I can introduce someone to the plants and animals surviving living alongside us in our neighborhoods; or pique someone’s curiosity for natural and cultural history.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll motivate someone to act on this new knowledge and curiosity by becoming acquainted with our abundant open space and inspire within them a sense of stewardship.
Let’s see where this takes us.

Onward,
Sandy

Thursday, March 19, 2015

FORM

Happy spring!  Yes, I know.  There's still a lot of snow on the ground and, for some parts of New England, more snow is coming tomorrow evening (I feel your pain, Kelsey!).  However, so many signs of spring have predictably begun right on time.  In my neighborhood the cardinals began singing bright and clear in the early morning about five weeks ago.  Chickadees followed soon thereafter and this morning I heard the drilling of woodpeckers as I left the house.  Can't see anything coming up from the ground yet but soon...

At the start if 2015 I decided that FORM was to be my focus this year.  I've been practicing shapes and proportions for so long that it seems almost second nature to me now.  Form is the next skill to master.  In my last lesson with Barry Van Dusen we practiced capturing form with quick gestural lines, finding the angle of the bird first then building the lines around that.  In the sketch above you can see how it works well for not only birds perched at a side view but especially well for the foreshortened view.  As a part of capturing form it is incredibly helpful to understand what the animal's structure is like underneath feathers, skin and muscle.  The page above represents about twenty minutes of work.  One could easily practice this each day.  Imagine what that could do for developing a sharp and quick eye!

Spring classes are coming up!  Please sign up for my newsletter to learn about my sketching and painting classes.  You can sign up on my website's homepage, bottom right.  I am so happy to get back outside with my sketchbook, paints and brushes soon after such a long winter of impossible weather!  Maybe our paths will cross...


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reminiscing about Warmer Days

I do enjoy the New England winters.  I love to snowshoe and Nordic ski.  And this year I took up winter hiking.  With good planning (and a healthy dose of respect and restraint) the White Mountains in NH are a spectacular winter hiking destination.  But this winter has tested even the hardiest souls with some extremely cold temperatures and incredible winds.  I'm good for maybe one more snowstorm then Id like it all to melt away.  Slowly, so as not to overload the drainage systems.

Clouds Building   3 x 7" watercolor sketch from sketchbook   2014

So on this day I am remembering a warm and slightly humid day in Germany last summer.  I watched the clouds build throughout the day, to end with rain that night and the following day.  I remember the mountains of Austria, Germany and Switzerland all around me.  A lake heavily populated with sailboats carrying people on holiday.  Clouds, blue sky, warm green grass and a gentle breeze.  Absolutely lovely.  Reminiscing is good for the mind.  Just what I need to get through the coming weeks of March.  Some Cardinals in my neighborhood have been singing for three weeks, the chickadees have chimed in with their spring song, and I hear that Red-winged Black Birds have been spotted, too.  Soon the winter ducks will depart for northern breeding grounds.  The loons, who have spent the winter on the ocean, will travel inland to the lakes of New England.  I'll turn my attention to memorizing bird sounds and all the wonderful migratory birds that come through during New England's warm months.  And I'll find myself reminiscing about all the fun and cold air that winter offers.  So it goes...