Beauty or Beast? In the Eye of the Beholder or the Believer?

Just recently I had a family issue that I am still trying to come to terms within myself. One way to do it is to run to the edge of the planet (if it were flat) and scream as loud as I can. Neither can I scream nor is there an edge to the planet so that is not the solution. Friends can only go so far because they are supporting you through fire and ice (if they are friends) and so it is not educational to just rely on friends. It is more valuable to rely on one’s enemies if one wants a true opinion since they hate you and hence you know they will tell you the opposite of the truth and thus you are educated.

As far as I know I have no true enemies to ask. So what does an artist do with a pain that cannot be shared with enemies to learn the truth? She paints about it of course. Here in my painting and I will tell you more about it after if you are interested:

Is the bird beautiful?

Beauty is in the eye of the believer

The painting depicts an amazing rock whose photo was provided to me by my generous photographer colleague Linda Segerson of FineArtAmerica. In looking at the rock, to me it seemed it had 2 eyes and one open mouth that was complaining. I also loved the color of the rock. It just fit perfectly with the topic I had brewing in me now for days.

Atop the branch of Coral tree over the rock is a gorgeous male finch in full spring mating plumage. What could be nicer than a bird with such beautiful clothing? Yet to the rock, the bird is a nuisance and is ugly. So who is right? The bird or the rock? And can we blame the tree for having a branch grown right over the rock?

These are important questions to face since the bird thinks it is doing no harm; to him it is life as usual and simply wants to attract a female. To him he is beautiful. The rock also thinks that it is beautiful and that its beauty will be taken away by the droppings of the bird. But will it? And the tree branch is also beautiful and what does it have to do with it?

So at this point, if you are still reading this long entry, you are wondering what point I am trying to make: it doesn’t matter how much help you provide, if they don’t want it, your help becomes a nuisance. This is hard to swallow. Indeed, I have been crying over this now for 2 days and my pleas are falling on def ears. And they will continue to fall on def ears until those ears grow up and they will face the same problems. Until then the world will just keep on being unfair. And that is life. So enjoy it while you can!

What do hummingbirds eat? Do you know?

I often wondered what hummingbirds eat. We all know (I think) that they love Bird of Paradise flower nectar but Bird of Paradise are pretty seasonal. I have long periods of no flowers at all on my many large bushes. But my hummers are thriving so one day I spent the entire day in the yard, just watching them. I have at least 3 couples at all times and often more and when the chicks arrive, it is a hummingbird paradise.

It seems to me that hummers have very specific color preferences for flowers albeit sometimes, when there is nothing else available they will go for other things. But in general they tend to favor the ones with red, orange, pink, purple, so all in the red family and also yellow. They seldom ever go for white or blue, or very very dark purple. I found that interesting. So I planted additional flowers and trees in my yard (which is not large so it is packed now) with bottle brush trees, and a pink wonder called “Mignonette” that is not native to California and I ordered it from the East Coast. It was supposed to be small and hard to go.. well.. no.. not in California… it is weedy beyond control. It shows up everywhere, even in cracks of cement, pots that never get watered, and in general everywhere, They have cute little mini pink floweretts so my hummers love it. There is also a heather type that I have in two colors, one is red and the other is white on top and red on the bottom. Plus many orange and yellow flowers as season allows.

I have photographed hummingbirds many times and often with great success but it is always a crop since when they come close, they fly with like 200 miles per hour and impossible to react fast enough. So photos are always cropped and are too small for large wall prints. But then I am a painter. So I decided last night to paint a hummingbird using one of my photos as inspiration to get the colors right–I have many kinds of hummers and they all look quite different. This painting is done entirely with the palette knife (digital of course), which I have used only in some backgrounds but not usually for the subject. I wanted to see what it would look like. So here it is. Now you may purchase the print of this at my usual artist website (click on the words underlined) and make sure you click on the picture on that website to get to see the textures coming through. You may also purchase a download, you can visit my photography website (click on the underlined words) and purchase a download.

This is digitally painted by hand on my computer. I use the Wacom Intuos 4 tablet and pen and several different kinds of software to get the painting look like the “real” painted version on canvas. Since I was a painter in oil and other medium canvas for 30 years, I understand what an oil paint should look like and I those skills to my digital paintings.

Digital paintings have many advantages over paintings on canvas or paper. The most important of these advantages of digital over “real” is that since digital was created digitally, it will look on canvas or paper once printed exactly as you see it on the monitor and not flat! It is a frequent complaint of buyers after purchasing a print of an oil or acrylic paint on canvas, since on your monitor you see the digitally photographed version of that oil or acrylic paint.

Digital photography of highly textured items like oil or acrylic paint removes all textures and makes them appear flat. You don’t get this problem with digital art. You get exactly what you see! It is also green art–meaning it uses nontoxic materials and doesn’t kill trees in the making!

And here is what it looks like in small:

Painting of a hummingbird feeding

Digital oil paint with palette knife of a hummingbird feeding on a flower in my yard