Friday, September 30, 2011


Sometimes late in September or early October, DH and I like to 
make the hour and a half trip to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  

We leave early so we can be on the shore of String Lake before sunrise. 

 As morning light warms the peaks of the mountains 

and works its way down into the canyons we can hear what we’ve come for.  
It is one of the wildest sounds in nature—the call of the Rocky Mountain Elk. 

 photo by Bruce Becker of Outdoor Photographer magazine

At this time of year the big bulls sport a full rack of antlers.  
They are out to prove their strength, gather a harem of lady elk 
and father the next generation to be born in the spring.  
This is truly survival of the fittest.

Dominant bulls stomp through the forest challenging all contenders to a fight.  
The high singing call sounds more like a whistle but it’s called, “bugling.”   

Although bull elk can be bigger than a horse they aren’t much of a threat 
to people as long as we can stay out of their way.

DH and I weren’t alone at the lake.  There are always a few other photographers 
there hoping to get a picture of the big animals.  

One year as we walked along the trail 
a big bull fleeing some photographers ran across our path 
and splashed out into the shallow lake.  
There he proceeded to scream a challenge to other elk in the area. 

 At that time all I had was a film camera with not much of a lens. 
The pictures I took were blurred because of the dim morning light 
and also from the shock of such a close encounter.

This time the only elk we saw were on their way up a distant ridge, 

but in the trees across the lake we could hear the voices of 
at least three bulls.  There may have been more.  
It was hard to tell as the squeals and grunts 
echoed up the mountain sides.  While we listened we could also hear 
the crashing of antlers and breaking branches.

The action happened out of sight in the forest.  
However, the commotion disturbed a bull moose.  

As he wandered off to find a quiet place to get a meal... 

I was able to snap a few photos.

With the coming of daylight the elk bugling subsided 

so DH and I returned to our car and a trip to town for our own breakfast.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Okey, dokey, Maurice. I admit it. The plan failed.

Painting with watercolors, for me, has a big choke factor.
When I'm working in my sketch book on inexpensive paper
with no pressure except to play, I can come up with some
pretty loose and appealing material.

This is a study I did from instructions in Watercolor Artist
magazine on carving out lights by painting around them.

Then I go to expensive paper and start on something I hope to put up for sale.
I'm working on a picture of a guy fishing in a lake.
I start with the mountains in the background and lay in
an underpainting of color for the water.

I add the trees and more detail to the mountains.  I'm feeling pretty good
about it, but the next step is to wet the paper and drop in pigment to 
indicate the trees' reflections.  My timing is wrong plus I tried to
keep the purple of the mountains going with the green of the trees.
Long story short, the pigments spread too fast and the colors turned
to mud.  The more I tried to fix it, the worse it got.
I admit it.  The plan failed.

Back to the drawing board.  Same drawing.  This time no purple
to muck up the green.  This time I have the brilliant idea of
putting in the reflections first, then painting the trees to match
instead of the other way around.

I add the trees and more details.  I protect the fisherman
from the wet flow of paint by blocking him out with
liquid masking fluid.

I remove the masking and finish the painting.This time the plan worked!
The plan worked, Maurice!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Yes, I'll admit it I'm easily amused.
But I just want to share a few things I've found
on the internet that make me smile.
"Einstein the Crazyhaired Dog"
This one is a photo on sale at gandolphoto's shop on Etsy
These ladies really have an eye for clever and unusual. speaking of Einstein, one of my favorite quotes from him.

...Speaking of bicycles

made for you by Olena Mysnyk in Kiev, Ukraine

Then there are the cat photos plus captions
 My sweet hubby when he sees anything electronic.  
But I admit he's a genius and can make computerish hardware do magic.

Who can not laugh at fart jokes.

Nuff said


Hope you enjoyed.  Maybe think about these on Monday morning
when you need some cheer.