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Showing posts from July, 2015

A Week in Art-making and Writing

This has been an interesting week. My art and writing came together more than usual. I headed out to a forest preserve and felt as though I could feel my character Yolanda lurking about there. The forest is her element. I was sucked in, wanting to learn how to enrich her story. While there, I drew this:


Many of Yolanda's Magical Realism scenes take place in the wood and since I grew up among them as well, I felt very drawn to this place. This piece is in chalk pastels. Upon returning to my studio I wanted to revisit my story of Yolanda in "No Barren Life." Quickly enough, I began revising some of the environmental settings for her.



Our weather has been iffy this week. Rainy, windy, cool and today very hot. My larkspur are starting to get beaten up and are losing their flowers from the stormy weather. This oil pastel was done before much of that happened. Hopefully, another larkspur plant will surprise me and bloom. I realize this is doubtful but it doesn't hurt to be …

Sunday's Brush with Nature

Yesterday, painting at Emily Oaks Nature Center, in Skokie, IL, was wonderful! The site is inspirational as you can see from these pictures:




I got nestled into this quiet nook and stayed there all morning, working on a single pastel painting.










                                          Cattails, a work-in-progress C. 2015, Stephanie Rose Bird



Drawn to Nature (Paint Party Friday)

When I look over my artist CV, I'm noticing a trend. There are primarily exhibitions with titles that include the word "nature." I'm glad to have found just the right niche to place my paintings and drawings, someplace that also resonates with my writing.

In a couple of days (Sunday, July 12th) I'll be demonstrating my drawing skills, while also enriching my portfolio at an outdoor event through the Skokie Park District, held at the Emily Oaks Nature Center called "A Brush with Nature." I'll most likely be perched near the wildflower garden. There will be around 50 other artists there, spread through the center's grounds. I can't wait to see all of their different styles and techniques. Fingers crossed it won't rain.

A week from today (July 17th) is the opening for "Drawn to Nature." It is an multimedia exhibit of artists working with diverse materials, while sharing an intimate experience they have had with nature. Here is the…

Getting Fed Up

A few weeks ago my family and I watched the documentary Fed Up and have had an ongoing conversation about it ever since. This is an important documentary, especially to those struggling with being overweight or obese. It was released in the spring of 2014 and was directed by Stephanie Soechtig, with Katie Couric and Laurie David as executive producers. Katie asks some very deliberately cutting questions in this film and it makes me respect her ever more than I did.

Fed Up came tumbling into my mind yesterday as I was partaking in my guilty pleasures that I really need to end: watching the Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) followed by Ree Drummond, also known as the Pioneer Woman on the Food Network.

You may recall last year I wrote the post Inclined Towards Dessert, sparked by yet another documentary, from PBS Frontline, called All of Me. That documentary was about how a group of women went through the process of losing very large amounts of weight, mostly through weight-loss surgery. It …

Current Weather Conditions

Hmm. Current weather conditions didn't use to matter all that much. Now, they are controlling my work flow. I've always enjoyed sun and warmth but now all the variables in between are of keen interest. This is because I'm doing plein air painting.


"Tiny Clover Blossom" was painted on a sunny Sunday morning. Some how, because of the sunlight, it reminds me on some of Gauguin's work in the South Pacific. It uses a very warm palette with just a touch of blues.



"Garden Daisies" was done over the period of a month or so. It started in all warm colors, mostly red and then was over painted a number of times to achieve an impasto. The weather and light changed so many times during its painting that the light comes from within the painting, rather than from above.


Plein Air Painting at Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie, IL

Finding that Sweet Spot

One of the most invigorating and strengthening things for a writer is inspiration. I believe inspiration comes from the muses and enjoy actually writing about them in character form as well. They make a cameo in my work-in-progress, "Out of the Blue," a novel. I've had fun researching everything I could about the muses, as they are so essential to my writing practice. Anyway, when you are inspired as a writer, it is hard to feel insecure because you are in your zone--you own your sweet spot, and there words flow. In your sweet spot you are secure.

When thinking about blogging this morning, knowing it is the first Wednesday of the month, the designated day of the month that we bloggers involved with the Insecure Writer's Support Group, post, an old soul song with just a hint of gospel, came to mind. I'm leaving you with it this morning, as inspiration for your writing practice today. When the Inspirations lyrics refer to "her" I would envision your writi…