A New Dog! And Winter Birds At Our Pond/Bathing Pool

Hailey (Romany's Hadley)- our new 10 month old collie girl from Romany Collies
Hailey, our new 10 month old collie girl from Romany Collies

We haven’t had winter yet here on the north coast of California. The storm door has never opened and there’s been, until today, only one round of rain in our rainy season. It was really cold for a few weeks, but recently we’ve had warm, record-setting days when it’s gotten up over 70F.

But our winter birds are around and I got some nice photos of them bathing in our pond a few weeks ago. I’ve posted some of my favorites.

The big news is that we have a new collie! Our dear old collie boy died unexpectedly back in October and it was a hard loss for us. Being without a collie in the house left a big hole in our hearts. After searching around for a responsible breeder we found Romany Collies, located up near Portland, Oregon. I contacted them and it turned out that they had exactly what I was looking for….a older rough collie puppy. We brought her home on Janauary 13. Hailey is 10 months old, which is perfect. She’s a good girl with a fun personality, a solid temperament and is as sweet as can be. We love her lots.

Hailey on her first outing to Redwood Creek. Her recall is already reliable enough that we could let her off-lead.
Hailey on her first outing to Redwood Creek. Her recall is already reliable enough that we could let her off-lead.
She also is pretty entertaining. This is known as "Collie Pose" (although I know other dogs do it too)
She also is pretty entertaining. This is known as “Collie Pose” (although I know other dogs do it too).

We like to sit down by our pond in the afternoons after work and during the day on the weekends. A variety of birds are often around including, in the winter, a black phoebe, flickers, juncos, sparrows, robins and chestnut-backed chickadees. I recently caught the last two at bathtime. The robin was really enthusiastic!

robin 1robin 2robin 3robin 4robin 5robin 6All done!

chickadee 1chickadee 2

Happy New Year!

We had a great time with family for Christmas, including a trip up to the snow, which was only about 20 minutes east of us since the level had dropped to 1500 feet, pretty low for coastal California. I may have to try some winter landscapes, not something I’ve painted much due to almost never being around snow.

Niki the collie loved it all- being surrounded by people who love him and his first experience of snow. His main interest seemed to be eating as much of it as I’d let him.

Snowy morning on Hwy. 299 at Lord Ellis summit
Snowy morning on Hwy. 299 at Lord Ellis summit
Niki and I in the snow
Niki and I in the snow
Niki and the Christmas tree
Niki and the Christmas tree; just back from the groomer and lookin' fluffy!
Niki with a favorite toy.
Niki with a favorite toy. We 'heart' collies!


Sketches from Live Pets! :-)

Julie Chapman recently posted a couple of sketches of her dog on her blog (no, we won’t go there). A series of comments followed about the value of drawing.

You can read my comments here: http://julietchapman.com/blog/?p=59#comments . They’re #5 of 6. She just finished doing her summer animal drawing workshop outside of Kalispell, Montana at the Triple D Game Ranch. I attended a few years ago and found it very worthwhile.

So, she challenged the readers of her blog to get out the charcoal and draw along. I accepted.  It took a few more days than I’d hoped, but here’s the best of what I came up with over about an hour this morning. One challenge was drawing kittens that are black and fluffy. A little hard to see the structure. I also found that they would get up and come running to the front of the crate every time they saw me watching them. The trick is to ignore all that and go for the gesture. These took maybe 15 seconds.

Then I went into the house and there was Persephone, aka The Princess, taking her morning princess nap on the bed. She then sat up and I got a quick start on a head study. Didn’t get all the stripes in, though.

Finally, next to the window on the floor, Niki the collie was zonked out. This one is mostly coat (he’s got a big one!), but the curves were nice.

I used a 4B Wolff’s Carbon pencil for all the sketches and a Canson Universal Recycled Sketchbook. The paper has a good amount of tooth for the pencil.


Today’s thought is from Edgar Payne’s seminal book, Composition of Outdoor Painting, which every artist who paints outdoors or anywhere else, for that matter, should have. It’s expensive and might be hard to find, but it is as good a presentation of the traditional craft of oil painting as you will find.

“While talent or genius must exist, at best they are merely embryonic factors and no one can guide these into productive artistry without the initiative, perseverance and determination of the student. To say that the artist is born and not made, is only partly true. Actually, while it is an important qualification, there is no proof of real worth in talent until it has been developed and expanded by a tremendous amount of serious study and hard work.” (Bold added by me)