Well, here’s the latest news from the frozen home front, here in the Smokies! It has been . . . well frozen . . . just like it has been for most of you this past week as well! However, today the temps actually got up around 50 degrees, so things finally defrosted a bit. I took advantage of the greatly appreciated milder temps, and filled the small birdbath with fresh water. Boy oh boy . . . have the birds ever enjoyed being able to get a bath once again! Some even just sit in it, like it’s a small hot tub perhaps, and then send water flying in all directions with their zealous bathing habits, leaving the surrounding area totally drenched and dripping wet! With the almost constant sub-freezing temps, our backyard and deck has been invaded by lots of beautiful Slate Colored Juncos, and at times I almost think we have the entire population, which usually inhabit Mt. LeConte, hanging out on our deck! They, like many of my other regular feathered customers, have developed a true taste and appreciation for my peanut crunchies and peanut butter sandwiches, as my neighbor Paul calls them. They must sit in the surrounding treetops and watch for me to come out and restock the buffet table! Why within seconds, they swoop down from everywhere, quickly lining the entire handrail and small feeding stations, while gobbling up the tasty delicacies, and of course fighting over them!
Wes and I believe in sharing, so he was kind enough to share his cough, which he had last week, with me so I had to remain inside most of this past week, with the intense cold hanging around outside. Needless to say, I convinced him to take over feeding duties for me. He did a great job, and each time I sent him out with a little bag full of peanut butter sandwiches and other goodies, in no time his efforts were being greatly appreciated by a flock of hungry little birds and occasional squirrel! My Carolina Wren, Peedeepeeps, was most happy though, when I felt well enough to brave the great outdoors yesterday and feed him his favorite . . . mealworms! What I have deemed the “Bionic winds” have become the norm around here lately. At one point yesterday afternoon, my precious little Tufted Titmouse, Stubbs, was on his little pile of nut crunchies, trying to eat, and the bionic winds were displaying their intensely great power once again. They sent his feathers lifting and blowing in all directions, while sending bits of seeds flying off of the handrails behind him! The towering trees nearby were swirling and swooshing in figure eights as it whipped them about, and occasionally it sounded like limbs were slamming into the house. Meanwhile little Stubbs patiently sat there eating his gourmet nut goodies, while occasionally casting a cautious glance about, looking as if he felt like he were eating in the middle of a vortex!
Needless to say, we have passed much of our time spent this past week, indoors, while painting on our miniatures. I also went snorkeling in Hawaii a couple of times. “How so?” you may ask . . . “Quite simply I say”. When the bright sunlight is streaming in through our living room windows in late morning, I lie there in a sunny spot on the carpet, enveloped by it’s warmth, while listening to my CD of Hawaiian music accompanied by sounds of the surf, and birds singing in the background. Then I watch the fish happily swim around in the fish tank, and I must say that I never realized that there were so many guppies in Hawaii . . . ha ha! I’ve also decided recently that there is indeed one benefit of the cold weather, that being with the heater running almost non-stop at times, the basement finally feels warm and inviting! So several times I took advantage of the situation and enjoyed shooting some pool, a favorite past time of mine! I play the “solids” against the “stripes”, and during the last tournament the stripes won hands down, winning one game while hitting the last striped ball into one pocket followed by the eight ball into another, all in one shot no less! Okay, so it was trash pool, where one doesn’t call the shots, but hey . . . they don’t call me the queen of trash pool for nothin’!
~ Fresh off the easel ~
This past week, I finished painting my two adorable Highland Cows or “Healin’ Coos” as our dear friend Mike of Scottish decent calls them. They are numbers V and VI in my Beautiful Bovine series which I am greatly enjoying creating works for! Wes finished his miniature painting of a beautiful elephant enjoying a mud bath! I’m not sure who was having more fun, the elephant or us watching it!
~ Currently on the easel ~
I’m currently painting the next miniature for our Admiring the Masterpiece Series. This one is a real beauty by artist, Alfred Emile Leopold Joseph Victor Stevens, entitled “A Portrait Group of Parisian Celebrities”. I absolutely love painting these little jewels! I’ve shown the first two steps below, and you can see three different color samples painted on the right hand side, where I was trying to decide which color to paint the wall, rather than that gray color. In the 2nd photo, you can see I choose the nice warm mauve color, as I think it compliments the color scheme quite nicely!
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Until next time ~ Rachelle