Archive for March, 2010

More Progress on Whooping Crane Piece

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I am spending 2010 working on a series of wading birds.  The latest in the series is based on the Whooping Crane.

I spent today in the studio working on one of the wings and the neck.  Here’s a picture of the latest progress.  Unfortunately, the feathers aren’t showing up all that well because they’re white.  Hopefully, you can see the individual feathers.

Whooping Crane Progress (c)2010 Tracy McCabe Stewart

Preliminary Progress Whooping Crane Piece

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

After ripping apart this head about half a dozen times, I have one I can live with.  It will change considerably when I start shading and stitching, but here’s the rough start of the head for my whooping crane piece.  I don’t know whether you can tell from the picture, but there are individual feathers in white.

Whooping Crane Progress (c) Tracy McCabe Stewart

Chicken Athletes- Post on Garden Fresh Living

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

As the three people that have read my blog from the beginning know, I have a completely irrational fantasy about being a farmer/outdoor/live off the land sort of person.  It involves images from summer camp, British Country Living Magazine, and various other great childhood memories.  I wrote a lot about it here.  

Part of my fantasy involves raising chickens.  I dream of fresh eggs in the morning and a sweet, loving relationship with my hens.    All of them flocking to me when I come out to see them, coming up to me for a scratch, strolling with me through the garden.  Sort of like little Lassies with feathers.

The truth is that I have 2 dogs that would be happy to eat any smaller animal I might  have, I live in a Chicago suburb that has ordinances against chickens and I would never be able to send the chickens to their maker once they quit their laying years.  I would just end up with a huge flock of pet chickens.   Amazingly, my husband Ken is not really sold on this idea. 

Anyway, to keep the country dream alive, I read great blogs like Theresa Loe’s, “Garden Fresh Living” blog.  She lives in California and grows oodles of food and raises chickens.  Gotta love that!  Check out her blog.  The chickens are on today’s post.

She has a video on her blog today with chickens doing agility training. Who knew?  I don’t think I could even get my dogs to do these things.  I, of course had to go to YouTube and see if there were more chicken athletes out there.  Here’s another video of those avian champions.  Do you think Ken will let me have chickens that can do tricks???? 

I know everyone who has a blog can embed videos.  I am rather technically challenged and can not.  Here’s the link:

Inspirational Artist- Scottish Painter Ken Bushe

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I was pining for the fjords today ; thinking about Scotland and surfing the internet.  I ran across this wonderful Scottish painter Ken Bushe.  He does lovely, lovely oil paintings of earth, sky and water.  His website  includes information on technique as well-presented with that quirky Scottish humor.  Enjoy!

Preliminary Sketch-Whooping Crane Piece

Monday, March 8th, 2010

preliminary sketch whooping crane

Hi all,

I am beginning a new wading bird piece in the series I am working on- this time based on a whooping crane.  Whooping cranes are one of those saved from the brink of extinction stories.  They were on the verge of extinction, but are now only endangered due to some incredible efforts to save them.  It’s an inspiring story you can read about here.

I began this series largely because I love the look of wading birds.  Most of them are incredibly graceful, gorgeous creatures. 

In addition to their good looks, I connect with my best self when I am outdoors and they are a reminders of those wonderful times that I manage to get myself into that quiet, connected space.  They are also symbols for me of a more meditative, mindful state.  Wading birds stand or move slowly, watch and wait.  They patiently wade through the unseen waiting for that which they desire to reveal itself.   There is a calm quiet energy about them that is a great teacher for me.

In addition to all of this, wading birds are an early warning system for ecological concerns.  They are losing habitat daily and many species, including the whooping crane, are endangered.    For me, they are a reminder of my commitment to land preservation.

As I have posted previously, I start with a photograph of a bird that has a body position that I like and do a preliminary sketch on batting from there.   This one again, is of a preening bird and the body position is pretty complicated.  My drawing is REALLY rough, but it’s enough for a starting point.

A Bird in the Hand……..Reddish Egret Piece Completed

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

Here’s the final piece of that reddish egret I’ve been working on:

Reddish Egret (C) 2010 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

“Reddish Egret”

(C)2010 by Tracy McCabe Stewart

Hand dyed silks and cottons, Shiva paintsticks, colored pencil.  Fused, machine quilted.

We are off to Cedarburg, WI for a weekend with our neighbors and to see the fabulous musician, Marcia Ball.  I already have another wading bird piece in the planning stages to begin when I return.

Have a great weekend!