Friday, May 17, 2019

Backyard Wildlife - Baby Red-eared Slider Turtle

We never know what will fly or cruise through our yard next. While we have had turtles wander through after periods of heavy rain, I have never seen as small a one as I saw today while mowing the grass. Luckily it was in a sparsely vegetated area and as I was approaching on my riding mower, I remember thinking that it looked like someone had dumped a pet store turtle in my backyard. The area it was in was sparsely vegetated due to the heavy rains we have had pretty much since September of last year. In fact it was a good thing I had to stop to check out the turtle because otherwise I might have gone too far into a soggy area of the yard and gotten stuck.

The little turtle did not duck and cover as quickly as the big turtles I have come across previously. The leaf in the picture of the turtle walking is a burr oak leaf for size comparison. I decided to put the turtle in my pond to avoid running it over. I placed it on the dry portion of a rock that was partially submerged. It sat there for just a bit, then dove into the water and disappeared. Another reason for releasing it into my pond, is that while I love my water lilies, they need thinning regularly and I know that turtles will munch on them. Perhaps this young'un will help keep them in check.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Photographic Art on Display at this Thursday's Symphony Arlington Concert and Art in Bloom at BRIT

If you will be attending the final Symphony Arlington concert of this season on Thursday, May 9 and want something more to do than hang out in your seat during intermission, head just outside of the seating area to view a collection of my photographic art pieces. There will be some flyers and business cards on the table for you to pick up if you see something you want to follow up with me about. Unfortunately I will not be there to talk with you in person on Thursday as I have a previous engagement to attend.

A piece that you won't see Thursday night is one that was accepted into the 2nd Annual Exhibit of the Botanical Art Collective of North Central Texas, Art in Bloom. This exhibit of botanical art runs from May 10th through June 20th, in the gallery at the the Botanical Research Institute of Texas. The gallery is open during weekdays from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. I do anticipate being at the opening reception on Friday evening, May 10th, from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm. This is an opportunity to meet many of the artists and see who receives the “People’s Award” at the conclusion of the reception.

Thirty two local and regional artists are represented. Mediums range from watercolor to gouache, oils, acrylics, mixed media, graphite and colored pencil, pyrography, wood inlay, and photography. It is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of the plant kingdom.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Photographic Art will be at East Main Arts Festival - Saturday, May 4, 2019

As one of the artists gracing the walls of CenterSpace Coworking in downtown Arlington, I will have more of my photographic art with me for sale during East Main Arts Festival in the way of matted prints, ready to hang art, bookmarks and note cards in addition to the artwork on the walls and for sale there the rest of the year. The festival is free and open to the public from noon to 8pm on Saturday, May 4. Enjoy a variety of music from four locations within the festival. Craft beer and munchies will also be on the block.

While most of the other artisans are outdoors, there will be four of us inside CenterSpace, an acrylic painter and photographer, a watercolor
artist, a potter and myself. We are providing a make and take craft as well so stop inside and have some fun with us. I look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

National Arbor Day

National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday of April, which is April 26 this year. Texas celebrates Arbor Day on the first Friday of November however. This is because in Texas, November is a less stressful time for trees to be planted than just before summer arrives. As long as soil temperatures are above 40 degrees, root growth should occur and help a newly planted tree get established before the heat and drought stresses of summer arrive.

So instead of urging my Texas readers to celebrate National Arbor Day by planting a tree, I thought I would share some information about some weird looking growths you might spot on your oak trees. The growths are called galls and there are several different ones in a variety of colors and sizes. Often a very tiny wasp (by classification, not the standard insect you think of when seeing the word wasp) laying an egg on the tree is cause of the galls. Fortunately this is one growth on your trees that you do not need to get worked up about. The appearance of galls is often cyclic and even though the wasp causes the tree to grow a protective gall around the egg it laid, very little resources are diverted from the tree to cause it any problems.

How did I get thinking about galls and decide to write about them as part of a celebration of trees? Almost two weeks ago a neighbor asked me about some light green growths on her tree that were a bit bigger than a golf ball. I told her they looked like oak galls and were most likely nothing to worry about. (Although I must admit they were bigger than the ones I was used to seeing.) I told her I would take some pictures, do some research and write up a blog post about them. As I was working on this task, I realized that it was almost National Arbor Day and it made sense to me to combine the two into one post. It turns out those galls are oak apple galls for their resemblance to apples and they can be found on some varieties of red oaks. While doing my research I found two good, Texas based articles if you want to do more reading on this subject. One is from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and the other is found on Neil Sperry's Gardens.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Earth Day - Many Ways to Participate

Merriam-Webster defines Earth Day as, "a day in April designated for promoting concern for the environment". Hopefully we do this throughout the year, but by participating in different Earth Day events each year we may learn about some other great things we can add to our to do list to help our environment. Look on Eventbrite for several Earth Day events around the DFW area. In addition there is the Earth Day celebration at Fair Park in Dallas which has grown into a large event, now branded as EarthX.


This year Earth Day is officially Monday, April 22, 2019. A nationally recognized day with a similar focus is Arbor Day. National Arbor Day is April 26 this year. Texas actually recognizes TX Arbor Day later in the year because planting trees in Texas in the fall helps them get established better to withstand our summer heat than planting this late in the spring. Therefore you will generally find Earth Day events around either date in April in Texas with Arbor Day events in the fall.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Design This - Dragonfly Earrings with Purple and Hearts

There are many teams on Etsy and I belong to a few. They are organized around different purposes. The one I keep up with the most is the Texas Friends Team, especially their general chat threads. We chat about what is going on both on and off Etsy and give each other support when we can. Occasionally I post new listings photos, just to share. I like it when other team members share a few of their listings too because it helps me remember what they offer for sale. I consider it pretty low maintenance networking and figure every now and then it will result in a sale for someone. I was the lucky recipient of a custom order because of this recently.

A couple of months back I shared a photo of an amethyst and quartz necklace and earring set. It was the incarnation of a thought that had been in my head for a while. I was very happy with the way the jewelry set and the listing photos came out so I wanted to share with my team. Then last week I shared a new listing for some dragonfly earrings. I liked the story the stones suggested that I paired with a couple of the dragonfly charms. A fellow team member, who makes wonderful quilted items, connected these two shares in her mind for a custom request. Could I incorporate the amethyst diamond beads from the jewelry set, the largest
dragonfly charm and perhaps a did I have any heart beads that were purple? After asking a couple of questions, I also added sterling silver findings to the requirements list. I looked through my stash of supplies and came up with three design option mock ups as starting points for discussion.

It turned out that the middle design option was deemed perfect, so that is the one I used to complete the dragonfly, heart, amethyst and sterling silver earrings. I enjoy creating and especially creating something for a custom request because I know my finished design will be enjoyed right away instead of waiting for the right person to find it and take it home. Let me know if you have a custom request, whether a jewelry design or photographic art image and I will let you know if it is something I can create for you.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

New Digs - Birds and Dragonfly

Last year I went to a friend's house to help her open an Etsy shop for her amazing polymer clay creations. What a nice surprise when we sat down at her computer to see three of my avian photographic art pieces hanging on her art wall behind the computer. Two of them, the female cardinal and the goldfinch were purchased as matted prints, which she later framed and hung. The kestrel was acquired as a ready to hang piece. (It is a variation of the same photo I created "Iridescent Dreams" from, which I shared in its new home a while back.)


I was focused on helping set up her Ellengant Creations Etsy Shop and did not think to take a picture of my artwork to share. Ellen was nice enough to send me a picture along with a couple of others from where she had my work hanging. My "Blue on Blue" dragonfly gallery wrapped canvas hangs with a fanciful school of polymer clay fish Ellen created for the Inspired by Nature exhibit we were both in last year. She also displays one of my "Psychedelic Gazelle" prints on a wall in her house.