Did these a month or 2 ago for Cannonball Press. Fun, fun, fun.
Check out their site—they have the most awesome prints.
You can get any of their 18×24″ prints for only $20!!!! Seriously. Check it out.
Cannonball Press rocks.
I finally chucked another worry out the window and went for it–a block as big as my press bed (30 inches x 48 inches), and a reduction woodblock at that (meaning, if it doesn’t work…if I can’t register it at that big a paper size, with even one of the colors, then the whole edition is shot…). But it worked!!!
A Murder of Crows is opening tonight (Jan. 11) at Artisan Gallery, reception from 5-9pm. It’s a really fun and inspiring show.
There is some fantastic work in this show…. Specifically, ceramic crows by Ryan Myers, a gorgeous silver point by Robert Schultz, another beautiful woodcut by Nick Wroblewski, exquisite paintings by Kelli Hoppmann and Jonathan Wilde, and the list goes on…. Check it out tonight at the opening reception (and through Feb 24th). There is a preview of some of the work on Artisan’s Facebook Page.
This raven above (yes ravens were allowed in the show–yes, I asked before I even started planning this one out) was modeled after some great taxidermied ravens at the UW-Madison Zoology Museum. The “tastes like chicken” text in the print? You’ll see that the raven at lower left is snacking on a dead chicken. One of the biggest food sources for ravens is carrion–I see crows more often than vultures out here in the middle of nowhere, on a rural road, working on road-kill. I’m sure if any raccoon or coyote or possum or hawk or owl (…) was insane enough to leave part of a juicy chicken lying about, a raven would finish it up sooner than later. Everybody loves chicken doncha’ know?
Available this weekend at the Mount Horeb Fall Festival, the new Mount Horeb Spring Art Tour benefit poster, featuring Quality Control.
Stop by Saturday, Oct. 6, 9-5 or Sunday, Oct. 7, 10-4 and pick up one of these beautiful posters for only $15!! You’ll be benefiting our non-profit Spring Art Tour event held every June (2013 tour will be June 7-9, 2013: Fri-Sun, 10am-5pm daily).
And guess what?! We’ll be at booth #216 in the street in front of Olson’s Christmas House (near the corner of Main St & Third St.), which is right next to–get this–SJOLINDS CHOCOLATE HOUSE!!!
If you want your poster signed by the artist, I’ll be there. So come visit us (and Sjolinds of course), support The Mount Horeb Area Arts Association (that’s us Spring Art Tour artists), and get some awesome art for only $15!!
Pretty amazing morning. But before I show photos, you should know that the scenes below are from the actual birth of a baby alpaca, so if you are squeamish about that sort of thing, you shouldn’t scroll down.
So, our neighbor Mindy (at GalPaca Farm) called to say the mama alpaca’s water broke, and she was going to give birth soon. We’d talked earlier and Mindy agreed to let me come take photos of the birth, etc., to use as reference for future art (any alpaca art I do, they get a print in the edition, as owners of the models…).
The alpaca mother’s name is Maggie. In the sequence below, you’ll also see some of the rest of the herd as well (mostly all females–males are kept in another pasture). And that big white dog is named Betty. She’s a Great Pyrenees. She was brought to the farm years ago, specifically to guard the alpaca (from coyotes, etc), and although she was never taught how to care for alpaca young, you will see below that she always knows exactly what to do. This is not her first experience at caring for newborns, but Mindy tells me that from the very first one, she knew it was her job to help the mama alpaca clean and protect the newborn.
So, anyway, the call came and I got over there just as the head/feet of the baby were showing.
(Click on any photo to enlarge it)
And so it follows…
That’s the mama on the left looking at you
…the newborn picks her head up, and starts to try to stand up.
When one of the others gets too close or starts being too rough with the baby, Betty steps in and pushes the offender back (or gets between her and the baby). Here, she’s confronting the potential trouble-maker.
Here she is one hour after she first entered the world.
What a perfect morning for a birth.
Heading out to my studio very late one night this week, when I noticed something big and dark in front of the studio door. A toad? Oh wait–turn on flash–holy cow it’s a huge furry spider!! Biggest one I’ve seen in a really long time–it’s legs were all stretched out and looked to be 3-4 inches long! (body definitely 1 1/2- 2 inches long)
Now, I’m going to be honest here. I usually kill spiders if they’re in my house or studio or pretty much any enclosed space of habitation. I mean, sometimes we (dogs and I) take power naps on the dog cushions, under table, on floor of studio and I’m a mouth breather, so…. gross, right?
But this “little fella” was outside.That’s neutral territory.
Grabbed a 5-gallon bucket lying nearby, turned it over and trapped it, ran inside to find a glass jar, came out and stopped. These guys are really fast and I don’t really want a spider ON me. Hemming and hawing… You want to get a close look or not? You some sort of wimp??! OK, quietly picked up the bucket and quickly put jar over spider. Slipped matboard underneath, turned over, removed board and screwed on lid. Holy cow!! Look at that Mother!
And Mother she DID turn out to be.
It had all these funny looking bumps on it’s back. Gross!! It’s got a skin disease!!! But wait, I think one of those bumps moved. OMG are those??….
The Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis) is of a really impressive size. Seriously, when seeing it at first my brain signaled “small tarantula” but then I remembered I was in Wisconsin, 2012 (not Central America, 1980′s). These are remarkable spiders for a number of reasons: The mother carries her egg sac with her, always raised above the ground so it doesn’t drag, and does all her hunting, etc while carrying this big egg sac with her everywhere! I’m impressed. They’ve been described as robust and quick-moving. Ha! No kidding. At spiders.us they write: “[The] egg sac is a pale sphere carried from the spinnerets of the adult female. An average count per sac is 100-150 eggs. The spiderlings will emerge from the egg sac in summer and ride on top of their mother until their next molt, after which they disperse.”
So that’s what I had here, a mama with her babies riding on top of her. Spiderlings. How cute. I say this without sarcasm. Now.
Wolf spiders are also remarkable in that their eyes seem to glow in the dark–when you put your flashlight on them, they have “eyeshine” and you can see their eyes literally shining out of the darkness (you’ll see this in later photos). This is how many nocturnal animals can be found at night, with a flashlight–by looking for the eyeshine. Wikipedia explains the phenomenon on various pages:
“Eyeshine is a visible effect of the tapetum lucidum. When light shines into the eye of an animal having a tapetum lucidum, the pupil appears to glow.” This layer of tissue “is behind or within the retina. It reflects visible light back through the retina, increasing the light available to the photoreceptors…. This improves vision in low-light conditions [and contributes to] superior night vision ….”
Wolf Spiders are nocturnal and they hunt their prey at night, and now we know how they can see in the dark!
So what was I going to do next? I was enthralled and grossed out (did you look at those furry fangs??!!) and yet kept thinking “She’s a mama.” And of course my thoughts turned to Charlotte(‘s Web), which was read to me at a young age by my Mom. Well, after a day of wondering what to do with her, I had to let her go. I learned that Wolf spider bites are NOT necrotic (google image search this word if you want to be TRULLY grossed out), so if she did come back for revenge (hopefully not with her army of children) I wouldn’t be seriously wounded. They also kill/hunt/eat many pests, so they’re beneficial to humans, and…
…she’s a mama.
The next night I decided to let her go–first walking away from the house and outbuildings (I wasn’t going to actually “invite her in”, mama or not). I turned my flashlight on to hopefully get a last photo of her, but the MICROSECOND I lifted the jar off the cement surface, she flew away from the crazy monster bug-catcher.
Check this out, I thought I missed her, but you can see her babies’ eyes glowing from her back as she makes her great escape:
The next night, walking up from the barn, finished with chores, I noticed something small hopping along beside me, in the almost-blackness of night. Probably just a toad, let’s check it out…turning on flashlight and…holy cow (or holy spiders at this point) it was another mama Wolf spider (I say “another” since this one was smaller), her back covered in babies, eyes shining brightly. “Hey little mama” I smiled (I actually smiled at a spider?), and walked away.
*NOTE: Here’s a nice video showing how the “bumpy-backed” spider turns into a mama with live babies on her back:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmr-B_JZTnE. A little cute AND a little creepy.
A Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia), also called Eyed Tiger Moth blew onto our front steps, to get out of the wind on an extremely windy, hot Monday here on the ridge. In the background, Ivan is resting out of the warm wind and hot sun….
I saw it from far away, it was so starkly black and white. The coloring is meant to warn off predators that it tastes bad, but I’m wondering if a more camouflaged coloring would keep it safer from well, everything?
Sometimes evolution amazes me.
Enjoy the photos, and click on any to enlarge.