Saturday, March 15, 2008

Home Again

When I left for Coolidge and the Phoenix Art Museum on Tuesday one of the last birds I saw was a beautiful male Gambel’s quail perched on the railing outside the den window. When I arrived home late yesterday afternoon I spotted one yet again in the same position as I drove up to my house past the wash. An appropriate welcome home, don’t you think?

This morning I awake at 5:30 am and step out the back door with my cup of green tea steaming in my cup. The sky is just beginning to lighten but a few stars are still visible in this quiet pre-dawn moment. A gentle breeze tickles the branches of the Palo Verde tree still sitting in its box, waiting to be planted. I’m struck by how still it is; not a manmade sound in the world. Overhead a triangle of stars hangs in the blue-black sky. I lift my heart in thankfulness to be alive, something I haven’t done in a very long time.

I stayed in Coolidge longer than originally planned. As usual, this project took much longer than I anticipated and I went much grander than I thought I would. As a result I will have to travel back to finish my painting, but here’s a brief peek at the progress.

Day one: sketch the drawing, paint the background. The water took longer to paint than I thought it would and more paint than I thought it would. I discovered that painting on a textured surface makes it really hard to paint a straight line.

Day Two: Paint lighthouse and the dolphin. The lighthouse is an artistic representation of the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, ME. My son and his wife are both from the east coast and they are missing the ocean and access to the beach. I’m trying to give them and their son a sense of that here in the middle of the desert.
Day Three: Finish the arctic tern and a few other details in the morning, then drive home before traffic in Tucson gets bad.

I will have to return to Coolidge next week to finish my painting, but for now I need to get home. I need to rest my arms and give the painting a time to stew in my mind before I fill in the rest of the details. It’s warm and sunny as I head out. I have to turn the air conditioner on in the car. We’ve had temperatures in the 80’s the past three days that I have been here. All along the highway wildflowers are blooming, especially near Picacho Peak, which is one of the best wildflower viewing areas in the state. On my drive home I spot a turkey vulture soaring overhead in this location. I hope to visit soon before they are all gone by and capture some photographs of this amazing display. (Note: More postings on this trip to follow.)


Pappy said...

Glad you're back. Nice post.

Beth said...

What a beautiful mural, that will be enjoyed for a long time. Be sure and post the pictures when it is finished.

Kathie Brown said...

texican, thanks!

Beth, glad you like it. I hope I can finsihs it up next week.

Ocean, no worries on the Meme. Maybe you could do a six photo image instead! Nice to hear from you!

Mary said...

Love the mural! The quail picture is great, too. I love seeing quail.

Amy said...

You struck a cord in my heart when you mentioned giving thanks for being alive. I have many, many moments like those now that I'm back home on the Twelve Acres. Just looking up at the night sky brings tears to my eyes sometimes! I love the painting, how ironic that you are painting an East coast scene out in AZ! LOL I love lighthouses, by the way. The Marblehead Lighthouse is about 20 minutes away. Aaaaand, there's one of those cute little Gambel's quail again! Gosh I just love those little cuties! I want a 'do just like that! LOL

Sandpiper (Lin) said...

Great post! Amazing bird! I want one!! :) What a beautiful mural!

Texas Travelers said...

Beautiful mural. Don't forget to put in an East Coast wildflower or two. Nice Quail. Nice post. Keep us updated.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

The Quail shot is stunning, such beautiful colors!! Didn't know your were such an incredible artist! What a talented lady you are!!

Unknown said...

Great photo of the quail! Here in Alabama we do not have that species- what a lovely bird.

Nice mural! I am not artistic at all- so I am always amazed and envious at that ability in others! I'll have to stick with photography. My mother-in-law hired someone to paint a mural of a lighthouse in her livingroom. It turned out very well. I'll post a follow up later with a link to a photo of the mural. I'll also share your mural with her- she'll be excited to see another! :)

Daniel at

Patrice said...

Beautiful! How was the art museum?

Larry said...

How do you stay modest with all your talent? -Those Gambe's Quail are interesting to look at.-They remind me of the 1920's flappers with that thing on their head.

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, glad to share my quail with you!

Amy, so glad to hear I struck a cord with you. Perhaps a later post will explain further. Yeah, lighthouses in Az. It is a bit ironic, isn't it.

Sandpiper, those quail are so cute. I never tire of seeing them! Glad you like the mural. Now I just hope I can finish it!

Texas travelers, I was thinking about putting a couple of flowers near the lighthouse. What do you suggest? I know lupine grow in Maine, and marsh mallows, violets, etc. What would one find near the sea? It's all in the details,isn't it. I grew up in CT but it wasn't until recently that I really started to learn names and habitats. Now I want to know it all!

Aunt B, thank you for your kind words. Those quail are a hoot! Larry's comment made me laugh. He's right on with that one.

Daniel, welcome! It's always nice to see a new face! I'll be over soon to check things out on your blog! As for the painting, I'm learning as I go. Right now I am trying to figure out the transition zone from the water to the beach! I think I have an idea... but you will have to wait until I finish to see it! Tell you mother-in-law hello! I hope she enjoys the photo. If anyone has been to Quoddy Head light, I took artistic lisence and added that window on that side where it normally wouldn't appear.

Patrice, the post is written but I was just researching a few details since I looked at all the art and forgot to record the names of the artist! Oops! Post coming soon! It was really fun! They have a great collection.

Larry, you are so right about the flappers. Now I will think of that (and you) whenever I see a quail!

Anonymous said...


Your the modern day Michelangelo of Tucson.

Great mural, quite amazing.

Kathie Brown said...

Roy, wow! That's quite the compliment. I am humbled beyond words. Thank you.