Friday, March 27, 2015

The Pier

Everyday is a beautiful day at the Pier.  Well, sometimes it is windy.  And maybe cold.  But as with any beach, there is always beauty to behold and discoveries to be made. I always see dolphins here.  And birds.  I think these are willets or sandpipers.  Or willets and sand pipers.

You never know what the tide will roll in.  I love how I caught my toe in this photo.

  A footprint.  Just not mine.

Out on the blue.

Out on the beach. 

A vivid inspection.

What lies beneath. My favorite photo from Naples last year.

The ibis were picking and pecking.

The pier might be full of tourists.  But it's just your feet in the sand and some birds for company a ways down.

Naples beach, Florida.  A glorious way to spend a day in March!

5 things I love about Naples, Florida

1)  My sweet in-laws have a groovy condo there.  It's sure better than a condo in Fargo.  You betcha.

2)  No matter how old we get we are still the youngest people there. Ha!

3)  The people are so rich that they literally litter money all over the floor at the mall.  (My in-laws will understand this one) 

4)  There's a Waffle House!  I heart waffles.  And cheesy eggs.  Nuff said.

5)  Tommy Bahamas has a happy hour! And pina coladas and their famous coconut cloud martini are on it.   Nothing tastes better than one of those after the above photos.  A prescription for winter happiness.  You'll thank me later.  

P.S.  I just passed 100,000 blog visits!  Whoo Hoo!

Outside Heaven's Gate

Heaven's Gate

I just added Heaven's Gate to my other blog.  Sharon's Studio I like to mix it up and add something new seasonally.  And kitties roaming around outdoors seemed fitting for spring.  I painted Heaven's Gate when my cat Baby died.  She was no longer on the outside looking in.  Or on the inside looking out. But hopefully she is somewhere. I can't imagine Heaven being very fun with out our beloved pets.

Outside is the theme this week over at  And baby's piercing stare down through the fence seemed like a perfect fit.

Friday, March 20, 2015


I figure this old illustration I call Devil Cat fits the bill for Ruckus.  A theme I can't ignore.  Because the word Ruckus is just plain cool!

Devil Cat is just busy and full of crazy cat energy.  Cats do create a ruckus where ever they go.  Especially at meal time.

Here are 5 random crazy cat tales about my old cat Baby. For Random 5 Friday


1)  Baby once got locked in a stranger's apartment. But before I discovered this I called my future husband Dean to lead a cat hunt. No baby. She was dog gone lost.  But then I heard a faint cry near the door of a future cat burglar.  "Baby, is that you?"  "Mew, meow.  Meow, mew" she whined.  I called the land lord and he came over with a key.  Disgruntled.  He opened the door and Baby made a bee line for my apartment. After that Baby was no longer allowed to roam the halls.  But it was almost impossible to keep her inside.  

2)  Baby hated everyone.  So when she met my future husband for the first time she creeped up behind him and gave him a hard paw slap on the cheek.  After this initial punishment they became fast friends.

3)  Baby went ballistic over other cats. One night while I was away on a layover as a flight attendant, my future hubbie Dean slammed the open window down on her paw.  Baby had woke him up in the middle of the night screaming at a cat outside.  You know the kind of blood curdling alley cat screech. Some how she used her super cat powers to heal herself because she was fine soon after.  But Dean worried that our relationship wouldn't be.  If she would have had a limp.....

4) One time I found a piece of cat poop in my bedside kleenex box. It took me awhile.  But I figured she was having one of those kook outs after she got one stuck in her nether regions.  You know like when they run at warp speed and scoot across the floor.  Well, she used to jump from my head board onto the mantle of the fireplace in my studio apartment.  That's when the poop hit the fan.  Or dropped into my kleenex box as it were.

5)  Baby left her DNA on all my artwork.  Here she is sitting on Devil Cat.  How appropriate.  She was mine.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lover's Key

Lover's Key State Park has been my favorite beach since childhood.  I remember fondly the cool mornings when we would sneak in before dawn.  We were on a mission to find sea shells.  You never knew what mysterious gifts the tide would unfurl.  First, you would cross the wooden tidal bridges that connect the key to the mainland.  The sun just a blush on the horizon.  Then, with flash lights in hand you would search the shore for precious jewels.  At least they were to me! 

By the time you reached the end of the key the sun was high enough to warm your back on the return.  I usually had a bag of conchs, tulips and cat's eyes. And the rest of the day to picnic, sun tan and watch for raccoons.  They would steal your lunch if you weren't careful. And the sea gulls would get the rest.

Nature's sculpture

Now days I'm happy to simply photograph someone else's shells. And stroll... 

But Lover's Key holds more than shells and sunshine.  Birds like this osprey love it too.

They were hard at work feeding their young. 

I love the pop up head!

I also love how their head feathers blow around in the breeze.  Majestic.

A white egret standing tough.

Lover's Key has changed over the years.  You probably can't sneak in anymore.  And the old wooden tidal walkways are now wide and strong enough for long trams. It's not quite so rustic and wild.  But still better than a beach lined with condos and restaurants.  The good old and new days.

And I'm giving a shout out to my friend Danielle who was at the beach with us on this day.  Hi Danielle!  We will have to do this again this year! See you soon. Siesta Key this time.

P.S.  I thought I'd share two new links. A Minnesota bird blog.  The blog title says it all. And...

I recently read this book and I highly recommend it for bird lovers. Michele Raffin tells a humorous, heart felt and engaging tale of her life among the exotic and endangered!

Bonus Random 5 Friday tidbits

1) I missed Random 5 Friday!  I love that I can do some creative writing.  Or post what ever trips my trigger.
2)  My birthday is March 1st.  My age?  None of your business. 
3) My father in law Jim and my Dad Sidney both have a birthday on March 10.  Go figure.  Happy Birthday Jim.  See you soon!
4) I have a date with Harry Potter in March.  Do you know where?
He wrote it in sea shells!  
5) My husband proposed to me on the beach at Lover's Key State Park.  We were shelling early in the morning.  I was on a mission to find shells.  Oblivious. Meanwhile, he dropped behind.  Then, on the way back he popped the question.  And look what he did!  He wrote it with sea shells.  He knew Lover's Key would be the perfect place.  It was.

Plus, if you missed last week's Scarlet Macaw photos, don't forget to scroll down!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Squawk Boxes

When I did this self portrait several years ago I was alluding to my sensitive side along with my love for animals.  At that time I'd never encountered a Scarlet Macaw in the wild.  Now I find this illustration humorous.  If I really had a Scarlet Macaw in my boudoir, peas would be the least of my concerns!

They are loud.  They mate for life.  And they constantly talk to their significant other.  Not always of the opposite sex! Well, talking might be putting it mildly.  Screaming is a more appropriate description. Their boisterous voices make it easy to spot them in the wild.  You can hear them coming.  And their voice is unmistakable. Now if I were to do an illustration like this I would paint two Scarlets.  They need companionship to survive.

Sleep (or lack there of) is the theme for

I encountered this Ocelot at the Belize zoo a few years back.  She might not be the Leopard of my illustration, but her markings are so beautiful and similar I decided to include her today.  She was so curious about us I managed to get quite a few good shots.  All of the animals at the Belize Zoo are rescues.

This is my favorite shot.  Because I just love the markings on the back of her ears

We saw plenty of Scarlet Macaws.  This one came right over to greet us.  I don't remember if there was a loud squawk hello.  

But it is even more fun to see happy and healthy birds in the wild.  I just got back from the Osa penninsula of Costa Rica.  It is the Garden of Eden of birds and animals.  Scarlets are an everyday sighting.  How great is that!  We were by the pool one afternoon, and 50-60 squirrel monkeys came flying through the trees.  It was quite a sight.  I later learned that it is common to see such huge packs.

But just because there are a lot of Scarlets doesn't mean they are always easy to see or photograph.  They are busy eating.  And it is hard to believe, but these large colorful birds can easily disappear behind this foliage.

A big chomp.
P.S. I put this photo on facehole and got 7 "likes" No one said what a beautiful bird or photograph.  Why is it that some people can post that they are taking out the garbage and get 20 people to ask, "How often, what kind and do you recycle?"  I just hear birds chirping.  Literally.  Ha!  Uff da.  

Then it's, "adios amigos".  And they are on to the next tree.  And the next...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Scarlet Macaws are perfect for this holiday.  They mate for life, are red and eat flowers!

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Doesn't this look peaceful?  We discovered this idyllic lot in Costa Rica in 2012. Sunshine, nature and the ocean hugging the cliffs in the distance.  Heaven. We visited this empty lot several times.  In the morning for sunrise.  And in the evening for sunset.  We'd bring up an imperial and celebrate another day of pura vida.  Flash forward to 2015.  It's still available!  Who could resist this beauty? Who could resist this stunning view?

Well, there is a down side....This location in Dominical combined with the perfect storm of elevation results in a roaring symphony at night.  A cacophony of cicadas.  All screaming at the same time.  It is unbelievable really.  You have to hear it with your own ears.  Or not!  Ha!

chestnut mandibled toucan

white faced capuchin

I couldn't resist posting my cicada illustrations from my jungle journal full of illustrated poems this week for noise.  The theme.  Boy, nothing can prepare you for the deafening screams of a Costa Rica cicada. Somewhere between the elevation of 1,000-3,000 feet, the cicadas go hog wild.  Like I said, we drove up to our Costa Rica lot again this year. Just like old times.  It was still deafening.  Hmmm.  I wonder why it is still available.

"Sorry dudes!  All this fuss over little old me?"

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bok Tower Gardens

We stopped by Bok Tower Gardens on our trip to Florida last winter. I finally decided to share the beauty and brighten a cold Minnesota day. This is the famous Singing Tower (60 bell) carillon. Bok Gardens was founded by the successful publisher and author Edward W. Bok.  His grandmother told him to, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it” 

And indeed he did.

The morning light in the gardens was so pretty.  They were first resurrected on this sandy soil in 1921.  And it opened to the public in 1929.

Let's sit awhile...

And wander around...

It's also a bird sanctuary. There are 126 bird species here.

I think this species looks goofy!  It must be his eye ball.

A lovely painted bunting.

The majestic golden door of the tower.

Bok Gardens is on one of the highest points in Florida at 298 feet.  It's worth a visit for the beauty, birds and the chocolate muffins at the cafe!