Magnolia Tea II Alighting at Gallery 24

I just listed Magnolia Tea II on the website and will be bringing it into Gallery 25 with a flock of other Birds and Teacups. In this painting, I tried to bring home some of the magic of spotting a white hummingbird in the wild to capture it in a domestic still life with this unusual, unpainted Limoges demitasse set and Magnolia Grandiflora bloom which represents nobility and perseverance in the Victorian language of flowers.

Anna’s Hummingbirds in the Red Shrub

You know how different herds or flocks have evocative names for their gatherings, like a murder of crows or a brood of hens? Well, a group of hummers is called a hover or a troubling or a charm – isn’t that fabulous?

It turns out that a perfect time to find a charm of hummingbirds is in a giant red flowering shrub in between showers (when they’re good and hungry)!

There were at least eight hummers, several had their territory staked out and the others would try to sneak by for a feed before being chased away.  I based my count both on the ones I could keep my eyes on while hearing the songs of the interlopers. It seems all my shots were of the immature male who’s territory I was also invading.

The White Hummingbird

I spent a perfect day with a white hummingbird – my new muse!

This Leucistic Hummingbird, visiting the Australian Gardens at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, may be the first sighting of its kind in Santa Cruz County! I’ve been scouring the web for more info and it seems there have been sightings in Santa Barbara as well.  The Leucistic Humming bird (in this case most likely an Anna’s Hummingbird) retains some pigmentation (dark eyes, beak and legs and often there are traces of color in it’s plumage) where as a pure albino hummingbird would have a complete lack of pigmentation, it’s eyes, beak and legs appearing pink.

Seeing this hummingbird in the wild was pure magic and that’s saying something considering how impossibly beautiful a typically iridescent hummingbird is! This was like a little glowing fairy flitting in and out of the sunlight, but a fierce one who was robustly defending his territory from interlopers. I watched him ascend high in the sky to hover then dive balm the smaller Rufous and Allen’s hummers. I first spotted him in his his special perch in a spindly tree where he was perfectly camouflaged, looking like a leaf in the dappled sunlight  (I could hear him singing before I saw him – which apparently is a one way of identifying an Anna’s). From here he could clearly survey his territory and would make his rounds visiting the various proteas in the garden favoring the Grevillea “Robyn Gordon” and the Hairpin and Showy Banksia but he also patrolled the conifers edging the arboretum – maybe looking for bugs and worms? Funny how this bird from the Americas is favoring the flowers from Down Under!

Out of the blue…

A spark in the dark…

Glowing in the garden…

Painting of Violet Tea I

Another in my Birds & Teacups Series, Violet Tea I is still very much a work in progress…

Violet Tea I (WIP 1) Marie Cameron 2016

Quick oil sketch…

Violet Tea I (WIP 2) Marie Cameron 2016

Some lovely loose brush strokes suggesting violets…

Violet Tea I (WIP 3) Marie Cameron 2016

Sketching in the background…

Violet Tea I (WIP 4) Marie Cameron 2016

Filling in here and there…

Violet Tea I (WIP 5) Marie Cameron 2016

Wiping off the gestural background that I was afraid was building up too much…

Violet Tea I (WIP 6) Marie Cameron 2016

Blocking in some shadows and loosing my loose violets in a pursuit of realism…

Violet Tea I (WIP 7) Marie Cameron 2016

Sharpening up details, but there’s such a long way to go in terms of drama (which will come from the lighting) in this piece…..I’ll post more when there’s more to see.

Violet Tea I (WIP) 8 Marie Cameron 2016
I didn’t know I was going to go for a greenish background! Such a busy image really called out for a simplified palette.

Violet Tea I - oil on board - 12x12 inches - Marie Cameron 2016

Here is the finished painting, which is now on exhibit at the Los Gatos Museum Gallery.


In the Camelias

The thirty year old camellia tree in my neighbor’s front yard may be the only thing blooming this time of year. It’s quite a show stopper and is attracting a lot of birds – even in the rain!

I had to go over with my camera and see if I could get lucky – I did get a few shots of some birds but what I found myself enjoying even more was the damp fragrance of the flowers and the sound of wings (bees and hummers) buzzing in my ears.