Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is not Africa . . .

but it was really neat to have this kind of up close and personal experience with the giraffes at the Wild Animal Park in San Diego when we visited prior to our first trip to Africa. On the safari ride, you are given leaves to feed them and they come right up to the truck. They hate to be petted, so the guide warns visitors to not touch them because they will run away if you do. It takes lots of will power to resist stroking those beautiful, exotic animals---their muzzles look so soft. Just look at that exquisite face with those huge, soulful eyes. Aren't they miraculous creatures?

Monday, June 28, 2010


My experience with giraffes in Africa has generally been one of mutual gazing. We'd see one or a group of them browsing on trees across the way, stop and just watch. More often than not, they would stop and do the same, just watch. If we were close enough, we could seen them bat those incredibly long eyelashes. One of our guides said that he thought they were kind of boring, because they just stood there. In my opinion, that's all that they need to do, they are so exotic and surprising and beautiful--they really are the glamor girls of the bush. Yes, yes, I know that about half of them are males, but they just seem so glamorous and feminine (except for a few notable exceptions that I will feature in a future blog).

In the first photo, it looks as if she is bending over so that she will fit in the frame of the shot, which was quite considerate since they are so tall that it is hard to get a compact composition.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Big and Small

This is the same fellow that we watched several times, at the same place just outside of camp, munching away on grass, blocking the road, so that we really had no other choice but to wait and watch. One morning he sauntered off, with what seemed to be an air of self-importance, when he suddenly jumped straight up, about two feet off the ground, which is quite a sight, considering that he probably weighs over 10,000 pounds. He had been startled by an African wildcat, the wild form of our domestic tabby that he nearly stepped on. The cat jumped up in front of him and took off in the opposite direction, and it was hard to tell who was more startled, the elephant or the cat. The African Wildcat weighs probably ten pounds at the most so the contrast was priceless. Suddenly the self-important attitude of our elephant friend seemed to evaporate, and he seemed a little embarrassed. But he gathered his wits about him and went on his way, and after we quit laughing, so did we.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Quiet moments

In between being chased by elephants and watching predators stalk their prey, there were quiet, magical moments spent with creatures such as this Giant Eagle Owl. As I write this, it is almost hard to believe that we sat at the foot of the tree, gazing at this beautiful bird as he calmly gazed back at us, looking for all the world as if he had nothing better to do, and was a little amused that we didn't either. He is a big bird, over two feet tall. His most distinctive feature, in my opinion anyway, are his pink eyelids. He looks like he just came from the Mac or Lancome counter in some department store, where some young makeup artist got a little carried away. It gives him an exotic, fanciful look that is mesmerizing.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Artists for Conservation

Exciting news arrived in my email yesterday----I have been accepted as a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation, an international organization dedicated to the celebration and preservation of the natural world. I am looking forward to being involved with this group of artists and the work that they are doing around the world. I'll soon have a Web presence on their site, and will link to it as soon as it is ready.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back to the Studio

The past two weeks flew by. After the very busy first weekend of Open Studios, I had a visit from my friend, Mary Siebe who lives in Colorado. We have been friends for over 48 (!) years, and it is always good to see her. We pick up right where we left off and it is such a gift to share that much of life and experience with someone. We both appreciate that only time and experience can create that kind of friendship. It was also a week of surgeries for the Burleson household---Mike had a molar implant, and Emma had a hysterectomy. Both patients did very well and once they were settled a bit, it was time for the second weekend of Open Studios. This time the sun was shining and people didn't have to brave the storms to get here. It was another whirlwind couple of days of meeting people and talking about art and whatever else came up. Needless to say not a lot of work in the studio, but I'll be posting drawings that were displayed these past two weekends.

This afternoon I helped a friend get a blog going. Now, it is really something when people think that I am good at computers. I definitely am not. But I must admit I enjoy the delusion. His name is Charles Moon and he is definitely one of the most remarkable people I know and love, and an Okie to boot. More about him in other posts, but for now, please check out his blog. And tomorrow, this blog returns to Africa.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Open Studios Day One

Open Studios started out on a great note! In spite of the rain, and the fact that I am the only studio open in Trinidad so far north of the rest of the action, lots of folks showed up and visited. Several groups arrived just when I opened at 11:00 and it was steady throughout the day. Many thanks for making the trek up here.

As those of you who were here, (and those who are following the blog) know, the theme these days is Africa--Botswana in particular. A percentage of all sales will be donated to conservation efforts in Africa. Wilderness Safaris is a great organization that is doing important work toward saving these animals, many of which are endangered. Their trust, Wilderness Wildlife Trust, is worth looking into, and of course supporting, which all of your purchases of my wildlife art are helping to do. Many thanks for your support, from me, the Trust, and the animals that they are helping to preserve.

Along with that, Eyes on Africa, the company that I have used for all of my Africa travels, has asked me to put together groups for trips beginning either the end of this year, (right around the corner, but doable) or in 2011. Many of you have expressed interest and signed up, but for the rest of you that may be interested in an African safari, please contact me for further information or to put your name on the list for updates.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Open Studios Preview

Most of the work I've been doing lately has been done with pen and ink. Here are a few examples. Several of these will be available as cards or prints during Open Studios. Also some watercolors, and if it stops raining here so that I can get some photos of recent paintings to post, I will do so.