Wednesday, April 29, 2009

born on the football field

brand new bison calf - born this morning on the Gardiner school football field
My post on Monday mentioned a herd of bison on the football field. Well, they've been 'hanging around' the area and this morning a calf was born on the field. I love living in Gardiner. There aren't too many towns where you can see that!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Job shadowing

Today we have a student from Gardiner school visiting the studio, 'job shadowing' what we do. She's getting an eye full! We have lots of projects going right now. Hopefully it's fun and a good learning experience for her. Now, she's getting to see how we do our blogging!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The bison are in town

On the football field at the Gardiner school
I was teaching oil painting at the Gardiner School today for the Artist in Residence program. As I was leaving, this scene caught my eye.... Most people that don't live in Gardiner, would think I stopped to take a photo of the bison on the football field, but that's a semi-regular occurrence here. (There was actually a small herd of bison there.) What caught my eye was the Yellow-headed Blackbird in front on this bison. Usually, these birds are found more in wetland areas. He was set off well with the 'bison backdrop'.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Drawing 101 is off and running...

Drawing 101 last night was great. Lots of creative energy! There's so much I'd like to include in the class, it's hard to fit it all in. We started with Linear Drawings and next week we'll work our way into Tonal Drawings. I have students from 13 years of age on up - what a treat to see everyone 'honing their visual skills'! I'm encouraging everyone to keep a sketchbook throughout our 4 week session, hoping that it may create a regular drawing habit. It was fun to see what people had done over the week in their sketchbooks - some wonderful stuff - from a spoon to children to room interiors. It's amazing what can be created with just a pencil and paper! There is a simplicity to drawing that I really love. Somehow there must be a lesson for life there... but that's for another class.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A different view of a Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron skin in the collection of the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center
12"x16" Oil on linen by Shirl Ireland
Speaking of birds... I've been painting a lot of them at the Yellowstone Heritage and Research Center. They hold very still for me there... so I learn a lot! It's incredible to see them up so close and study every feather. And their feet... REALLY amazing. You see how well every bird is designed. Whether it's catching fish, like this heron or mice like an owl, their beaks, body shapes and feet are designed for their mission.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Birds, birds, birds...

Great Blue Heron flying
It was an amazing drive up Paradise Valley today to paint with my fellow Crazy Mountain Women Artists. There were birds galore! I saw a few Bald Eagles - one right at the side of the road and a couple in their nest, two Great Blue Herons on the water, several pairs of Sand Hill Cranes in the fields - one pair flew right in front of my car at windshield height. Great view of them, but a little too close for comfort! And, I had another VERY close call with a Kestrel. Many Swans, Red Winged Black Birds, a Turkey and too many Hawks, Canada Geese, Ravens, Magpies and Robins to count! I live in an incredible place.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Drawing 101 begins tonight

It's been a busy couple weeks around here. I started teaching oil painting for an Artist-In-Residence program at the Gardiner school at the beginning of the month. And tonight, Drawing 101 begins at the Gallery. I'm all set up and ready to go - and really looking forward to it. It's often said that drawing is the basis for all art. It's a great skill to work on. We're going to try to improve drawing skills and start the habit of a sketchbook / journal. So look for some posting of sketches this month.

“Drawing is seeing; it is engaging with things more attentively, more passionately, than one does in day-to-day experiences. That engagement is the beginning of all art.”
Peter Steinhart, The Undressed Art

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wolf Studies

8" x 10" charcoal on board

by Shirl Ireland

11" x 14" graphite on board

A couple charcoal and pencil studies I donated for the Wolf Program with Doug Smith and Bob Landis April 1st in Bozeman, Montana. They're portraits from my closest experience with a pack of wild wolves. I was driving into Yellowstone National Park late last fall at the end of the season. The roads were quiet. I had been in the day before and watched a grizzly and wolf 'stand off' at an elk carcass and was heading back to that area. But there they were, a pack of wolves, walking right up the road toward me. I pulled over into a nearby pullout and they kept walking, seemingly undisturbed by my vehicle. They passed right beside me. It was amazing seeing a pack of wolves so close that I could look into their eyes.