Sunday, April 20, 2008

The spring crazies

Chock-a-block with doings and goings on, these days have been.

First... a rush job for a client, two big (48" x 42" each) interp panels to be completely finished in 10 days! Crazy! So I spent the last two days working on this background painting, which will go across both panels. (Ultimate size, 48" x 84", although I am painting it at less than that.) I'm still waiting for text, and then it's on to the rest of the design process. I've got the whole shebang roughed out already, so it shouldn't be TOO bad.

I spent the end of last week wrapping up another client project... this one an interp display about birds for the local office of the US Forest Service. It was a fun job to do, since I got to write about the local avifauna and paint a nice scene of the Arkansas River. We are so fortunate here to have a great variety of habitats coming together: river riparian, pinyon-juniper woodlands, montane forest, sub-alpine and alpine tundra. We don't get big shows of shorebirds or gulls, but we get lots of other goodies. This is the main panel, and each of the featured birds is the basis for smaller "callout" panels describing some interesting aspect of local birdlife.

Speaking of which... FINALLY... migrants. Everything is slow this year... about a month behind last year. Last March I was writing about pillaging a catkin-laden tree which is only now showing its flashy tendencies. The tree swallows which arrived March 23 last year didn't show up until April 16! Capistrano we ain't, but I have never been so happy to see the little buggers. We've had a long, long winter.

There have been a couple of nice moments of play mixed in with all the work crazies, though. 'Tis my day-a-year day today, and despite my tendency to not participate in such an event.... something always happens. My friends Mark and Brenda called yesterday, for example, offering a motorcycle ride on a beautiful day. I'd spent most of the day chained to the drawing table, so an hour's break sounded great. And it was! It had been many years since I'd been on the back of a motorcycle....

This morning I took a long walk along the usual path, followed by breakfast with my dear friend Jacque. Today's "year birds": snowy egret (mixed in with 56 ibis), Franklin's gull, common yellowthroat, western grebe, pied-billed grebe. Last week's arrivals were black phoebe, tree swallow, barn swallow, yellow-rumped warbler. The passing-through of myriad waterfowl continues. A total 45 feathered species showed themselves during my not-quite-two-hour ramble. Not bad for April at 7,000 feet.

And the icing on this happy birthday cake? Not two hours ago my annoying downstairs neighbors pulled out of the drive in their motorhome. Oh please oh PLEASE, let them be gone for days! (Expect good news about that situation later in the week. I'm reluctant to say anything until all details are in place... but.... change is a-comin'.)

Sadly, it's back to work for me now, but I had a great morning and am anticipating a lovely evening... so I'll concede a few hours of labor. All in all, a good day!

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