Nature and Art Discovery Program for Young Children and their Families on Tuesday and Sunday

We are excited to announce the return of our Nature and Art Discovery program offered to young children and their parents.  We will have a week day program that if offered on Tuesday from 10-11am and a weekend program that is offered on Sunday from 10-11am. 

Our Nature and Art Discovery program is the place to be if you love having fun, exploring and discovering nature, listening to engaging stories, and creating art. Our Tuesday and Sunday program is a drop-in program for ages 2.5 to 5.5 with an adult (siblings welcome) from 10-11am. Each week is a different nature theme and will include a story, playing and hiking in nature (weather dependent), and creating art. When the weather is nice we will spend time outside and there will be plenty of time for free play in our nature play area at the end of the program. We also have picnic tables, benches, and other great spots to have a snack, play, and chat. This will be a weekly program. The program will begin on Tuesday September 12 and Sunday September 17 and ends on Sunday December 10 and Tuesday December 12. No program on September 26.

Subscription for the entire series (13 programs) is $60 for members ($75 for non-members), a savings of $64 ($124 is the cost of all 13 weeks at $8 per week).

The following is a list of the different art mediums we will use for the first six weeks of the program:

–      September 12: Pottery

–      September 19: Painting

–      October 3: Making puppets

–      October 10: Pottery

–      October 17: Painting

–      October 24: Making hats and masks

 

New homeschool pottery classes at the Museum of American Bird Art

We are extremely excited to announce a wonderful new suite of programs that infuse pottery, nature, and science into our homeschool classes at the Museum of American Bird Art. This fall we will be offering two 9 week homeschool class called Pottery, ceramics, and sculpture for 7-9 year old children and 10-15 year old children. Class sizes are small so sign up early to reserve your spot. If you have any questions, would like to register, or qualify for a multiple child discount please call Sean Kent at 781-821-8853 or email skent@massaudubon.org.

Homeschool Program: Pottery, ceramics, and sculpture

The pottery, ceramics, and sculpture homeschool program is designed to introduce and excite children working with clay. Each student will learn and use different hand-building techniques and the pottery wheel to create unique animal sculptures, vessels, and functional pieces such as plates, bowls, and mugs. While in this class, students will learn basic ceramics terminology, techiques, and processes. In addition to art making students will be able to explore the sanctuary’s trails, meadow, and museum to use as inspiration. During the pottery class, families not attending the program will have a comfortable space to sit, relax, use free wifi, or hike on our 121 acre wildlife sanctuary.

The class begins on Wednesday September 20th for children ages 10-15 from 9:15 to 11:15 and will run for 9 weeks. 

The class for 7-9 year old children begins on Thursday September 21st from 9:15 to 11:15 and will run for 9 weeks. 

 

 

Summits and Snowies, part 2: Creature Feature

March 2/3, 2017

Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Milton

My second day at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum is colder, with temperatures remaining in the 30s all day.  It’s sunny, however, so I do some more drawing at the snowy owl enclosure.  The two birds are again huddled on the ground in the rear corner of the pen.

Snowy Owl sketchbook studies, pencil, 9″ x 12″

drawing at the snowy owl enclosure

It’s early in the day, and I’m the only one in the little zoo behind the visitor center.   Suddenly, I hear a great flap of wings and turn to see a wild turkey vulture alighting on the nearby turkey vulture enclosure.    It hops around atop the cage and peers down at the “prisoner” within.  I wonder what has attracted the wild bird: curiosity? food? sex?   It’s a handsome specimen – much more colorful and sleek than the captive bird – and I turn my attention to it.  I take some photos and start a drawing, but another (human) visitor arrives and scares off the wild bird.

Turkey Vulture Head Study, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 10.25″ x 14.25″

We go inside to warm up, and meet director Norm Smith.  He is busy getting ready to host an important international meeting of scientist and researchers focused on snowy owls.  Norm has been conducting his own research on these birds for nearly twenty years.  He was the first to put satellite transmitters on wintering snowy owls in an attempt to better understand their seasonal movements in New England.    His research has called into question many long-held assumptions about the owls that move south into Massachusetts in winter.  Needless to say, the snowy owl is a bird of special significance at the Trailside Museum!

Norm introduces us to staff members in charge of the live animals at Trailside, and we get a tour of the lower level.  Some of the animals are recovering from injuries and will eventually be released, while others are permanent residents who, for various reasons cannot be returned to the wild.

A raven and a box turtle have the run of the place, and follow us around as we take our tour.  The box turtle develops a special fondness for my shoe!

The staff generously offers to set up any of the animals for us to work with, so I select a gray phase screech-owl, which is taken from its cage and placed on a padded perch in the center of a low table.

Sean and I get to work, and the owl proves a good model, sitting quietly and studying US!  The owl seems especially fascinated when I take out my paints and brushes!  (Thanks, Sean, for your photos in this post!)

Gray Phase Screech-Owl, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 11″ x 9″

Upstairs in the museum, a variety of live animals are on display.  One enclosure holds two timber rattlesnakes: one very dark and the other predominantly golden brown.

Timber rattlesnakes are endangered in Massachusetts and persist at only a handful of widely scattered sites in the state – mostly in mountainous areas.  There is a small population in the Blue Hills Reservation, but they are reclusive animals and seldom encountered.  They pose virtually no danger to the public, in fact, only one person has ever died of snakebite in Massachusetts, and that was over 200 years ago!

I have not yet painted a snake for this residency, so this is a good opportunity, and the snake is a very cooperative model – I don’t believe it moved once during the time I worked on my picture!  I decide to indicate a natural setting for the snake and substitute a suggestion of leaves, rocks and twigs in place of the wood shavings in its enclosure.

Timber Rattlesnake, wartercolor on Arches cold-press, 14.25″ x 10.25″

Before leaving Trailside, I go back outside and check the snowy owls one more time.  To my delight, the paler bird is sitting atop a natural perch in the center of the enclosure.

Snowy Owl sketchbook study, pencil, 9″ x 12″

It’s a much more dynamic pose than the birds made on the ground, so I make a careful drawing that I use later to develop this watercolor.

Snowy Owl at Trailside, watercolor on Arches rough, 16.25″ x 12.25″

 

Highlights from Week 5 of the Wild at Art Camp: Butterfly Safari, Caterpillar Lab, and Nature CSI

It has been such a wonderful summer so far and I am so grateful for all the families that have sent their children to the Wild at Art camp this summer. We have been having a wonderful week at the end of July. On Monday, we talked about going on journey this week looking for spectacular “things.” Here are a few highlights from the week with all our spectacular findings.

Highlight #1: A visit from the amazing Caterpillar Lab!

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Highlight #2: Making spectacular wildlife discoveries with friends

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Highlight #3: Exploring in the brook for aquatic critters

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Highlight #4: Creating art and making friends

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Highlight #5: Exploring in the meadow

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Summits and Snowies, part 1: Great Blue Hill

March 2/3, 2017

Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Milton

It’s cold and very windy on the morning I arrive at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in Milton.   Mass Audubon runs and manages the Trailside Museum, the visitor/interpretive center for the Blue Hills Reservation.   This 7,000 acres public reserve is the largest open space within 35 miles of Boston, and is owned by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

I figured winter would be a good time to visit the Trailside Museum, since it would offer opportunities for both outdoor and indoor work.  The Trailside Museum is only minutes from the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton – the sponsor of my residency.  I’ll stay overnight in MABA’s guest suite and spend two days at Trailside.  Sean Kent, the education director at MABA joins me both days (thanks, Sean for your photos in this blog entry!).

Boston Skyline from Great Blue Hill summit

Today, March 2, Sean and I hike to the top of Great Blue Hill (elev. 635 ft.) and take in the view of Boston and the Harbor Islands.  While at the summit, we visit the Blue Hill Weather Observatory – the oldest continuously operated weather observatory in the United States.

Blue Hill Weather Observatory

We crawl up onto the observation deck at the top of the observatory and hang onto the railings with the wind gusts nearing 60 mph (the anemometer is a spinning blur!)

Descending from the Observation Deck

Below, in the control room, a technician points out a glass case of antique mercury barometers – still working and very accurate!

Antique mercury barometers

Down off the summit, and out of the wind, we set up to do some landscape work featuring the rocky outcrops along the Summit Trail.

The temperatures have been dropping throughout the day, and it’s in the low 40s when I begin drawing. I’ve brought along a few of those chemical hand-warmers, and slip one into the glove of my drawing hand.  I can’t draw with the glove on, but I slip it on and warm up my fingers periodically.

The completed drawing done on location

I complete the drawing on watercolor paper, but am getting seriously chilled by the time I finish, and can’t summon the courage to take out my paints.  I’ll finish this one in the studio…

the work in progress…

Here’s the painting about half finished.   You can see that I laid in the tones of the distant background first – I’ll want them to recede in the finished painting, so deliberately make the colors pale and subdued.  Next, I paint the areas of ground between the rocks with a rusty brown tone, which at the same time organizes the shapes of the rocks.  Then, I paint the shadow pattern of the rocks and lay in the darker tone of the three dominant tree trunks.  The shadows on the foreground rocks are among the darkest notes in the painting, so I’ve now established the full range of values.

Summit Trail, Great Blue Hill, watercolor on Arches cold-press, 9″ x 12.25″

Now, it’s just a matter of laying in the middle value grays of the rocks.  I try to add some interest and variety here, by varying the complements used to mix the grays.   Most of them are mixed from ultramarine blue and cadmium orange, but I also throw in some burnt sienna and cobalt violet here and there.

Back at the Trailside Museum that afternoon, Sean and I make some drawings of the snowy owls in one of the outdoor pens.  The birds are sitting on the ground in the rear corner of the enclosure, but with my telescope, I have “in-your-face” views of the bird’s heads and do several pages of studies.

sketchbook page, pencil, 9″ x 12″

sketchbook page, pencil, 9″ x 12″

There are two owls: one almost completely white with only a few scattered markings on the wings and tail, and the other heavily spotted and barred all-over.

stay tuned for Blue Hills Part 2: Creature Feature…

 

Soaring Owls, Field Biology, and more: Highlights from Week 3 of our Wild at Art Summer Camp

We have been having a wonderful week of camp with the campers enjoying owls, art, and nature. The campers have been able to see live owls up close, with a barn owl and great horned owl visiting this week. In addition, each group has been finding exciting wildlife and plants in our wildlife sanctuary – discovering froglets and salamanders in our vernal pool, finding caterpillars in our meadow, and exploring in our pine grove. All the groups have been enjoying creating art with their groups and our fantastic art educator Lindsey Caputo. Here are a few highlights from the week.

 

Highlight #1: Visit from a Great Horned Owl

On Tuesday, all the campers looked closely, with some sketching, at a Great Horned Owl brought over from Mass Audubon’s Trailside Museum. Perry Ellis, a teacher naturalist from Trailside, provided a fantastic program teaching all the campers about how owls see  the world. It was a wonderful experience for all.

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Highlight #2: Finding salamanders, frogs, and other wildlife at our vernal pool

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Highlight #3: Learning about dragonflies

Campers in our field biology, nature journaling, and watercolor painting group learned about different species of dragonflies and learned how to collect them and handle them safely. Check out these amazing pictures of campers with dragonflies.

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Highlight #4: Having fun and making friends

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Highlight #5: Creating Art

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Highlight #6: Watercolor painting and sketching by the brook

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Highlight #7: Visit from a Barn Owl

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Wild at Art Summer Camp – Highlights from Week 1

The first week of our 2017 summer camp season is off and running to a fantastic start. During the first week, the campers are learning about the ways birds and other animals fly, swim, and move. Here are a few of the highlights:

Highlight #1: Seeing larval salamanders and wood frog tadpoles at the vernal pool

Highlight #2: Creating Amazing Art with Lindsey Caputo (Art Educator)

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Highlight #3: Making Animal Themed Hats

Highlight #4: Hiking to the pine forest to see our “eagle’s nest”

 

SMALL MIRACLES, part 2: Lost in the Weeds

January 29, 2017

Endicott Wildlife Sanctuary, Wenham

Back in the studio, I spread out the winter stems I collected along the entrance drive at Endicott Wildlife Sanctuary.  I arrange the stems on a big sheet of Arches hot-pressed watercolor paper, moving them around and trying out various arrangements until I have a nicely balanced composition.   You might notice that the pepperbush in the center arches outward to the left and right, while the two outermost stems curve gently inward, bracketing and containing the stems in the center.

Seeds of Promise, watercolor on Arches hot-press, 21″ x 22.5″

I have a pretty good idea what the various species are.  I’ve got goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, an aster, sweet pepperbush and meadowsweet.   Only one of the specimens has me puzzled: a tall, narrow spire with densely packed cylindrical seed capsules.   I check my Newcomb’s and realize – of course! – it’s purple loosestrife.  This is one species I’m sure the Audubon Society would have NO objection to my collecting!  In fact, I had read on the visitor’s kiosk that the Society had successfully introduced a beetle into the wet meadow to control the spread of this invasive, non-native plant.

the drawing phase (purple loosetrife)…

After settling on an arrangement, I make a careful drawing of each specimen with a 2B pencil, working from the specimen itself.  I call this approach “indoor field sketching”, since even though I’m not outside, I am working directly from life.  I’m aiming for an accurate botanical portrait of each species, so draw carefully and slowly using a modified contour drawing technique.

detail: goldenrod and pepperbush

It’s amazing how much you can learn about botanical structure by working directly from specimens like this.  For example, I noticed how the twigs of the pepperbush branched smoothly off the main stem without any obvious scars or marks at the junctions.  Doing some research, I read that the new woody growth of pepperbush is forked or branched, and the side twigs do not always originate from a bud, as in most woody shrubs.

painting in progress…

I work from left to right in both the drawing and painting stages, so as to minimize smudging (I’m right-handed).   I strive for accuracy but also a light touch, and I mix the subtle grays and browns with care, slightly emphasizing the color shifts.  The attraction of this painting is really in the details, so here are some more close-ups:

calico aster

Queen Anne’s lace and pepperbush

meadowsweet

This is the largest watercolor that I’ve painted for the residency so far, at 21” x 22 ½”.

Seeds of Promise, watercolor on Arches hot-press, 21″ x 22.5″

I’ve probably spent more hours on this watercolor than any of the others, too.  The painting and drawing took more than four full days of work.  The original watercolor is currently on display at the Museum of American Bird Art in Canton, Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

Take Control of your Digital Photos: Adobe Lightroom Workshop with Shawn Carey

Do you have thousands of digital photos and are having trouble organizing them? Do you need help on how to process a digital photo for output to e-mail or web? The Museum of American Bird Art is thrilled to host a workshop with wildlife photographer Shawn Carey of Migration Productions for Adobe Lightroom workshop on Saturday October 14, 2017 from 9 to 4 pm. Click here to learn more or register. 

In this all-day workshop, you will learn how to manage your digital photos and files in a way that makes sense, is easy to learn, plus learn many time saving shortcuts. This is an all day workshop that is broken up in three instructional units:

Section 1:

  • Understanding Lightroom and how it works, organize your photos/files.
  • Library Module
  • Importing files, rating and editing or culling images.
  • Proper backup of files and catalog

Section 2:

  • Keywords and Keyword list, the proper way to apply Keywords
  • Understanding collections and why there are useful.

Section 3:

  • Develop a Module
  • Develop and output for e-mail and web.

Shawn Carey’s Background

Shawn’s photos have been published in the Boston Globe, New York Times, Mass Audubon Sanctuary magazine, Science magazine, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary magazine and many others over the last 20 years. He has been presenting programs and teaching workshops for camera clubs, birding organizations and at birding events since 1994. (Mass Audubon, Maine Audubon, ABA, Manomet, HMANA, Eastern Mass Hawk Watch, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and many local bird and camera clubs). In 1997 he started teaching bird photography workshops (Fundamentals of Bird Photography) for the Mass Audubon and teaches for Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay’s Summer Field School on Cape Cod.

Shawn is a member of:

Mass. Audubon (Advisory Council)
Mass Audubon Museum of American Bird Art, Canton, MA (Advisory Board)
Eastern Mass Hawk Watch (Past President and current Vice President)
Nuttall Ornithological Club (Past Advisory Board)
Goldenrod Foundation (Advisory Board)
Brookline Bird Club (Past council member 7 years)
South Shore Bird Club
South Shore Camera Club
American Birding Assoc.
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary

Shawn P. Carey
Migration Productions
cell # 617-799-9984
scarey@avfx.com
www.MigrationProductions.com

Reduction Linocuts with Sherrie York

It’s April, No Foolin. Copyright: Sherrie York

We are extremely excited to be hosting  a workshop on Reduction Linocuts, by Sherrie York, an incredible nature artist and teacher. She also has a fantastic blog called Brush and Baren. Learn more about the workshop and sign up today!

Workshop Overview

Linocuts, or linoleum block prints, can be dynamic, quirky, graphic images when printed in a single color, but they become even more striking with the addition of multiple colors. To learn more about the workshop or sign up today, click here. 

Reduction printing allows the artist to create a multicolor image through successive cutting, inking, and printing of a single block. 

Perhaps the best thing about linocuts is that they can be created with the simplest of tools at your kitchen table, entirely by hand. Workshop participants will take home a small edition of reduction prints and the knowledge and experience to create their own new works at home.

 In this 2-day workshop you will learn:

• How to design an image for reduction printing

• How to transfer your design to the linoleum block

• Block cutting techniques

• Tips for effective inking

• Registration methods (how to line up each color so it prints in the right place!)

• Hand-printing techniques

We’ll also talk about papers, inks, tools, and the wide variety of applications for relief printmaking.

Watching and Waiting. Copyright Sherrie York

Tools and materials will be provided for use at the workshop. Join us! To learn more or sign up today, click here.