Monday, December 5, 2011

The Dying Swan

I can still see this mourning male swan, sitting on the bank of the pond, motionless, waiting for the time to be reunited with his loved one...

For years, I was able to enjoy watching a beautiful swan couple in the park. The male protected his family fiercely against nosy humans like me. After the female swan died, his behavior changed dramatically. He didn't want to eat my bread crumbs, or chase me but just sat there.

According to the park ranger, the swan was dying from a broken heart. He tried to feed the swan and even put him in a pond with other swans but he was unable to save him. A couple of weeks later the male swan passed away... 

The love of this swan for his mate inspired me to make my version of "The Dying Swan" and I called it "Unseen". The hidden animals in the painting represent his pain and sadness which went unseen by the humans who were walking their dogs or reading a book on a bench.

This painting was displayed in a New York gallery in 2009 and only prints and greeting cards are available.

Art Prints

Thanks so much!

Monday, October 3, 2011


This is a very personal painting that expresses my transformation from
recreational artist into full time professional artist
 - Ariannah- and it stands for every change 
and development in my art career. 

12x12 Acrylics on canvas 2009
Not for sale

With this post I also want to thank not only all the loyal followers and subscribers but everyone that took their time to read my posts. While I had a lot of fun writing my blog, it hasn't been very reader friendly. Thanks to blogger, soon, this is finally going to change!

After nine months of carrying my posts, I joyfully announce the birth of my easy blog view! If you have a fast browser that runs scripts (I use Iron Chrome), it will be easier for you, in the near future, to explore, read and discover my posts, -without having to scroll or search for older posts.

for a sneak peek. You are only able to view "the future new look" if you are using Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer 8+, or Firefox 3.5+ and if scripts are not disabled by your browser. Please let me know if you are unable to view it or are experiencing other problems.

Thanks again for reading my blog!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Great Pyrenees Dog water color painting

Mostly self taught, I consider the different mediums my teachers...Watercolor has always been the most demanding one. Only watercolor requires me to have a sense of control and at the same time the willingness to let go...

Some people go to health spas or retreats for some quiet time and self-reflection...I turn to watercolors...

This is a watercolor painting of Guardia, a 9 month old Great Pyrenees that we rescued from a puppy mill in 2008. It took more than a year before she started trusting people. Only with the help of watercolors was I able to capture her mysterious reserved, yet always attentive nature...

                                                                       Great Pyrenees
                                                                   Watercolor on paper

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What kind of bird of prey or raptor is this?

A couple of months ago around 8:30 in the morning, I witnessed a raptor carrying away a small mammal out of our backyard, - which looked like a tree squirrel.

I was in awe, mesmerized by the confidence, calmness and grace of this magnificent bird and at the same time horrified by the sight of the limp small, rag-doll -like, mammal hanging in his claws…

After this unforgettable experience I ran into my studio and made this pastel composite sketch. Until now, nobody could help me identify this bird of prey. 

I'd appreciate the web community's help in identifying this raptor.

Thanks so much!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bird paintings and nature: Chickens

From our dogs I learned to be a firm and consistent leader. Our cats trained me how to properly execute orders, - as I will share in a future post.

The past two days I have been trying to figure out what our two Langshen chickens have taught me and why I became so attached to these two little feathered girls…
When we bought them they were just starting to lay beautiful eggs and we called them Over Easy and Sunny Side Up or short, “Easy and Sunny”.

Sunny and Easy
Pastel on paper August 2011

Chicken personality:

Easy, the biggest of the two is the most affectionate, jumping on my lap begging for a snack or to be petted. Gardening became so much more fun in her company. While I was pulling weeds she would sit there right with me, chatting with me, once and a while interrupting herself by catching a bug. She would follow me around, - which was cute but also worrisome since she would fly over fences or on top of things to get to me.

Sunny, would rather find her own nice fat cricket or big dragon fly…. Although she was more aloof she would always be looking out for us…calling and warning us if she noticed danger from the sky or ground. Her strong willed spirit and intelligent nature would surface when she disagreed with something,  like being put up early. I would have to chase her and look for this mischievous girl, digging herself in our gardens or hiding behind plants. Her ways to outsmart me were always very comical and endearing.

Chicken experience

The bond between the girls and me was different than the one I had with my horse, dogs or cats. I am not sure if our connection was based on pure friendship or if I was a mother hen in their eyes. Maybe my motherly instincts took over with so much received unconditional love and vulnerability? These chickens were the most fragile pets I ever had under my care. Keeping them cool in this Missourian summer was almost a full time job. But also keeping them safe was a huge responsibility. In return I received their unbreakable loyalty, trust and daily delicious fresh eggs.

I will never forget that one stormy day. It was just afternoon but outside looked dark like midnight. I was calling the girls and ran out of the house in the pouring rain to find them. There they were, soaking wet, waiting for me under a big tree, - that didn’t give any shelter. The branches were swaying violently in the wind and there were only seconds between the next lightning and thunder. It was a dangerous situation to be outside. When they saw me they ran and followed me to the coop. 
That was such a magical moment, when I entered the coop waiting for them to come in. I felt a warm feeling inside. A feeling, I had felt in the past when I was waiting happily at the door for my parents or other loved ones to come in my house, - after a long period of not seeing each other.
The difference was that this was their house. Every morning they go in on their own to lay their eggs or eat their food, yet, they didn’t seem to know that they also had to go in to take shelter. The happy expression in their little beady eyes, watching them calmly, elegantly stepping up and into the coop, ruffling their feathers like taking off their wet rain coat was priceless and is an experience I will never forget.

Chicken language

Over the years I learned to read the body language of dogs, to understand the demands of cats, but never learned how to communicate with chickens. I followed my conversation English teacher’s advice to become like a parrot, imitating all the sounds and words I heard. This is indeed the best way to learn a new language. 

After a while I could easily distinguish “Good morning” from “Goodnight”, “I just laid an egg” from “Hey, come and see this”. I knew exactly when they were announcing harmless strangers, for example, a box turtle, or dangerous predators, such as hawks and raccoons.

Chicken perspective

Sunny and Easy were living their own lives and had other important business to attend to, so they wouldn’t constantly follow me around like our Border collie but unlike our cats they would never ignore me,  after all their needs were met. They always had time to check in on me and have a chat.

These chickens never leaved our yard and always stayed close to the house or where ever we were.  I never needed to clip their wings….But one day our Border Collie Dharma loudly barked and when my husband went out to check, Sunny was at the other side of the fence, chasing a huge bug. 
During the day, our Rottweiler Hera stays in that separate part of our yard under our mature trees, keeping an eye on the girls warning us against thieves. However, if we were not on time she would have certainly killed Sunny. 
Only a week ago, I caught Hera, swallowing a whole squirrel like a huge boa constrictor. A large hawk has also been eying the girls from the sky and I have seen it taking a rabbit out of our yard (I made a sketch from memory and will write about this in my next post). The two girls had become too trusting and “human”. They didn’t have to compete for food and be part of a community with a strict pecking order. Because of the freedom and too much human handling they no longer felt vulnerable or afraid of anything.

No matter how much I love these chickens and their eggs, their safety and happiness will always be more important to me. With pain in my heart I decided that it would be best that these girls would go to a place where they can roam safely and be part of a larger hen community with roosters as their protectors.

You know that you are in love when the hardest thing to do is saying good-bye

These first days without them are very difficult. All my daily phone alarms are still going off reminding me to take them out, giving them ice cubes and water, turning the fan on or off in the coop, getting the eggs, bringing them in etc. The backyard feels empty and quiet. I miss them running to me, greeting me the moment the backdoor opens or when they hear my voice. The pesky bugs are already returning…The loose dirt in our raised beds, their favorite dust baths, are empty and untouched. The grass will no longer be naturally fertilized. While I was cleaning up the pond yesterday, Easy was not there to rescue me from a huge spider that appeared when I moved a rock. This morning I didn't catch crickets at the front door to please my girls. Normally, I would spend a lot of time outside in the yard but these two days I only go out to let the dogs out. It will be the third day without their daily precious gifts, their delicious fresh eggs. For the past year I have been enjoying a daily omelet.  It is still too painful to use my last eggs...

The dogs and cat feel that I am sad and they try to ease my pain in their own unique loving ways. 

Although I know that they will have a safer life and that they have each other to lean on in their new life, I never thought letting them go would be so hard on me.
The day we parted I made the pastel sketch of my loyal true friends…I feel honored to have known such magical, special loving inspiring creatures who were so hard to say goodbye to and I hope that they get everything that their soft loving tiny big hearts desire.

These past days,  I realized that chickens could be just as missed, if not more, as any other pet…

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bird paintings and nature: The Cardinal

True love

Cardinals are not only wonderful parents. They are also very devoted mates as well. In our yard we have a beautiful couple that daily displays their love, commitment and affection for each other.

I couldn't resist to capture this magical moment...a lesson and reminder from nature,
                     that true intimacy starts with the ability and desire,
                               to frequently look,
                                       deeply and lovingly
                                             into our loved one's eyes...

Cardinal Devotion
Acrylic on Canvas 16x20

bird canvas prints of this painting and many other prints of my paintings are available at my online store:

Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

For more cardinal paintings from other wildlife artists please visit Fine Art America

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bird paintings and nature: Bananaquit

Coereba Flaveola, Barika Heel, Bananaquit, Chibichibi or Suikerdiefje

are just some of the names of this tiny feathered creature that can be found in the Caribbean.

These birds, with their sunny yellow bellies, represent my youth on Curacao and the tropical life on this beautiful island. 

No worries, always being happy and enjoying the sweet things in life.

Sweet Teeter-Totter
Acrylic on canvas 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stolen Black and White Paso Fino horse, Mayito

Mayito, a Paso Fino Stallion was taken out of the pasture sometime after 6pm on the 16th of September 2010 and found missing noon on the 17th. The pasture is located 6 miles E. of Clinton Missouri 7 HWY.

He is a 16 year old Black and White Pinto. I made this pastel sketch of him to show his spotting patterns on his left side.

Pastel sketch 16" x 12"

Characteristics: long B&W mane and forelock, black head, large white star, large white snip on nose, 4 white legs, top of tail is white - rest is black, weight: 850 lbs, height: 14 hands,  and he is easy to handle.

He has been seen on Saturday 18, 2010 at Lebanon Missouri Livestock Auction.
His owner Bernice Kingsbury will not give up the search. I would like to help her in her search to bring Mayito home. He is not just a horse but he is a member of her family.

This is a picture of him, showing the right side of his body.

He is listed on Netposse,
Were you can also download flyers.

You can also see him on You tube:

There is a reward for him. If you have seen him or have any information, please contact the owner directly: or call anytime:

Please help to bring Mayito home. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three reasons why artists paint

Why do artists paint?

1.     A painting is a description

There are no words to describe, for example, a mother’s love. We humans perceive a mother’s interest sometimes as overbearing but a foal would not survive without a caring mother. A mother knows instinctively what her child needs. This Paso Fino mother horse, or dam, encourages her baby to stand on its own feet. The baby will soon explore the world and mom will be right at its side to protect and nourish her.  

                            Through a mother's eyes
                           Acrylics on 18x22 canvas

2.     Painting is like reporting

With each of my paintings, I try to explain what I observe. When I saw the newborn foal, I saw a wet slimy creature that didn’t look like a horse at all, with its long clumsy legs and formless long head. When I looked further however, at the mother, I saw pure love in mother’s eyes. It seemed like all she could see was this beautiful fuzzy baby. Her labor pains and I no longer existed. Her eyes, completely focused on the tiny creature that was trying to open its eyes and untangle its legs. She gently nudged her baby to stand up. It was such a magical moment and I was happy to be there to report all this. A camera can capture this moment also but can only capture a slimy baby horse. I was able to capture more by noticing the mother's loving watchful eyes. When we paint, our observation is deeper and we can capture an emotion that a camera will miss.

3.    Painting is our way of communication 

As artists, we communicate what we really see, feel, smell, touch and hear. Therefore, when someone visits a gallery, one can have a very intimate conversation with the artist.  Knowing about  the style, materials, subject and other technical aspects of the artist is just small talk. But closely observing a painting, asking oneself, 'what is the artist really saying about her or himself ?' That is where the real conversation begins… 

My personal reasons why I painted “Through a Mother's Eyes”:
  • To keep the memory alive of Presumida, my wonderful friend and a loving mother.
  • It was a privilege to have witnessed this miraculous moment and I wanted to share this special intimate moment.
Please check out the animals paintings at Fine Art America where my paintings can be ordered as prints or greeting cards. Thanks for visiting.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    The Siamese cat painting

    Siamese cat
    When I accepted a commission to paint Siro a Siamese cat, the blue eyes and his elegance stunned me.

     Siamese cat 2011
    Acrylic 16x20 on canvas

    Some people find Siamese cats creepy with their intense blue eyes and their long body. To me a Siamese is a mysterious, athletic and exotic creature.

    These cats came from Siam (which is now Thailand) and, according to legends, were considered sacred guardians of Buddhist temples.  
    It was therefore important to me to express this sense of royalty in my painting through color.
    Full body exposure would take away the mystery so I cloaked him in a royal colored blanket instead…

    The long athletic body distinguishes them from other cats. Therefore, I didn’t cover up the legs completely.

    I only used colors and shapes around the cat that would draw attention to those hypnotic eyes.

    Artistic expression

    After posting my painting on my website my aunt said that I have intensified the frightening emotions she feels towards a Siamese cat. Little did she know that she had just given me the biggest compliment. The most important goal in my paintings is to capture and show the essence and nature of the animal.  Every day I feel honored to learn more about different animal natures. Sharing this experience with others is my main goal with my art.

    For Prints or greeting cards please go to: cat paintings

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    The value of water color paintings

    How can the most affordable medium be the most difficult to master and sell? 

    Watercolor vs Acrylic
    Unlike Acrylic, watercolor is unpredictable, unforgivable and unappreciated and is therefore not for the faint hearted artist.

    Mother Nature
    Acrylic on canvas 2007

    Watercolor is character building
    • To create desired results I have to plan ahead and think about the consequences of choosing colors and composition. It is much easier with Acrylic to correct mistakes than with water color.
    • There is no easy way out. Practice, practice, practice is the only watercolor way.
    • This is the only medium that teaches the painter to let go of the need of excessive control. Only when self control is learned is the artist able to enjoy and appreciate the unexpected effects of watercolor. I noticed that when I became better in water color I also became a better person. 

    Cozy Winter Day
    Watercolor 2011

    Transparent watercolors vs opaque watercolors (Gouache)
    Many critics or water color competition jurors prefer that artists should only use one or the other. Yet they have no objection of using any other product with transparent water colors such as, salt, alcohol or other products to create special effects. Personally I like to experiment and will use whatever will enhance my painting including Gouache.

    Love on the Rocks
    Transparent watercolor 2010 (without use of Gouache)

    Elephants crossing
    Transparent Watercolor 2010 (with use of Gouache)

    The value of watercolor paintings
    Acrylic artists ask more for their paintings because of the more expansive materials. They also can get more money because of the perceived higher value by critics and art collectors. However, the amount of work hours and effort is the same or more. Unfortunately, the painting is not as durable as acrylic and the effort is not paying enough. These are all factors why watercolor doesn't have the same acknowledgment as acrylic or oil paintings (yet). The artists, however, values the many possibilities and growth opportunities as an artist and person. When I look at a master piece of a water color artist I cannot help but feel respect and admiration, knowing what it takes to create a beautiful water color painting. I not only value the art piece of the painter but also the watercolor artists as a person. A successful watercolor artist has transcended the realm of material, talents and skills. Water color animal paintings have spiritual value.
    Putting a price tag on inner peace, inspiration and belief is therefore a daunting task for every water color artist.