April 1 will be the year anniversary of selling our home and hitting the road for parts unknown. Pulling our vintage canned ham trailer “bluebird” we traveled up and down the west coast from Joshua Tree to the Pacific North West, spending time in Mount Shasta along the way. Following a mutual longing, we found our new home in the high desert of the Mojave.
As we traveled I drew and illustrated my impressions of song birds that we encountered and became interested in the sounds that they make as a way of identifying them.
I think of birds as our connection to the sky and the cosmos. I experience their songs as a language of vibrations that we can only approximate with “sound words” which in themselves create a language.
I am in the process of creating a book of these song birds and their sound words. It is called “Tweedle deedle Eek!” and it is close to being born. More on it’s arrival soon.
one time one place
along the gravelly banks
of a swift moving stream
an arroyo toad awakens
in his burrow
from a deep winter sleep
to the music of water
rushing over pebbles, boulders and rocks
as steel head swims by
in a flash of rainbow
on her way to the sea
Working with the educational program Once Upon a Watershed at the Oak Grove School in Ojai, California, I have created a picture book for children of all ages. Paintings depicting species of birds, trees and other flora and fauna from our Ojai watershed illustrate a 32 page, soft cover, 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, full color book. Once Upon a Watershed is an art book, a visual poem and a teaching tool created with hope of raising awareness of the diversity of species that share our watershed and rely on open space for their survival.
The price is $14.95 plus $3.95 for shipping. A portion of all proceeds go to Once Upon a Watershed. Click the button below to order a book. For multiples please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ground squirrels are part of the circle of life that lives in the meadows of our watershed. They live in burrows underground where the millipedes and earthworms mix the soil helping the grasses to grow. Ground squirrels eat the grasses and the rattlesnakes, eagles, raccoons, foxes, badgers, and weasels eat the ground squirrels. Ground squirrels run and frolic in the meadow and are happy to be.
In 2008 I began a series of paintings dedicated to species of birds, trees and plants
whose existence is threatened by loss of habitat and climate change.
The retablos are painted on salvaged metal, old advertising and traffic signs. Many of the series are on portions
of an old metal sign that had been used to advertise a housing development (on what had once been a meadow)
in Ojai of the 1960’s.
scroll down to view retablos completed so far
western bluebird (salia mexicana) © Dianne Bennett
Click here for fine art prints of western bluebird
ardea herodius, great blue heron Ojai Valley Meadow Preserve © Dianne Bennett
Click here for fine art prints of great blue heron
tri-colored blackbird Ojai Valley Meadow Preserve ©Dianne Bennett
Click here for fine art prints of tri-colored blackbird
western snowy plover Ormond Beach wetland preserve ©Dianne Bennett
Click here for fine art prints of western snowy plover
Least tern Ormond Beach wetland preserve © Dianne Bennett
Click here for fine art prints of least tern