I have just finished my latest portrait of a Gentleman Squirrel. Since I love food and entertaining so much I thought I'd picture him serving up a tray of his finest roasted acorns to his guests. It is done along the lines of my other victorian inspired animal portraits but I amped up the color a bit as I thought the grey suit complimented his grey fur. As with my other squirrel portraits I've used my "pet" squirrels from my courtyard that feed daily on my fire escape as my models. Prints and also portrait brooches of the Gentleman Squirrel are available in my Etsy shop, Curious Portraits!
Each year I eagerly wait for the new baby squirrels to finally come out of their nests. Yesterday I was so thrilled to see one sitting right under his Mother's arms on my windowsill! Today when I left peanuts out I was able to snap this photo. I had to shoot them through the screen because the baby is still so skittish but as you can see the Mother has no problems peering in the window to get my attention! Happy Spring!
Slowly but surely Daisy's portraits are progressing even though I never seem to find enough time to work on my own stuff. I am still excited about these portrait;. Daisy's expressions and personality are so apparent in all the photos I have of her and it is a challenge to capture them. Let's face it, most squirrels look alike. I have 5 of them now that I feed (all descendants of Daisy no doubt) and I must confess that I cannot tell them apart. Maybe squirrel features develop over time, after all Daisy was at least 4 years old and the present squirrels are 1 year at the most. It will be interesting to watch them grow and see if my theory holds water.
I finally finished painting my Christmas card and am ready to send it out, miraculously ahead of time! I usually use a dog portrait or do a special Christmas themed painting of Bingo but this year I thought it was finally time to immortalize my courtyard squirrels. This is Daisy on the left and Pip on the right enjoying some holiday cheer!
I’ve had a sleepless week mostly due to athe presence of pesky mosquitoes in the apartment . I had the same problem strangely enough last October only then it was so bad it reached Amityville Horror proportions. I was hunting down and exterminating half a dozen mosquitoes a night. I was half crazed with lack of sleep to the extent that my friends were beginning to doubt me with questions like “Has anyone else actually seen these mosquitoes?” It was a terrible time for me and just as suddenly as it had begun, it ended and all was forgotten. Until this past week that is when I started hearing that un-mistakable buzzing around my head. Even Bingo was annoyed by them and would quickly jump off the bed and sleep underneath where they don’t bother him. The biggest problem is that once I am awake and even killed the mosquito if I am lucky, I simply cannot fall back to sleep. I just lie there for hours with my head filled with thought until the sun comes up and I drift off for an hour or two before I have to really wake up. Strangely enough in those hours I’ve been dreaming about squirrels; my squirrels as a matter of fact, chewing through the screens and coming into my apartment which believe it or not has happened more than once. It is not a continuation of the Mosquito Amityville Horror but a direct result of my own behaviour. I have a family of 4 squirrels in the courtyard that I feed off the fire escape.
Daisy is the matriarch who has been coming around for about 3 years. Pip and Skippy are her children who were born last February or March and then there is the mysterious fourth squirrel who appears but is always greeted with hissing and squeaking from Daisy who is very territorial. They are the jolliest of all creatures and watching their antics always brightens even the darkest of days. Daisy will actually come to the window sill of my studio to implore me through some sort of mind control to feed her. I can feel her beady little eyes boring into me from behind and I must obey. She is the only one I feed by hand as she knows the rules about chewing through the screen. A rule Pip seems to finally get after several successful attempts to enter the apartment. I hope my landlord never notices the patches upon patches on all my screens, I will have a hard time explaining that away. Anyway it is most likely when I am opening the screens to feed the squirrels and birds that the mosquitoes are getting in so you see it does all tie in together nicely at the end.