Posted in Art, art and environment, birds and birding, creativity, ecosytem, Falls of the Ohio, fresh water, Green, nature, nature photography, Ohio River, public art, watershed, tagged migration, spring, wildflowers on April 28, 2009|
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Managed to steal a few hours late in the afternoon and visited the Falls. Bad weather is predicted for later in the week, plus the Kentucky Derby Festival is going on now making routine trips an occassional challenge. The real reason I’m here today is to look for birds…it’s spring migration time and it seems to be happening a little later this year than last. I will, however, enjoy anything else that I happen to come upon. Such as these wildflowers…
I’m still learning the wildflowers…but I think the one on the top is called Pairie Trillium or Recurved Trillium. I’ve never seen this one here before. The bottom image is of a Celandine or Wood Poppy. The latter’s stem and flower buds are hairy. The trilliums were found along the Woodland Trail.
Okay…I know this is not the most exciting bird, but I found this pose to be interesting. I came upon this American Robin on the trail and instead of flying away, he froze staring straight at me. The most spectacular bird I saw today was a male and female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but my photo of them is not great. I hope to have other chances with that species. Cedar Waxwings were still around and I saw several birds of prey. The Turkey Vultures are back. Here’s a recent image of another bird that I think is becoming a problem at the Falls of the Ohio.
This is a male, Brown-headed Cowbird, ( the females are a duller gray). I have seen more of this species than I have seen here before. The curious thing about this bird is that it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. This species takes no care at all in raising its own young. That job is given to the parasitized species. The young cowbirds usually hatch first and either push out the other eggs or out compete the other young. The victim species does not recognize that the cowbird is not its own offspring.
Perhaps one reason there are more cowbirds, may have to do with more accessibility in the wooded portions of the Falls. The Brown-headed Cowbird is not a forest bird , but looks for breaks and clearings where it feels comfortable venturing in to look for other nesting birds. We have had two extreme weather events in less than a year ( a major ice storm and winds from Hurricane Ike) that have damaged so many trees. I wonder if this will impact the birds we will see this year and will the cowbird take additional advantage of them?
Tent catepillars seem to be more numerous this year as well. The trees here are certainly being stressed by various insects. Unfortunately, there are only a few bird species that will eat these catepillars.
I could have used this image for my last post. Hopefully, someday I will happen upon this person or persons who like to make “sculpture” from the found materials in the park. Already I have come across several structures that are mostly driftwood. This “wood car” is a little different in feeling from their past efforts. For me, it’s fun to come across something like this.
Among the willows and fossil rocks was this single fisherman. I don’t think he was having any luck. Perhaps like me, just being outside and near the river is it’s own reward. I am already looking forward to my next visit.
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Posted in Art, art and environment, creativity, ecosytem, Falls of the Ohio, fresh water, nature, nature photography, Ohio River, public art, Styrofoam, watershed, tagged archeology, context, entropy, gasoline on April 25, 2009|
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Here are a few recent images illustrating the state of disorder as seen at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. Let’s begin with…
This was once an expensive battery powered car for some lucky child and now its garbage. I can imagine this dynamically going over the dam only to come to rest lodged in this willow tree. I couldn’t resist adding the Styrofoam driver. On Earth Day, I checked on this “piece”. The car was still there, but the driver disappeared…a partial victory of sorts.
I come across and photograph enough of these gasoline containers that they form a subcategory of objects that I pay attention to. Gasoline is such a sign of the times that it seems particularly relevant. Where do these containers come from? I have never found one that still had gas in it. Because plastic is made from petroleum, as is gasoline, does putting gas into these containers become a redundant act?
Another vehicle this time a plastic toy truck. No longer fueling a child’s imagination this object awaits being picked up, washed away, or buried into the sand.
Exhaustion sets in and the wheels have come off. Provided there will be archeology in the future, how would you like to render and interpret the artifacts in this context?
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Posted in Art, art and environment, creativity, Falls of the Ohio, fresh water, Green, Louisville, Kentucky, nature, Ohio River, public art, Styrofoam, tagged driftwood structure, Earth Day, Mother and Child on April 22, 2009|
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It’s officially Earth Day and my friend Annie and fellow artist/standardized patient (a topic for a later time) went to the Falls today to be out in nature. After several cold and wet days we received one that’s a winner. In the spirit of collaboration we combed the riverbank and brought our finds together to create this Mother Earth image and child.
Here’s the finished result which is colorful if not disturbing! It was fun to make and includes various foams, plastics, driftwood, bark, grass to name a few of the found materials. We left the figures next to a driftwood structure (one of two we came across today) and it looks like home to me. Here are the before and after shots. Happy Earth Day!
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Posted in Art, birds and birding, creativity, Falls of the Ohio, fresh water, Green, Louisville, Kentucky, nature, nature photography, Ohio River, tagged clock, coral reef, Devonian Age, fossils, warbler on April 21, 2009|
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Working at the Falls of the Ohio is a reflective experience and thinking about the construct of “time” pops into my head a lot. To reinforce matters even more, less than a mile from my “studio” is this giant clock ticking away in a grand, but conventional manner. I once read that the largest clock face in the world was at another Colgate Palmolive plant in Jersey City, New Jersey, but it was demolished in 1988. Our clock, the one in Jeffersonville, IN, I believe is now the biggest. At night it glows red. The building was once a prison before the toothpaste factory relocated here. Recently, it was sold to another interest and we aren’t quite sure what’s going to happen with certainty, but it is everybody’s wish that the clock remain. From downtown Louisville, you can tell time by looking across the Ohio River.
About a mile or so away from the clock is another landmark, the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, IN. If it had nothing else, it would be one of the most important fossil sites in the world. In the rocks here you will find more species from the Devonian Age than anywhere else. In the time line of life, the fossils here are the high point of life as it existed over 375 million years ago. Essentially, this bedrock limestone is the bottom of the river. The best time to see these rocks is in the late summer and early fall when the water level is low.
Although today’s park is a fresh water environment, back in Devonian times this was a shallow, marine reef ecosystem dominated by various corals. When these now long extinct animals were alive, they existed somewhere in the latitude of the present day Bahama Islands. The Devonian age is noted for the appearance of fish, the first animals with backbones, but here at the Falls their fossils are rare. Contemporary fish bones, however, are not. Here is a carp skeleton.
There are many lessons about life in these rocks. I often wonder as I stand upon them whether intelligence and sentience will prove to be an evolutionary advantage. I think that’s why we are here. So far, I think the book is still open on that one. I found this faux-fossil (one of two such balls found over the years here) and couldn’t resist the juxtaposition. Fossil collecting in the park is prohibited, but I did pocket this pink ball with its embossed trilobite.
Presently, the migratory birds are feeling that rhythm to move northward. The yellow-rumped warbler is the first warbler to arrive and the last to leave. This male has staked out his territory and is singing away as his kind has done for thousands of years. Last year was spectacular for warblers. Here’s hoping for a repeat.
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Posted in Art, art and environment, creativity, Falls of the Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, nature, Ohio River, public art, Styrofoam, tagged Art, dog, ecoart, hound, photography, sculpture on April 18, 2009|
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Here’s a project from this April that shows some variation from my usual working process. I started this dog sculpture, but wasn’t completely happy with it. I did cut into the dog’s styrobody to inset the foam pieces that make up part of its legs. I also started with small fishing bobber eyes, but later changed them to hickory nuts.
Two shots from the river the day I made this sculpture. The ears are pieces of thick bark. I posed this work first next to a plastic gasoline container. I find a lot of these and have a collection of photos of them. I also plan to later post a series of “Collections” that I have made of other river debris. The second shot was in an area where fishermen would see it. I come across real dogs at the Falls on occassion. People do walk their animals here. I do remember being surprised once by three pit bulls running down the beach all unleashed!! They had run ahead of their masters and found me. Fortunately, they were all sweethearts, but I have had encounters with feral dogs running in packs in other woods. Oh, there was one other highlight on this day. I saw and poorly photographed an American Turkey walking along the tree line. It was the first one I had ever seen at the Falls and is a bird strangely not on the park’s checklist.
Last shot is of the revamped “Styro-Hound” at my home. I saved this piece, because I knew I could improve it and make it seem more dog-like. I switched out the ears. One is the sole of a shoe and the other is a plastic, wing from a dove hunting decoy. I also changed a few of the sticks forming its limbs. All the materials were found at the Falls. I can keep my project “pure” because so much washes up here. “Styro-Hound” variation II, was unveiled at the park’s Earth Day observance.
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Posted in Art, creativity, Falls of the Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, nature, public art, Styrofoam, tagged Absurd, Art, found object art, plastic bottle, site-specific sculpture, watershed on April 14, 2009|
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Using two very eroded pieces of Styrofoam, driftwood, hickory and walnuts, and plastic I created this figure in a cache of plastic green bottles. Just another example of conspicuous consumption found in the context of nature.
Here’s a side view. The sad part is this wasn’t all the plastic bottles (much less the green ones) found in the immediate area of this figure. Yes, there are river clean-ups several times a year, but with normal high water “fresh” material is deposited. You just can’t get it all. People please dispose of your garbage properly!
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