Saturday, February 28, 2015


Not sure if I posted this one or not, sorry for the duplicate if I did.  It was taken last fall up in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts.  The leaves on the ivy were turning these glorious golds and oranges.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ahjah Dah

Would you worship this goddess? The people of the Ancient Near East, way back in the day, worshipped all sorts of gods and goddess'. Need a fine glass of Chardonney - call upon Geshchtinanna, a Sumerian god grapevines and wine. How about a nice ciabatta with that? Dagen, god of grain can help. I guess when you're desperate, it doesn't matter what the deity looks like, if they've got the goods, well so be it.

But this babe? I've named her Ahjah Dah, goddess of upper intestinal distress. Clearly she's hurting and feeling your pain. Maybe the ciabatta had too much garlic and she lifts her well rounded breasts to breathe easier. Perhaps she's performing an ancient Semitic ritual of cleansing hoping to rid herself of what ails you. But the eyes, well they tell the story man, they tell the story.
I saw this sweetie in the Tower of David Museum inside of the Jaffe Gate at the Old City in Jerusalem. She's a beaut!

This is a post from March of 2008 from my blog 'From a Thin Place'.  I've posted in honor of Krista, my friend who is in Israel right now.  I've doctored this photo up in Pixlr from the original.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Long Beach in Lordship

Lordship is a part of Stratford, CT that sits right on the coast of Long Island Sound.  A few weeks ago when I was on my search for snowy owls (that I never found) I shot this.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I Like Winter

This sweet little book appeared on Sunday at church.  It has some beautiful illustrations from the 1950's, there's even a little song about liking winter.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowy Steeple

Of Orange Congregational.  Running out of material since it's been so cold and snowy, I just don't want to go anywhere.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The making of a hummingbird 6 AKA Friday at the Feeder

Copyright Suzanne Wagner
Finished and signed Green Crowned Brilliant Female Hummingbird
Here's a close up of her head before she was finished.  You can see the interference paints on top of the washes.

Usually the burning question on everyone's mind is how long did this take you.  I have found that there is no satisfactory or right answer to that and I'm not even sure why that is important for folks to know that or that it matters.  If I said 150 hours would it make it a better painting then if I said 15 hours or 2.5 hours?  So I ask you, why is it important to know how long it takes to make a painting? Is the value of the painting dependent upon the time spent painting it?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The making of a hummingbird 5

You'll see here, after I've laid in the washes I begin to build up the under painting getting darker by using less water in the pigments.  I'm also experimenting on my sketch pad with the interference paints.  Oooo la la.  Putting the eye in helps also.  The bird painting itself about 4-5 inches so I'm working in a tight space with teeny tiny brushes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The making of a hummingbird 4

I mount the watercolor paper with transferred drawing on a drawing board to anchor it.  That's the 300lb hot press Fabriano Artistico that I talked about yesterday.  So I put in just enough detail so that I can see what is going on but not too much that I can use some artistic license and creativity.  I lay the first washes in and I don't worry about the hard edges just yet, I can get rid of those later.
You really need to work up the entire piece and not get bogged down in details at this point.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The making of a hummingbird 3

Here you can see the preliminary sketch before I began to choose my palette.  After I have developed a nice sketch that I like I transfer it to watercolor paper.  In the case of this painting I used Fabriano Artistico 300 lb hot press watercolor paper.  300 lb makes all the difference in the world.  My watercolor professor in college made me use 300 lb way back in the day and I have never used anything else.  It makes a difference.  Today post however is still from my sketchbook.  I didn't take photos of the transfer stage. 

I use the sketch book to try colors and techniques.  This painting needed a lot of playing with because I used interference powders to make the iridescent paints to capture the hummingbird's iridescent feathers.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The making of a hummingbird 2

First you do some preliminary sketches to get you warmed up, not very exciting.  These are not the one that I finally painted, the green crowned brilliant that I did yesterday.  That sketch you will see tomorrow.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The making of a hummingbird

It was just a year ago that I visited Costa Rica with Mindy Lighthipe, illustrator and Nancy Richmond, photographer.  Truly a beautiful trip.  I took this photograph at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in the area where there were hundreds of hummers flying around.  This one is a green crowned brilliant and she is the subject of my latest painting.  Over the next few days I'll post photos of my painting in progress.  Stay tuned.

Considering the weather outside today, frigid, blustery with snow all around I think I should go back next year.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday at the Feeder

While visiting a congregant he pointed out to me, through the window, the six or seven turkeys that often forage for food underneath the bird feeder.  They came so close to the house that I think if we opened the door they would have trotted right in.

Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


OK, one more macro.  This is the palette for my latest painting of a green crowned brilliant hummingbird.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


One more post from macro day here at Orange Slices.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species in the celery family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. It is the sole species in the genus Foeniculum. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absintheFlorence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.
Fennel is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the mouse moth and the anise swallowtail. - from Wikipedia

Monday, February 9, 2015

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

On Saturday I went to the Beinecke to view a collection of illustrated manuscripts of AsaKawa Kan'ichi (1873-1948) professor of history and the first curator of the East Asian collection at Yale.
Below is some history and information about the Beinecke from their website.  The also house one of the Gutenberg Bibles.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library contains the principal rare books and literary manuscripts of Yale University and serves as a center for research by students, faculty, and other scholars, whether affiliated with Yale or not. Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the Reading Room on the court level after researchers register with the Beinecke.
One of the largest buildings in the world devoted entirely to rare books and manuscripts, the library has room in the central tower for 180,000 volumes and in the underground book stacks for more than a million volumes. Temperature and humidity controls ensure that stored materials are protected for future generations.
The building, of Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass, was designed by Gordon Bunshaft, of the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; the George A. Fuller Construction Company was the general contractor. Work began on the building in 1960 and was completed in 1963. The white, gray-veined marble panes of the exterior are one and one-quarter inches thick and are framed by shaped light gray Vermont Woodbury granite. These marble panels filter light so that rare materials can be displayed without damage. From the exterior, however, the building's powerful stone geometry serves to dominate the space it occupies in Hewitt University Quadrangle, amidst neo-Classical and neo-Gothic neighbors. Also visible across the plaza is Alexander Calder's "Gallows and Lollipops".
A revolving glass door provides public entrance to the Beinecke Library. Upon entering, visitors see the glass tower of books that rises through the core of the building. Two stairways ascend on either side to the mezzanine level. Together with the entrance level, the mezzanine functions as a showcase for rotating exhibits that highlight the Beinecke's rich collections. The Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed from movable type, and Audubon's Birds of America are on permanent exhibition.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Friday at the Feeder

The kingdom of heaven is like what happens when a farmer plants a mustard seed in a field. Although it is the smallest of all seeds, it grows larger than any garden plant and becomes a tree. Birds even come and nest on its branches.
Macro mustard seeds!
copyright Suzanne Wagner

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lovely Lavender

It's still macro week at Orange Slices, there is a lot to learn about macro lenses.  Today I feature lavender.  I've always liked the scent of lavender but thanks to a friend who introduced me to Blueberry Lavender Pie I've used it in a few recipes.  YUMMY!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


So on my snow day off I did many things.  Some work.  Then some play.  I water colored my latest painting, watched and video'd the birds at my feeder while listening to Jethro Tull and I took out my camera and decided to play with the macro lens.  These are some of the results, I'll have macro week all this week.  This cyclamen was not in the best shape and not so colorful but a few shots came out.  BTW cyclamen grow like WEEDS in Israel, out of rocks and sand.

Monday, February 2, 2015

So outta material

These were taken on December 31, 2014 by my son Dan as we were approaching the GW Bridge.  It was a beautiful day with great visibility.