Archive for the ‘Mosaics Created’ Category

The Post: Kids’ How-To Raise Fiddlers is in Progress!

January 18, 2016

Just thought I’d give you a hint of what’s in the works for kids in my new fiddler crab book:

Fiddler Crabs: If You Like Tweaky, I’m Your Pet – The Kids’ (or Kids at Heart) Guide to Raising Fiddler Crabs

by Debra Bailey, with Snarky Comments by Admiral Byrd

It will be a simple guide for middle grade ages and older on how to get started raising these great critters.  I will follow later with an adult version how-to, that will go into more detail. But I wanted to start with young nature geeks who might just fall in love with these tweaky creatures as much as I did.

So for now, here’s the Intro page to the book:”First, A word From Admiral Byrd”

adm-byrd-waving-resize-for-cafe-press

So, It’s about time you got here!

The name is Admiral Byrd and I was the KING of my aquarium.  Now my keeper has decided to write a book telling kids how to have fiddler crabs for pets.  It’s about time!  It sure took her long enough.

Well all I’m going to say is fiddler crabs are cool, tweaky and the BEST creatures you could ever have for a pet. And I have TONS of friends out there waiting for a good home.

So why are you still on this page?

Get reading and find out how you too can have a fiddler crab as great…well ALMOST as great, as me!  GET GOING!

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The Post: Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara & Melanie Hamilton reappearing!

January 4, 2016

Well, it has been a long quiet time on Soul Mosaic, for good reason.  I have been very busy creating STEM programs at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, NC for these last almost 4 years. It is a fantastic job with the opportunity to reach out to students from all walks of life and engage them in the excitement that is science.

It is my passion to reach out especially to underserved students and schools and get them actively involved in science labs so they can see for themselves that a career in science is not beyond them. It is all about demystifying science and removing the fear.  I love it.

Soul Mosaic, though, has never left my soul.  I’ve just been on hiatus, feeding my soul in new ways.

As a result, I have some new things coming up in the next few months.

I am working slowly on plans for a series of book and article projects, some of which will draw directly from my Fiddler Crab experiences with Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara, and Melanie Hamilton.  Hence my favorite crustacean creatures will be reappearing in this blog and in articles and e-books in the coming months.

One – Fiddler Crab Love – will be lighthearted retrospective look at all the blog entries, couple with new comments on each one.

Another will be the The Soul Mosaic Quick Start Guide to Raising and Loving Fiddler Crabs.  I’ve accumulated a lot of experience and info on raising fiddlers and on things to do to get your setup going quickly and successfully (and keeping it that way).  So I will be publishing a short e-book on that in the coming months.

A third project – Molting Through Midlife – a soul work for sure, will be a deeper, more emotional journey through the years I was raising Admiral Byrd and company.  There was a lot going on in my life, and it’s time to look back from 5 years down the road, to explore the many truths that made themselves clear.  It will be my memoir of a difficult time, of struggle, survival, resilience, and how some tiny creatures led me to the path for a better life.

Beyond that, I have material in progress for a young reader book sharing the adventures of Admiral Byrd, Scarlett O’Hara, and Melanie Hamilton!

So I will be chronicling the progress of these projects here and keep all posted as to when and where they will be published.  In fact, for the duration, my entire focus on this blog will be these projects.  In the past I had many projects and topics I wanted to pursue.  I realize now it is time to narrow the focus…to, as I said in this early blog entry, Pick a Nipple. (If you never read that entry, please do for the explanation to what that comment means! 😉 )

I hope you will come along for the ride. Thank you!

PS  A gift to anyone in the Raleigh, Cary or Wilmington NC areas.  If you are at all interested in saltwater tanks, reef tanks (as well as freshwater tropicals, and of course Fiddler crabs 🙂 ) I found a great place with knowledgeable and helpful staff, and lots of tanks, critters and supplies:

The Fish Room

Check them out!

The Post – Seagull Scape, Last pics

January 24, 2011

The malevolent eyes of the hunter….seeking stray french fries on the beach???

 

 

 

 

 

The disgruntled birds claiming territory….and any french fries….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ropes…..I saw them in my sleep after a while….little criss-crosses of fibers….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seagull scape, the final view…..and not a french fry in sight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have this thing about seagulls and french fries after nearly being attacked on the beach by a flock of hungry gulls who had a love of french fries…probably due to their living next to a restaurant.   🙂

I am pleased with the outcome of this painting and it will get added to my artist website: Debra Bailey Fine Art

The Post – Seagull seascape progress #2

January 17, 2011

Update on the seagull seascape painting. Added a bit more to all of the seagulls, more highlights and shading to the pilings, and ropes around pilings and connecting them.

Now the painting needs to dry so I can then put a slightly greenish brown wash over the rope – give it that weathered, sea-algae coated look. Right now the rope is too white. The two gulls on the left are getting closer but need to dry before I can put in some defining highlights and shadows on the feathers, eyes and mouths.

The hovering gull is ’emerging from the canvas’ – feathers starting to be defined, beak and eyes starting to go in, darks and lights in the feathers getting stronger. Stay tuned for next progress shot.

The Post – Seagull Seascape in progress

January 15, 2011

Here’s a current “painting-in-progress” .  All seagulls need finishing, then some ropes around the pilings and one rope connecting the pilings. I’ll update the pics as I go along.

Canvas size is 12″ x 24″  and the medium is my favorite:  oils.

Yes, the seagulls have no faces yet! Maybe I should leave them that way as some kind of philosophical statement? 🙂

I so love seascapes, sea birds, wooden pilings, stormy seas….

Stay tuned for pictures of progress.

The Post – Dolphins: Artist Approach Step 1- Soul

January 9, 2011

I am not a marine scientist so I cannot weigh in on the scientific merits of the free vs. captive dolphin debate. However, I am an artist and there, I can serve the marine mammals. If seeing them in captivity is supposed to forge an emotional connection, then maybe seeing them lovely portrayed in a painting can do the same.

I also have a friend who expressed an interest in having a painting of a fish underwater. I think the original will have to be hers, but the prints will become my gift to the world and to dolphins in particular.

This morning, on a quest to see how I might approach this endeavor, I spent some quality time on Google images. Did a search on the term “dolphins underwater” and went to the “images” heading. There I found many photos to inspire me. I never actually copy a photo, but I do glean a “feeling” of the animal, it’s emotions, how it holds itself in the water, its soul.

But it’s not just the animal I need to “feel” but it’s environment. I need to “feel the fluidity, denseness, and motion” of the water around it along with how the light cuts through the layers of liquid. I need to feel the “temperature” of the environment – cold Arctic waters or warm Caribbean. And is it clear or cloudy with plankton, debris, dirt.

I often print out a few key pictures and just stare at them. Soak up their soul, shapes, colors….until I’ve internalized the animal and its space.

Next will be “Step 2 – Composition”  Stay tuned.

 

The Post – Drowning in Animal Stories

January 5, 2011

My back den is lined with a few boxes along one wall – FULL of printouts of animal stories I’ve found or read over the years. I’ve always felt I was supposed to do something with them – write about them, incorporate them in a story, paint them, something. But I never could figure it out, so hence, there they sit, in boxes and here I sit, drowing in animal stories.

In re-starting my blog I decided to focus on my art and art business, having taken a break from novel-writing. I realize that the focus of both of those topics is NATURE ie all my paintings and photos have to do with nature and animals. In my last few posts, I’ve shared some interesting NATURE and ANIMAL links.

It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps there is something I can do with some of those stories and new ones I come across – share them here. Sometimes just to share, sometimes to comment on. I may even try out some Haikus. But in some form or another, those tidbits of the natural world may finally have a use, and see the light of day.

So while some blogs focus on sports, or movie stars, or religion or politics, and certainly I may touch on one or two of those now and then, my blog must reflect my main interests and that is – the glory that is nature. My gift to you all, and my gift back to the natural world.

The Post – The Challenge of Animal Cams….

January 5, 2011

Animals are like kids – it’s a major challenge to get a good photograph of them.  When I got this photo for “Hey Baby!”  I must have shot almost 200 photos. Either he wasn’t positioned right, or he moved just as I clicked the shutter, the lighting didn’t highlight him right or I screwed up and used the wrong ISO or lens, or I used aperature priority when I should have used auto. Then of course, you can’t tell a fiddler crab “come on baby, work we me, yeah, flick your hair, turn, smile….”  And of course, the times he was in perfect position waving his claw, I was just in the middle of something else with no camera handy and by the time I grabbed the tripod and set up the camera, he was doing something else.  Suffice it to say tt was a major challenge getting one shot that he looked good in that was in focus, lit right etc.

I kept wishing I could have put my camera in the tank but too distracting and upsetting for Admiral Byrd and too awkward for me….not to mention I didn’t have one of those waterproof housings and my camera was too big for the tank.

I would have loved one of those smaller cameras you can just set up – a “fiddler cam.”  Ultimately that is the answer to good pics I think….at least in terms of spontaneity and not upsetting him, but who knows if the kind of cam I could afford would focus well etc.

However, when I saw the following video I didn’t feel so bad. If professionals could have problems, I guess I didn’t do so bad. What I encountered was nothing compared to what the BBC group photographing polar bears went through, and they even  had robotic cameras… For your viewing pleasure:  Polar Bear video

I’ll just stick to fiddler crabs…. 🙂  have a nice day.

The Post – Hey Baby! …. A Tribute to Admiral Byrd.

January 2, 2011

Hey Baby! He was always there – strong, intrepid, fearless, hopeful.  He never stopped waving his claw even when he was the only crab left. We’d come back from being out and would peer into the house from the garage door and we could see him – standing on his tank rock, the dark kitchen lit only by the light of his tank, all alone in the house, tank, world, and still, he was waving.

Fiddler crabs wave their claws to catch the attention of passing females in the hopes the female will choose the home they have made, instead of some other male’s nest. They also wave them to warn other males to stay away.

Admiral Byrd was the uncontested master of his world – the 10 gallon tank in our kitchen. He was one of three fiddler crabs we bought over two years ago. In that time he outlived Peter Lorre, Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara, Melanie Hamilton, the Three Muses and a couple other males who didn’t live long enough to be named. He was the only one of them who was ALWAYS out exploring his tank – the females rarely emerged from the inside of their rock and the other males just sat in their rocks. He was always marching about the tank, even when he was brand new and he had no idea if this aquarium place was a deathtrap or a blessing. Admiral Byrd was the first, the best, and eventually, the only. There was only one Admiral Byrd and he lives on in our heart.

I buried him outside, just as I’ve done with the dogs, gerbils, hamsters, and rat. Because he was such a special creature in spite of being our smallest pet, I buried him in my meditation corner, right next to my statues of Buddha and Mary. (They’re a story for another day).

Now, to commemorate what a tremendous spirit he had in spite of being such a small creature, I honor him with this image of him in classic Admiral Byrd pose – out and waving. He is the logo picture for my Cafe Press store, and I have a whole line of products – mugs, T-shirts, note cards. I even have a case for my iPhone 4 that carries his picture. The “Hey Baby!” quote captures his unbreakable and commanding spirit. Humans could take a lesson from his never giving up.

So with Hey Baby!  on my storefront to remind me never to give up, I can always keep his spirit in me as I work my online store. And as I sip tea in a Hey Baby! coffee mug, I can still have Admiral Byrd with me in spirit, waving at me from the cup.  But most of all, he will live on in our hearts forever. 🙂

PS  If you would like to read the history of all the fiddlers, their antics, pregnancies, lives and deaths, just click here, or on the right sidebar page titled: And What’s the Deal With All the Fiddler Crab Stuff

The Post – I won the Battle of Photoshop!!

January 1, 2011

I was struggling with putting my images up on the Cafe Press site for my nature art products.  I wanted the image of my fiddler crab, Admiral Byrd, as the main pic for the site and for its own product line. Sounds good.

Loading the image went fine but even though I used 72 pt font to type in Hey Baby!  you could barely see it on the products or even the site’s picture. I tried everything – layers, putting the text in a canvas border (boy did that look stupid) , trying to downsize the picture (even though that’s an even stupider idea than putting text in the canvas border). How was I going to get big enough letters to show up on a high resolution image?????

FINALLY I decided to go back to my book, Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac.  I had spent a couple of hours going through the book earlier, with no help. But this was like God sending St. Peter back out to keep fishing after a whole night of no fish. You go back and try one more time and WOW! Talk about God sending a lightening bolt. Lo, THERE, on page 390, which my book just HAPPENED  to open to, was the answer: “How Resolution Affects Font Size”.  Did anybody here know you could get a bigger font size than what was in the drop-down menu????  I didn’t. As it turns out, you can just type in your own font size. And based on how tiny 72 was, I went for 150.

GUESS WHAT?  YES!  My words, Hey Baby!, not only showed up but they showed up as the right size!!!!  So I now have my site’s main picture, and a product line design picture, BOTH with the appropriately sized and looking text!!!!  YES!  One battle down, 3, 276.25 battles to go! 🙂

Soon to come….why Admiral Byrd as the icon of my Cafe Press shop and why, “Hey Baby!”  🙂

PS  Looking over posts unfinished from last year, suffice to say the ants died and that project ended quickly, at least for then. I’ll revisit at some point. As as for the Muses – they and Admiral Byrd are no longer with us. But Admiral Byrd is buried outside next to my statues of Buddha and Mary. He deserved to be honored and they will watch over him.