Bluebird Hill

I promised the final image for the wine label… here it is!  So pretty and blue! Come see me next month at their Memorial Day open house/grand opening of the tasting room. I’ll be there with my art on Saturday, May 28th.


This is a new winery and Bed & Breakfast enterprise for Sue and Neil, they couldn’t have picked a lovelier spot!  The views from the farm are glorious. For more information go to:  Bluebird Hill Cellars

Orientation and Wine Labels

A month ago, I got a call from a friend to create an image for her wine label, Bluebird Hill.  Neil and Sue Shay have a local vineyard/winery and needed some art to grace their new label.  Bluebird Hill Farm hosts a small craft wine enterprise and along with the vineyard and wine, they are running a bed and breakfast in their private hilltop retreat.  You can learn more about them here:  Bluebird Hill Farm  and on their Facebook page : Bluebird Hill .


This morning, Sue and I photographed the bluebird painting and discussed whether it was flying north across a sunset as the view looked west (as I thought), or was it flying south across the sunrise to the east?  Since Sue provided the photo of the view (and  I inserted a bird into the final painting) I figured she knew the image better than me!  But I can be stubborn… having lived out here for going on 30 years, and having seen these mountains for that long and having spent last month rendering the view, surely we were looking west.  Right?

Well, I just looked at their web page again, and Sue’s landscape photo is the star of the home page.  The whole time I was painting it, I thought I was painting the coast range behind our homes (I live south of Bluebird Hill Farm).   It took me a moment to place where I was in Sue’s photo, but I see now the actual image does look to the south/southeast with the sunrise coming up exactly where it should be!

For someone who prides herself on maintaining her orientation, this took me by surprise. I had spent all this time thinking I was facing one way, when I was really facing another.  There’s a lesson here somewhere, probably something about not making assumptions, or maybe even being more careful when cropping images for reference material.  All  I can say is, I’m glad I wasn’t actually out in the woods trying to make my way to the trail head or back to the car after tromping around off trail (as I frequently do).  Lesson actually learned? Don’t get too cocky thinking you know where you are!

Also, laughing at yourself is a good thing.  I’ll post the actual label once Sue gets the image to her graphic designer and they work out how the design nests together with the painting.  Until then, it will grace the walls of her home and eventually, the tasting room.  Cheers everyone!

The Bluebird of Happiness

My husband is kinda cute.  Years ago, there was a family of bluebirds that would periodically try to use our seasonally dormant chimney as a high rise condo for a nest.  This “try” never got farther than the “Oh shit, what have I done?” stage when the lesser brained bird would flutter all the way down the chimney pipe and into the actual dormant wood stove where he (?) would summarily get stuck.

Thus necessitating a daring rescue from the occupants of the actual home these feathered invaders were trying to “squat” on.  Or in.  Whatever.

The cute part is coming up.  I came home from work one day to hear a tale from previously introduced husband.  How he heard a sound.  He ignored it, then heard it again.  Frantic, fluttering.  Fluttering?  He got up from his relaxed state of couch surfing and tracked down the odd noise.

The house terrier was jumping excitedly at the glass panes of the wood stove when the hubby saw a brief movement within.  Then the flutter sound.  He quickly sussed it out…. a bird!  In the stove!

Upon opening the door, he saw, there, in the ashes of winter passed, a small bluebird. It peered up at him with eyes of beady black, then, in a flash, it leaped up and flew OUT!  Out, but INTO the house!  There was a bird, at large, in the house.

The terrier leaped, to no avail.  The bird, he was quicker!  The husband yelled and fell back.  There was a bird in the house.  A WILD bird!

The little bluebird flew to the window and discovered the force field we use to protect our nest… we like to call it glass.  The bird made a slight thump and bounced off and into my fast recovering husband’s outstretched hands.  Touchdown!

He held the small bird and did the thing we all do when fortunate enough to hold a wild bird in ones hand… he looked it over very carefully.  It’s blue feathers, its small beak, those round eyes rimmed with a band of gray.  There are delicate intricacies of patterns, color, fletching, these things you don’t see when a bird is on the wing.  To see it up close, without your own eye pressed to a binocular lense, is to see it in the real.  To feel the warmth and the tiny heart beat in your hand is to feel the spirit of nature herself.

The hub and the bird regarded one another.  Eye to eye, for a moment. And in that moment they were awed and touched.  Knowing time was important, to hold the bird longer than necessary was to trap him and harm him with fear, my husband opened the door to the outside world.  He stepped beyond the porch and held the bird to the open sky.  In a blink, the bird leapt and was gone, swooping off in long arcs across our meadow of spring grass.

In that moment, my husband was happy.  He felt blessed by the bluebird of happiness.

And that, was the story he shared with me.  It was the story I remembered when a week later, that bird forgot his error in judgement and found its way into my living room again. This time, I got to hold the bluebird of happiness in my hands.  And you know what?  Happiness is a fragile thing.  It has to be set free in order for it to fly and be and create more happiness. It’s a rare thing to hold it in your hands.

We both were blessed with that story.  As for the bluebird?  He found a better home and didn’t make that mistake a third time. If I want to look closely at them, I have to dial in the focus on our Bushnells… and then close one eye because they never seem to work right for me.  They are lovely to admire from a distance and I’m glad they are taking a pass on the chimney pipe these days.  But that brief encounter was a small blue miracle, one of the many magical moments that make up a life and make one happy to be alive.

The bluebird of happiness: