Posts Tagged ‘mink’

Falls facing west, 6/09

On Father’s Day I got up early and headed to the river.  I had a three hour window of opportunity before the family gatherings began.  Those close to me know how special these excursions to the river are for me.  It’s part of my mental health maintenance ritual.  I need to come out here, see what I can see and make an object/image from what I find.  Here’s this day’s post.

King's head in studio, 6/09

This is where I sit surrounded by the materials I use to make my particular form of art.  Whatever that is happens to be open for debate.  Where exactly does the art occur?  Is it in the process of walking the river and selecting materials?  Is it in the sculptural models I make from them?  Is it located in the images I photograph of those models in their unique site specific contexts?  Could it be in some of the great conversations I’ve had with people intrigued by what I do?  Is it in trying to build awareness of our inherent creativity and connection to the planet?  Does it reside in the activity that is this blog?  Maybe someone out there can help me out?

Falls looking south, 6/09

I’m not deterred by weather…unless lightening is involved.  I’m out here when it’s 100 degrees or below zero.  Today it rained off and on.  Where I sit under the willow trees you can mostly stay dry.  The activity of making something causes me to forget my physical discomfort.  The Ohio River has been a little higher than usual because of all the rain that fell east of here.  The little bit of wind was generating waves that forced the driftwood to tumble over the debris and collect along that day’s shoreline.

King's Rain, 6/09

I imagined this figure as being some kind of “king”.  I think that comes from his head gear.  You can’t really see this, but there is a plastic rose under the “crown”.  His nose is a burnt out Christmas lightbulb.  The ears are some rubber object I broke in half.  The mouth is a plastic bottle cap.  His eyes are waterlogged nuts.  I liked posing this figure near the water’s edge…just out of reach of the waves.  The green ring could be his symbol of office.  I later lost the ring, but found a green wiffle ball that took its place.

Facing east, 6/09

This shot gives a good view of the willow habitat as you look east.  I didn’t see this until I got home, but the tree lying in the foreground connects with the bridges beyond it.  Very few people came out today.  I did see the mink again which delighted me.  I hope it hangs out for awhile and calls this place its home.  It’s a little bit of unexpected, but welcomed wildness.  Last shot is of the “King” set up in a different location.  The smudge to the right is rain water on the camera’s lens I didn’t notice at the time.  I left the figure standing at the Falls and went home.

The King's game, 6/09

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Fixed wier dam, 6/09

After several days that featured heavy thunder showers, Saturday morning opened clear and bright.  I had a feeling that this would be a special day and it didn’t take very long to be proven right.  In less than five minutes I had my first memorable encounter of the day below the fixed wier dam.

Mink, 6/09

Running along the shoreline,  investigating every nook and cranny was this mink!  Please excuse the exclamation mark, but this was the first one I had ever seen at the Falls. It’s been over twenty years since I first visited this place.  There have been times I thought I came across their tracks, but I’m no expert in this area.  This mink kept moving which made it difficult to photograph.  It ran right up the sloping concrete wall of the dam and I lost it in the underbrush! 

Black-crowned Night Heron, 6/09

Bird life was plentiful today.  I was scolded by wrens and laughed at by chickadees as I sat in my outdoor studio surrounded by the materials I have gathered to make my sculptures.  I watched orioles and blue jays, catbirds and grackles, and a pair of eastern kingbirds courting and chasing away every other bird to enter their territory.  I also watched the herons and decided to try to make one from my poor materials.  The bird above is the Black-crowned Night Heron and there were many out fishing today.

Foaming Brain's head, 6/09

When I reached my “studio’, I could see that the site had been visited.  Most of the sculptures that I had made over the previous weeks had been damaged or destroyed.  As I have mentioned before, this is an experiment in human nature…albeit one without a hypothesis.  For the most part, I want to believe that people are good…until I’m proven wrong beyond a shadow of a doubt.  One of the many services my art seems to perform is as an outlet for unfocused aggression.  Naturally, I would have liked it better if instead of destroying these figures, new ones were created by other hands than mine.  I leave all the materials I’ve gathered on site for others to use if they feel so inclined. I’m also alright with the idea that if someone liked a piece…they can take it home with them.  Whatever is left behind nature eventually claims anyway.  I remind myself that it’s also okay to let this stuff go…it’s liberating and besides, I’ll just make more.

Styro-heron, 6/09

Styro-heron, 6/09

Since today’s action was happening near the wier dam, I photographed the Styro-heron I made near this area.  This bird is primarily polystyrene foam, driftwood, plastic and that’s it.  I have no idea what the object serving as tail feathers is, but it’s made from Styrofoam too.  The eyes on my bird are tiny, plastic fishing bobbers.  The blue herons around the Falls are very difficult to approach, but they do love it here.  Through spotting scopes, I’ve seen as many as fifteen birds fishing together from the fossil rocks on the Kentucky side.  World wide, this is a very successful species.

Styro-heron, 6/09

An alternate shot and one that shows the other side of the sculpture.  I’ll end with an image of a real Great Blue Heron taken at the Falls a few weeks ago during a time of high water.

Great Blue Heron, 5/09

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