Wednesday, April 26, 2017

News from the animal world

Hello, we have many small news. Well, for us they are huge! At last after 3 years of animal absence we have got pets in our home!
 The first were four baby New Guinea stick insects. The ones above. They will grow larger than a woman's palm and will have a rather intimidating looks. 
 Later we got 4 insects more, but this time they are the funny looking Vietnamese walking sticks. Hanna likes to feed them by hand. And man, they eat fast and much!
Handling insects requires care and patience. I think it's great for teaching kids to be gentle with animals.

Just before we got the walking sticks I bought a young pair of Java finches. I used to have a very inquisitive couple. These here are still reluctant to leave their cage. But the male has the most wonderful song! 
The newest addition to our "animalarium" are two baby Guinea pig brothers. They are still very skittish, but I don't mind taming them.  My biologist gene can now manifest!
Hanna also helps me with the process. Actually the piggies started coming out of their hiding place when I read goodnight books to Hanna.
Today I realized that there's no escaping from the thing known as parent expectations. I never had any thought on what Hanna would become. And suddenly today I imagined how nice it would be if she became some kind of animal or plant researcher, preferably in some exotic place. Talk about a parent projecting her unfulfilled dreams onto the kid!
Anyway, this is not the end. I have reserved a Cornish rex kitten and hopefully it's joining us in June. There's a fish tank in my plans too. I tell everybody, since I can never have a dog (due to dog allergy), even if you put all our animals in one spot, they wouldn't make a full medium dog! And I wanted a standard poodle...
I just thought, this is what I always wanted, why constrain myself. Especially, when I have Hanna as a excuse :-D
By the way, it seems I am a person who makes her Guinea pigs fleece caves and tunnels... These two here are the only ones with names. Hanna named them Hakuna and Matata...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Life of antelopes.

Here are some more images I have created for the challenge "Art everyday". 
There are so many curious antelopes in the world. For instants the next smallest antelope with a curious name Dik-dik (it's the sound the distressed animal makes). It's the size of a cat. 
Then there's the sable antelope with it's deadly antlers and powerful neck.
And this one is just dedicated to all the proud impalas, gnus and others in the Savannah.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Vandas and cattleyas

 So, I have managed to finish the challenge "Art everyday for 30 days" without any gaps. Except for some very light sketches  which barely qualify as art and the old work (which was by the rules).
I will post more of the things I have created during this month. 
These two mixed media pictures are about orchids and 30's ladies.
A Cattleya orchid can sometimes be very difficult to bloom. Thus I was amazed to find out that women wore flowers of these orchids as corsages. They bloom only once a year! Thanks god Cymbidium orchid with it's multiple flowers per flower stalk came along and Cattleya was left alone.
Have you ever seen a blue Vanda orchid? That's a completely natural color! And the name is Vanda coerulea. I have a spectacular hybrid with purple flowers which blooms a few times a year. I can see it's producing a stalk again!
Anyway, I came across this info, I really hope it's true. In Sanskrit "vanda" means "orchid". Suddenly name Wanda doesn't sound that ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Man eaters resting

So strange... A man eating beast is so feared. It's a creature straight out of hell! Evil and calculating...
Leopards, sharks and tigers. Those blood thirsty killers.
People have a very bad conscious and tend to see revenge everywhere they turn.
Here are some facts.

Shark attacks: annual shark attack in USA-1.
Australians are less lucky-27 attacks in 2016, two of them deadly. But it's important to note, that a big number of the sharks were provoked. Also, sharks attack humans by mistake. The fish don't have arms to try and touch you, so, in order to understand, they bite. And let go. "Hm, I was so sure it was a seal", would a puzzled shark think swimming away from a bleeding out surfer.

Tiger attacks: The most comprehensive study of deaths due to tiger attacks estimates that at least 373,000 people died due to tiger attacks between 1800 and 2009, the majority of these attacks occurring in South and Southeast Asia. "Tigers of the World: The Science, Politics and Conservation of Panthera tigris" edited by Ronald Tilson, Philip J. Nyhus.

Leopard attacks: many... "Like the tiger, the panther [leopard] sometimes takes to man-eating, and a man-eating panther is even more to be dreaded than a tiger with similar tastes, on account of its greater agility, and also its greater stealthiness and silence. It can stalk and jump, and...can climb better than a tiger, and it can also conceal itself in astonishingly meager cover, often displaying uncanny intelligence in this act. A man-eating panther frequently breaks through the frail walls of village huts and carries away children and even adults as they lie asleep." BDavid Quammen "Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind".

And there's one reason why the animal would suddenly prefer human flesh that gives me the chills.
Jim Corbett mentions that leopards are driven to man-eating by acquiring a taste for human flesh due to scavenging on corpses thrown into the jungle during an epidemic.
Of the two man-eating leopards of Kumaon, which between them killed 525 people, the Panar Leopard followed on the heels of a very severe outbreak of cholera, while the Rudraprayag Leopard followed the 1918 influenza epidemic which was particularly deadly in India. 

The reasons behind tiger attacks are less gruesome, but horrible nonetheless. The tigers that attacked people were usually wounded, disturbed when eating or with cubs. Also if the more natural prey is sparse the big cat can start looking for a more easy meal, but not necessary the tastier.  

Tigers are solitary animals, so I think the ones in my drawing are mating. Will the mother teach her cubs...?

Monday, March 13, 2017

Black panther

I was trying to explain to my daughter that a panther is actually just a black leopard or jaguar.  
My most favorite panther is Bagira in the Russian adaptation of "The jungle book". Called "Maugli, raksha". All animals in that animated film made a huge impression on me. Their angular shapes, smooth movements of the cats, the arched backs and countless wonderful poses.
Maybe it was then I knew I want to draw animals non stop. 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

White dogs

 Once again I find myself in that stage of life where I start dreaming of acquiring a dog. I am allergic to canine saliva. So, it doesn't really matter, if it's a curly, smooth or a naked dog. It's enough if the tip of the nose touches me. 
But knowing that I am more allergic to some dogs than others leave me a slight hope of finding the one.
Right now some of the free time is spent marveling at the standard poodle. Especially the white one. I have seen them move. They walk and it seems they know they look gorgeous.
Oh, and the ones in strands...
It both has the looks and the brains!
Other white dogs that I admire for their shape is the Bedlington terrier and the Bullt errier. 
Arghh, my daughter needs to grow up with a dog! Why does she have to miss out on this wonderful thing because of me?

Orchid show in Tallinn botanical gardens 2017

 I spent all day in Tallinn yesterday. Visited The applied art and design museum, a couple of galleries and the botanical garden.
This post is about the latter. Be prepared for an orchid image overload!
 It is funny how orchids sometimes act like biennial plants. Last year it was the orchid show in Tartu that won my sympathies. But this year it is Tallinn that put on a bigger show.

 I remember some of the plants from last year, but there were many I saw for the first time.

 The oriental decorations were rather nice!

 The Cymbidium was the most prolific bloomer this time.

 I love Miltonias for their shape and odd scent. But we have a difficult relationship.

 I could not get my eyes off of these fat Coelogyne cristata.