Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Summer 2019 Nova Scotia to Tanzania Africa

We began our summer wildlife journey in Boston, Massachusetts, traveling first to Bar Harbor, Maine, hiking to the top of Bar Island and then enjoying Lobster at Stewards Lobster Pound.  
The next day we traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia and visited the Hope Animal Shelter, where the famous talking crow, Tilly, resides.  We visited Lobster fishermen with the catch of the day and a ten pound lobster.  Along the coast I saw my first Eider duck.
The next day we came to Sydney Breton Isle, hiking the town and chasing large ravens trying for decent photographs.  Later that evening we watched the performance of a live orchestra performing to BBC's Planet Earth II series.
Prince Edward Island the next day was a magical experience where outside of Charlestown we spend the day learning Falconry with Harris hawks and Gyr Falcons.  The birds of prey landed on our gloved hands and took their bit of meat and then soared up into the sky again and again.  We late explored Quebec City and flew home from Montreal, Canada.

Our next excursion was to Arusha, Tanzania by way of Kilimanjaro.  The art gallery in Arusha that features artwork by John Banovich is interested in representing my animal art.  Our first safari was in Tarangire park where we saw our first ground hornbills.  We watched in amazement as a sparrow hawk struck a dove in midair.  Tarangire Osupuko lodge was a nice stop with plenty of elephants, along with a leopard that had an impala stashed in a tree.  Bush bucks and vervet monkeys were plentiful.

The next day we drove to Ngorongoro Crater and the first sighting we get to watch a Serval hunting mice for quite a while.  Running by was a hyena with a warthog head in its mouth.  A bull elephant charged a bunch of lions that had circled a wounded buffalo.  So much wildlife today and we arrive near dark at Ndutu lodge outside of the Crater.

At Ndutu camp there was so much wildlife.  Genets were in the rafters at dinner and bats flew low in the sky.  Dik DIk antelopes in camp and so many colors of birds they looked like spilled skittles in the waterhole.  In the morning we had an amazing game drive experience, with a hunting cheetah running full speed after a herd of Impalas.  Later that same day we photograph bats, and lizards, and then we find eight lion cubs playing and tumbling together for hours.  That evening on the way back to camp we stopped on a tall hill and toasted the day with champagne and a surprise tin of popcorn for Gayln from our fantastic guide, Mathew.

Sunrise game drive to Lake Masek filled with flamingos.  Today was the day i got my special pizza made by the chef and it was incredible!  After the morning drive we headed for the Serengeti.  We encounter lions and steenbok, and a leopard killed a monkey on a kopje rock with her cub.  Our first hartebeests and Topis of the Serengeti.  

The next morning North Serengeti with large herds of elephants, and buffalo, zebras and many herds of the giant elands.    In the afternoon we arrive in Central Serengeti with the Rock and Tree Hyraxes.  The rocks had plenty of Agama lizards fighting, and on top we found a pair of klipspringers.  

The next morning and afternoon was spent watching and waiting on the great migration -massive herds of wildebeests lined the riverbanks of the Mara River filled with hippos and crocs!  That morning we got to see our first ever Bat Eared Foxes!  A herd of Elephants crossed the Mara River.  Plenty of giraffes and then later that night our first Bush Baby.  

The next morning i found a dead zebra and before long 4 species of vultures began to descend from the sky and find it too.  Within minutes hyenas came running from all directions.  Thirty minutes later the hyenas pulled an unborn zebra from the dead mother and then the carcass was stripped clean by at least fifty vultures and ten or more hyenas.  We drove alongside a massive herd of buffalo with many old battle scarred bulls.  That night we found lions fighting in the tall grass and on the way back to the camp our first white tailed mongoose.  

Driving along the next morning we came across a line of all old bull elephants in a bachelor herd.  Huge and impressive creatures passing in front of our vehicle.  We spent the noon hour at a high point on Lake Manyara for a lunch stop.  Our guide Mathew sang Masai songs to us on our drive back to Arusha.  
The next morning near Kilimanjaro Gayln was on a mission to get photos of Pied Crows, and she did a great job!  Two days later we finally arrive back in Texas, worn out from the best trip to Africa of all our four trips!  

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Winter-Spring 2019 Hiser Art Studios

Spring is approaching with Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes flowers blooming.  My favorite time of year.  This year has been the busiest for me judging more art shows than usual, about one good show a month.  
My High School Art Students exceeded my expectations by winning 48 Gold medals at the Visual Art Scholastic Event competing this year with 2/3 of the entries by freshman Art Ones.  We also have FOUR State qualifiers, one from each grade, 9,10,11,12.  Proud of those dedicated students.
I began the commission for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Boot Sculpture back in November and delivered it to NRG stadium where it was installed for the greatest rodeo on the planet.  My six foot tall golden boot was painted with sixteen rodeo bulls portraits and was seen by millions of rodeo fans across the globe.
This year, 2019, I have taught two workshops, and a couple of demos and speaking presentations but the busiest times have come from all the dozens of murals my students and I have been working on-too many to list here.
This Spring there are many larger art show coming up and I have eight art pieces qualified for the National Art Show in May.
I finished editing and creating two new covers for my epic fantasy novel THE MIDNIGHT JUNGLE-which should be published this year.
During Spring Break Gayln and I traveled to the Hill Country of Texas, Mountain Home, Kerrville, San Marcos, and spend a few days exploring and hiking the area of the Y. O. Ranch.  Exotics species were everywhere and we enjoyed our adventures with swans, longhorns, buffalo, kudu, oryx, nilgai, and many more, including a rare white buffalo.  Quintana and the Brazoria and San Bernard wildlife refuges were frequent journeys for us photographing birds, alligators and sandhill cranes. 
Recently my birder girl, Natalie and her sister, Mel, had a long day of disappointing nature when we found out the Baytown Nature Center was closed do to the fire and spill nearby and we ended up exploring Sheldon Lake which seemed to only be a place filled with bullfrogs and very few birds.
The highlight of our nature hiking was when Galyn and I spotted two bobcats at Brazoria and captured many photos, Gayln's first ever bobcat wild sighting!