My dad gets a lot of the credit for turning me into a bird-watcher. I remember being about eight years old and driving around Sauvie Island with him on a Saturday, as he pointed out such novelties as northern shovelers and bufflehead. I was as amazed at the variety of birds as I was at my dad's seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of them. How could he keep them all straight? I wanted to try, too.
My mom, on the other hand, gets some credit for my creative, artistic side. While primarily a stained glass and then a glass bead artist, she always has a project of some sort on hand and loves to try her hand at a wide variety of crafts. Before I left Portland last month I got a chance to try her latest endeavor, encaustic art. It's basically abstract painting with hot wax. You "paint" melted colored wax onto a board, then use a small torch to heat it further on the board. As you add additional colors, they mix and swirl into one another. There are tools you can use to manipulate the hardening product, or you can transfer Xeroxed images onto the final product.
I combined my love of birds with my artistic side to create this piece, featuring a downy woodpecker drawing that I Xeroxed out of one of my favorite children's books.