It’s always charity event season here in Miami and as an artist, I receive dozens of requests from all over the country to donate art or my handbags to all kinds of worthy causes. I’ve become much more selective over the years after experiencing a variety of unprofessional situations and attitudes. It makes a tremendous difference when the organization is professional and shows their appreciation for the time, materials and creativity an artist puts into a work of art. The official letter thanking each donor for their contribution is pretty standard and it makes a great impression when I am also invited to be a guest at the event, but getting personally introduced to the winning bidder creates the most rewarding experience of all because charity event patrons often become collectors of the artist and look forward to seeing more of their art at future events.
This is a major benefit of the dynamics of cultivating donors and collectors. It’s about building relationships and communities. It is about everyone winning on all levels. The charity raises money to support their projects, the patron not only buys the painting that generates the sale, they get something unique and beautiful for their home or office and the artist gets recognition and ideally, a new collector.
When I think about my Orchid Angel I often wonder where if she is hanging on someone’s wall that truly appreciates her nurturing, peaceful energy. I hope so. On the other hand, she could be stuffed into a storage closet with unsold auction items. If that’s the case, I’d love to reclaim her!
Raindrops were glimmering through the morning fog and an odd looking creature was hanging from the bamboo leaves next to my driveway. As my family and friends know, I can never resist a closer look at something that moves, makes a sound or has an unusual shadow, shape, or smell.
The “creature” turned out to be three Zebra Long Wing Butterflies. Two males, sexually aroused and not so patiently, waiting for the young female to emerge from her cocoon. I originally thought they were either dining on some other unknown creature or assisting the young lady in unfurling her wings, but further research* suggested that mating with a newly emerged female is part of the dance of life for these butterflies. The female releases a pheromone as she is unfurling her virgin wings and the males have excellent pheromone sensors. This also made sense as to why so many other males were fluttering around the same branch practically knocking the perched males off the bamboo branch.
Of course, since today was the first day of Social Media Club South Florida’s 30 day blog challenge…
this would be my topic – with images and oh yes, even a new design based on the Zebra butterflies. Well, about 7 hours later (I did accomplish other things in this time and realize it is essential to pare this way down for future posts, but as often happens, the project took on a life of its own) I’m finally putting all of the pieces together and getting this on my blog!
I invite you to share the beauty, power and magic of your garden or neighborhood in a comment with a photo on this post, or by email to debra (at) debracortese.com
Enjoy the beauty, power and magic of nature every day!
*Susan Leach Snyder has provided a great resource on Zebra Long Wing Butterflies (the official Florida state butterfly) on the Conservancy of Southwest Florida website.
Shark Valley April 2010 Blue Heron detail -photo: Debra Cortese
Finally got around to taking a few hours away from my cave (home office/studio) and went biking with friends in Shark Valley in Florida’s Everglades. Shark Valley has a wide, paved 15 mile loop through some of the most spectacular river of grass that you can find in the Everglades. It is home and mating and nesting grounds to all kinds of birds, reptiles, plants, flowers, trees, butterfiles, bees, turtles, and I’m sure more that I’ve yet to see.
My friends were focused on getting endorphins revved up and I knew I was there to breathe in as much of nature’s energy as I could take and get as many photos as possible. Consequently, in the time they rode the 15 mile loop and circled back to find me (I baked cupcakes and they were in my car, reassurance that my friends would not abandon me, considering their fondness for cupcakes;-) I had only progressed to mile marker 4. But, I had over a hundred shots. Absolutely entrancing to me to feel the sun on my face, hear the bird calls, what sounded like 20 pound bull frogs and see so many beautiful creatures in their natural habitat (although I always think how tame they are and it must be because they are accustomed to seeing humans on a daily basis).
Shark Valley Everglades "turtle about to be dinner" - photo: Debra Cortese
I got to see, and photograph, woodstorks up much closer than I’d ever seen them before. Wasn’t really sure what they were at first. Looked like ancient creatures, big, bearded birds. And lots of herons or that’s what I’m calling them until I do a bit more research. I’m including a detail of one blue heron and will be posting full, edited images within a few weeks. But, the end of the day was definitely the ultimate photo op…. I stopped for one last picture (or 7 or more) of some birds starting to nest in a tree very near to the parking lots. There was a very large alligator below the birds and near the edge of the path so I started to shoot a picture of the gator and after the first click, I heard a LOUD CRUNCH SLAP sound and while my mouth was dropping open kept shooting as the gator chomped down on a very large turtle. This all happened in just a few seconds. Think I’m still a bit shaky from being so close and witnessing what I usually only see on nature tv shows. I was shooting with a new to me, but very old camera, so the quality is not what I’d hoped for but these certainly show the action.
Shark Valley Everglades "Turtle Bite 1" - photo: Debra Cortese
Shark Valley Everglades "Turtle Bite 2" - photo: Debra Cortese
Shark Valley Everglades "Turtle Dinner" - photo: Debra Cortese
Do visit our incredible nature areas, national parks, and preserves, but please remember, even though the alligators appear to be tame or friendly looking, they are wild, free creatures and are very capable of snapping a big turtle into pieces with one swift chomp!
Shark Valley Everglades "Thistle, Bees and Nature's Energy" -photo: Debra Cortese
UPDATE: You can now share this story and photos on your wall!
“Turtle’s Bad Day” is available in an open edition, signed, archival print.
Matted size is 18 x 24″. Price: $90.00
Here’s a sample of one of the first email messages I look forward to opening every morning:
Every single minute of every single day, they’re there, Debra.
They may be hidden behind circumstances, people, or light poles. Challenges, closed doors, or lost keys. Camouflaged, dovetailed, or whispering. Purring, kissing, or hissing. But more often than not they’re laying about in the open, under a clear blue sky, in plain view. Absolutely. Guaranteed. You’d throttle me otherwise.
10,000 reasons to be happy.
Jumanji, baby –
How many do you see now??
Get your personalized “Thoughts From The Universe”
(free from Mike Dooley and his Tut Adventurers Club) and read more about Mike Dooley by clicking on his photo or here.
Healing Fuschia ReflectionsÂ – a Nature’s Energy photopainting by Debra Cortese Â©2008Â
A 15″ x 12.25″ signed, fine art print of Healing Fuschia Reflections is now available for $60. (shipping included in USA) on my Etsy site.
This image was consciously created with the intent to share the healing energies of the fuschia flower and plant devas. An adapted version of this art will be available on a limited edition of handbags designed specifically to benefit the American Cancer Society’s ‘Making Strides’ program. The strong graphics and bold contrasts of color and design of the fuschia carry the dynamic and positive energies of health and healing.
Healing Fuschia Reflections will also be available as a fine art print on paper or canvas.
Sign up for my monthly newsletter and special announcements (when Healing Fuschia Reflections art and handbags will be available) and be eligible to win members-only giveaways of art and handbags.Â
I welcome requests for custom Nature’s Energy images for your business or organization. Contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Gnome Island” 18″ x 12″ mixed media (photo/graphic digital airbrush & acrylic paint) on canvas.
Twelve or more cypress knee gnomes, a woodland fairy, coral rock panther, gator, a woodsman and two much larger gnomes inhabit this magical area of south Florida’s Pinecrest Gardens.
To purchase this painting, email: debra@debracortese, or call 305-665-2528
DEBRA CORTESE.COM Nature’s Energy Photopaintings
My CafePress Shop Nature’s Energy Designs and more on Journals, Shirts, Hats, Cards, Magnets.
Original photo of “Iris Gnome” and “Iris Gnome” closeup below.
Blue Plate Mango with Angel
Waiting for Mango Salsa
These are just two of a series of 11 new nature’s energy ‘mango’ photopaintings.
Check back here to see more of the MANGO series – I’ll post them later this week. Right now am listening to the last session of “A New Earth” with Eckhart Tolle and Oprah. What an inspiring worldwide discussion.
See more of my Nature’s Energy Art at www.debracortese.com
‘My Spirit Guides’, an original acrylic painting on canvas. Sorry, original is not for sale, but limited edition prints are. Great art/energy in celebration of our environment and the magical devas that are its keepers.
Please contact me for limited edition price and size info. email: email@example.com
Share the Magic of Nature’s Energy everyday when your favorite image is right there on your office or living room wall! –See more of my art right here! Just in time to celebrate Earth Day!