inspired by the work of my buddy, nora belal, i painted a few backdrops for a recent food shoot.

it’s a lot of spray, spray, blot, blot, spray, cry, blot, give up, spray, spray, brush, wait, drip, spray.

i bought several yards of blackout curtain material from jo-ann fabrics that was on sale for 40% off. i wish it was a little wider (to use for portraits + people), but it’s got a little weight to it and i think the back is coated, so the paint doesn’t soak through. 

if you spray the whole thing down with water first, or a super light watery paint mix, the first layer will blend better.

i used some paper towels to blot the canvas, whenever things were looking too uniform and continued making an underpainting with blues and greens.

once the base was done, i added some browns, greys and blacks on top, to tone down how bright the blue was. i think it was somewhere around here, when i wanted to give up and couldn’t see where it was going.

the backdrop started to take shape after the layers of darker neutrals were added.

i’ll post an image of the final piece being used for something. maybe. KMD


it was 70 degrees 5 days ago.

ice, sleet and snow yesterday.

i didn’t expect to see any visitors at the window in such harsh conditions, but the opposite was true. these guys now know that when natural food sources are scarce, my feeder runneth over. the tree in the back yard was packed with the regulars.

this little guy below is brand new to the crew. he is a dark eyed junco. there were four of them. 

there has also been a hawk hanging around. i’ve seen him 3 times and missed grabbing the shot all 3 times. it looked like a red-shouldered hawk, but wikipedia says that those dudes migrate to mexico for the winter. he’ll be back. don’t eat my friends, hawk.

Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis

Mourning dove, Zenaida macroura

Blue jay, loud mouth

Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (male)

Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis (female)

Hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus (maybe a downy?)

this is me.

i’ve been shooting through my window, which is the lazy bird watcher approach. reaching the next level of bird lady status would require me to sit outdoors, with my camera, in full camo, so i can blend effortlessly into the suburban environment. my new years eve plans are set. happy 2016! KMD


i used to live on the 3rd floor of a house with only skylights on my level. i saw a lot of sunsets and lightning, but you can’t really see what’s happening in the neighborhood from roof windows.

a change in living arrangements and now i can see everything that runs across the backyard. the biology major that still lives deep inside of me enjoys observing nature, including the suburban wild life. so, i bought a bird feeder or three.

over the summer and into the fall months, i saw birds i had no idea existed in massachusetts and welcomed the squirrels and chipmunks that were originally unwanted guests.

i’m going to be honest here. i named one of the squirrels. and i talk to it. if you follow me on snapchat (yeliadnirak), you’ve been a witness. sorry not sorry.

i couldn’t help it. she was was around every day, would invite herself to cookouts and you could easily distinguish her from other squirrels. she was like forty pounds heavier than the other rats (i mean, squirrels), super pregnant and super cute.

here are some photos showcasing a few regular visitors:

nutty the squirrel

one of the many rabbits that the dogs hate.

i think the red guy is a house finch.

carduelis tristis a.k.a. the american goldfinch w/ a woodpecker in the rear

two tufted titmice

not sure what this guy is…

a blue jay. he is unkind.

i also see a pair of cardinals (and their fledglings) every day. there are two little white-breasted nuthatches that showed up one day and haven’t left. a handful of mourning doves beat each other up and fight for dominance in my window. the grackles must be gone for the winter. if i leave some bird food on the ground, i’ll get a robin to come by.

goals: baltimore oriole, hummingbird and a bluebird. maybe in the spring.

i am snow white.

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