5 ways Lovebirds are not just for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!

Yeah, I know the historical attributions of the holiday are shaky at best,
and the modern romantic trappings of the day are somewhat commercial,
(see the previous link for a fun article from NPR, and if you want to look up more on your own, I suggest a more in-depth googling of the roman fertility festival Lupercalia )
but I don't think there is anything wrong with celebrating romantic love.
In a time fraught with political strife and and all sorts of lower level vibes,
a day that panders to our softer sides is so very welcome.

Each year I create something for my beau mari that symbolizes love within nature.

This year the subject was the lovebird. These particular birds came from my imagination, and are not based on a real species, though there are now almost 70 different color variations and mutations from the 9 species of African lovebirds.
The green and pink plumage symbolizes the colors of an open heart chakra in harmony with the vibrant teal of a throat chakra for loving communication.  

Lovebirds on Society6

Cool traits and behaviors of these colorful beauties include;

Once bonded, a pair will mate for life.

They feed each other to bond and to strengthen bonds after any separation.
Their oxytocin levels are incredibly high (the love hormone), and this leads into the next trait...

Upon death or separation, the remaining lovebird will display behavior that we might compare to depression. This is probably linked to the decline in oxytocin in the bird's brain when separated from its mate. This means pizza & Netflix with boo after a long work day IS totally romantic.

These birds have very high energy and intelligence for their size.
They will jump around and hang from perches to entertain each other, as well as work out escape plans if they are not occupied. This makes enrichment toys and puzzles important for birds kept in captivity.

Seven of the nine species of lovebirds are androgynous, making it difficult to tell a female from the males. The colorful plumage and size are same, and some even carry nest making materials around in feathers to showcase their homebuilding skills. Very progressive, Lovebirds.

So, there ya go. Lovebirds aren't just all cuddles and chirping. There are quite a few traits we can emulate to strengthen our relationships.

For the first time ever, I will be posting a free download of the Valentine's Day tribute painting for Patrons on my Patreon project page, and I have started a campaign to raise money for the African Wildlife Foundation.
If you donate at least $10 to the campaign, send me an email an I'll send you a printable pdf of Lovebirds. I really wanted to do something to help the organization that helps the near-threatened Fischer's Lovebird & so many other endangered species. Your help would be so appreciated. <3
If you're not into Patreon or Wildlife fundraisers, I get it.

I still have something for you. How does $10 towards your first Society6 purchase, sound?

It doesn't even have to be from my shop.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Click here to get $10 towards you first Society6 purchase.

Black Friday Crowds? Nah, Free shipping code.

 We had a great trail ride and now we are prepping our veggie feast. 

(We sort of avoid holiday shopping crowds at all costs.)

Today only there is FREE shipping to any destination- even international orders- on any product offered on my FAA/Pixels site. 
You can click this link to see the artwork available in reproductions there. 

If you're more into a personal touch, I'm also matching this awesome offer in my Etsy shop on signed prints & originals,
just use the code #faaholiday at checkout in my Etsy shop today.
or you can enter code SHOPSMALL for 30% off orders $50 & up now through Monday.

Free shipping offer expires at midnight, so jump on it! 

How is your Friday going?
Let me know in the comments!

Almost wordless Wednesday; A break in Paris & Pere Lachaise

   After a blogging break, some upheaval, and a lot of travel, there's really so much to say...
but it is wordless Wednesday, so I'll compromise.

Pere Lachaise is probably one of my favorite spots in Paris, and I took more photos, but this one captured the overall feel.

 While strolling the streets of Paris is beyond amazing, there really isn't a better place for a quiet, reflective walk in the city than Pere Lachaise cemetery in the 20th arrondisement. The cool of autumn provides the perfect light and temperature for the kind of contemplation that comes with a walk among the graves.

 If you aren't too star struck by the monuments to famous people like Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, and Jim Morrison -and the list goes on- you'll see that everyone lying in repose here is equally still, and your mind will settle on the sunlight. Your senses will heighten as you feel the breeze and hear the leaves rustle, because you are enjoying these small pleasures while you can.

Do you like to walk or sit in cemeteries?
What's your favorite?
Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, 
~D. Renée

Something wicked this way comes...

It's heeeeere!
October, aka the most wonderful time of the year, is back, and along with it all things Halloweenie.
The Patron reward printables are posted to the Patreon page, so visit there if you're interested in supporting art & getting benefits like freebie downloads & reward codes.
(This month's mid & top tier Patrons get treats from Paris! Read the post for more.)

If monthly subscriptions aren't your goodie bag but you like spooky DIY decor & coloring pages, swing by the NouveauNiche shop for a special bundle featuring 5 Halloween themed pages including one new (to Etsy) owl page. Patrons will remember this guy from last autumn!
And make sure to subscribe to the Collector's Circle newsletter on my website. You'll get a reward code to my Etsy shop when you confirm. :)

I'm heading out today to do a little fall shopping. (This girl needs some more closed toe shoes for the colder climate of the catacombs.) And I might pick up a few more things for our October tree.
What do you do to decorate and get in the mood for this season?
Let me know in the comments!

Happy Haunting!

Felt Hat Day, Some Magic, & The Little Piece of Purple Felt

September 15 marks the middle of the month that (cough cough wipes sweat) ushers in the brisk autumn air.

It is for that reason this day is chosen as Felt Hat Day.
Felt was once a very popular material for both men and women's hats, and the cooler weather made them the perfect fashion accessory. 

I adore felt hats, and even in Florida I wear mine every chance I get.

There's something magical about wool felt.
I don't know why or quite how to describe it.
It's warm and soothing. The wool is pliable, strong and forgiving. I prefer my felted hats big and a tad floppy, but I suppose for me, the magic of felt hats can be summed up 
Fleur Delacour et les élèves de Beauxbâtons.

(And ummm, can you guess how insane I am right now over the mere possibility of visiting l'Auberge Nicolas Flamel in a few weeks? It's getting ridiculous.
*update- Paris & Flamel's blew my mind.*)

Back to felt...
Since I can't quite put the magic into words, I painted it as part of my ongoing figurative series.
I sent an image of my work-in-progress and left the words to Quirine Dongelmans.
She came up with a lovely narrative that I think you'll really enjoy.
The perspective is particularly magical...

Rain and Renewal

My collaboration with "Q" a few weeks ago, see the post here,
was a fun change of pace for me. 

As it's been gray and rainy all day, I'm sharing another piece and poem created with the award winning writer, actor, film-maker, and now poet extraordinaire.

I won't go into details, but it's been a rough month. 
Her poem for this piece was especially poignant, and we had quite a bit to say and commiserate on regarding personal tribulations and the sometimes rocky paths an artist's life presents.

Excuse the use of a trite phrase, but we truly are soul surfers.

There can be a deluge of overwhelm, pain or loneliness at times, but for an artist there isn't really an alternative. Our vulnerability and openness, our fiery and sometimes easily bruised hearts, are what help us to flow with the emotional current we are supposed to ride. 

For eons the emotions have been tied to water.

It is also what heals and renews us.

Tears from the sky. Pouring. Pain. Sadness. Despair.

Water splashes. Diluting. Lifting. Giving life.

Mend your reflection; flourish.

~Quirine Dongelmans

She really boiled it all down, didn't she?

I love her writing.

Visit Q's website to learn more about her & her art.

If you like my Rain Break painting, you can click here to see details without the text, 

or add it to your collection while it's in my DPW gallery. 

Thanks for stopping by to see the collab. 

Subscribe to the newsletter and send an email with your links if you're a writer that would like to submit to collaborate on the project.

What do you do when you're in the doldrums?

Here's to the rain & her renewal,

~D. Renée

Kidding Around

"Everyman can tell how many goats or sheep he possesses, but not how many friends." Marcus Tullius Cicero

Today I started celebrating my best friend's day of birth by whipping up a hand-painted card featuring a few of his favorite things in one; animals- namely goats, baby goats, & skepticism of others' motives through the side eye expression. 

There's some gorgeous, artisan crafted, goat shaped soap (from Oil Patch Farm on Etsy) to accompany this card, don't worry. My gag gift giving game is still en pointe. 

Farm Animals/Goat Soap by Oil Patch Farm
(I wish I could've shown you a better photo b/c this soap it so detailed and pretty, but I couldn't unwrap a gift, y'know. He also said won't be using it, because he likes it too much! )

I'm a lucky lady to be married to someone that can poke fun at things most ppl take seriously. To all the Virgos ♍️, you're an intelligent, caring, and incredibly hard working special lot. May this year bring you the amazing rewards you deserve. :)

Do you make your own birthday cards?
Are silly and fun gifts your thing? 

Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by,

D. Renée

Artwork & Play. * BLOG TEMPLATE DESIGN BY Labinastudio.