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Tuesday, October 23, 2018





We drove to Hot Springs, Montana to pick up some paintings I had there on display. When we got to the Flathead River, we saw this bear in the water fishing. As we watched him, he came out of the water, to eat berries in the chokecherry bushes along the river.

He munched on berries quite a while, then he crossed the road in front of us, and followed a trail along the road, to go to some berry bushes higher on the hill. It was great fun to see him, and have him allow us to spend this time with him.

Do you see bears where you live? We don't see a lot of them, so it's exciting for us when we do...even though they live all around us.

If you like our photos and art, visit our website! The holidays are coming and we have a lot of good shopping there!
Donna Ridgway

Frogs in a sardine can

I go back and forth between creating fine art, to creating art from found objects, and my photography. I love my hobbies equally! Yesterday, I went to the studio and noticed a drawer I'd labelled "frogs". I opened the drawer and here were these frogs! My mind immediately went to the idea of creating a "watery" world in this sardine can for these frogs. So it's full of shimmery sparkles and colors of water. I think the frogs look very happy in their new world!

When I create sardine can art this is what it involves...first there are many visits to second hand stores, and yard sales. That seems the best way to find objects that might fit together in a can. It takes a lot of searching, a lot of sales and trips to town to find similar objects, such as the six frogs that are in this can.

After we purchase the objects, I sort and store them in my studio. I use plastic drawer combinations, along with the metal tool boxes mechanics use in their shops. If I get several similar objects, they go in a drawer with a piece of tape across the front of the drawer, such as this drawer I had labeled "frogs". As time goes on, I get enough of one thing to create a themed can.

First step in creating a can art piece, is to cover the entire inside of the can with either paint, or the papers etc that will form the background colors and textures. From there, I gather items that seem to fit the theme I'm looking for. It can take a lot of searching through drawers to find exactly the right things!

Once the items are assembled, I place them in the can, exploring different ideas as I go along. At last I decide on the final placements, and begin gluing the art together. I use glossy accents glue, epoxy glue, fabric glues, and poke holes for wires and attatchments.  Sometimes I think I'm finished, only to go back and add more pieces, I love the richness of all the different colors and textures. Sometimes at the end, I'll hang a cute piece from the edge of the can, such as the little frog on top, he hangs down separately and independently to dangle in front of the piece.

What do you think? Do you like this idea and think it's fun and interesting? Do you think you'll try this for yourself? It's great fun!
Donna Ridgway

Chipmunk taking a bath.




Did you know a chipmunk is an expert at getting it's fur clean and neat for the day? We came home from Helena, Montana and we took the old highway. There's a place on top of a hill, with some huge granite boulders and in those boulders, are some chipmunks. I told Robert we could stop there to see what photos we might find. We got lucky and this chipmunk was sitting on the rocks, taking a good bath. It was a rare treat to watch him as he groomed his little body!

What wildlife do you enjoy watching? Do you watch the big guys? Elk, bear, deer, mountain sheep, or do you enjoy the little things also? For me, I love watching all of them. You learn something new each and every time you watch an animal going about their daily life.
Donna Ridgway

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Fall is coming to Montana



 It's been hot and dry in my state. Fires are burning millions of acres of timber land. It will take a hundred years or more for the land to recover and for us to have forests like we had. The beetles killed miles of trees, now they're standing dry fuel for fire. Loggers are not allowed in our forests to clean and preserve them. It's a sad state of affairs. Our entire state has poor quality air from the burns.
The burrowing owls have grown up and left for parts unknown. I wish I knew where they migrated to. They were so entertaining...I'm hoping they come back next year so we can watch them some more.

Bears are roaming the woods filling their bellies for a long winter sleep. This one was near Gibson Dam, in a tree that hung heavy with choke cherries.

I hope it's peaceful where you are, no fires, no floods, just normal life happening....
Donna

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Texas Longhorns in Montana

 There's a small herd of longhorns about five miles southeast of where we live. They're beautiful cattle with a rich history in the American West. This photo showcases a longhorn bull and a couple of the cattle he lives with. I added layers of texture to the background to bring the cattle into strong focus.
 This is the same bull from the photo above. He was laying down, but got up to stretch. It was such a big long stretch! He enjoyed every second of it.
 This cow has a deformed horn which could have been caused by an injury or by a stretch of very cold weather. When we moved to Vaughn in 2004, this cow was probably young. We took photos of her way back then. She's still alive and well...
 We're inundated with smoke from all the forest fires in Montana and Canada. The smoke in the atmosphere gives our landscape a strange, alien feeling.
 These two photos were of landscapes south and east of Ulm, Montana.
I liked this antelope all alone out on the prairie. Behind him, you see a part of the famous Square Butte that was in many of Charlie Russells paintings.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Montana Photos Today


As I was driving along a country road, I spotted tracks in the snow along side the road, then I saw a gopher plowing through snow and he disappeared. I stopped the car, got out with the camera and walked along to where his trail disappeared into the snow.

I stood there facing a canal bank wondering if the gopher would come out, so I gave a sharp whistle. I waited and he returned my whistle! I thought give him a few seconds and he'll pop his head out of the snow and I'd better be ready. Sure enough, out he came, and I clicked the shutter.

I thought he was really cute, peeking out of the snow like that, looking me right in the eye.


A little further down the road, this horse was sound asleep in the bright sunshine. He doesn't even know we're looking at him right now.


This horse was far from asleep, he was standing at attention!


This holstein steer had a bad dehorn job at some time in his life.  Sometimes a horn grows weird like this when dehorning paste is used, or when the person running the dehorn tool doesn't get a deep enough grab on the young horns. The lopsided horn gave him rakish look.


I have a hard time catching pheasants with my camera, today I got lucky. He didn't run before I got the photo!

Hope you enjoyed this little group of pictures from my travels today!
Donna

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My horse, Mary Lou.

I read a horse story this morning, about a guy who loved his horse. It got me to thinking about my horse, Mary Lou. She was a quarter horse, a sorrel mare with a white dot on her forehead. Her mane was flaxen colored, her tail was dark.

She was so pigeon toed, the most pigeon toed horse I ever saw. But when I got her, I couldn't afford to be picky, and I found someone who would trade me a Jersey milk cow for a horse. That's how she became mine, I wanted a horse and I didn't want to be stuck milking a cow!

Mary Lou was a funny horse, she could either be the best horse you ever rode, or the worst...depending upon the mood she was in. I rode her for years and it didn't take long to learn she could turn on a dime, and run like the dickens. It was great cutting out cattle on her back.....

One time, I wanted to watch her run, instead of being the person on her back. I found a guy to be my jockey and I entered her in a community race out in a stubble field. The horses running against Mary Lou were race horses, and cattle horses. The race horses were thoroughbreds off the track.

When the race began, I was one of  a couple hundred spectators. I was yelling, "Come on Mary Lou!" Suddenly I realized, she'd somehow heard my voice in the middle of all the noise of the crowd. She cut across the entire field of horses and headed straight for me!

She almost plowed to a stop when she got to me, but the jockey was able to turn her and get her back into the race. She saw the other horses in front of her, and she took off like a jack rabbit, you could actually see her lower herself to the ground and stretch out running. She gained like they were standing still, passed them all and won the race.

It was awesome to see my little pigeon toed mare beat the field. I was standing next to a guy who'd put a lot of money down on Mary Lou winning the race and I asked him, "How did you know she could run like that? You took a chance putting that kind of money on her?" He said, "I don't know for sure, I just looked at her pigeon toes and thought I bet that horse can run!"

It was sure fun to know she could go as fast as a race horse and win!

Some photos of Montana wildlife.

A wild goose landing.

My dad's great horned owl.

An osprey fishing.

Hope you enjoy these birds!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Chicken painting, watercolor chicken by Donna Ridgway


I believe she's looking at a tasty bug. She seems very intent, and she doesn't care at the moment if her feathers are a little mussed. She's about to strike and let that bug slide right down her throat!
I didn't know I would enjoy painting chickens as much as I do.
I used to raise at least 50 chickens a year for the meat.  It was a big job butchering them and I didn't like it much but it was kind of necessary to have good meat in the freezer for the year. The part I didn't care for much was that my chickens were my friends along with providing meat.
The kids and I had pets we loved among the laying hens. They'd walk up to us, and wait to be picked up and loved. I miss that about my chickens.
Donna

Monday, November 02, 2015

Black Chicken painting, watercolor on Yupo paper.


Here's a little black chicken. She's going to a new home tomorrow! I'm glad, she's a nice little chicken but someone really wanted her and that is nice.
Donna

White tail doe finished

This did not turn out to be much of a work in progress! The reason for that is because she almost painted herself! I got so involved in painting her, I just didn't think to stop and scan her in the process.  That's the fun of painting, sometimes you get totally lost in it.
Donna