Log in

No account? Create an account
Acree Carlisle
16 November 2009 @ 03:35 pm

Last night i turned the camera toward the other direction and left it there for the night. This morning i picked up the camera. There were 464 images on it. I picked three to post for you. I got some good pictures of the fox.
Acree Carlisle
15 November 2009 @ 05:05 pm

Later a raccoon joined the coyote and they started eating together. Then several more raccoons walked up and started eating with the coyote.
Acree Carlisle
15 November 2009 @ 04:54 pm

Acree Carlisle
14 November 2009 @ 05:59 am

One of the coyotes that recently showed up where we feed the foxes and raccoons every night puts one of the raccoons up the nearby power pole.
Acree Carlisle
11 November 2009 @ 09:52 pm

For a number of years Corinne and I have been feeding every night some raccoons and foxes nearby to where we live that need help due to the development of their habitat. Day-before-yesterday two coyotes have arrived. Tonight we watched the foxes stay on the other side of the street and bark at the coyotes. They have the strangest bark, it is almost metallic sounding. A number of years ago a coyote showed up and killed a particular fox that we were very fond of.
Acree Carlisle
09 November 2009 @ 05:47 am

It is getting cooler now and the creatures in the woods are moving around more so I have again set up my game trail camera up on Cypress Creek in north Harris County, Texas. I take Texas, our Chocolate Lab, up there for evening walks and I have been seeing some fresh deer tracks lately. The first night the camera was set up, I put out some deer corn and got this shot of a young four point whitetail buck that had found the bait. As I get interesting images I will be posting them on the blog this fall and winter. Cheers, Acree
Acree Carlisle
22 September 2009 @ 10:26 pm

Early last month, August of 2009, I noticed a new name had been added to the email list that gets these newsletter mail outs of the digital images of my paintings along with the corresponding short stories. The new name on the list was Christine Martin. The email address for her that was put on the list was Christine@toddevents.com. Since people are frequently signing up on my web site for these newsletter mail outs, I didn’t think too much about it, however I remember wondering who she was and also, I remember thinking that the “toddevents” in her email address must be some sort of company name. Little did I know then, that soon she and that company would become a big part of my life.


Along about the middle of last summer, Gary and Carole Holliman, owners of PrideRock Wildlife Refuge, told me that a big fund raiser was being planned for them to be on September 24, 2009, in Dallas, Texas. Gary requested for me to consider donating something to be auctioned at the fund raiser.


As most of you would know, in my return to the art world, Gary and Carole Holliman and their PrideRock Wildlife Refuge have played a big part in this effort to learn to draw and paint again. In September of 2007, they gave me the opportunity to start spending time with their lions, tigers, cougars and wolves to learn how to draw and paint them. Since then, my wife Corinne, and I have become friends with Gary and Carole at PrideRock and we try to help support them in whatever way we can in their effort to care for their twenty seven big cats that they have rescued from bad situations. Visit their web site, www.priderock.org and watch the recently added news video clip.


As I learned more about the planned fund raiser, Gary said that one of their new volunteers works for an event planner in Dallas and that she wanted to do something special to help them. Gary told me that her name is Christine Martin and that she works for a company named Todd Events. The light clicked on in my brain, I remembered that name was on my newsletter email list. On the internet, I looked up “Todd Events” and learned that they are a large company in Dallas that does special events. You can see what Christine Martin looks like, as I did, by clicking on their web site under the section Todd and The Gang.


The fund raiser event is named “Lions and Tigers and Cougars (oh my) a priderock wildlife refuge fundraiser”. It will be held on Thursday, September 24, 2009, 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM, at The Apartment, 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., #206, Dallas, Texas. You can purchase tickets by clicking on to www.priderock.org. It is going to be a big event and all of you are invited. 


I contacted Christine by email to discuss how I might participate in the fund raiser. Since then, she, Gary and I have done a lot of emailing back and forth. Carole told me that Christine’s favorite animal at the refuge is Jake, one of their big African lions. When she told me that, I happened to be in the middle of doing this watercolor portrait of Jake. After finishing the portrait, which turned out rather good I think, I decided that my contribution to the fund raiser would be this original watercolor portrait of him. The size of the painting is 15” x 22” and it has a double white acid free mat and is framed in a 24” x 30” polished wood frame.


We have decided that this portrait of Jake will be in a silent auction at the fund raiser. This is where people can bid on the painting by putting their name and bid on the auction sheet in front of the painting. They can increase their bid up to the cut-off time at the fundraiser. We have not yet decided what the starting bid or the minimum incremental bids will be, however the starting bid will probably be around $500 with incremental bids of $25.


Gary and I have been discussing how each of you can participate in the silent auction for this painting of Jake. If any of you would like to participate in the silent auction to bid on this watercolor portrait of him, Gary can act as your proxy and put your bid or bids on the silent auction sheet up to the bid limit you have authorized him to make in your behalf. You can contact Gary by email, hollimang@gmail.com, or telephone him at 1-214-926-0029, to discuss with him the details.


I hope to meet those of you that can come to the fundraiser. It will be fun to put faces with the names that are on my newsletter email list.


I think Christine Martin deserves some “pats on the back” for not only working as a volunteer to scoop up the poop and clean the big cat pens but to conceive and put together this fund raiser. Her email address is Christine@toddevents.com, please send her your words of appreciation.





Acree Carlisle
30 August 2009 @ 09:42 am

GAS Pressure


It was 6:00 AM last Tuesday morning and I was on the way to the beach on Galveston Island. I was trying to get there by sunup to do a “plein air” painting. I hoped to do a watercolor painting of a sky with beautiful early morning colors and the incoming breaking waves of the ocean coming onto the sandy beach. At least, that was my plan. “Plein air” is the new catch word in the art world for paintings that are done outdoors. Why did I want to this, it is because I have GAS pressure.


In July of last year, 2008, I started doing watercolor paintings again after a layoff of about thirty five years. By December of last year, I had rejoined the Watercolor Art Society – Houston, commonly referred to as WASH. I used to belong to this group back in 1975. They have monthly juried art exhibits. I started entering some paintings for these exhibits a few months ago. It is their custom to have receptions after each exhibit has been hung for about a week for the members and their guest to view all the new paintings and for the winners to receive recognition for their awards. About two months ago, at one of these receptions, one of the WASH members , a gentleman about my age named Erik --that generally wins an award-- came up to me and introduced himself. After some conversation, he invited me to join a sub-group of WASH named the Geriatric Art Society also known as the GAS group. They go on trips from time to time and do “plein air” paintings. At the end of each day, after as sufficient amount of liquid courage from Happy Hour, they, as a group, critique the paintings done by the members that day. I accepted the invitation. The next day, I began to envision my first time to present a painting, done in plein air, for their critique and began to feel some GAS Pressure.


The next GAS painting trip is scheduled for October 25th through the 29th in Nacogdoches, Texas. The only problem is that I have not done any “plein air” paintings since the early 1970’s. So I figured I had better start practicing to hopefully avoid the first critique to be an embarrassment. I started collecting the things I need for painting outdoors such as a folding chair, something to put the palette of paints and water container on, boards to put the paper on and etc.


On Monday I had finished getting all the things I needed to do a plein air painting. Tuesday morning, I awaken early and decided this is the day. So I packed up and took off for Galveston.


On the way down Interstate 45, as I passed downtown Houston, I could see in the distance down toward Galveston lightening and storm clouds. About half way between Houston and Galveston, the sun came up and filled the sky with beautiful colors. I had hoped to already be at the beach so I was running late. I decided to go to East Beach and after some driving around, I found a place where I could park my Tahoe and set my stuff up to start painting.


There were still some storm clouds and the incoming waves were just right and some fishermen arrived and waded out into the surf and started fishing. So I set my stuff up and just as I was picking up a pencil to start sketching the painting outline, a voice over my shoulder said: “Hello, do you mind if I film you while you do your painting?” Startled I looked around and standing there back of me was a pleasant faced man with a camera. About the last thing I wanted was the evidence on film of a complete painting disaster. Not knowing just what to say, I mumbled a hello and said that he could film me. I finished the pencil outline and picked up a 2 inch brush and started painting. My new friend, named Ed, started filming and talking to me. As the painting progressed I learned his life story.


He and his wife were moving to Galveston. She had a job with The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) here in Galveston and he was looking for a job. In Dallas, he had been on the staff of Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. Well we had a lot of things in common to talk about, since I had been associated with UTMB, in various ways, since about 1968 and at one time in my life I was responsible for doing the Master Plan for the expansion of Southwestern Medical School.


To do a plein air watercolor painting, you can’t mess around with a bunch of small brushes and a lot of colors. So I decided to do the painting wet in wet and use only the big 2 inch flat brush except for the final details. I wet the paper down and mixed up the paint for the first wash and took off. It was going fast, including the conversation, when suddenly I dropped my brush in the sand. Dismayed, I picked up the brush, now covered with salty sand, and wondered what to do. I decided the only thing to do was to keep on painting. Maybe the salty sand will add character to the painting.


Things were happening and changing fast. Every time I looked up the clouds had moved, the sun had moved, the waves had moved, cars were driving by, fisherman were standing in the way and Ed, my new companion, was telling me about a new chapter in his life and then I dropped my brush in the sand again. Now, I had a lot of sand to deal with. I tried to keep calm and keep on painting.


After about thirty or forty minutes, the painting was looking like it was finished. I got up and stood the painting up in the back of the Tahoe so I could back off and evaluate it. I decided that I shouldn’t touch it anymore. I looked, but couldn’t find any sand on it. I know it is there, I just couldn’t find any. My new companion commented that he wished he had the money to buy it.


Considering that this is my first “plein air” painting done since the early 1970’s, what are your comments? I see a lot of room for improvement, but maybe it is not a bad start. Feel free to give me your critique. It will help me get ready for the pressure of the first critique by the other artist in the GAS group that will be on the painting trip to Nacogdoches.





Acree Carlisle
27 August 2009 @ 01:53 pm

For the last few hours I have been studying this painting of Zoe, which I have just finished, or at least I am trying to finish. I keep making changes. Of course, each time I make a change, it is a gamble, I can make it better, or I can ruin it. I guess I had better quit, before I screw it up, and just declare it to be finished. As I look at the painting, I am thinking about Zoe and what she has meant to me. I saw her last Thursday morning. Since I had not seen her in several months, I am not sure if she remembered me or not. In the past, she would come to the fence and purr wanting me to scratch her. This time, she came to the fence, looked me in the eye, bared her teeth and hissed. Maybe she was just mad at me for being gone so long. I went to the fence and knelt down on my knee by her and put my hand out to her. She didn’t move, but she quit hissing and just stared at my eyes. She has very large beautiful green eyes.


Zoe is a red Florida panther that lives at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge near Terrell, Texas. She is about five years old and weighs 112 pounds. Until she arrived at PrideRock on June 19th of 2005, she had grown up in the home of a young couple that lived in Montgonery County, Texas. There she had her own room with a window so she could go to and come from her outside enclosure. She is very much like a domestic housecat in that she purrs, meows and enjoys being petted and scratched by humans.


On my visits to PrideRock, I always approach her pen with great anticipation. She is just so beautiful and is so expressive with her eyes. She seems to know “how to strike a pose” for us photographers.


As most of you know, I am a retired architect that is now devoting my time to drawing and painting. I started drawing again in September of 2006, after a thirty five year lay off. At first, I did pen and ink drawings of animals and birds until I started doing watercolor paintings again in July of 2008. So I have been doing watercolor paintings now for only about thirteen months. I am still searching for the style and subject matter that I should devote my time toward. I do enjoy doing landscape paintings, especially of the Texas hill country and West Texas and I intend to continue doing them from time to time. Even though the subject of wildlife for art is not in favor at this time, I guess that is where my main interest is so that is what I will continue to do.


I have decided that my mission statement will be: “My mission is to strive through my drawings, paintings, writings and public appearances to portray our wild animals – whether in the wild or in the refuges – in their most noble and peaceful state to help in their protection, preservation and sustainability.” So what should be my style and subject matter.


I liked the style and technique that I developed for doing my pen and ink drawings, especially of the big cats from PrideRock. Also, in doing the drawings of the PrideRock big cats, there was a human interest theme that appealed to a lot of people – “retired architect that now does drawings of wildlife to help support a wildlife refuge”. However, people in the art business advised me that the pen and ink drawings lacked color which is necessary to market art work. I tried, without much success, to add color to the pen and ink drawings.


About a month ago, I started doing watercolor paintings of the big cats at PrideRock. In doing these watercolor paintings, I have kind of merged my pen and ink drawing technique with my watercolor painting technique. I like the results and the comments from those that have already seen the paintings of Nia and Jake have been very favorable. Now, I have another painting using this style and technique that is of Zoe for you to comment on. Hopefully you will like it. 


This medium, style, technique and subject matter may be just where I belong. What do you think? I would appreciate your thoughts and comments.




Acree Carlisle
19 August 2009 @ 10:28 am

It is just after lunch and getting warm. It seems like everybody is taking a nap. I am at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge just north of Terrell, Texas, taking photos of their lions, tigers, cougars and wolves. I am getting a little sleepy too and I am considering taking a nap also since it looks like the photo session is over until later this afternoon when everybody will be up anticipating being fed.


Standing near the gate to Jake’s pen watching him lying on one of his raised platforms on his back with his feet up in the air sound asleep, he reminded me of one of our housecats, named Simba, that will sleep in the same position. Jake is one of their large male African lions.


Everything is just real quite when suddenly Jake rolls over and his head comes up in full alert. He is looking in the opposite direction from me. I couldn’t see anything that would have awaken him and was wondering what he was looking at when I heard the low roar of an approaching large jet airplane.


As the airplane got closer, I could tell it was very low and was coming straight towards us. As it got closer, Jake was standing up and in full alert. When I could see the airplane over the trees, I could tell that it was a large jet airliner, with the its flaps down, going slow just above stalling speed, and it was very low and very noisy.


As the plane slowly roared by overhead, Jake followed along the fence, looking up at the airplane, toward the gate where I was standing. When he got to the gate, growling low, he watched, over my shoulder, the airplane disappear over the trees.


When the sound of the airplane had faded away, he did another deep growl and turned, raised his tail and shot a great big squirt through the gate. I knew what was coming when I saw him raising his tail and quickly started backing up, however I wasn’t quite fast enough. He got me good and he seemed so satisfied. He couldn’t get to that noisy airplane, but it was easy to show that guy standing at the gate who was boss.