Blue Sage grouse

blue sage grouse


I entered “animals” and “reinvention” into a Google search and came up with the “romantic notion” of re-wilding. I am, at heart, a romantic, so I love this improbable idea! I went from there to the American Prairie Foundation. One of its core animals is the sage grouse. It reinvents itself every mating season to put on a creative dance. The full display is amazing, with fried egg -like glands poking out of white plumage. It’s so extreme, that it barely looks like a bird anymore! I found a photo taken early in the dance wherein the bird still looks like a bird.


My first decision these days is: do I paint what I see or use my favorite colors? Since I am reinventing this bird, I decided to change its colors. The grouse blends in with the brown shadows of its habitat, but I chose to make the bird stand out.

I had two major challenges this month: first, I am changing home health agencies. This means I am between PCAs and have no one to help me paint. I recruited my brother and, later, my daughter, but did not have as much painting time as usual. Second, I felt too ill to work for about five days.

It bugs me that:

  • I finished in a tired rush, forgetting to stripe the rest of the tail feathers and fumble-brushing the area beneath the bird.
  • The shapes of the head and beak are wrong.
  • The bird is not more three-dimensional.

I’m happy about:

  • being able to finish a painting this month.
  • Spending time considering this bird.
  • Painting the basics.


  • most creatures reinvent themselves.
  • as I began to put the newsletter together, I wished I had chosen one of the images of the bird at its most unrecognizable. It might have illustrated the point of reinvention better.
  • This bird has been identified as a core animal for the rebuilding of the prairie. As you consider your own reinvention, what might be core pieces to put in place?
  • I depend on – and am grateful for – the help and kindness of others. I am reinvented through relationship.



Posted on

August 28, 2023

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