SEWE in Charleston, SC

I’m in Charleston this weekend for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition .  It’s the largest wildlife art show in the country.  I thought I’d give you a peek at my booth.

If you’re in Charleston this weekend, I hope you’ll stop by SEWE!  If you can’t make it to the show, stop by my website and check out the new work.

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Nice bird sighting

I just spotted, and identified a pair of Black-throated Green Warblers.  I’d seen them in June, but couldn’t get a good enough look to positively identify them.  This is their migratory route, so they are more than likely heading south for the winter.

Photo by Marie Read

Black-throated Green Warbler - photo by Marie Read

Here’s a good link from the folks at Cornell University.

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I have been sharpening up my shooting skills at the San Antonio Gun Club.  I’m shooting skeet in a women’s league.  Because some of you will want to know, here’s what I’m shooting:  

  • Winchester 101, 20 ga over & under shotgun
  • Model 12, 20 ga pump gun

The model 12 is a great gun and I love the way it shoots, but I prefer the over & under to shoot skeet with.  However, the over & under has left its mark.

Melanie Fain

And that bruise came AFTER I had the stock worked on.

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Sneak-peek day 4

Here’s a fine fellow for your Thursday. A long-necked crane.

long-necked crane etching by artist Melanie Fain

Long-necked Crane

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Day 3 of the special sneak peek week.

Here’s my Chinese Nightingale

Chinese Nightingale etching by artist Melanie Fain

Chinese Nightingale etching by Melanie Fain

And though it’s unrelated to this project, here’s Hans Christian Anderson’s tale of  The Chinese Nightingale.

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Orange Blossom & Bee

Another piece in this special project. Here is the Orange Blossom with Bee etching

orange with bee etching, uncolored, Melanie Fain Artist

Orange Blossom with bee

The finished piece

orange with bee, etching, artist Melanie Fain

I’ve been really enjoying working on this project

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A peek at some new work.

I’m working on a special edition of etchings, not quite ready to tell you ALL about them but I thought I’d give you a peek at the work in progress. These will be for sale in very limited quantities, probably in September or October.

Halloween Pennant Etching by Melanie Fain

Halloween Pennant


Melanie Fain's Red Panda etching

Red Panda with Berries

Check back this week to see more in the series.  As soon as everything is finalized, I’ll tell you all about this special project.

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Artist vs. Deer

As tropical storm Don heads south and west, the drought in this part of Texas continues.  The wild creatures are hungry, and eating things they don’t normally eat.

I’m using Bobbex, it’s stinky, but it works.

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In the Studio – Poison Dart Frogs

I’ve been raising Poison Dart Frogs for about three years.  I love them.  They are fun to watch in their vivariums, they occasionally sing to each other, and they eat fruit flies with abandon.

The bright colors tell their possible predators that they are dangerous and stay away.  Before you get alarmed, the Poison Dart Frogs are poisonous in the wild, but in captivity, they don’t have the same diet, and therefore don’t make poison.  If you are super interested in Poison Dart Frogs, please check out

They are small frogs – this graphic from National Geographic shows their size in relation to a paper clip!

Dart frogs are members of the Dendrobatidae and I’ve had three pair:

“Bumble Bee” dart frogs (D. leucomelas) are yellow and black

bumble bee poison dart frog at

green and black (D. auratus)

green and black poison dart frogs at

and two BIG blue dart frogs (D. tinctorius “Azureus”)

Big blue dart frog at

Dart frogs are happier living in color coded community.  In the past year, one green and one yellow have died.  So yesterday, I visited my local pet store.

poison dart frogs

Let the frog shopping begin!

Where’s Waldo?

poison dart frog babies

Where's Waldo?

It was a bit of an event trying to find and capture the little froggies.

a naturalist searches for a poison dart frog

tiny frogs are good at hiding

Frogs selected, and I stopped to visit with one of the pet shop cats

Red Crest Pet Shop cat with naturalist Melanie Fain

You’ll notice the cat is eyeing my new frogs

Melanie Fain with cat and frogs

Back in the studio, the frogs are released into their new homes

home sweet home - poison dart frogs at

Welcome home little CX

It’s a little blurry, but you get the idea

tiny poison dart frog at

Nano taking a swim, or is that Trinket? I can't really tell.

Just for size comparison…

poison dart from at Melanie Fain Studio

Domino poses for the camera

Stay tuned for more Poison Dart Frog adventures.

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Feeding Birds during the Winter

I’ve been using the homemade “old standby” lard-peanut butter-cornmeal-oatmeal mix for my suet feeders.  Naturalist, and NPR reporter,  Julie Zickefoose has changed my mind.  She wrote a thoughtful and informative post on the dangers of the “old standby” food.  You can read that post here.  Julie and others believe that the very rich diet of lard and peanut butter is causing health issues in the birds.  Add  chick feed (without additive antibiotics) to the mixture supplies better nutrition for our beautiful bird friends.

I’ll be getting a bag of chick feed on the next trip into town and trying her recipe.  If you feed the birds in the winter, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this and consider making the improved recipe.

Blog post:  Zick Dough Improved

Here’s the recipe for a small batch:


Melt in the microwave and stir together:
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup lard

In a large mixing bowl, combine
2 cups chick starter – get the kind without antibiotics
2 cups quick oats
1 cup yellow cornmeal and
1 cup flour

Add melted lard/peanut butter mixture to the combined dry ingredients and mix well.

Julie also gives a “big batch” recipe in her blog post.

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