Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Butterfly Bush

All the time I was weeding the kitchen garden, the butterflies were having a ball sipping nectar from the blooming herbs AND this butterfly bush. I snapped a photo and took it to my daughter's to use as a reference. I LOVE those butterflies!


While working in the kitchen garden before leaving for South Carolina, I collected this baby zucchini -- with blossom! It was so yummy looking, I had to sketch it rather than cook it!

EDM 69 Beverage

I am so enjoying being with my daughter and granddaughter! And though she doesn't have a scanner, if I play a bit with her PhotoShop Elements, I can get a half-way decent image of my sketches!! YEAH!!

So here's my beverage -- and a big learning curve! The image is from Wet Canvas and while it contained some gorgeous color and a silver spoon , no matter how much I tried, my silver spoon looked like some plastic utensil from my granddaughter's playset. So I cropped it out! I believe this is supposed to be a glass of water with lemon and ice ... and while I've gotten some of the reflections fairly decently, my ice cubes need some help! LOL

But it was fun, and sure stretched my abilities! LOL

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Lychnis and Onion

I went outdoors early this morning to find something to sketch. My lychnis were in full bloom! So I pulled out a step ladder (I MUST get a suitable sketch seat) and sat down to sketch. After only 10 minutes -- the intense sun and heat had me in a sweat!! I collected a blossom and leaf and went indoors to cool off and get my eyes to adjust!

I'm also determined to learn more about shading and color blending. I sketched this onion and added watercolor as I sat after lunch in the shade of the porch.

After a difficult workweek, today was a true relaxing gift!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


The daylillies are in bloom at work!! Such a riot of yellow-orange!

At home, the leaves wave and await their orange crowns!

Who's That Knocking at My Door

As C and I were readying to head to the movies, we opened the front door to let in the cat for her dinner -- C looked up -- and THIS black snake met his gaze!! Brazen fella! He was curled up not one foot from the front door, wrapped around the outdoor seat we have on the porch! His tail end dangled on the porch floor - and he had wrapped himself 3 feet UP from the floor, around the heart shaped opening on the seat sides, and further dangled down the seat's side. Heavens know how LONG he actually was!

We recognized him as a non-poisonous black snake and let him be.

He was gone by the time we returned from the movies.


Friday, May 26, 2006



We've been in the throes of tremendous thunderstorms, so I downloaded a few reference photos from WetCanvas and sketched and watercolored these while the storm raged. I know our plants are mighty grateful for the rain!

And we are for an internet connect that works!!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

EDM 68 My Computer

While this is NOT one's typical computer, for those of us who live far removed from urban centers (and competitive Internet servers), we often depend on satellite systems to give us Internet access that is FAR superior to dial-up -- often our only alternative.

Last week, we lost our satellite connection -- we're not sure what went wrong, and it will be a week (or so) before we can have it repaired. So for a week we've been on dial-up -- and the excruciating slowness of downloading and uploading. FRUSTRATING!

We've got our fingers crossed that a new satellite service will be able to install a new system for us. Our broken satellite (and the service it came with) has been fraught with difficulties for the 18 months we've had it installed. We're hoping this new service, one without a dial-up prerequisite, will be faster -- though more expensive -- and more reliable.

We are hoping!

So, I've sketched my satellite -- my CONNECTION!

Silene: Firepink

We're in the process of locating native plants for our woodland habitat. Earlier this week, we picked up these wonderful Firepinks!

Bleeding Hearts

Flowers always cheer me, and here, even with such a name, these bleeding hearts remind me of dense woodlands and bright bit of pink surprises!

Thanks again, Kate, for the photo reference!

Monday, May 22, 2006


I've been trying to decide exactly what it is about watercolor and pen that I love so much and how I can best practice this type of art. So yesterday, I worked on an ink sketch of this comfrey (Thanks, Kate, for the photo!) and added several watercolor washes. But lo -- I didn't like the result as well. I felt that the ink was too heavy, too bold.

So today, I went back to my pencil sketching with watercolor added -- and yes! That's it .... with perhaps a bit of ink HIGHLIGHTS. YEAH!!! A lightbulb moment!

It's the juxtaposition, I think, or the blending of two things--the softness of watercolor washes and the crispness of ink ...!

And so today, I set out to redo my comfrey sketch with pencil and watercolor. And rather than add black ink highlights, I rather liked this result with a bit of white ink for the comfrey hairs alongside the softer pencil lines.

I am learning!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Up Pops the Poppy

A year ago this week we vacationed in Sicily and had the time of our lives! I've been nostalgic to return. As I was outdoors with my grandchildren yesterday, imagine my surprise to find a lone poppy RIGHT in the center of my front garden. I hunted for more -- NONE--just this lone, tiny red/orange poppy! It immediately brought me back to Sicily and the red/orange poppies that color the hillsides!

I sketched these poppies from Kate Johnson's flower images she's shared with some of her students and which will appear on her new CD of copyfree images.

I've tried to capture the almost papery look of the petals ... I used watercolor, pencil and colored pencil ... but I just HAD to add pen. How I LOVE the looseness of the watercolor with the crispness of pen!

My Red Wagon

A few Christmases ago, my children gave me this red wagon to help me around the garden. I've enjoyed it immensely! And now, my grandchildren are enjoying it too! Although it is usually ME taking both Nick and Emily for rides, yesterday, Emily decided SHE was was going to pull the wagon AND her brother! What a strong two-year old (both physically AND in determination!!).

When the two of them went down for a nap, I sketched the wagon. Nothing better than fresh air and exercise for sleeping well! LOL

Friday, May 19, 2006

Stick Verbena

This unusual Verbena thrives in my gardens! It's such a funny-looking, unusual plant! Tiny clusters of wee purple blooms sit atop stick-like stems in opposite pairs -- and leaves that stick straight out!! What a conversation piece! LOL

Bluebirds Return!

After the first set of bluebirds fledged, I emptied their box (I understand the birds like to rebuild it for each clutch of eggs -- a new nest helps keep the insects down). I kept their old nest, thinking I'd like to sketch it. Soon thereafter, the pair of bluebirds made a new nest and as I sit to sketch their former nest, I see the male and female already hard at work feeding their new clutch!

Mercy, sketching nests made of dozens and dozens of pine needles, bits of leaves and bits of fluff is hard!! I sketched the bluebird after the image in Peterson's Guide.

(Don't know why the tail is cut off -- new scanner -- trying to get used to it!! LOL)

More Mother's Day

Although I associate my mom with flowers, especially roses, she loved ALL flowers. I remember her lamenting the loss of her lilacs when she moved to Florida so I thought I'd sketch a lilac for her.

In addition, she is rarely without a crochet hook in her hand! She's fashioned layettes for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, sweaters for her daughters, the most comfortable SLIPPERS I ask for each year, tablecloths, bedspreads, pillows, placemats, etc. So I've sketched some crochet yarn and hook for her. I remember too a poem I wrote for she and my dad about 20 years ago -- it began "I remember Momma with a crochet hook in hand, weaving threads of color into gifts so grand ...."

Yep -- that's my mom!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Bird in the Stone Wall

As I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I sat in the car and read. I heard bird chatter and traced it to a mother sparrow dashing in and out of this hole in the stones that formed a pillar of the pharmacy. I sketched this quickly ... thus my lines are a bit kerwonky ... In my attempt to 'straighten' the lines -- I added too much ink ... SIGH~~~

EDM #67 Mom

Whenever I think of my mom, I think of her love of flowers. I've inherited that love from her, as has my daughter inherited that love from me. I'm hoping Taylor will also love flowers as much as we all do.

When I was growing up, my mom had a beautiful, highly scented rose bush by the side of our home. When I got to the B&B this week, Rebecca has a vase of roses in my room. I sketched this for my mom and the rose bush she loved and from which she decorated so many rooms in our house -- and for Rebecca - who mirrors the same love of vased flowers and roses!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Sketchy Sketches -- YEAH

Although work has been harried with long hours, I managed to squeeze in these sketches of flowers blooming around me.

I really LOVE that they look like the sketchy-sketches I've been trying to achieve -- a bit of pencil and/or pen, and a light watercolor wash.

Now to keep practicing so I can continue learning how to do this better!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Although my children had plans with their spouses today, Charles outdid himself!

Last night we went into Durham to walk around and eat dinner at Tosca's. We ate on the patio and reminesced how a year ago we were eating on the patio in Casalicchio in Sicily. As we ate we watched a rainbow parade of beautifully dressed young women celebrating their graduations and proms. The fellows looked spiffy too in their tuxedos! What a show!

Today, Charles fixed a FABULOUS dinner: Lemon Caper Pork Chops, lemon caper sauce over cheese and porchini mushroom tortellini, and Italian-spiced spinach, garlic breadsticks and ice tea!
I finished the Tiramisu I couldn't finish last night! YUM YUM YUM!!

I worked on the journals for the grands. Michelle sent more photos of Taylor so I could add these to her album; and I added the 'artist' photos of Nick and Emily.

We've had storms all day -- rain, thunder, lightning, hail in some places, and tornado warnings still in effect.

And I FINALLY got a 'light' touch on the orchid -- HORRAY!!!!

All in all -- a lovely day -- quiet -- and wonderfully succulent!


My sweet husband surprised me with a GLORIOUS vase (hand-painted no less) of lemony-scented orchids for Mother's Day! WHAT A SKETCHING opportunity!!


I liked my linework -- but oh -- I must devote MUCH more practice to keeping my watercolors light and light-filled!!

What an excuse to ask for more vases of flowers!! LOL


Tagged! Five Things

Sioux tagged me for Five Things ...

Five things in my refrigerator:
* Purple artichokes - My sweet husband bought these luxuries because he knows how much I love artichokes ... I've never cooked PURPLE ones ... so this will be a real treat for Mother's Day
* Pork chops - Charles is cooking dinner for Mother's Day - my request? Pork chops with lemon and capers over pasta -- YUMMM!!!
* Raspberries - again, my favorite fruit and bought special for today.
* Strawberries. It's that season here in NC and so this fruit is plentiful and we love them!
* Water Melon - See raspberries above!
* Cottage Cheese - I seem to be on a cottage cheese and fruit frenzy and so we tend to stock up on this in small containers for easy transport.

Five things in my closet:
* High heels - seldom worn any more and yet I can't toss out or give away shoes I MIGHT wear.
* Hiking boots - See high heels above.
* Overnight bags - Wish I DIDN"T have to use these so much!
*Graduation robes - worn once a year when my students graduate
*TONS of sweaters and sweatshirts and turtlenecks -- because I"M ALWAYS COLD!
* Hidden Christmas gifts I'll uncover WHEN AND IF I EVER CLEAN UP THIS MESSY CLOSET!

Five things in my car:
* Overnight night bag -- see 'closet' above.... SIGH!
* Emergency tire pump and battery chargers (see overnight bags above!) SIGH!
* Snack bars (See emergency tire pump ...!!) LOL
* Bottled water (See above!!!)
* Cough syrup, lozengers, sinus medicine, nose spray (See above!)
* ART SUPPLIES, collage supplies, art books, extra sketchboooks, extra paints ... BECAUSE I'M ALWAYS ON THE ROAD!!! LOL

Do I see a pattern here??

I tag Teri and Terri!!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

In the Garden

This concrete little girl sits among Homestead Verbena, Ornamental grasses, and a Lacecap Hydrangea. I love that she's reading among the flowers.

Me? I spent the day spraying and pulling weeds! It's a RARE event for a gardener to actually SIT in her garden.

At least this little statue reminds me that I SHOULD!!

As I sit and sketch, Sunny rests in the grass, keeping me company.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Emily the Artist

Undetered by my cat sketches, I decided to give my granddaugher Emily another try. Though I can see many areas, I've gone wrong, this is one of the FIRST portraits of my grandchildren that I can REALLY SEE the essence of that child!!!

Miss Sunshine

After planting some herbs between rain showers yesterday, my cat, Sunshine, decided to follow me inside and beg for moist catfood. Her 'meows' got to me and I fed her -- then she wanted outside -- rain and all.

I busied myself with laundry and when I went past the storm door, there she was, resting against the door, protected by the porch from the rain.

I hurriedly sketched her, but my constant staring woke her up. She turned around, looked at me thru the glass, and with those irresistible cateyes, begged to come in. I haven't quite captured the pitiful look she had ... think I'll be working on my cat sketches!

Oh yes, I did let her in! LOL

Thursday, May 11, 2006

My $15000 fire hydrant

When I was working on Phase II of the Arboretum, we had to install two fire hydrants in order to be approved for occupancy of our mobile unit and greenhouses. Imagine my SHOCK when I not only needed an expensive fire hydrant to protect a metal frame and plastic, but I needed TWO of them because the water pressure was so low in the area. Here's one of those hydrants $30,000 nightmare!


I gave a workshop/lecture to a garden club this week. I had cooked some herbal tid-bits, provided herbs as well as a slide show. I'm glad everyone enjoyed it!

A few members brought these gloriously-spicy scented peonies ~! I had a most difficult time capturing the loose petals, the WHITE tinged with yellow, shadows, and the 'moppiness' of them.

I sketched my first attempt with pencil and ink -- and then tried a few white/yellow/grey/blue washes. I found it too harsh.

Then I sketched the same flower but first putting down some wc washes, and then adding a more delicate pencil line. I think I like this best - though it seems a bit 'light' to me.


There are some gloriously pink rhodos in bloom in the Azalea/Rhodo garden at our small Arboretum. Here's my attempt to capture the PINK of those rhodo-balls!


One year ago, May 8, my dh and I were winging our way to Sicily for ten days! THIS year, on May 8, I was snowed under with work and filled with nostalgia for this ancestral home I fell in love with. To commemorate the trip, I sketched this poppy -- reminding me of the poppies I saw growing wild throughout the countryside.

Still trying to sketch Nick

I have the most adorable photo of my grandson, Nick. It shows his huge eyes, his growing blond hair, the utter 'cuteness' of this 15 month old.

I printed the photo and took it out of town with me and tried TWICE, unsuccessfully, to capture this toddler! SIGH!

There are aspects of Nick I HAVE captured - his BIG eyes, the cut of his hair, his button nose. I seem to have missed those rose-bud lips ... but I'm determined to keep at it.

One of these days, I'll have a TOTAL sketched image of this little one ... someday ...!!!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Young Artists at Work

Finally -- a rainy, RESTFUL day! We went to visit the grands this afternoon. They are at such an ADORABLE age - beginning to talk, truly making their desires known, doing the most hilarious antics, and overall, simply endearing themselves to their Nonna and Nonni.

Today, the young artists practiced their 'art'. Emily began with fingerpainting ... every time Nick came by to play, she gently moved her paints to the other side of the table! Not to be outdone, however, he decided to try the crayons. As can be expected, if Nick is using crayons, Emily had to use crayons too! The two are a riot!

I can tell immediately, these toddlers have a LOT to teach me!

Oh, MY art? I think today, was photography! LOL

Daisies and Sage Blossoms

After a fun day out yesterday and after a much needed nap, I walked the small gardens on my property and found some flowers to sketch. These daisies occupy a patch by the shed and I've been slowing cutting back the patch of sage for tortellini with sage, butter and olive oil (YUM!). Still, the herbs are in a glory of purple blossoms.

I SO admire pencil, pen and watercolor journals and have hunted like mad for varioius 'how-to' manuals and journals. This is my attempt at that 'sketchbook style.'

Art notes: pencil, WN watercolors, and Aquacover white added to daisy petals for whiter highlights and texture.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Ham and Yam Festival

Although thunderstorms and rain were predicted for today's festival, the day turned out to be glorious! Sunshine, small breeze, and HOT! I sketched Charles' hand on the steering wheel as HE drove us there.

My husband was asked to sing for a friend's church at the Festival, so we set out early this morning to drive the 80 miles to Smithfield (YES--AGAIN!). We got there in plenty of time, and i was able to check in with my former technician who opened up a truly fabulous bookstore ... such ambiance ... coffee, desserts, books, and her cheerful company!

The stage Charles was going to use was having a bit of technical difficiult with speakers and mikes, but it was resolved finally, and he could sing. He sure did a GREAT job and attracted a lot of folks to this part of the festival. (Some day my sketches of Charles will REALLY look like him -- SIGH!)

After his singing, we made our way to the other venues. I had a fantastic!! chair massage -- I almost fell asleep! Found some neat cloth books for the grands, ate some sweet potato fries, home-made ice cream, ice cream dots (!) and found a really terrific jean with pockets and belt pocketbook for my daughter-in-law for mother's day.

It was FUN!

On the 80 mile return trip home, we did some grocery shopping and wound up needing a nap when we got home.

So glad the weather held and the event was successful!

Watercolor - Eno Falls

I'm still working on my watercolors -- and so between scannings of my computer as I repaired it as best I could, I managed to attempt this winter scene of the Eno River falls ...

Lemonade from lemons?

I spent over 14 hours yesterday ridding my computer of spam ... mercy.... it had jammed my computer and caused untold angst! So while I downloaded, uploaded, scanned, rescanned, and scanned again, I got a lot of 'avoidance' chores done--laundry, switching turtlenecks for short sleeves, getting ready for a workshop next week and cooking various items.

By late evening, I was getting rather tired but wanted to do a bit of artwork to relieve the frustration. By that time, it was raining and dark and so I grabbed two photos to attempt - one of my new granddaughter, Taylor (I JUST LOVE my daughter's hand here!) and a recent one of Emily.

Though not a TOTAL likeness of either -- both REMIND me of these grands ... and that means I'm getting closer -- computer aggravations and all!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Tree Stump

The one watercolor I did this week wound up on textweight paper by mistake. Still I like the way the petunias look around this aging tree trunk.

Noses - EDM 65 Noses

Work continues to be busy, and when I arrived home, my computer has been infected with a troublesome worm and I've lost my satellite connection -- BIG SIGH. Can't seem to post to several of the groups I belong to and my service provider won't be able to help me for a while. When it rains ....

I've done a few noses -- with faces -- as I attempt more portraits. I redid my own and my grandson, Nick.