Thursday, April 30, 2009
Rebecca's home is filled with such incredible flowers -- most glorious this time of year. Every imaginable color and style of iris can be found there -- along with roses -- knockouts, old-fashioned climbing, and more. This small bouquet graced her kitchen table this week, and so I painted it -- sketched and painted partly in the house, and last night as I sat in her garden guarding the new seedlings from her chickens, I brought the bouquet outdoors to finish painting. After such a frenzied day, that simple sitting among the clucking chickens and warm, pre-evening light, was the most peaceful, restorative time. Truly a blessing.
Today will be another overful day ... but tomorrow -- home and rest. It's misty-rainy outdoors ...and somewhat cooler.
Hope everyone's day is grand!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Busy times continue -- This sketch was done from a photo reference, and looks far brighter in person than on my screen this morning.
We missed getting out to the water this weekend, so I had to substitute a couple of reference photos to bring me to those quiet, serene waters ...
The JCC Earthfest is today, so we'll be sharing information about square foot and container gardens. We inspired several 'new growers' into trying lettuce and tomatoes in large pots .. so we hope to 'convert' a few others about the joy and ease of this type of gardening. More information, if you're interested, can be found here: www.johnstoncc.edu/arboretum.
Hope YOU have fun planting!!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Our Internet connection at the office has been down since yesterday afternoon, so I'm posting this in transit. Until we get our servers back, I'll be scarce ...sigh.
This is one of the flowering perennials we planted in our new garden this weekend. Those pretty pink spikes of flowers will continue to open up the spike as the maroon buds open over time. I love how airy this looks when the wind blows!
It's going to be in the 90s again today -- pretty hot this early in the season ... It seems summer is almost here ... and to tell the truth, I'm still thinking spring!
Monday, April 27, 2009
It's going to be in the 90s again today, and already it's been a 'Monday'... my Internet server at home was down and there's a truckload of meetings ahead of me ...
Mercy ... at any rate -- have a great day -- I'm dashing yet again!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
There are certain photo references I turn to again and again when time is limited, I'm over-tired, or evening falls before I've had a chance to sketch outdoors. These olives are a case in point. I've painted them several times over the last four years, and THIS time, I wanted to concentrate on using wet-in-wet techniques for both the olives and the leaves. I loved watching the paint mingle on the paper! Very Zen! LOL
We spent the day outdoors and in the garden. My gracious, I haven't done that kind of physical labor in a while -- apparently -- because I am mighty sore today in places I haven't even thought about! LOL We did get the vegetables planted (just a few since both C and I have far too busy schedules to produce more vegetables than we can eat), pruned and tidied a couple of the beds, brought home another half dozen large perennials to plant today. We've much more to do, but four out of eight raised beds have new soil, fertilizer, tomatoes and squash and a ton of basil, some flowers, and some 'new life.' YAHOO! And all this physical exertion helped me sleep really well for a change! Soil therapy indeed!! Guess I"m going to have to put the paints aside for a wee bit and play in the soil more often! LOL
Today we rest more than we did yesterday (not counting the naps! LOL). Yesterday's temps reached 90F ... and today will be a repeat performance. I'm hoping we can get to the water for a walk and a sketch.
My trip to Italy begins in two weeks, and to say I'm excited is an understatement. I suppose 'that' could have influenced the olive sketch too. I haven't begun trying to trim down what I need to bring in order to keep things 'light' as recommended. I have created and spiral-bound two watercolor journals - one with watercolor paper interspersed with typing paper so I can keep a written journal as well as sketch journal. The other is entirely watercolor paper for use on the plane with my mini paint kit (posted a while ago) that seems to be working very well.
My granddaughter turns three today, so a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Taylor! Her party should be a blast! Emily and Nick are visiting and the 'cousins' should have a really big time!
Leaf expansion on the trees continues, and it seems as though my place on this grand earth is greening so quickly. I find those myriad shades ever so restive, as the spring and summer draw us into more outdoor activity. I think we need to consider a 'hammock!'
Saturday, April 25, 2009
After working at home most of the morning and early afternoon, I had finished what I could accomplish from my desk and decided to take advantage of the incredibly warm (80s!!) weather and relax a bit!
I sat in the sun, and after all the deskwork this week, it felt mighty good -- even if it were a tad on the hot side! Still, by the time I sketched my maple tree and trellis, the sun had moved around the house enough to have me sitting in the shade.
This is the entry to our 'Secret Garden' on the side of our home. Across the flower border is the garage, but this small garden gets a lot of shade and only morning sun.
My flowers aren't as lush as I've sketched (LOL); but still, the pinks and columbine enjoy the partial shade under the maple, and the Carolina Jessamine is just opening in different shades of yellow.
The trellis itself is made of metal and was built years and years ago by my husband. In fact, he constructed it for our wedding. It was used to hold squash vines at one time, and has graced this part of our home since we moved here in 1994. We wove grape vines through the bars, and the Jessamine has been tumbling over the rungs for a very long time.
When we took our late evening walk last night, we both remarked how quickly the leaves have covered the trees. While there are still multitudes of various shades of green, that wonderful 'spring' chartruse is just about gone. Summer weather and colors are just about here.
We're expecting even warmer temperatures today. I plan to spend sometime in the garden ... soil therapy...
Have a great day!
Friday, April 24, 2009
I can hardly recall when I've had a busier month -- and a steady obligation to back to back meetings... whew! To say I'm ready for a break is an understatement. I think I met myself coming in the door yesterday -- and I look a tad 'bedraggled!' LOL
Got home late last night and had to dash out to bring my granddaughter's birthday gift to my son since I won't be able to squeeze in another trip to South Carolina for her birthday party this week. I have to work a bit and truly, if I get a moment, I must take a break and try to get a bit more sleep. I refuse to get sick before heading overseas!!! LOL
Anyway, when I got back home and unpacked the car, I found the DVD I ordered -- "Simply Watercolour" by Robert Wade. I sat down to view it -- and it addressed those niggling issues of shapes, values, and looseness. While I find his work appealing, I just don't think I'm comfortable with THAT much looseness -- lol -- still, I learned quite a bit for a single viewing, and though it was REALLY late, I gave myself 40 minutes to simplify this practice painting. I had sketched it last night, so I painted it as simply and quickly as I could. I think I could deepen a few more values for added effectiveness, but for now, I'm pleased with the impressionistic feel of it ...
Bill posted a wisteria challenge for this week (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorus_maver/3468205542/) -- apparently we were on the same wave length!!! LOL
It's warming up here with temps expected in the 80s! While I love the warmth, North Carolina tends to have very short spring weather ... we often go from winter, to a teasingly short few weeks of warmth ... to the full blast of summer!
Hope your day is grand!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Boy were we blown around by the wind yesterday!
We were sitting in the mobile unit getting through meetings and paperwork, when my assistant heard a couple of 'cracks.' We looked outside and saw several of the surrounding pines cracked in two and blown down. We relocated in a hurry! LOL
Several of the tall irises blooming on the Arboretum grounds were also blown down -- this was one of them. I brought it to the B&B last night to sketch. I love the ochre petals against the white/pale lavender ... And they're not quite as tall as the dark purple iris I painted last week -- these are only about two feet tall....
I must admit that having the flowers close enough to my eyes to SEE them clearly and to be able to capture a bit more detail than I could when in the car yesterday was a more enjoyable sketching exercise for me .... I LOVE the loose, painterliness of so many of my flickr art friends, and wish I could get a bit more of that into my own painting. Yet, I seem to still be enamored with lines, so I'm just going to have to realize that 'Lin's Lines' may be what I really enjoy doing .... though I also love other styles of painting.
The wind is down today and the temperatures are rising. Tree leaves are really expanding and already the wonderful architecture of tree limbs is becoming obscured by green.
Pollen is flying as well. So many folks are coughing and sneezing ... but the high temps and brilliantly blue skies still draw us from indoors for a few more weeks of 'spring fever.'
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
HAPPY EARTH DAY!
Our greenhouse is almost empty, but we're working on putting the rest of the veggies, herbs and flowers into pots for an Earthfest Celebration next week.
I painted these from a photo reference -- (It was so good to be able to SEE what I was painting! LOL) ....
The wind is up and it's overcast with scattered showers predicted .... and it's cooler than yesterday.
Meetings are again the order of the day, and will be until I leave for Italy the 2nd week in May.
We're beginning to have more and more tours of the Arboretum -- really terrific news! And a school is considering 'partnering' with us ...! YAHOO -- our hard work is beginning to bring in more people to enjoy the beautiful grounds we are developing!
Off to a meeting ... Have a great day!
I got to the B&B earlier than ususal last night, and so I sat in my car and tried to sketch Rebecca's patch of iris through the front windshield. I"m nearsighted, and so finding details was a BIG challenge!!! LOL It got rainy, again, and so I was very glad I was sitting in a protected vehicle! LOL
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Anyway, this peach azalea is from my home. I haven't planted a lot of azaleas (contrary to most southern gardens!!! LOL), since I find their blossoming, though glorious in the spring, is too short-lived. Nonetheless, the few I do have give our humble home a really festive look this time of the year.
We've got tours planned for two different groups today, a bit of rain expected, and meetings and paperwork -- sigh!
May we all have a moment today to stop and smell the roses!! ME TOO! LOL
A very very quick plein air sketch of a portion of Rebecca's garden -- azaleas and iris. I had to paint this between wind and rain .... I finally gave up after sketching in the major forms and finished the values in the house. These small trees - a dogwood, now entirely in leaf and a small crep myrtle, sit near the driveway to her side door.
Monday, April 20, 2009
My friend Donna posted a link to Susan Boyle's sensational appearance on "Britains Got Talent" yesterday
I listened once again to Susan (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY) singing. Again, her tale, a Cinderella story to be sure, had me sobbing with emotion. The crusty, gnarly oyster, was allowed to open to reveal the most golden of glistening pearls. And the world rejoices again.
How much this reminds me that we are all Susans. We are all oysters with hidden pearls that sometimes, if we’re fortunate, a few people see, appreciate and value. A few of us, even get the chance to broaden the ‘shine’ inside to wider audiences.
I want to remember … to strive always … to SEE each of those pearls that come into my world … to encourage their glowing, to help each ‘oyster’ I meet to shine ever more brightly.
May we each have the courage and conviction to keep shining ...to brighten the world for us all. And for me, some of that glow are scenes like this ... and friends like you.
Shine on, dear hearts ....
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Thank you all for your most generous comments yesterday and for the well wishes for our fund-raiser plant sale.
It was an incredible success!
The day itself was an exceptional gift - sunshine, temperatures in the 70s and 80s, clear skies, and an array of activities being offered around our local towns. The gardening 'bug' seemed to bite hard while the sun pulled families from the confines of their homes!
By 8:45 we had a line in front of the greenhouses back to the parking lot! I was jaw-dropped! At 9, we opened the doors - by 9:10 the cucumbers were gone, by 9:15 every pepper plant, by 10, half of the entire TABLE of tomatoes-- all gone. Birdhouses, flower pots, feeders went to loving homes with equal speed. The JCC Drumming Ensemble opened the event followed by an enthusiastic, wonderful chorus, giving the entire sale a festive, energetic 'feel.' Painters were captivated by those irises I posted earlier, and also lined the entry; and many more spent the day by the lake across the campus. Photography students, pottery students all did well. Our special musicians (Don S, Harvey and Charles, Brant and Brandy) continued to keep customers entertained and the mood light and cheeful. We had a brilliant performance by our former Arboretum Technican's daughter, Brandy (10 years old!!!) and husband, and tears of joy just fell by those listening to the talent of this little star! Hot dogs were the lunch item of choice (in between customers -- a mere smidgen of time), and students were scurrying with loaded gators and golf carts to fill customers' cars all day long.
We exceeded our best year of sales!! Which means despite the economic restrictions we've been under and will continue to operate next year, the Southern Garden can begin to move forward!
We are all incredibly grateful!!!!
And, well, exhausted. It was an exceptionally early, intense, non-stop day and late night. But deeply gratifying. Today will be quiet as not only I recover, but all the wonderful volunteers and students, our Advisory Board members, even the Southern Garden architect, my dear husband who not only sang his heart out, but also helped with receipts and clean up.
When we finally got home last night, I was too keyed up to sit, so I walked the property and plucked one of my own flowering azaleas. I didn't have enough energy to do much, but daily practice is important, and so this loose, simple sketch before I feel into bed.
Thank you all! It was truly an INCREDIBLE day!
Friday, April 17, 2009
I spent most of the day working on Bill's Challenge (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lorus_maver/3431879478/). And challenging it was!! From perspective to light, to figures, to GREENS, etc., etc. But it was fun!
Thanks again, Bill, for another learning experience!!!!
Last year, the Arboretum received an incredibly generous gift of bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs in Virginia. We planted over 1500 of them in our various gardens, and have been enjoying their magnificent display for the last few weeks.
Some of my favorites are the irises -- whites, yellows/golds, light blues to deep lavenders, and these, dark purple on the top, a hint of pink and white on the lower petals. They're almost as tall as I am (well, for me 3 1/2 feet is mighty tall!! especially for a plant! LOL), and as we go in and out of our office space and the sun is upon the blossoms, their white petals look like dinner plates edged in fine plum ... truly a lift to the spirits when we've been running like crazed magpies! LOL
One more day, a few more details .. then the plant sale. I'll be gone from before the dawn tomorrow to nightfall, so I hope to stay awake enough when I get home to sketch a bit. It'll be fabulous, though, watching artists painting some of the plants we've worked so hard to have shining at this special time.
I've brought home a few tomato plants to get into the ground on Sunday ... nights are still a bit cold these last few weeks, but the days are in the 60s and 70s and the pull of the sun to be outdoors is mighty strong ...!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Imagine my surprise last night when I dragged myself home after another day in the greenhouse to find Rebecca had graced my room with a small bouquet of blooming wegelia and sweet-smelling daffodils. Not only did it look so pretty, but I knew Rebecca was subtly asking me to paint it!! LOL
A day of meetings and more greenhouse work, then attention to the outside of the Arboretum (all those fine weeding chores), and we 'should' be ready for Saturday.
Though we might have another shower or two today, Saturday promises to be warm and sunny ... just the kind of day for music, gardening, and art!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
After a day hauling planters, pots, flats, soil, walking at least 6 miles back and forth in the greenhouse rearranging plants, these bony ol' arms and legs got to the B&B just about dark -- in time to collapse!! lol
I didn't have much time to sketch, nor much energy, so Rebecca allowed me to pick a few columbine to use for my daily practice.
Today, we'll be continuing work in the greenhouse, designing a vegetable bed for display, making signs and the like. I'll be scarce.
It's raining, but warm, but Saturday promises to be glorious! Fingers crossed!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The irises at the Arboretum -- tall, strong, colorful -- are just opening -- and how I wish I could get outdoors to sketch them! Yellows, whites, pale blues, deep purples -- all of these are bursting their sheaths just in time for our local artists to come on Saturday to paint and our customers come to purchase plants.
But readying for this event keeps me tied to the greenhouse and indoors ... sigh.
I got to the B&B last night hoping that Rebecca had some irises in her kitchen bouquet. Unfortunately, the flowers on the table were rather droopy and blown. I asked her about them, and that wonderully generous woman suggested we walk her garden to pick a bouquet for me to paint!
Off we went selecting some bright red/purple iris, about-ready-to-bloom azaleas and some of the most incredibly fragrant daffodils I've ever inhaled. She quickly fixed them in the vase, and I was off to paint! This is the result .. and, gratefully, she liked it too! LOL
Rain has set it for the next few days making the final clean-up chores around the gardens impossible. I'll be in the greenhouse all day, repotting plants, organizing tables and the like, so I'll be scarce.
Meanwhile, stay day and warm! And keep an eye on those flowers!!!
Monday, April 13, 2009
This is a view of the lake and the changes we experienced the other day over an hour's time. From sunshine to gusty winds to billows of darkening clouds to sheets of rain ... whew! I turned my view to paint this a bit more toward the water than the thicket to focus on the changes in the water color. Some of this was painted from the dryness of the car! LOL
It's been cooler than we had expected with rain predicted for the first of this week. We're in the throes of preparing for our annual plant sale fund-raiser, so it'll be mighty busy with work on the weekend as well.
Hope the week goes well for everyone! Stay dry!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Our trees are rejoicing in displays of pale pink and white. Dogwoods have donned their ballerina skirts while plum, pear, peach and apple dress themselves in soft flowing pastels ...
The Happiest of Easters to you!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The day began with wonderful sun and warm temps. C and I packed up the car and headed to a lake about 35 miles from home that neither of us had been to in over 15 years ... (I know! I know! LOL). We drove around the area remarking about the changes. We disembarked several times as we watched fishermen and fisherladies on the lake being tossed about by the furious wind that seemed to beat us to the water.
We settled on a spot on the backside of the lake where the wind was kept at bay by the trees. C pacticed his guitar and I sketched the view before me -- deciding that I needed to hurry a bit in case that wind was going to catch up with us. I went straight in with the watercolor - keeping things simplified.
I loved this wee spot overlooking the lake. We were joined by several folks we 'tried' to fish .. but gave up after a while as the wind began changing direction and blowing more strongly.
After about 30 minutes, both C and I noticed that the clouds were darkening; and the wind, gusting more, was far cooler. When one gust came seemingly out of nowhere and blew my paints across the picnic table, we decided to pack up and head to the car.....just in time.
The rains came then, furious, cold and gusty. I was able to capture the majority of the changes in the lake in my sketchbook before we left -- I'll post those later.
Today looks like another beauty! I'm thinking we may head out again or work a bit in the garden. I really like this 'resting' thing!
Pen and Wash
When we were driven from the lake by the rain, we decided to continue our 'day out' and so drove another 20 miles across to Virginia for dinner at The Lake House Restaurant - near another portion of Kerr Lake. Since it was Good Friday and we were in 'lake country,' we dined on Tuna and Catfish -- both excellent.
While our meals were being prepared, I sketched this in ink -- again, no pencil, and added a bit of paint before we left. By the time we were heading home, the rain was spotty, and so I finished it while C was driving ...
Friday, April 10, 2009
The hyacinths are in their full glory right now -- these brilliantly purple ones grace the front and sides of the kitchen garden at the Arboretum .. LOVE them!
We had a surprise yesterday when I picked up the kitties from the vet .... Target -- is a BOY! LOL Imagine how silly I felt not to have known and thinking he was a she .... oh well ... at least I know Pepper now has a brother. Both Target and Spot are doing well, though neither of them likes being confined. They have a couple of days for restricted activity and contact with their siblings. Spot has already managed to escape twice ...maybe her pain medication today will calm her down a bit.
It's going to be a glorious day -- sunshine and warm temps. I think C and I are headed for the park for some painting and hiking .... yahoo!!
Have a great day!
Thursday, April 09, 2009
It's amazing to me how quickly our landscape is turning from winter bare to spring profusion! This is the view from the front of the Arboretum across the road to a small patch of trees and shrubs -- today covered in lavender and purple wisteria. The vines have formed a sea of low bushes, while the more adventuresome vines have begun taking over the trees to form purple draperies. If I squint my eyes, all I see is a curtain of purple and chartruse ....
It's raining as I am writing this. The temps are a bit cooler, and thankfully, C and I have been able to 'capture' Spot and Target for their appointment with the vet -- the last of the litter to be spayed.
The school closes at noon today for the Easter holiday. After a flurry of activity, the plant sale next week and other obligations each weekend until June, I think we're planning a quiet, restive weekend ... it'll be a welcome change!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The quince in my garden is in full bloom .... and on one side of the house, the quince is this wonderful peachy-pink; across the drive, the other quince is a magenta-pink -- wonderful eye-candy!
I tried to sketch this shrub plein air on Sunday; but it turned out too poor to post! LOL So I thought I'd give it another attempt ...
Temps didn't plummet as cold as predicted last night; so our flowers look like they survived the worst of it. Time now to turn our attention to the garden and putting in some of the plants our students have been growing.
I've created a power-point presentation for 'small space gardening' for our Arboretum web viewers:
scroll a bit toward the middle of the page. I used my own gardens for this presentation ... enjoy it! We'll be using this for the school's earthday festival at the end of the month.
I do hope to get outdoors this weekend for some gardening and another plein air attempt. Weather should be much warmer than today!
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
A scene from Duke Gardens and their terraces. Each of the Italianate terraces are filled with seasonal flowers. This weekend, tulips of all colors -- from purple and magenta and red to white, peach and yellow --- were showcased. Crab apples, dogwoods, azaleas all in bloom ... set against the ever-present pine green .... a wonderful place to visit! Some day OUR Arboretum will look simliar---- I pray ...
The temps have plunged to freezing for the next two days - all of us have our fingers crossed for the strawberries and peaches in full bloom ....
Monday, April 06, 2009
I sketched this yesterday to the sound of C and his friends rocking the house with their music! Though I sat outdoors and attempted a sketch of my flowering quince, apparently my muse decided she'd rather inspire the boys ... LOL
It's off to work and an administrator retreat,,,
We've a bit of cooler, wetter weather for the early part of this week - even a bit of a freeze predicted. With tulips and trees and all sorts of flowers blooming, we're hoping the ground has warmed enough to keep them alive through the worst of this ...
Have a great week!
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Another busy day yesterday and the grands overnight. Charles has his jam group coming this afternoon, and the weather is about as beautiful as any spring day ...I've my fingers crossed for finding a bit of time to paint outdoors or at least time to paint with leisure! LOL
I painted this a couple of weeks ago. The scene could have been Duke Gardens -- flowers galore! Even my own patches of daffodils, my redbuds and saucer magnolila are in bloom .... and the pine pollen is flying! With the winds we've had, it feels like a yellow duststorm! LOL
Have a great day ...
Saturday, April 04, 2009
The sun came out yesterday just about lunchtime, and temperatures rose with it ... a beautiful day spent running errands .... not much time to paint.
But everywhere we went, flowers! From dandelions to azaleas ... spring is emerging ....! Trees are shedding pollen and there are still many without their green dresses, but under incredibly blue skies, wee bits of green can be seen everywhere!
Temps this morning have started out cool, and those furious winds of yesterday have calmed down to soft whispers ....
I so hope to get some painting time in today!
Friday, April 03, 2009
As I drove home in the rain and gray yesterday, I could spot such wonderful spring color - chartruse, maroon, pinks and white of dogwoods ... but I had no where to stop to take a photo. So, being really careful, I aimed my camera out the dashboard as we slowly snaked our way up the long roads north.
This house and gnarled tree reside about 15 miles from my house .. I was able to snap a photo since I was stopped at a light ...
Reviewing my 'moving photos' there are lots of color references, but not much more ... oh well ... lol
Catch up day for chores and errands through a day of more rain.. I hope to get these completed to find some relaxing time to paint. It's been such an intense week!
Hope your Friday is a good one!
Thursday, April 02, 2009
May this birthday be your very best!!!
Hugs to you!!!
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Thank you all for your well-wishes for our event. It could not have been more well received.... the entire day was sheer grace ...
Between a weekend of rain and rain today, we had a gloriously sun-filled, warm day. The first swallowtails appeared along with the bright pink blooms of our azaleas, seemingly to open just for the Prelude Event. Over 50 people arrived (so many called with that dreaded flu) to participate in a lecture, tour, seed exchange, refreshments, a history of the Arboretum's progress and to enjoy a balmy, beautiful day.
After hours on our feet, talking non-stop, answering questions, cleaning up and readying two buildings for classes and for interviews this morning, I about crawled back to the B&B to do a quick 'impression' of a bit of our azalea garden. I clustered these shrubs around a crepe myrtle in the style we see so often here in the south, but our azalea beds are not quite so donut-y ... I painted this partly from an old photo and mostly from memory and license and mostly from sheer will to paint something before sleep! LOL
I cannot express how grateful we are for the way the day turned out. We're all pretty tired and must now focus our attention on the plant sale (our largest fund-raiser of the year) scheduled a bit more than two weeks away.