Friday, July 31, 2009
As I've written below, being surrounded by so much beauty at Duke Gardens, a friend to chat with who shares the same interests, a glorious day, and the blessing of time, can often be more overwhelming in simple pleasure ... making painting a bit more difficult! Still, I attempted the incredible water lilies in the pond we sat by, the bullfrogs making us laugh with their deep and surprising croaks. The sun was hot, and though in my mind I imagined painting this 'loose' and wet and splashy -- dang, it didn't happen. I got tight, too dark with shadows, too stiff -- but while the painting result suffered, I had a truly wonderful and most incredibly relaxing day and I do like the colors! LOL
Great company, a good lunch, terrific sharing, and even rain at home -- some days, one just has to make a few sacrifices ... LOLOL!!
Today it's back to chores, errands, and perhaps attempting that lily again. The rain has finally reached the soil, and though we need a lot more -- for now, it's good to know the plants have finally gotten their thirst quenched ...
Have a great day!
Oftentimes, it's difficult for me to get 'out' with a friend for painting - chores, fatigue from the week, grands, travel, whatever, seem to interfer with a simple meeting and time to paint. But yesterday, ah yesterday! WONDERFUL!
Connie (http://connie-askbelievereceive.blogspot.com/) and I met at Duke Gardens. Connie and I have painted together at some of the Alamance Paint Outs, but it was so relaxing and pleasant to spend a morning sitting in the shade by the pond with a friend and sketching!
We chatted, listened to all the passerbys as they too exclaimed over the charm of the scene, giggled at the deep croaking of frogs coming from the water, and simply 'tried' to capture what was in front of us.
Sarah Duke Gardens is an amazing place, with views to paint with every glance and step. Settling in and painting can be daunting, if not totally overwhelming. Add to that the simple joy of companionship, leisure, sunshine and plants -- well ... that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! LOL
But it was wonderful! By noon we were growing hungry, so we headed to a small cafe, sat under the shade, despite the warming temperatures, and chatted some more over wonderful sandwiches and refreshing glasses of iced tea. In all, just what the doctor ordered -- a fabulous, relaxing day!
THANk YOU, Connie!!!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
I came home early this week; my eyes are bothering me again, and my doctor suggested I keep my contact lenses out for a while. Plus, this is the last week before registration and a new semester, and probably one of the last days of summer scheduling that won't be over-the-top intense -- so I thought I could afford another day of real leisure! LOL
I was going through some of my journals last night and found a number of paintings I never posted. This is one of them, painted from a photo taken in Italy ... another of those incredible doorways, and always flowers.
I've been working toward a looser approach, and so posting this now, I can, at least in my mind's eye, see how I might approach it a bit differently. I haven't found that 'ease' that comes when one makes a new approach one's own--accomplished without so much thought or 'attempting.' So I'll probably paint this again as I try to make new lessons and new ideas 'my own.'
Thank you again for your most incredible support ....I am humbled, truly, by your kindness.
Today I'm off to one of our wonderful botanical gardens to paint with a friend ... I'm ever grateful to have a day of leisure before the stress of fall semester begins, to share that with a friend, and to be in gardens I love ...
I hope you too have a chance to have a bit of leisure ...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The meeting last night went well - and even though we had a few showers, the heaviest rain seemed to pass us by.
I got to the B&B late, though, and didn't finish the simple sketch I was doing -- just too tired, I suppose. I painted this sundown scene this weekend -- attempting a different color pallet - more toward the blues and dark magentas withe\ spots of yellow -- and eliminating the pinks . I haven't made it to the beach yet this summer, so I was glad to attempt 'the beach' in some way! LOL
It's raining as I"m writing and I've another day of meetings. C tells me we've still had no rain at home -- I wonder if I can hitch one of these clouds to my car and haul it north! LOL
Hope your day is filled with color!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
It seems so incongruous to me that while I sit at my office 90 miles from home and we are battered, last night severely, with rain, thunder, and even a tornado warning, that at home, nary a drop of rain fell on my own garden ..... sigh. Oh, I know about weather patterns and the like, but mercy ....we are so so dry back there!
I got to the B&B last night feeling a bit tired and so opted for a quick practice sketch. This scene was from a photo reference, but reminds me of the types of places I love to wander.
Today, it's grant-writing, more storms, and a late greensmen meeting, so if I don't get a chance to sketch at lunch, there will be little time during the rest of the evening. I so long for the time when I will have HOURS to ponder and paint! LOL
Thank you all again for your kind and most supportive comments yesterday. You cannot imagine how they encourage me to keep sketching, despite the hour, and to keep trying new things. Bless you for such kindnesses.
Off to get a few things done in the quiet of the day before the phone starts ringing .....
Monday, July 27, 2009
I got out early yesterday, intending to paint the grapes we spotted - but my hibiscus, white and huge as platters, stopped me in my tracks. Instead of heading down the road, I sat in my own garden and painted these incredible flowers. The salvia, tall and the light blue of summer skies, were absolutely abuzz with bees, and while I sketched, I had a few land on my shoulders, and many more dipping into my paints and water. Several cats sat with me, curling up on the sundial -- each in turn.
It was a slow painting for some reason, so it wasn't until after dinner that I returned to the garden to finish up the painting. By then, it was over 90F and the shade was gone, so I sat in the MIDDLE of the flower bed, under the Vitex and painted --- ! It wasn't much cooler, I can tell you -- !
We are still in need of rain. I understand there have been showers far south of us, but we continue to be very dry. I watered the vegetables again, dried more tomatoes, and readied for the week.
It's the last week of our summer help, so we'll be having a small celebration to thank them for their help.
The summer seems to be flying by ... Stay cool!
The Fryes had some little cats
Their fur was black and white
And everywhere that they went
The cats were in their sight ....
So Mary wasn't the only one who had lambs follow her! LOL This is Charles and two of the three that followed us Saturday night - Boots and Target.
Last night, of course when I didn't take my camera, we had four - Boots, Blackie, Spot and Target .... our neighbors who pass us during these times, will often lean out their car windows for a huge chuckle!
We are indeed a sight! LOL
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This wonderful patch of Queen Anne's Lace was discovered when C and I took our long walk Friday night. Found along the side of the road and growing in the ditch area of the woodlands, the white blossoms stood out against all the grasses, small purple flowers, and just-starting-to-bloom goldenrod. What a cheerful sight!
Early yesterday morning, I took my sketching stool and, along with Boots, Blackie and Spot, settled myself off the road to paint these dancing flowers.
Even early morning showed signs of the heat to come for the rest of the day, but fortunately for me, it was shady enough to splash some paint. I was going after a more 'expressive' impression of these blossoms among all the grasses - as the whites of the florets showed against the deeper shade. A few cars stopped, the cats wanted a bit of attention, but the morning bird calls and quiet was quite wonderful.
Back at the house, I rendered the remaining cantaloupe into meringue tarts - not very flavorful - but a good quick treat if they're VERY cold. I'll bring the rest to work for the gang.
Ran some errands, watered more plants, and even managed a small nap. In my trip to town, I discovered a field of SUNFLOWERS IN BLOOM! WOW! The roadside was fairly busy, so after dinner, C and I drove back to the field for some photographs -- how I wish I could have painted there! But at least I've some reference photos and the memory of coming upon that field -- like being back in Italy! LOL
On our walk, we found quite a number of grapevines heavy with fruit - a sight we haven't seen in a number of years. Hickory trees were full of nuts, and even sumac trees were bending with their blooms. With all the abundant production of fruit this year, does this mean we'll have a really cold winter?
I hope to paint the grapes this morning, again before the heat sets in. I don't mind the hot temperatures, perse, but the humidity, often as high as our temperatures, really zaps my energy.
The sun is up already, and though the dew is still clinging to the grass, I'd better get moving ---
Have a great day! Stay cool!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I spent most of the day yesterday rendering cantaloupe into preserves -- finished with 30 small jars, a dehydrator filled with both cantaloupe and tomatoes from the garden, and picked another pint of blueberries -- whew.
In between watering the plants and cleaning the kitchen, I painted a very loose cantaloupe to remember the day. I had to paint a bit, and LEAVE, so I could leave it loose and resist my urge to put in any more details. But I"m really happy with the results. I find painting like this far more difficult than any other painting styles I've tried ... I'll have to keep practicing so that it isn't a 'hit and miss' kiind of thing. It was fun, splashy, and honestly, quicker than most of the sketches I've done this week! LOL (And it sure felt good to SIT down to paint after all that stirring of preserves!)
The melons I painted last week are now lightening from their greenish ochre color to more of a tan ochre - so they're definitely going to be cantaloupes -- so far, there are three on the vine and I hope the cats leave them alone -- they tend to play with the grandchildren's rubber balls and these look similiar in size and shape!
I have a quart or so left of cantaloupe pulp and I found a recipe on the Internet for cantaloupe bread that is reputed to taste like zucchini or carrot bread, so I think I'll give that a try if I have enough flour. If not, I'll have to find something else so it isn't wasted.
No rain in the forecast, so more watering today. Meantime, the cantaloupes are in season in the US -- and wow, they are wonderfully sweet and juicy -- try some!
Friday, July 24, 2009
When I arrived at the B&B this week and before Rebecca left for the beach, she left me a bouquet of her summer hydrangea -- a wonderful treat both to the eye and inspiration! I painted these before the flowers faded - and will create a card from them to thank her. This scan, unfortunately, did not pick up the subtle shadings of blue and yellow behind the flowers - even though I scanned it several times ... but it's there.
My sweetie brought home cantaloupes last night, so I've a date with the jam-making equipment and dehydrator! The tomatoes have also begun ripening in earnest, and so between watering today (little rain this here week, sigh) and working in the kitchen, I'm hoping for a bit of time to paint.
Temps are reaching into the 90s today and I"ll be adding to that with all the cooking.
Have a sweet day!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thank you all for your most kind comments yesterday ... I truly wish we could all have some of that pasta together!!!
Our paint out went well too ... the day was cooler in the morning, growing hotter after lunch. My sketch, drat it all, began well, but I got too dark too fast with the paints, and ruined what I had begun... sigh. SO, when I got to the B&B last night, I practiced STAYING SOFT and LIGHT ... harder for me than most folks, I suppose. So this softer version of flowers was done to help train myself on reserving the LIGHTS.... geez .....
We've overcast skies and rain predicted ..but a day with only a few meetings ... YAHOO!
Enjoy the day!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My garden tomatoes are finally ripening enough to gather! I'm growing four varieties - an Italian plum, Marglobe, Better Boy (my husband's favorite) and these, an Italian hybrid that, though not shaped like the grapes they were supposed to, are more like an enormous cherry tomato - and just on the cusp between the acidic I love and that wonderful sweetness that tomatoes have -- YUMM! I can't wait to get home to gather more - and turn them into one of my favorite, easy to cook recipes that uses fresh tomatoes, a few dried tomatoes, somebit of all the squash that is being harvested, olive oil, butter, onions and basil and served over spaghetti -- WOWZA! My mouth is watering already! LOL I snapped a few photos of my tomatoes before I left for the week and painted these at Rebecca's last night.
I have been graced by two of my Flickr friends with the "Stroke of the Brush Award." THANK YOU to Krista (http://hopeineveryday.blogspot.com/) and Claire (http://www.clairessketchbook.blogspot.com/) for the award! I am to tell seven things about me you probably don't know. Mercy, after all I write here about myself, I'm having difficulty thinking of seven things I haven't ever mentioned! LOL Oh well, here goes:
* I can't sing a note - though I've tried, and I'm mighty spirited, I can't carry a tune in the shower .. sigh
* I love walking and prefer walking to driving
* I don't mind spiders or snakes - I just don't like when they surprise me
* I'm still wearing clothes that I purchased over 15 years ago ....I HATE SHOPPING!
* I love books of all types
* I've been creating my own soap for over 5 years and my family has used no other since I began making it.
* If I had my druthers, I'd love to travel far more than I do, even though I really love being home.
Now, as the rules go I am to pass this along to 7 others - but I truly have a hard time with this -- so, please, if you are so inclined and read this - I consider you a friend and worthy of this most generous gift .... and please, pass it on too!
I'm off for the day to coordinate my Art Council's plein air event. We're going to a Tobacco Farm Life Museum -- lots of architecture and shade trees for the heat that is supposed to come this afternoon.
OH! I'd also like to invite you to send a ecard from the Arboretum!!! It's a new feature on our webpage and uses some of the flowers we have growing here --
I hope you enjoy it -- and the day!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
There is no finer time of day to me than early morning, especially when the cool of the night has yet to turn into the blazing summer daytime heat. Birds are chirping, bees and other insects are busy gathering breakfast, the leaves are often still wet with dew, and there is a wonderful stillness that I love. Morning stillness such as this, is like a prayer ...
Sunday, I found myself up early, and so took my coffee and sketchpad out to the garden to. Our garden faces south -- good for the garden -- and our house is situated so that the sun takes a good two hours or so to reach around the house to highlight the garden. I sat in the shade as I began to sketch, enjoying the smells of day breaking, and in the quiet of the early morning, the heady scents of the flowers that somehow are lost in the sun's heat. It was intoxicating!
I sketched our melons ... planted in one of our small raised beds that now tumbles over the edge and winds its way around the corner of the house. Bees were busy among the squash blossoms, and they flitted around me without pause in their morning rituals. By the time I got the melon drawn, the sun had found its way around the house and was turning my neck a bit red, so I went indoors for breakfast. I returned after dinner to paint, and though I lost the incredible shadows of the morning, that spirt-filled stillness had returned to the garden, and I could linger amid its magic once again.
I do so miss more of these times, and hope, if ever I can retire, to return to them with more frequency.
We've been having some much needed rain. In some areas, we've been experiencing heavy downpours; in others, like here at the office, we've barely had half an inch. C tells me that our garden got a few shwers, and so I'm grateful that our newly planted persimmon trees will have water during the week -- and these melons will be happy as well.
I hope your day is fruitful too!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Dusk was just falling as Judy and I walked along the canal during one of the last nights we spent in Venice.... (can be already be a month ago???!!). Everything had a soft blue hue to it, and the lamplights were just coming on, casting a soft yellow, pink, blue glow .... I wanted to keep this painting simple, and 'dusk-ish' rather than toward a darker evening ... I remember how it was a softly warm night, stores were closed, but diners were just beginning to fill the outdoor tables and chairs. I love that time of the day - when day just BEGINS to turn into night ... it seems as though the day holds its breath to linger a few minutes longer, and night, patiently allows the day its last goodbyes.
For a Sunday, it was fairly busy for us. We planted a few more fruit trees -- persimmon -- certainly the wrong time of year, but sometimes it's the only time you have, made some lavender cookies for a talk I have to give next month, cooked a bit, and spent some time working and painting in my garden. Fun!
I'm off to a busy, meeting-filled week ... we're expecting spots of rain throughout the week and my fingers are crossed that rain will fall on these newly planted trees!
Have a good one!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Summer - warm, often hot days, flowers and vegetables growing, time on the porch, in the water, time for leisure.
This summer, perhaps because it hasn't yet been as dry or as unbearably hot as it has been over the last few years, reminds me of the first years C and I 'farmed' our own food and I was working from home. Each morning, just after sun-up and before the heat of the day, I'd take my basket and walk among the dewed plants, picking the ripe vegetables, cutting flowers, 'communing' with the pollinating bees. How I LOVED that time!
Since commuting so far to a different job, I've so missed that time of living on and with the land. But THIS year, for some reason, I seem to be spending more time in the small gardens I can 'almost' manage on the weekends. I'm tending to invading insects, picking finally ripened tomatoes, fruits, herbs, flowers -- and rendering them for winter use and storage - much as I did on a far larger scale 10 years ago.
In a most generous comment (among many I thank you for!!!!), Berryf (http://www.flickr.com/photos/berryfs/) said that my painting yesterday " was...
"very serene, becoming a great hallmark of your paintings." I was so touched by these words, especially because I don't see myself in my frenetic workworld as serene. So I asked C if HE thought I was serene. He said that in many ways I was - especially when I was out in the garden or painting. And again, I was surprised -- do we ever see ourselves as others do?? or our work??? LOL
Another kind flickr friend (http://www.flickr.com/photos/beegirl211/) who is urban homesteading, raises bees and so reminds me of what I was doing ten years ago --- I just love to see what she's up too!
So both of these friends inspired me to take a walk among my many bookcases. I found a often read book that still speaks to me, reminds me of these generous friends, and reminds me of summer. It's a poem from the book "Becoming Bread" by Gunilla Norris, entitled "Summer:"
Let the golden honey run
out of the jar. Let the water
be sweetened in our mixing bowl.
Three giant spoonfuls
of Summer-nectar, sunshine,
the hum of bees, warm nights,
and ourselves in the grass.
Three giant spoonfuls of Summer
sweetening the water in the mixing bowl.
We need this liquid gold
to remember the goodness
of life...the taste of honey.
The memory of Summer ...
that it returns, that at the center
the open flower is sweet.
That at the center
when it opens, we too are sweet,
and love, like a swarm of bees,
can fly into us...estatic,
powdered with pollen.
Our bread will have this
rich gold...three girant spoonfuls.
May YOUR summer, and today, be as rich as golden honey.
And thank you, my dear friends, for your encouragement, kindness and friendship ... YOU are my honey.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
My son came to visit yesterday -- it seems like weeks since I've seen him. He had been working on C's computer, and he brought with him a couple of new programs for me to try. Whenever I have computer issues, he's the one I turn to get me out of the messes I make-- reminds me of reverse roles now that he's a grown man! LOL I had to marvel at his ability to understand all this software science and the ease he has with computer trouble-shooting.. To me, it's like flying thru letter and number minefields that could wipe out everything you hold precious! Amazing!
We got a bit of rain yesterday, and there were some extreme storms south of us with much wind and rain and falling trees and downed power. We received about 10 minutes of rain, and a bit more last night - but it fell gently and welcome. Funny how a dozen miles or so can make such a difference in the weather patterns.
After spending a week painting pears, I found it a bit challenging to return to landscapes and I felt a bit rusty as I was working on this one. I see a few things I'd change, but it felt good to be thinking in other colors and forms.
We're planning to have dinner with some friends tonight - I'm looking forward to seeing them again - Should be a fairly relaxing day -- and I hope yours is too!
Friday, July 17, 2009
After umpteen tries, a great deal of patience, and the good grace of today, I've finally been able to upload one of my dear husband's jam sessions.
This Sunday Jam took place last week - Charles is singing lead (playing mandolin); to our left is Don (a wonderful artist as well as playing guitar); Harvey (playing dobro); Amy (my plein air friend and playing guitar), and Joe is playing mandolin.
I hope to upload more .. forgive the shaky quality ... this was my first taping using the FLIP video ....
This sketch is from a few weeks ago - done in the car as we drove to South Carolina to visit my daughter.
I needed to get away from pears for a day or so -- after working on them all week, I kept repeating my processes out of habit instead of working through a different style. I thought by changing focus for a while, I could return to the pears and various techniques with a fresher eye!
We had a huge storm at work yesterday - lightning struck a couple of trees and it rained very heavily -- but all is well. At home, we are dry as dust and hoping for a bit of rain today. I'll have to begin watering the plants this morning - perhaps I can tempt the clouds to help me! LOL
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I began this evening with a vision of what I wanted to achieve with a 'loose' interpretation of pears -- and perhaps another with ink .... I did the first one (below) - and added a smidgen of ink - but was NOT happy at all with the way it came out. The puddling beneath the pears was FAR too wet when I tried to add the shadows and the entire piece too wet when I tried to add ink.
Instead of fussing with it further, I decided to do another quick attempt at looseness. This STILL isn't what was in my mind -- but what I liked about it was the purples that I had 'found' when I did the first image.
It was so difficult not to keep 'fussing' with this to deepen the colors, enrich the shadows, daub out highlights -- I left it as it was after 2 applications of wet in wets, splashes of water and a bit of red glazing over the purply bottom of the red pear.
If I can get home before too late this evening, I may give the pears another go at 'loose' ... which for me, is far harder than the glazing!!!
We're supposed to get some rain this weekend, but we're also heading out to the cantaloupe festival for our annual purchase of the melons for jams and dried fruit ... so perhaps if it's raining, my being in the kitchen another weekend won't be too bad! LOL
Have a great day!
My pitiful attempt at using a bit of ink on this work when it was far too wet. I wasn't pleased with it at all and so gave up on it and attempted another quick painting inlieu of fussing with it until it was more presentable. I like the yellow pear more than the red -- that splotch of highlight is missing some deeper tones that would improve its form a whole lot!
I'm posting it here, nakedly unimproved, for edification ....!! ( that is, teaching and remembering (for me!!) purposes! LOL
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Though I began this second attempt for something FAR looser than this came out, I did vary the technique by adding wet washes into and/or over wet washes. I did this twice on both pears .... very very WET!!! Still when they dried, the bottom of the red pear was a bit blue, so I added the tiniest bit of red glaze. There was far less careful application of paint, waiting for the pears to dry only once, and more of letting the paint mix on the paper and bringing all that watery paint to the bottom of the pears to form the shadows.
Still, when I look at this, other than aspects of depth, it looks pretty much the same to me in color and hue variety .... does it to you?
We're off to a green industry 'field day' today - classes and exhibits for our industry -- so I'll be out of pocket until late tonight ...
Hope your day is great!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In my attempts to work thru various styles and watercolor techniques, I thought I'd simplify the subject matter and treat it somewhat 'differenty' each day this week (as I can).
I returned last night to a pair of pears - wonderful shapes and varying hues .. and worked on glazing methods. For these two, I applied over 6 glazes, some wet into wet, some wet on dry. It took a bit longer than I would have imagined since I had to wait for each layer to dry before applying the next - a time consideration I need to be aware of during my workweek. I made good time of the waiting though and Rebecca and I went for a bit of walk in between glazes.
I like the realism this technique can produce, and the careful application of paint and glaze was a good meditative approach I can see using when I need to calm down! LOL
We had a great rain yesterday -- yahoo! From where I work to a bit less back home -- I think I saw the plants dancing ....
Have a great day!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thank you for your kind comments ...! And wishes of rest ... I did finally slow down yesterday - LOL - and was certainly glad I had spent Saturday at chores. Yesterday's temperatures were in the 80s, but the intermittent showers that came ever 4 hours or so made the day steamy and oppressive ...
I sat outdoors for a while after watering the plants and sketched a bit - I wasn't really pleased with the results - but it was good to simply sit outside and give it a go.
C's jam went well and the music and people, laughter and yes, desserts! was fun.
Because I want to be able to paint all types of styles and expressiveness, I decided to take this Wet Canvas challenge a bit more like my 'typical' style with less splash and more detail. I have to say that while I enjoyed painting it, I finished it feeling like something was missing! LOL
I find the process of trying new things enjoyable, while also frustrating when the painting doesn't quite match the image I have in my head. Still, I do believe that with each attempt at something different, one adds to one's 'style' and way of doing things. 'Growth' can sometimes be a dance - two steps forward, two steps back - but oh -- the movement!
Off to work again -- hi ho, hi ho ...! Have a great day!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Mercy, yesterday was one of those days we expected to do a bit of work and wound up spending the entire day at chores ... productive - but oh my do these ol' bones feel it! LOL
We visited one of our farmer's markets - and again were met with crowds of folks. It truly does my heart good to see so many people taking advantage of the wonderful goods and produce that our local farmers and niche farmers are producing. We picked up more corn, beans, cheese from my favorite goat farmer, tomatoes (mine are just on the cusp of redness!), and these bright, cheerful sunflowers!
I remember the year I grew a field of them -- so tall, filling my plot with shining sun -- until we had a summer squall, and those beautiful flowers, like my corn, had to be STAKED in order to stand straight! Can you imagine staking a FIELD of sunflowers!! LOL I don't think I knew about shorter varieties back then! Anyway, I had to have these pretties to paint.
At home, I sliced tomatoes for the dehydrator - the hum of that machine is a constant summer song in our kitchen. Made bruschetta for lunch (dreaming of Italy), then trimmed all the trees and shrubs in front of the house, and watered. Worked on sunflowers a bit, and as these were drying, made blueberry, banana and pistachio ice box cake for C's jam today, blueberry muffins, and blueberry baskets (like mini coffee cakes). Worked on the sunflowers a bit more, took a much needed 20 minute nap, then worked on dinner, made applesauce from the first apples off our tree, roasted the corn and watched the news. Took a small walk and then hit the bed. Whew ... what a day! Fun and tasty - but a bit too busy! Still, today should be far more relaxing since most all chores are done.
The skies threaten rain, and joints and sinuses would be much at ease if it would just fall ...but with only a 30% chance of it refreshing our thirsty plants, it's unlikely... so I'll be out with the watering buckets this morning.
Hope YOUR day is relaxing! (and mine too-- LOL)!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Thank you all for your kind comments yesterday. I spent a fair amount of time outdoors in our cooler morning temps trimming some of the plants that have responded so well to the spring rains ... actually, some of them looked like they could fit easily into a jungle scene! LOL And though I won my first battle with those blister beetles, the war rages on ... I found them on my basil and tomatoes and hit them again with insecticides. Geez!
But it has been an incredible year for our fruit production -- we collected over a quart of blueberries yesterday, after collecting the same quantity last week ... and there's about the same remaining. I'm so glad they don't ripen all at once! We have four small bushes of blueberries - not too many in the scheme of things - but with the spring rains we've had, the water seems to have given our fruit trees and shrubs a huge boost. We had mulberries for the first time on our young tree - enough to make jam, our early apples are coming in - enough to make apple sauce, and now all the blueberries. My fingers are crossed the figs will be as productive!
The small scene I sketched is from a photo I took in Italy, but it could have been anywhere, actually, including my front steps. Herbs, my own included, have also been doing well, except for the spring basil that seemed to drown in all the rain the fruit trees enjoyed! Lavender, rosemary, sage .... my mint has been harvested twice already and dried for winter use.
I've noted that the honey is ready from a bee keeper down the road, so we'll provision our stores with some of the smoothest honey around ... and we're off to the farmer's market for more corn and beans. We pulled off our first 'cherry' tomatoes yesterday - finally red (3 weeks behind the Arboretum's tomatoes!) -- and I would love to send each of you one of the patty pan squash I keep plucking! For one single squash plant, we've collected over 20 squash! No, truly, it is not a green thumb per se since I am gone so much to take care of these generous plants. I do believe they're responding to the good soil we added, a bit of fertilizer and water at the proper time. With the high heat of summer coming on, we're grateful for this early production because it won't last much longer!
Off to the market -- have a great day!
Friday, July 10, 2009
For all it's early promise, our rain fizzled out yesterday with a few sprinkles ... and so again, dust and drought seem to be in the picture. I came home as well, to an infestation of blister beetles that had totally consumed my 2 1/2 foot clematis and were moving toward my just-producing tomatoes -- sigh ...
I returned to a bit more happier moments -- Italy! LOL This was one of the doorways in Civita furnished with flowers and small mats of grass in the stone walks. The colors and memories cheered me as I plotted 'war' on those ravenous insects ... and figured I had more 'trips' to plan to the farmers market!
Looks like I'll be spending a good amount of time in the garden today - watering and warring ....
Good thing I've still got more of Italy to paint and dream with ...! LOL
Have a great day!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
I'm still working on trying to loosen some of my florals. This rose painting was modeled after Janet Rogers method. It took me several attempts!!! LOL And I"m still not entirely satisfied. I added a bit of ink and negative painting .. but learning a new 'style' isn't as easy as it looks! LOL
Another busy day with rain in the forecast. NC, despite our spring rains, is now nearing 'exceptionally dry' conditions ... those same conditions that moved into 'drought' and caused so much difficulty for our plants ... so fingers are crossed for showers!
Have a good one!
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
My coneflowers are in full glory -- and are a delightful scene as you walk the entryway to our home. They've been growing in that one small bed for several years, and this year, a single white flower has appeared among all the pinks ...! There are three tiny buds about to open that I think will be while also -- isn't that funny!
I'm dashing off to yet another meeting - seems like a rash of them this week!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
My workday ended very late last evening and so I arrived at the B&B pretty tired. I splashed around a bit of paint with unsuccessful results, and hoped that today was much shorter.
This was sketched from a photo reference over the weekend, and to me represents all that I love about the beach ... beautiful wide open skies, the dancing of sea oats, the sandy dunes.... Though I didn't paint them in, a few sea gull would be nice as I 'hear' them whenever I think of the ocean. And oh, can I smell that salt air!
Our rain has stopped and we're expecting hot temperatures again. The weeds are having their way again - encouraged by the rain and the humidity ... sigh. Sure makes me wonder WHY we just don't ENJOY them instead of trying to control the nuisances! LOL (Don't let my green industry members hear me even THINK that! LOL)
Have a great day!
Monday, July 06, 2009
Loose Practice after Janet Rogers
As I write this, the rain we have been hoping for is finally falling and I can just hear those thirsty plants sighing (and slurping!)!
This sketch, modeled after techniques from Janet Rogers, is a cluster of gladiolas I plucked from my garden and dressed with some flowering lemon balm. Normally, I simply dry my lemon balm for use as tea, flavorings and the like - but I really liked how the light blue/green leaves worked against the pink flowers (though this may not be very clear in this rendition! LOL). I just had to add a bit of ink to define - just a bit - some of the flower parts!
We also finished drying our peaches and rendering all the vegetables. I DO LOVE those kinds of tasks - all of them remind me of the agrarian roots and lifestyle I prefer. But reality for me means that I head to work this morning to grow an Arboretum and horticulture students instead of harvesting vegetables!
Hope your 4th was terrific! And this week is wonderful as well!
Sunday, July 05, 2009
After I uploaded the sketch from yesterday, I knew I just had to practice that looseness again. I sat down after breakfast, and in 10 minutes did this one quick rendition without pencil. Perhaps, as others have said before, doing things more than once helps - the first couple of attempts to figure out the shadings and shapes, and the last few times, rendering the image as you'd like.
I hope everyone had a grand 4th yesterday! Ours was filled with chores - we put in a walkway, put up 2 batches of peach jam, made patty pan lasagna from our harvest of squash, picked some blueberries, etc. etc. A good day, but both of us are mighty tired and sore today!
I got this sketch done in between things, but I want to give it another go trying to use some of the things I've been studying and trying to loosen us some of the washes. I got carried away with trying to get the skins on the peaches to 'look' like fuzzy skin - and I missed getting the juiciness of the cut fruit ... oh well, try again today! I've another 1/4 bushel to render before the day ends ...! LOL
Hope you have a 'peachy' day today! We're hoping for some of those 'spotty' showers to find their way to our garden today ....!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!
As the US celebrates its independence today, flags of red, white and blue abound. In the markets, it's watermelons blueberries and sweet corn that have taken up those colors in celebration of the summer.
Our blueberry shrubs both at my home and at the Arboretum, have been yielding these sweet orbs for several weeks now. We've been eating them out of hand, over cereal, in salads, and last night I made an ice box cake with graham crackers, vanilla pudding, pecans, bananas and blueberries for dessert today -- yum.
I wanted to play with a few watercolor techniques I've been studying from Janet Rogers (Expressive Watercolors) and Wendy Jelbert, and so these three sketches came about. My husband likes the semi-abstract best, I tend to prefer my berries grounded by stems!
In any case, I hope you have a most wonderful holiday today as we also remember all the lives that are contuinually being given for the blessing we know as FREEDOM!
HAPPY JULY 4!
Friday, July 03, 2009
This landscape was created from memory and imagination after driving around our rural area. Despite the lack of rain, weeds are in fulll glory, and cows and other wildlife are finding a brief respite from the heat under dense shade canopies. Tiny white flower dot the fields, and it's been far too hot to even fix some of those falling down fences!
Today it's chores and Farmers Market, dinner with friends -- I know the day will fly by -- why do days of relaxation go by faster than days of work? LOL
Have a great one!
Elegant Writer and Watercolor
While we were doing studio work at La Romita, Karlyn gave each of us a water soluable 'Elegant Writer' to use. The ink is activated with water, and it combines nicely with watercolor.
I sketched a quick olive tree with it, and then splashed some watercolor foliage. I like the way the pen can accent the darks ...
Thursday, July 02, 2009
My dear friend, Lisa (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoom-in-tight/) kindly allowed me to use her photograph for this sketch. I love her photographs and she never fails to inspire me with her keen eye and wonderful photography!
I'll admit I didn't achieve any looseness here - as I was focused on the textures and the varying wood tones .. but I loved the feel of her photo and the sense it gave me of a gardener who left her garden only for a moment!
The new president's welcome went well yesterday - and the day ended with an informal luncheon and our staff picking a few of the remaining blueberries - then home for the July 4th holidays.
We've little planned except a bit of chores and rest. Peaches are in at the farmer's market and I need to get some jam made for holiday gifts.
We're also in great need of rain - it's been 2 weeks since any significent rainfall, and the plants and vegetables are definitely suffering. I was watering last night the moment I got out of my car - even before unpacking!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Practicing 'looseness' has always been a challenge for me. I want to 'correct' mistakes, make things more realistic, 'improve, improve, improve.' But last night, I got to the B&B totally wiped out and even though I had a sketch ready for painting, just couldn't muster the energy to tackle the more complex work.
In my stack of reference materials, I came across an article about painting poppies in a 'no pencil' kind of way. I thought with my fatigue, I'd just splash around some paint and see what happened.
My first attempt (below) didn't quite leave enough of the white space I was hoping for -- my second attempt (I have to admit, came after a wonderful piece of blackberry cobbler from Rebecca!! LOL) - was closer to what I was aiming for.
Both were fun -- and I hope to try a few more this weekend.
Our new college president arrives today. Festvities and welcome events are all planned, so it promises to be a busy day, especialy since we close up for the July 4th holiday after this evening.
It's going to be another scorcher! Stay cool!