Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I thought I would return to Tuscany once more and try to apply some of the lessons I've been trying to learn. What I felt when I painted this was a bit more relaxed, a bit less concerned if washes bled, if the olive trees weren't exact and more, that I was getting a bit closer to suggesting things. Though this is not quite as loose as I wanted -- I'm certainly getting closer.
We're taking a group to the NC Tobacco Farm Life Museum for a dip into North Carolina agricultural history -- so I'll catch up with everyone tomorrow.
It's going to be a sunny 75F today-- so we should have a wonderful day to be outdoors ....
Have a great one!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The rain that battered us Sunday night eased slowly into a warm day and bits of sun. The skyscape was incredible with deep, dark, threatening clouds spliced by sun rays and bits of blue -- what a show!
After a day emerged in paperwork and classes I got to my friend's and simply needed to relax -- hence this piece. Playing with finding edges, losing edges was most relaxing, and lost in color and line, I slept better than I have in a while ... horray for painting! LOL
Thank you all for your kindness yesterday .. I am learning a lot about splashing paint and thoroughly enjoying it ... I hope what I m learning will transfer easily? to other aspects of painting I hope to try.
Have a great day!
Monday, March 29, 2010
There are some times when one just can't settle down to paint -- this weekend was one of those times where it seemed all I wanted to do was splash paint around and see what happened. These grapes were one of those 'happenings.'
I enjoyed the process of wetting parts of the paper, splattering paint from the tip of my brush, spraying a bit, blending a bit, and then 'finding' and losing edges and parts to leave the work somewhat abstracted.
We had one heck of a storm last night -- tornado warnings, lightning and thunder that kept me up most of the night, and pounding rain that I fear has knocked down most of our fruit tree blossoms. It's dark now and will be when I leave for work, so I'll have to keep my fingers crossed some blooms have remained to bear fruit this summer.
It'll be another intense week, another aspect of the Southern Symposium, and then a small break for the Easter Holiday. We've gone from cold and storms to temps predicted by the weekend to be in the high 70s! Yep, fickle weather indeed.
Have a great week!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Despite the rain and sudden cold, our Saucer Magnolia, and those of countless others throughout the area, are in magnificent glory! Pinks to burgundy, these delicate trees show their flowers long before their leaves and give our early spring a beautiful welcome.
We spent the day running errands yesterday and enjoying the sun despite the chillier weather. We're in for rain today and grey skies, but a warming trend for the week.
We've dinner guests tonight so lots to do today ....Hope your Sunday is terrific!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Our weather turned mighty cold and rainy, and all those wonderful spring blossoms, including my peaches, are all threatened. Dang ... there goes another peach season ...
I seem to be in the mood for experimenting and so this circle abstract is a practice of lost and found edges, more throwing paint, and a bit of negative painting.
I hope to rescue a few flowers before the cold turns everything brown ...
Have a great weekend!
Friday, March 26, 2010
What a beautiful day yesterday! Warm enough to leave our coats in the van, sunny enough to lend a sense of excitement and a trip/tour filled with demonstrations, excitement and the laughter of participants having a great time as we visited Seagrove Pottery!
We had time to visit several of the artists' studios and talk with them about their different 'clay' methods, different stains and traditions, the numbers of generations in the business and yes, everyone went home with something! LOL
The trip was long and we returned to skies beginning to cloud and rain. We're in for a dip in the temperature for tonight and tomorrow -- close to freezing -- another of those fickle nights that keep knowledgeable gardeners from planting too early.
I decided to spend about 30 minutes 'playing' with paint and experimenting before heading to slumberland. Though it is far too early in the season to see any sunflowers, I wanted to give my 'throwing paint' another try with yellows .... and it turned into sunflowers ... Fun and relaxing!
Hope your day is bright and fun-filled!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
It's been a wild week and we're off today to take Arboretum guests to Seagrove Pottery as a continuation of our Southern Symposium. As gardeners we spend so much of our time FIGHTING to amend all the clay we have in our piedmont soils ... and here, enterprising individuals have USED that very clay to fashion some of the world's best known pots, vessels, dishware, churns, and other incredibly beautiful pieces.
I painted this partly during my ten-minute lunch and then late last night after the lecture ... yep, I know, determined ... LOL
We're due for some wonderfully warm weather today, ending in rain tonight ..already 'spring fever' has our phones ringing with folks asking if it's time to plant their vegetable gardens! We're cautioning folks to wait until mid-April -- weather in our NC area can be surprising with its sudden changes!
Hope your day is grand! I'll catch up with everyone this weekend!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I'm slowly working my way through some of the lessons I purchased from Allan Kirk. I especially like to do these when my weeks are so full that I crawl home more tired than I'd like.
This is one of Allan's lessons -- "Valley" -- and I've tried to keep my approach more 'impressionistic' than I normally am able to achieve. I tend toward 'definition' ... and so even posting this today, I'm itching to get back in there and add more detailing!
We've got a full day of meetings, classes and a late night with an Arboretum lecture tonight ...
The blustery winds of yesterday have settled down and we're in for two days of warm weather - just in time for our trip tomorrow.
Take care of yourselves ....! Enjoy the day!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Our walk through Duke Gardens this weekend found every magnolia and plum tree in full glory .....! This scan (though I kept trying!!) just doesn't capture the subtle hues in the white tree (Star Magnolia).....
We had a bit of rain yesterday, blustery winds, a cold night with temps for our trip expected in the 70s ... fickle weather indeed!
The irises are just about ready to pop ... and our Bradford pears are in full bloom -- spring marches on!
We've a busy week with meetings, lecture and a tour, so I'll be on an off the computer -- I hope to catch up this weekend.
Have a great week!
Monday, March 22, 2010
The colors in this watercolor are a bit more reddish-burnt sienna than show in this scan -- but this is as close as I could adjust my screen to show.
I thought I'd try something a bit different -- I love the light here and those rich, warm colors. The paint looks a bit dry brush to me on screen, and I'd like to try this again with a bit more of a 'watery' feel to it -- but I loved the photo reference (from Wet Canvas) and loved the play of light.
It's raining again and a bit cooler - typical flip-flopping of weather during our early springs. We've a few lectures and tours planned this week and classes are busy preparing for our plant sale in less than 4 weeks!
Have a great day!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Our idea to visit the gardens yesterday was indeed popular! Sarah Duke Gardens was busy! Two weddings, tons of sunbathers (it reach 78F yesterday -- yes, unusual for us too), picnickers, bikers, families, walkers - you name it -- apparently it was THE place to be.
And how beautiful it was! Tulips, daffodils, redbuds, maples, chestnuts, flowering magnolias and every manner of flowering plum tree were all in full glory. The scents were heady!
I wanted to 'play' a bit with my painting last night and so splattered water across the page, and then 'threw' in various colors. After they dried, I 'found' some flowers, darkened some areas, added yellow for a highlight... and the whole thing reminded me of a close up of the tons of plum blossoms we had enjoyed during the day.
Today promises to be as nice as yesterday - and I think I'm in for a bit more Vitamin D.
Have a great time today!
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Buds aburstin' on hickories and maples -giving the beautiful blue skies a haze of pinks and reds, woodlands turning from grey to green, forsythia with bells of gold and yellow, Star and Saucer Magnolia in full bloom, daffodils, hyacinths, and here and there a few early Iris are all making a show for the first day of spring.
We're planning to 'play' in all this color and visit the botanical gardens in our area to capture more of the scents and splendor in our 70F sunshine.
Happy First Day of Spring!
Friday, March 19, 2010
A field of sunflowers in brilliant yelllows and golds, tuscan homes and terracotta roofs, hills and mountains, sunshine and leisurely days ... dreaming once again .
The cooler days will morph into spring and summerlike temperatures this weekend and I'm hoping that after such an intense week, we'll have a chance to get outdoors. I have another appointment with weed killer, and I'm expecting that some of my plants are about ready to bloom. I'll be able to do an inventory after the sun comes up this morning.
I hope you have a grand day!
Thursday, March 18, 2010
I painted this 700 year old live oak from a photo we took while we were in Charleston, SC several weeks ago. I painted it in my journal and I hope to redo it in a larger format. It was a really good practice for 'next time!' LOL
So many of the live oaks along the South Carolina coast have reached these massive proportions and gnarley, wild shapes. Their evergreen leaves and annual acorns make them an anomaly among other Quercus (oak) species. The trees often support Spanish moss, a small-sized orchid and resurrection fern, plus dozens of various wildlife - both as a 'home' and as a source of food. The live oak was the timber used for the construction of the USS Constitution.
Those living with these trees have many incredible tales to tell about them - and these giant trees have been used from storage units (when hollow) to meeting places, to jungle gyms..... I collected many of these 'tree stories' when I worked on my research projects ... and the people and the trees continue to be fascinating!
We've got meetings from sunup until dark tonight and much driving between .. so I"ll be scarce. I hope to catch up tomorrow!
Hope your day is grand! Hug a tree or two while you're out!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
These wonderful, shade-loving plants, are in full bloom at my friend's home. While they come in many colors, she grows mostly whitish/pinkish/purple and some wonderfully dark maroon. These 18"-24" high plants are perennial, deer, pest and drought resistant, heat tolerant and gorgeous! Now if we only had more shade at the Arboretum, we could grow some here! LOL
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!! I hope everyone enjoys something GREEN today!
We're off for our first oral history interview this morning. We have a small grant to interview the gardeners in our county to record their stories and photograph their gardens, and hopefully, receive a garden contribution for the Pass-Along Garden we're creating. Should be fun!
Hope your day is terrific!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I painted this several months ago. The houseplant belongs to my friend and though the vase isn't anything special, I really liked the way the leaves and highlights came out. She had a gorgeous, incredibly fragrant bouquet of spring flowers on the table last night, but I just couldn't focus enough to sketch it well, let alone paint it .... hate days like that! LOL
Today we've back-to-back meetings, and grey skies and cold temps again.... this see-saw of temperatures, sunshine and rain sure has my sinuses acting up!
Hope your day is wonderful!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Though the day started with heavy downpours, we had a bit of sun that turned into a cloudy, overcast day with temps remaining warm. As a result, the spring blooms have started their rebirthing -- maples and hickories are showing clouds of swelling buds in reds and pinks, the fuzzy softness of pussy willows are expanding, the buds of my jasmine are showing yellow, and finally the daffodils in my neighborhood are swaying in the breezes.
I decided to try a softer approach to the daffs - giving this perspective more of a natural look rather than a dramatic approach. I painted to the refrains of C's bluegrass jam ... nice company!
It's off to another intense week at work -- it seems they're all that way lately, doesn't it?
Hope your Monday is bright!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I painted this from a lesson by Allan Kirk a month or so ago, but wanted to post it today to share his new Youtube video art lesson ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aL0UsEuG9JA) .... he demonstrates his French Window - the first lesson of his I tried.... It's a wonderful view into his impressionistic methods and ideas ... and I'm very excited to tell you about it! (No, no affiliations except an admiration of his work and a wonderful friendship with his wife, Lesley!) LOL
What I like about his approach to watercolor is the 'unifying' wash done at the beginning of the painting -- how it ties the colors together so nicely. Tony Couch does the same thing as does Laurie Humble. But this approach to a painting was new to me, and though I don't use it for every painting, I do like the results and was glad to have the opportunity to learn it from Allan.
The sun broke through all the grey yesterday and C and I spent a good part of the day doing some shopping and chores. It's raining hard right now and C's got his musician friends coming by later, so I think it will be a good day to cozy in and paint.
Thank you for your most kind comments yesterday ... your kindness really helps me get over those terrible days of self-doubt.
Take care today -- and I hope the sun is shining wherever you are! Enjoy Allan's video ...!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
When C and I were in Charleston, we happened upon a flock of egrets flitting about the marshlands. They were smaller than the great whites, and I spent some time trying to capture them from the only bit of firm land we had -- unfortunately really too far away to do a photo justice with my simple 'point and snap' camera. Still, I wanted to try to capture a closer view of the marsh and the dazzling white of the egret. I didn't quite do justice to its reflection, but I really enjoyed playing with the colors and trying something different for me.
Rain continues .. grey, grey, grey. It's wonderfully warm though, and that feels terrific. I noticed that my winter daphne is just about in bloom -- and that plant has the most intoxicating scent for such tiny flowers. By next weekend, the fragrance should surround the entire front area of the property.
I've been working on my VP's retirement gift. His party is at the end of the month and I hate to see him leave. He's been mighty good to the Arboretum and to my staff and me.
I need to frame a number of paintings. I have been asked to submit two to the Art Show for the state's community college system. I've decided to be a bit 'conservative' in my selection for this group, since our college system is pretty traditional. I'm submitting "Rainy Day Blues"(http://www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye/4303533622/) and "Marsh Sunrise" (http://www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye/4340514194/) for the show. They'll be on display for a year. I have two more to select for a juried show and I'll be a bit more 'modern' in submissions for that project.
Hope your weekend is restive and wonderful!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Fast and Furious
The rain has us socked in ... and my normal 90 minute drive took over two hours in the darkness, fog and heavy downpours yesterday. This is the view I saw as I snaked my way north and before total darkness made it impossible to see anything but headlights.
The rain will continue for the next few days, and the warm weather will once again cool by next week.
Still, our volunteers yesterday planted 75 strawberries, some outdoors, some in hanging bags, some in pots and baskets, and next month they'll be able to transplant their greenhouse vegetables into the waiting raised beds. We'll begin working on garden bed design next week.
In the meantime, it'll be a day indoors, appointments with repair folks and chores.... Hope your day is sunny and bright!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The daffs are blooming here at the Arboretum! Mine at home are barely out of the ground -- and it always amazes me the difference made by 90 miles in longitude!
This practice piece didn't quite turn out the way I had intended, but my friend liked it and so I thought I'd post it anyway. What I've been trying to work through (bananas, poppies, wisteria) is the use of compliments to highlight and/or dramatize and/or accent some of the areas of a painting. Thierry de Marichalar (whose work has inspired this study) also uses analogous colors to highlight particular parts of a painting. I'm trying to learn to use these methods across different subjects. I find the most difficult colors to use are the yellow and purple .. it seems far more challenging to keep the yellow pure with all that violet around! LOL
I'm also trying to work through 'lost and found edges' within this method. I really love the look of some edges fading into the background .. and so this piece was my attempt to practice this as well.
It's VERY foggy outside this morning. Temps are warm -- this morning 50F!! And even with rain in the forecast, it's such a relief to shed that down jacket for a while!
We've got an additional group of new volunteers for 'Plant a Row for the Hungry" .... Today we plant strawberries in hanging bags and begin designing the two large beds we've set aside for the project.
Have a great day!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I can't ever look at a banana and NOT think of the song "Yes, we have some bananas" ... and so we do ... and did on our drive to Charleston. I worked on this while C drove and I juggled potholes, a water jar, paints and journal.
it's back to work today -- but oh how good it was to be home a few days. The weather couldn't have been nicer -- high 60s, low 70sF -- and I was able to get out in the garden, weed, prune, hit the most noxious weeds with Round-Up, and get more than a few minutes of much needed natural Vitamin D!
This weekend we turn the clocks forward for Daylight Savings ... giving more light to our evenings ... yep, spring is fast approaching!
Hope your week is great!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
In the late 1980s before I left for graduate school, I worked with the South Carolina Forest Service to locate beautiful tree specimens over 200 years old. The Forest Service was honoring those trees that had been well cared for and had survived so many years.
I located this oak during my study of Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana) and nominated it for this distinction. The oak was located along the row of former slave dwellings at Charlestown Landing, and the manager of the park told me that it had been the site of slave weddings. The tree received its due honor, and every time I visited Charleston, I had to make a trip to see her.
Since there had been so many changes at the Park since I last visited, I had a difficult time finding the tree again. The focus of the Park had been changed from a recreational destination to a state historic landmark -- complete with archaeological digs and evidence, reconstruction of a few dwellings, a fine museum honoring the founders and the groups who made the area famous. Absolutely delightful and a wonderful addition to Charleston's other historic sights.
C and I eventually found the tree -- but the large limb that reached to the ground and back up (propped in 1989) had fallen, and with all the changes to the park, the plaque had to be moved as well. Still, she stood grand as ever! I painted this from the photo I took of her this trip, and I do hope to paint it again from the 1980 photos I have of her in her former glory.
She is still as massive and impressive and she was long ago ....
Monday, March 08, 2010
I must say that in real life this painting doesn't look as 'yellow' as on my screen this morning (nor as crooked! LOL - mercy, upload issues this morning! ) ... but the marsh I took so many photos of while in Charleston under incredibly bright blue skies and wonderfully warm sun was a tawny sienna with bits of dark green and burnt sienna, and seemed to flow on for miles.
I'm enamored with marshes lately - and in thinking about why it seems to harken to that cradle of beginnings, the font and flow of life's initiation, the place of birth and rebirth. Perhaps this all means the longing for spring ... the need for renewal, the yearning for that spark that propels one into the world out of winter's slumbering hibernation, with all the stored energy of a season's sleep.
Regardless of the why, those marshes with their endless waving grasses, live oaks and clear bright waters were a balm to my spirit, and an antidote to the grey and cold of these past months.
As wondrous as they are, it's still so good to be home...
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Even in the earliest of springs, Charleston is filled with flowers that survive the mild winters.... Container gardens and windboxes are bright with flowers and even the sidewalk tree areas boast daffodils and bright grasses.
We spent the day yesterday walking Charles Town Landing - I hadn't been there in over 10 years - and the entire park was redone to focus on the historic elements of the city -- from its settlement to the crops that brought it weath. A new history museum was simply outstandingly done as were the boardwalks, and marsh trails. I found many of the old trees that shaped my graduate studies and it was like coming home to some very cherished friends. C and I walked around downtown - and my gracious, the streets were crowded!
We had a birthday dinner with my daughter and family overlooking the Atlantic and waterway - and the are where she was raised ...
The day was filled with sunshine, exercise and laughter - just what the doctor ordered.
Today, it's the long drive home and a goodbye to a city I love and a daughter I don't see enough ...
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Charleston -- like a small homecoming. Marshland, fine food, rivers, ocean, shopping, extraordinary beaches .... and my daughter and family! So good to see everyone again - and everyone WELL! LOL
We babysat last night while my dd and husband had a quiet night out by themselves. Today, though, C and I will explore once again the famous gardens of live oaks and beautiful flowers. The temps are supposed to be warm enough for comfortable walking, and I'm looking forward to seeing those incredible trees I spent so much time studying.
Tonight we celebrate my daughter's birthday, then return home on Sunday.
I'll have to catch up with eveyone then. For now, it's good to be in
Friday, March 05, 2010
Several years ago I passed a field of incredible poppies and stopped to take a photo. Later still, in one of the many Karlyn Holman (http://www.karlynholman.com) videos I own, Karlyn shows a still life of poppies and her wet in wet application of paint. A few weeks ago, when viewing Thierry de Marichalar's blog(http://marichalar.blog4ever.com), he too had a different method of painting poppies. I mulled over these different techniques, used bits of flowers from his lesson and my own images, and tried to blend all I had observed and learned here. The composition is mostly Marichalar's .. but the application of paint and color are a combination of Karlyn's and mine.
I mention all of this because months from now when I'm wondering how I did a painting (sometime's it's hard to remember!!) I'll have my notes right here! LOL
I want to do this again with some other images I have taken - but I may have to wait until next week to have a go. I'm heading to South Carolina to celebrate my dd's birthday! It's suppose to be warm and sunshiney --- and I haven't been back to that beautiful city in almost two years ....
I'll be back on Sunday with two days of R&R after that ... and I'm looking forward to it.
I hope your weekend is wonderful!
Thursday, March 04, 2010
Though I painted this from a photo reference, the snow covering the ground yesterday (2"-4") was almost as pretty. We're not by the water and our ponds were not covered, so I chose instead to paint this scene -- inspired by the snow we did have.
Rain followed the snow, washing all the white prettiness away. The workshop went went, and cutting it by the delayed hour didn't seem to matter much. We had another workshop following the one in the morning with Master Gardeners and then classes in the evening ... a mighty busy time.
Still, spring is coming ....today the "Plant a Row" volunteers will be surprised at the growth of their plantings over the last two weeks. They'll have to transplant the beans, separate the herbs, and we'll be talking about insect pests in the greenhouse. We've decided to add a second row for the hungry because our volunteers are increasing each week. It won't be too much longer before we'll be outdoors!
In the meantime, I've got the heater going and we're in for a morning of rain.
It feels like it's been a mighty long winter.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
This is how it looked when I left the office yesterday --- rain clouds gathering even tighter together. It had snowed, rained, snowed, rained and then stopped for a few hours, leaving the sky a mix of spotty blue and clouded grey/purple as evening deepened.
This morning we awoke to several inches of snow, slushy roads, and a 2 hour college delay that truly conflicts the students, instructors and my 9 am workshop. LOL
I came in to the office nontheless since the phone will begin ringing shortly, and I really wanted a cup of coffee! LOL
I'm hoping to proceed with the training; delaying the workshop will mean delaying the progress on the grant. Time crunches ... don't 'cha love 'em?! LOL
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
A good friend of mine sent me a link to French artist Thierry de Marichalar (http://marichalar.blog4ever.com). I love the light in his work and the flow and fusion of wet in wet work. This painting was done from one of his lessons. In real life, there is more yellow and a bit of darker purples .. but I've had a time trying to get the colors adjusted on two different computers! LOL
It was a good day yesterday with warm enough temperatures to have our students outdoors and working in the gardens. We even found hyacinths in bloom!
Today, it's several talks and teaching and preparing for my training session tomorrow. We're supposed to have rain tonight changing to snow. But the ground is warming and so the snow should be a flurry instead of any kind of accumulation.
I hope to be able to take some photos of the hyacinths before the rain sets in!
Hope your day is grand!
Monday, March 01, 2010
I'm hoping to return sometime next year - perhaps in the fall. I've made two spring trips - Sicily and Tuscany - and I've my fingers crossed to return during the olive harvest season. We're hoping!
Back to work again. Can it be March already? I've a full load of teaching this week so I may be scarce.
I hope you have a great week..... Rain and snow predicated for the middle of the week.