9" x 12"
We're back to shirt sleeve weather with temps supposedly reaching 80F tomorrow! The flower parade continues despite our dips now and then into cooler weather.
I LOVED Bill's challenge (www.flickr.com/photos/lorus_maver/6743982419/) and decided to give it another go. I used Unryu Paper to texturize the background and soften it into a 'dreamy' atmosphere -- much like the days we're having. Yes, spring fever has begun!
Work continues to be busy with workshops from now July, and we are preparing for our annual Plant Sale in April. Already the seeds planted in the greenhouse are about ready for planting outdoors, and we'll do just that once the temperatures stabilize a bit more). We are also busy in earnest with our Plant a Row for the Hungry activities.
Still, it's a magical time as winter recedes into memory and spring lingers longer .....
Enjoy your day!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
9" x 12"
Monday, February 27, 2012
10" x 13"
"This is the time when there is a quiet stirring at the root of Spring. It will be some time yet before we see it plainly, but we know it is there; and it is probably more than imagination that there is a quickening in the willows and the osiers that is like a promise on a sunny afternoon." (Hal Borland, "Sundial of the Seasons."
And isn't that so, right now?! Temperatures see-sawing from freezing to short-sleeve weather, the sunlight lasting a bit more each day, the smell of damp soil as winter begins her annual thaw. And here and there spots of color that pop through the woodland litter to let us know, spring is really coming.
Primula vulgaris is an herbacious perennial that grows no taller than 6". It likes light shade and is one of the earliest spring flowers. Bees, birds and butterflies like the plant, and primroses prefer constantly moist soil in order to thrive. The name 'primrose' is said to come from the French or early Latin - ' prima rosa' - meaning first rose. In favorable conditions, it can be used as a groundcover.
I rarely see this plant in my woodland hauntings, but there are tons of species to choose from that have been commercialized by our fine horticulturalists. As a wildfood enthusiast, I have tasted a variety of spring greens, but never having found this growing in any of my wilds, I can't confirm it's reputation for having edible leaves (reported to taste like lettuce) and flowers (said to make a decent wine).
What I do love about this white variety, is how the delicate white flowers contrast against rumply green leaves and how the plant is set along the mottled woodland floor.
We've rain for weather today with temps warming and the sun coming in and out for a visit throughout the week. I'm sure I'll be seeing many more signs of spring in my travels ... it seems to be an early arrival along with the spring fever that has me dreaming of gardens, and flowers, and butterflies.
Have a great week!
Friday, February 24, 2012
9" x 12'"
We may be playing the fool this year to think spring has arrived this early -- but with temperatures that reached 75F yesterday and returning to that same high today, and with flowers, trees, insects, and the rest of nature behaving as though spring HAS begun, it's hard NOT to follow along ....
The gardens are abloom with helebores ... white, pink, purple -- the nodding heads of these pretty flowers resembling roses, but they actually belong to the Ranunculaceae or buttercup family.
Hellebores have been grown for years - originally because of their medicinal properties for use as either a poison or a purgative. They're deer resistent - great for those of us who live with wildlife as neighbors! Helebores have roots in Europe but also grow in Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Greece, Italy and even China. Helebores thrive in good, rich, moist, organic soil, but can also do well in acidic soils as long as they have good drainage and prefer light shade. There are dozens of varieties in wonderful colors ...!!
I don't yet have any of these in my own gardens, but I think THIS may be the year I plant a couple! These were painted from the gardens at Fearington Village, about an hour south of my home.
We're to have more rain today with temps falling a bit this weekend. We had a huge storm the other night with thunder that popped me right out of a deep sleep. There is an old belief that if it thunders in winter, snow will follow two weeks later ... well, we'll see. According to the Farmer's Almananc, I won't be getting a 'real' snowfall this year ... but just to be on the safe side of folklore ... I'm keeping my snow shovel handy!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
9" x 12"
Though today is overcast, gray and foggy, the warm weather, blossoming trees, shrubs and flowers are propelling me, albeit reluctantly, toward spring. I have to admit that my body longs for the winter rest it never got, but spring just won't wait.
It's been a wet week and so I've played a bit with a wet into wet approach for this painting. It's done partly from imagination and partly from remembered walks along the Eno River. I've kept it soft and dreamy - as my memory of it ....
It's been a busy week preparing for new garden plots, meetings and greenhouse activities. Somehow the forward momentum of seasons and obligations does not slow .... and the march of the flowers is well underway.
I think I'll linger in the pansies a while longer .... and take a little more time to inhale ...
Monday, February 20, 2012
9" x 12"
It's been a weekend of 'go-out-ing' - dinner on Friday where we met some friends for a really nice, chatty, dinner; a folk art show on Saturday where we also met some friends for lunch, long drives in the country and temperatures that had us in sweaters. Flowers abounded - daffodils, Lenten Roses, and pansies everywhere! Wonderful pansy colors to delight the eye --- dark purples, blues, yellows, oranges, creams and red/burgundy ... inspring these bright flowers.
Sunday was a day of rain ... a good day to relax. Rain turned to sleet and then to the hush of snow as I continued my flower paintings ...I took some photos - barely a dusting at picture-taking time - with a bit more snow to fall during the night. I was so excited to see snow falling -- the first for this winter --and while it can't compare to the rest of the world's record snowfalls ... for this snow-starved wee one, I was thrilled! LOL This morning, we had to scrape the 2" from our steps, the lawn is covered -- but darn, the roads are clear and it's off to another week of work. Sigh.
Despite the BRIEF dip into snow and winter, temperatures this week return to spring - with the end of the week to reach 70F ... so we'll be seeing more of the spring flower-parade ....and probably more and more flower paintings as these beauties rarely fail to inspire me.
But in my dreams, I still hope for one REAL snowfall ... before all the meadows are covered in color ... just one REAL snowfall .....
Have a great week!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I know it isn't much, but it's the first snow this season .... and it's still coming down.
We may get 3" ... but it's been so warm -- yesterday was 67F!!!!! and we were in sweaters!!! --- that it probably won't amount to much!
But for someone who has been painting snow (would you believe I'm working on FLOWERS!!!! LOL) -- I'm doing the happy snow dance!!!
It really has made such a luscious hush over everything ... just marvelous!!!!!
Friday, February 17, 2012
9" x 12"
A few days ago, my friend Beth (www.flickr.com/photos/bethnery/6852122653/in/photostream) posted a beautiful photograph of impatiens and suggested I paint them. I loved the flowers and so painted this version of them. I tried to keep the main 'star' of the photograph while adding a few more blossoms for balance. Thanks for the invitaton, Beth!!
We had a marvelous rain yesterday - much needed for our already drought conditions. I've wished for snow this winter - not simply for its beauty - but we are in much need of our annual winter preciptation. Yesterday's gray and wet day helped, and we've another coming this weekend - thank goodness.
We've begun cleaning out our vegetable beds and planting our root crops at the arboretum. My own wildflower garden has been 'strewn' with seeds and so the fluctuations in temperatures - today's high in the 60s, Sunday's high in the 40s, will help with germination, especially for those plants that require cold to break seed dormancy.
Some chores await me today and of course, my typical errands ... but I hope to spend a good amount of time at my art table -- it's been missed these last weeks!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
9" x 12"
It was overcast yesterday with a hint of rain and with a chill in the air, perhaps a snowflake or two in the forecast. Alas, our air is so dry and we are in such need of preciptation, that even with the right clouds and cold--nothing. Nothing but gray! As I walked around the campus, I noted the full bloom of maples and a few hickories, the crocus, daffodils and hyacinth. Still --
I am not ready to let go of my hope for at least ONE snow this winter. And we have had snows as late as March and April. But nothing here yet.
So, I turn again to my flickr friends who continue to inspire me with THEIR snows - and one place I go to for inspiration (especially winter snow scenes) are photos by Denis Colette. Denis takes the most AMAZING views of his river and woodlands, and must feel about the natural world as I do - for his photography is like visual poetry. One image of his (www.flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/4444291198/in/set-721...) inspired this 'warmer' treatment of snow, and I thank Denis not only for permitting me to use his photograph, but more - for the constant inspiration that his artwork brings. His creative images send me to dreaming ... and the place where ideas incubate to become real. THANk YOU SO very much, Denis!
It promises to be another warm and sunshiney day - beautiful really - but we've begun the year in great need of rain with temperatures that haven't killed off enough insects, and I suspect this year will be one of terrific challenges for gardeners.
Monday, February 13, 2012
9" x 12"
With Valentine's Day tomorrow and the brief spot of winter winds we had this weekend, flowers and hearts, love and spring are returning to the forefront.
This hibiscus painting was inspired by a photo posted by Foto Bloke (www.flickr.com/photos/pax12/6807599341) -- please see his incredible works!!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH, Tom!!!!
Tom's image was of a double hibiscus that was so beautiful in the sunshine, so filled with the warmth of its season, that painting it between company and car-buying this weekend kept me toasty warm and dreaming of the season ahead. My thanks once more, Tom!
We've another busy week at the Arboretum. Tonight will be a late night class as our 'full-house' of folks learn about container and square foot vegetable gardening. They'll plant some seeds in the greenhouse to take home with them for their own gardens. It's a mighty popular class each season we teach it.
The calendar is moving forward despite the lack of a snow this winter and the rain and cold we typically have. Already the bulbs are up, many more in bloom, and even the trees, bare these last months, have broken bud. On a sunny day one can notice the changes in the woodlands - froma winter-dull gray to a mild haze of magenta as tree buds swell and begin another season in the sun.
Spring's coming ....
Let us plant!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Spent the weekend trading cars ....
After 23 years driving Toyotas, I am STILL loving those reliable, sleek, incredibe cars.
So, my 2012 Camry Hybrid in a 'clear water blue' - with all the latest gizmos include moon roof, Entune navigation system that will allow my text messages to be READ to me while driving, bluetooth capabiity .. and yes, payments for the next five years ....
Friday, February 10, 2012
Though we FINALLY have a few 'snow flakes' in the weather predictions for this weekend and Tuesday, and a three-day cold front that will plunge our 60F temps to the low 20sF, this touch of winter will be over before we even know it came through.
Still, with hopes of seeing the white stuff before ALL the daffodils have bloomed (they're already up and dancing), I viewed Susie Short's (http://www.susieshort.com/) webpage and dreamed along with some of her snow scenes ... this small painting was inspired by them.
It'll be a mildly busy weekend with cheesecakes to bake for Charles' jam on Friday, errands to run, chores to do, and catching up with some organizing and housework ....hope to get a bit of time to paint. The workdays are so busy lately that I am longing for the relaxation and reneweal I find in the act of splashing paint and pigment across a page ....
Have a great weekend!
Monday, February 06, 2012
10" x 13"
There are favorite rural sites that I thorough enjoy returning to time and time again - even though I am living among them. This barn is one of them.
It sits on a number of acres bordered by the road we drive when going to our favorite park to walk, and I love seeing how different it looks in each season. It's been long abandoned, but every once in a while, the tall grasses get mowed and the fields around it are planted - so apparently the property is still owned and somewhat maintained.
What I love most about these old structures is the history contained within their weathered wood, the architecture, and most of all, the fields upon which they stand. These are the remnants of stories and life and seasons and plants that provided a livelihood, a way of life, relationships, a family. If the wood could talk, we'd know of the hardships and joys, the failures and successes, the rain and the wind and the sun over time. We catch a glimpse of what was, while viewing what remains. They remind me of our fragility and impermanence, and most of all, time passing.
"Make hay while the sun shines" isn't just for farmers. It's for all of us as we too wear the seasons on our bodies and our faces ......
Saturday, February 04, 2012
9" x 12"
February -- what an odd month, especially this year. From 'Sundial of the Seasons' by Hal Borland:
"February can't be taken seriously too long at a time. It starts with Groundhog Day, which is neither omen nor portent, but only superstition, and it ends, often as not, in a flurry of snow. It is sleet and snow and ice and cold, and now and then it is waxing sunshine and tantalizing thaw and promise. February is soup and mittens, and it is a shirt-sleeve day that demands an overcoat before sundown....February is sunrise at 6:30 for the first time since November.
"February is a gardener pruning his grapevines today and shoveling a two-foot drift off the front walk tomorrow morning. It is a farmer wondering this week if his hay will last the Winter, and next week, wondering if he should start plowing....February is the tag end of Winter--we hope. But in our heart of hearts we know it is isn't Spring, not by several weeks and at least a dozen degrees.
"There's no evidence to support it in the dictionaries, but some say that February's name comes from an ancient and forgotten word meaning "a time that tries the patience."
How apt can one description be???? LOL
We've a chill in the air today after another bout of incredibly warm weather. Our volunteers cleaned the vegetables beds in shirtsleeves last week, and I left the house yesterday in an overcoat, gloves and frost on the flowering bulbs. Yep - it doth try thine patience!!
This painting was inspired by my dear friend Teresa and a photo of white azaleas. Please see her wonderful images (www.flickr.com/photos/teresalaloba/6697141907/in/photostream). Thank you so much, Teresa for permission to use your photo and the inspiration!
This painting is a loose interpretation of her photo, for I was trying to capture that in between-ness of the seasons - the winter leaving, the spring not quite arriving - but flowers still blooming ... Again, thank you so very much, my friend!
Take a look at the landscape if you get a chance. Already the maples have broken their buds and there is a mild haze of magenta mixed in with the gray tree branches and olive tones of the evergreens - at least here in piedmont North Carolina. Each day finds more flowers blooming unseasonably early. I spotted some flowering quince yesterday along with the crocus, forsythia, hyacinths. Not a full flurry of emergence -but certainly the tease of a few plants that let us know spring is heading our way.
Hope your weekend is wonderful!
Thursday, February 02, 2012
9" x 12"
Today is Groundhog Day -- the day folklore and festivals bring out the slumbering ground hog to determine if he sees his shadow and predicts if winter will last another six weeks.
For us in the piedmont of North Carolina, it's hard to think of winter lasting - when it hasn't even arrived! Yesterday reached 70F and we're due for another warm day. And though we will have cooler weather this weekend (in the 30s and 40sF), already crocus are in bloom and daffodils are about to pop.
So, in honor of Mr. Groundhog, no matter his prediction, I have posted my painting based on my friend Dori's wonderful snowfall (www.flickr.com/photos/djr-aquarelle/6559071041/in/photost...). Please stop by to see her wonderful, wonderful watercolors!!! Thank YOU Doris for sharing your snow with me!!
This morning, we begin another year of Plant a Row for the Hungry. We've some new volunteers coming in, and it's time to plant our seeds in the greenhouse as we ready for spring. We're in for a bit of rain, so this indoor activity will be fitting.
Hope your day is wonderful -- and we'll see if Mr. Groundhog's prediction is correct!