9" x 12"
The wisteria, purple, fragrant, beautiful, has begun to drape the trees and fences all around me. Masses of these blossoms hang like graped garlands everywhere I look. This is a vining plant, fairly agressive, and some of the trunks are as large as trees with lengths of vine several yards long! Impressive! The lovely flowers are edible -- but the seeds are highly poisonous ... and too large a plant can smother smaller plant specimens with their weight and mass -- so be careful with this one!
We lost the wife of a dear friend yesterday - unexpectedly and suddenly. And so I'd like to dedicate this small painting to her memory. Kathy was a vivacious, large-hearted woman who loved people and plants and living simply. She was a friend to all who met her, always ready with a smile, a laugh, and a plate of something good to eat. She'll be mightily missed. Her dear husband has been part of our Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteer core, and I know how difficult this will be for him. Prayers for Kathy and for the family.
Losing those we love is never easy. And with each loss we are reminded again how very, VERY precious is each moment we have on this good earth and with those we love. It's too easy to say 'live each day as if it were your last' --- and so difficult to live it.
But the older I grow, the harder I will work to do so.
May your day be blessed with moments you cherish and filled with people you love.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
9" x 12"
Thursday, March 29, 2012
9" x 12"
The start of a day with the bright rise of the sun is a view that seems to bless the hours ahead. There's a joyful hopefulness in such light -- and for me, a lifting of the spirit as though in prayer. The photographs by my friend, Maurizio - have that quality. To me, each capture of such a sunrise brings such a feeling of optimism - so much so that I am captivated and enthralled by his work.
Maurizio graciously allowed me to use one of his photos to use as a reference for this painting - and I thank YOU, Maurizio!! (www.flickr.com/photos/53359531n04/6859614072/in/photostream).
For my interpretation, I gave the scene a 'later-in-the-morning' light and there's more pinkness in the painting than in the scan.
I also fell in love with the light on the water and the marsh. It so reminded me of Charleston and all the mornings I spent there as I raised my children .... the gentle lapping of the water against the lowlands, the soft soughing of the wind through the grasses. The promise of the sunrise for a warm, bright day ahead.
Thank you, Maurizio - for your brilliant photography and the inspiration and memory it invokes.
Have a bright, sunny, wonderful day!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
9" X 12"
I really LOVE this time of year! Each day another blossom breaks bud and a profusion of color literally POPS into being!
My peach tree has done that this week --- turned naked gray/brown stems and branches to bright pale pink, cotton-candy mounds of color! The bees are having a hayday... and the colors heighten my own spirits and brighten the still in-bud surroundings.
I did take a pair of pruning sheers to this tree over the weekend. The promised pruning made and forgotten years ago really haunted me, and so, after our class at the Arboretum last week, I gave the tree the shaping it has needed for too many seasons. It looks sooo much better. And though it means less fruit this year, it should mean a healthier plant for the future.
Here and there my dogwoods are also popping into blossom, and already my red verbena is showing new life.
I have to be diligent and keep my eyes and camera open these days or I'll miss another 'eye-popping' profusion!
Don't you just love the spring?!!!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
9" x 12"
Though my lilies are not yet in bloom, I was inspired by Brenda's lily macro www.flickr.com/photos/13715436@N00/6070631574/ and attempted to create a watercolor version. Thank you so much, Bren, for permission to use your stunning capture -- and more for the inspiration!!! Stop by Brenda's incredible flickr stream for some jaw-dropping viewing!!
Friday was spectacularly sunny and warm, and I worked most of the day in the garden - giving our fruit trees a long-past-due pruning and shaping. I was also able to spray a majority of the weeds before the rains set in in earnest. Thunder, lightning, hail in some parts of our area,tornado warnings -- all yesterday and again today. So instead of working outdoors, I began the reorganization of our upstairs closets and rooms - meaning a thorough spring cleaning and divesting! Unwanted art supplies, books, and all those 'not sure what to do with' items - packed up for donation. In 8 hours, I merely made a small dent - but the arduous task has been started and will continue until I can WALK in the walk-in closets!
After two days of physical activity, I am mighty sore -- a good kind of muscle ache that says I'm finally moving muscles that haven't been used in a while - another good thing. So here's hoping for a couple of days of rain each week for the indoor clean-up and some sunshiney days for the outdoor clean-up ... and who knows, by the time I'm finished, I may be able to see my own lilies blooming!
Have a great Sunday!
Friday, March 23, 2012
10" x 13"
The grey fog cloaks my woodlands this morning, making my world fuzzy and damp. It's like cloud-walking to move through it - the droplets of water, each gathering bits of pollen as they swirl, cling to my car, the porch, the plants -- and me. I am be-speckled!
But my thoughts turn to sunnier days and I was inspired by this photo posted by my friend, Lynn www.flickr.com/photos/54665985@N08/6948719629/in/photostream who graciously allowed me to use it as a reference for this painting! THANK YOU, LYNN!!! Please stop by her flickr stream for more sunshiney and beautiful images!!
I fell in love with the dark blue heron among the grasses. It immediately brought me back to my years in Charleson, SC where herons, gulls and egrets were the 'birds in the backyard' - and I do miss their elegant character and grace. It's been a very long time since I've attempted to paint them, so I appreciate Lynn's permission even more as I reacquaint myself with these incredible birds.
We're in for a mixed weekend of sunshine and rain, and no matter what I do this weekend, I am going to have to begin the garden clean up in earnest. Yesterday we planted more garden peas and lettuces at the Arboretum, and next week, if the hot temperatures hold, we'll probably chance planting the squash. I"ve got to get a move on!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
The first day of spring brought another week of warm weather with intermittent bouts of thunder, lightning and rain. We desperately need the rain as we are already in drought conditions and the spring blooms are thirsty for a good soaking.
These kind of weather conditions make fog and mist a certainty --and each morning I make my way through such conditions on the way to the office. Yet despite our lack of sufficient rainfall, the ponds and lakes are flowing freely and there is a most delightful sound that these waters make along with the spring peepers and frogs making their mating calls.
The woodlands are still a tumble of grasses and reeds and not all trees have donned their spring greenery. Sabine so beautifully captured those tumbled woods and water (www.flickr.com/photos/haikus59/6812801914/in/faves-linfrye/) that I was moved to pick up my brushes and paint! I added the foggy mist to the view to honor a bit of my own experience. Thank you so very much, Sabine, for allowing me to use your photo as a reference and for the inspiration!!! Please stop by Sabine's wonderful flickr stream for more wonderful work!
We've been doing our 'spring cleaning' at the Arboretum as we finish some garden installations and begin the annual battle of the weeds. We've another workshop this afternoon and we'll continue pruning our fruit trees and berries. It won't be long before we'll be gathering the first strawberries of the season!
Hope your day is wonderful!
Monday, March 19, 2012
The mornings lately have been filled with the misty remains of evening showers and the certainty of the day's heat to come. The offical start to spring is only a few days away, but the last two weeks of record high temperatures -- in the 80sF!! -- make the Vernal Equinox feel like the start of SUMMER!
I was tremendously inspired by a photo I saw by Andrew (www.flickr.com/photos/100200300400500/6810561554 as it so reminded me of a color version of the mist and fog I've witnessed over the last few mornings. My thanks to Andrew for allowing me to use his glorious photograph as a reference. and more -- for the inspiration it provided for this painting. Please drop by Andrews's flickr to see some glorious captures! Thank you once more, Andrew!
It was a busy weekend with lunch with the grandchildren, my husband's jam group filling the airwaves with wonderful sounds, taking in a concert and ignoring, yet again, those pesky weeds and gardening chores that are beginning to gnaw at my conscious. I spent a bit of time painting and simply enjoying the walks around the park inhaling the awesome fragrance of tea olive, marveling at the the scarlet reds of the budding maples, the innocent whites of the Bradford pears, the magenta tones of the saucer magnolas, the pinks of peach blossoms, the pale greens of the elms, and the yellows of the hickories.
Dandelions, chickweed, henbit and bitter cress?
If I step a little livelier -- I can walk right past them! LOL
Have a great week!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
10" x 13"
9" x 12"
We are having our June weather in March - and it feels as though Winter has had a date or two with Spring, decided that the short fling was over, and is now engaged to Summer for the serious relationship.
Our temps all week have been in the 70s and mid 80sF --- June weather - and the trees and blossoms are responding with a frenzy. Bradford pears, redbuds, elms, tea olives are all abloom and filling the air with scent --- and pollen. If folks aren’t coughing and blowing their noses from colds in this changeable weather, they’re sniffling and congested with allergies. You can SEE all the tiny flecks of plant life on your windowsills, cars and if you stand still long enough – on your clothing –(well, maybe the clothing is a bit of an exaggeration). But the rapid rush to reproduce in this unseasonable warmth has brought out the ‘plant passion’ in waves upon waves of pollen-laden air as well as a swiftly swirling display of flowers.
I don’t have oleanders in my own garden but for all the years I lived in Charleston, SC, I watched them flower along the roadsides making journeys to the beach even more beautiful with their pink and white blossoms. I remember one year taking the flowers apart to replicate their delicate structures in silk. I was participating in a silk flower making class and my home was filled with vases of these delicately-made plants. Our instructor had patterns for a variety of flowers – but I had to create my own from the oleander.
The oleander has also been called “Sea Rose” or “South Sea Rose” and it is said to be once though as an ‘olive bearing bush’ since the Latin word for olive is ‘olea.’ It is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and a Greek legend tells us that a young maiden was once romanced by a young man called Leander who later drowned in a wild tempest. When his body was found on the beach, he was clutching this flower. Looking for her lover, the young lady called over and over ‘Oh, Leander, oh, Leander” and when she found his body, she kept the flower as a symbol of their love. The flower grew and became the oleander we know today.
We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today and instead of mere green and in celebration of our early spring as well as St. Patrick, I’ve decided to add a bit of pink to the day – and celebrate with oleanders!
Ta la maith! In other words - Have a great day!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
10" X 13"
Temps today are supposed to reach 82F! Already the mosquitoes have found my skin, the weeds are having a hayday, and spring fever has infected everyone! It's so challenging to sit at a computer all day, needed as it may be, while the sun, heat and scent of newly blooming viburnum and tea olives scent the air with intoxicating fragrances that beckon one to dream!
Whether the calendar proclaims the new season or Pauxitauny Phil hides his tail for being wrong about winter (at least for North Carolina) -- Spring has arrived!
Today our college celebrates 'Spring Fling' - the weather cooperating beautifully. I've several talks to give and meetings to make, so there won't be much 'flinging' for me today.
But tomorrow -- we'll be outdoors planting - another day of promised high temperatures - and a day of gardening will be something to celebrate!
Have a great one!
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
It's been so warm these last few days that the creek along my property is flowing wonderfully. I took a walk along it's meandering pathways enjoying the greens of the ferns, the blue-eyed grasses, and the occasional daffodil patch that reminds me that this particular place on the property was once another homesite for someone else.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
10" x 13"
I've always loved the woodlands and the gift of water that runs through them is an especial blessing this time of year. The creeks are flowing once again, the frogs have begun their chorus, and when the light makes its way through the dense foliage, there is a magical moment that is almost transcendent.
This inspired feeling was what I felt the first time I saw Denis' image 'Wild Poem' (www.flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/4147040318/in/photost...). I was transfixed by the light he captured and awed by the play of colors and forms. I was absolutely enchanted!
I was finally able to attempt a bit of that feeling through my interpretation of Denis' photo in watercolors. I've given my version a bit more light for the springtime of the year ... but hope that the magical feeling that was evoked by Denis can also be felt in this work.
Thank you once more, Denis, for your permission to use your photo as a reference for this work -- and more - for the magic your work continually inspires!
I think the painting is fitting today as well, as it is the first day of daylight savings. Last night, we set our clocks ahead so that more daylight hours will be available in the evening time. For me, that means waking in the dark and driving to work in the dark, but being able to work and play more in the evening hours. Hmmm.... I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not when it seems more and more of us are sleep deprived! LOL
I hope your day is wonderful ...and you can enjoy an hour more more of sunlight!
Friday, March 09, 2012
I woke this morning to record temperatures – already we are in the high 60s reaching easily into the 70sF and tomorrow – perhaps 80F! CRAZY! The Bradford pears are in bloom, and behind them, the dogwood buds are so swollen that it will be a matter of days before they too join the parade of springtime that began six weeks too early. In our part of the US, the groundhog could not have been more wrong.
But it’s not just the blossoms that are gracing our landscapes these days. The remnants of fall berries are also persisting ….
My friend Jerri captured some of these berries in her awesome photo (www.flickr.com/photos/41612388@N02/6810089384/in/photostream). I just fell in love with this image, and Jerri graciously allowed me to use her photo as a painting reference. THANK YOU so much, Jerri for permission to use your incredible capture!!!
I was inspired to give these berries a loose, airy feel – a nod to the winds we’ve been having – and a bit of light for the season. It still makes me shake my head that this Sunday we begin Daylight Savings Time and spring our clocks forward an hour …
Again, thank you Jerri for the inspiration – stop by to see some of her truly incredible work!
Have a great Friday!
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
There's a peacefulness I find in the colors or orange, yellow and terra-cotta...and I find that painting with violet and burnt sienna gives me just the right tones and variation that I find relaxing and meditative. My son, a Clemson-fan, also loves these colors and several of my 'orange' paintings are on his walls.
The colors remind me of Italy, and clay pots, and the earth that I love. The violet/orangy blend also reminds me of that golden light before night settles in, when the earth seems to quiet, and the rush of the day is behind us ...
Starring at watery reflections also brings me to that meditative state, as do the sounds of water lapping the shoreline, the sound of frogs calling to one another, the music of crickets playing their serenade.
May we bask in it whenever we can ...
Sunday, March 04, 2012
10" x 13"
A weekend of rain and gray, a return to cold, damp weather has me longing for the tease of spring and COLOR! Doris suggested we paint iris and I took up her challenge. You can see Doris' beautiful flowers here (www.flickr.com/photos/djr-aquarelle/6932209927/in/contacts/).
I find painting iris somewhat challenging --- it's hard to get that deep, rich, velvety purple that defines traditional irises - and yet give the petals the softness that also defines them. This is such a regal flower - tall, erect, and filled with symbolism.
The flower has been stylized into what we know as the 'fleur-d-lis,' and has been associated with wisdom, faith, and hope. It's the emblem of France and Florence, Italy as well as the state of Tennessee. It's also symbolic of cherished friendship, hope and promise in love.
Our spring days of warmth have brought these flowers out of their winter slumber, and even my own garden is sporting their spear-like blades and tips of purple as they await the sun's return next week before they open. Yet the forecast is for some freezing nights and the chance of frozen precipitation.
Brave flowers, the iris ... especially this year.
Have a great day!
Friday, March 02, 2012
9" x 12"
From temps of 85F, sunshiney and summery, to blustery winds and temps in the 40s, March and its Jeckle and Hyde personality has arrived.
I love the way Hal Borland describes it (Sundial of the Seasons):
"March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes and a laugh in her voice ... March is pussy willows ... anemones and bloodroot...brave daffodils. March is a sleet storm pelting out of the north the day after you find the first violet bud...March is the gardener impatient to garden; it is the winter-weary sun seeker impatient for a case of Spring fever. March is February with a smile and April with a sniffle. March is a problem child with a twinkle in its eye."
Sound about right?! It fits perfectly for our weather lately ....
The plants in the greenhouse are already sprouted, and we chanced transplating our spring peas to the vegetable garden with a tent of floating row covers for additional warmth. The daffodils, hyacinths and even the iris are all abloom. Cherry trees are dressed in white and pink, and saucer magnolias are brilliant pink and magenta.
And yet, we're in for another rain storm with thunder, lightning and cooler temps ....
I feel like I"m in a daily time warp never quite sure just what season we're in.
Yes, Hal was right -- March is 'exasperating, lovable, a terror-on-wheels...."
Have a great weekend!