Monday, January 28, 2013

A Walk in the Sunrise and Snow

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

No, our weekend of icy weather sure doesn't look like this; though I wish it did. Even with temps rising to the high 30sF, there are still patches of ice in the shaded areas and here and there on backroads.

But by Wednesday, even those hidden spots will be nothing but memories when our temperatures are predicted to reach mid 70sF .. yep -- mid 70sF after dipping in the 20sF for three days ... mercy, makes me dizzy riding this insane see-saw!!! LOL

Still, with warmer temps, we'll be able to get outdoors and get in a few more walks. The garden is quite a mess with all this temperature fluctuation, and those early bloomers sure didn't like the cold snap. Spring will be mighty interesting ...

Hope your week is terrific.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Hellebore by linfrye
Hellebore, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Temperatures have plunged into the 20s and 30s here, driving many of us into studios with hot cups of coffee and tea. Though typical to have a few frigid days in this part of North Carolina, iced steps and roads bring out the salt and sand trucks and folks become more timid about traveling.

Nonetheless, the cold weather this week came with incredible blue skies, reminding all of us that spring is still scheduled to arrive in a few months and despite the weather, there is always beauty all around to admire, appreciate and paint.

Have a terrific day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Late Fall Birches

Late Fall Birches by linfrye
Late Fall Birches, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP
The temperatures, after our brief kiss of snow, warmed to the 50s and 60s and have been mighty pleasant. But this 'dip' into warmth will end tomorrow when we are plunged into the wintry temperatures of the rest of the country -- mid 20s and 30s .... Unseasonable for the North Carolina Piedmont. But that blast of arctic air gives me hope for another dusting of the white stuff, and gives me another week of hibernation.

Of course, this is also the time when seed and nursery companies send their incredible, air-brushed, magnificently colored catalogues, beguiling us with dreams of having the 'best garden,' producing the 'top vegetables,' enhancing our property with the 'best performers,' all to make us dream our way into spring-- neglecting, of course, to burst that bubble with the reality of the work, energy and sweat equity that comes with it.

I can't deny that I'm infatuated too with such promises and tempting photographs, but after years of gardening, that impulse to buy every seed in the book, accept all the accolades of this that or the other 'best', or convince myself that THIS year I will win the war on weeds, insects and heat, I am happy to dream in color catalogue splendor, while I enjoy a bit more of winter's rest and the leisure time at the art table.

Growing older has a few advantages .... Like experience.

Have a great week!

Friday, January 18, 2013

SNOW!!!! But not quite like this ...

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP
Krylon Acryllic White Webbing

The North Carolina Piedmont had its first snow of 2013 -- and I was doing the Snow Happy Dance! It started around 7:30 pm last night and lasted only until around 10 pm ...The predicted 3" - 5" didn't happen, however, and this morning, looking outside and judging merely by the light on the porch, there is little accumulation. Darn! But it was that white stuff!! YIPPEE!

The weeklong barrage of rain however, weakened so many trees, and the sudden cold and heaviness of the snow has caused many of them to fall. (And sadly, my apricot blossoms will not bear fruit AGAIN this year -- sigh!), I can see more tree branches ON my back porch than off it, but can't tell if the trees have toppled, split or areemerely so bent over with the now-frozen precipitation that they cannot stand. I'll have to check once the sun comes up.

Because temps have fallen so fast, the puddles of rain and frozen snow have caused wide-spread school and business delays and closings. Temperatures are supposed to reach mid 40s later this morning, so all the pretty snow and even the treacherous ice should be gone very soon.

Still, judging by photos on the news and Internet, even this minimal drop of the 'white stuff' has caused joyousness in children, mini-snowmen to be built, and painters to dream ....

May it come again soon!

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Sailing by linfrye
Sailing, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

15" x 22" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

With temperatures in the 70s and the days feeling more like summer than the middle of January, I thought it fitting to post this painting I did for my son as another Christmas gift. When we lived in Charleston, SC, the Atlantic Ocean was our playground and beach excursions, fishing and sailing were part of our daily lives. Mike took to sailing like the proverbial duck to water, and even today he loves anything to do with boats and water.

It's been a busy month with birthday celebrations - this weekend we celebrated my grandson's 8th birthday! In a few weeks, we'll celebrate my daughter-in-law's birthday - followed by the rest of our family members in February. From December through March, it's a gift-giving celebration of family!

Our unseasonal warm spell is scheduled to end next week, but my iris, already 3" tall, as well as the fruit trees and other flora that have been tricked into an early blooming, will all be challenged to live through the roller coaster extremes this year. And that includes us ... as we try to remain healthy in such changing times.

Hope your Sunday is wonderful!

Friday, January 11, 2013


It's almost as though the Flowering Apricot on my property has opened to celebrate my mom's 90th birthday.


This was the sight that greeted me yesterday morning -- along with temps in the mid 60s! And in other places flowering cherries were also in full bloom Unbelievable!

And though in my heart I am still wishing for a bit of snow, it pleases me to know that my mom, who loves flowers of all kinds, has had flowers blooming for her special day -- even in January.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dandelion Clocks - Warm Week and Buds Breaking

8" x 12" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Amazing to think that here it is early January and already there is a slight haze to the woodlands as buds begin to swell in anticipation of 'Spring'! I noticed yesterday that even our dainty dogwoods have swollen their flower buds ....And my Prunus mumi (apricot) and an 'late winter bloomer' is showing a bit of pink on some of the branches.... sigh. The weather forecas for the next few weeks is for warming temperatures, as high as 50F and 60F most of this week, though the evening temperatures still fall below freezing. The spring ephemerals - dandelion, chickweed, henbit and other early spring flowers that take advantage of sunlight through the bare trees, are now breaking ground -- Very crazy weather and seemingly far too early in the season.

Last year the USDA changed our plant hardiness zone from 7b to 7a ... indicating that our temperatures have warmed significantly over a long enough period of time to warrant the change. This means that those plants that once were consider too 'tender' to be planted where I live, now have a much better chance of survival .. and my choice for plant varieties have increased for cold tolerant plants and have become more 'iffy' for those plants that don't like too much heat.

For me as a utilitarian gardener, it means that instead of beginning my spring garden in March -- I can now begin weeks earlier in February .... geez ... where is the winter??

But like all else weatherwise, predictions are not necessarily fact, and I can still hope for snow before I plant the spring lettuces. At least I can hope ...

Saturday, January 05, 2013


CATTAILS IN THE SNOW, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13" Arches Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

Gray skies, cold weather, landscapes slumbering, I feel the need to hibernate. When days are like the past week - rainy, cold - dim --- nothing feels better than cozying in and creating. It's part of the cycle, I believe, to restore and recharge dull, used batteries. So while the temperatures and light signal this time for contemplation and restoration, I take advantage of it, for here in the south with our weather changing, we'll be sunshiney and warm in a matter of days. For me, oddly enough, when El Sol brightens the earth and the air is warm - I am literally pulled from my cozy nest and encouraged (??? forced/pulled/motivated ??? ) to be outdoors or dashing around. All thoughts and feelings of rest completely evaporate.

Perhaps that's why snow plays such an important part in my painting and mental processes these days. It's such a rariety here that even the threat of a flurry closes schools, highways, and programs. Perhaps it's this need to slow down a bit, rest a bit more that drives the need for external conditions that 'force' a period of quiet that is not otherwise encouraged or allowed. Maybe.

But I also like the stuff, the way the softness of it covers all the sore spots, creates a bit of innocence and magic, and gives us that awesome 'hush' that whispers 'peace.'

Sure, it helps not to have to get out in it, travel, shovel or drive ... lol ... and I can sit by the window, warm and snuggly, and dream. But that too fuels the creative process and the spirit ... and I think, especially after the frenzy of the holidays, ALL of us could use a dose of it.

I hope your weekend is restive, peaceful, and has some time in it for refueling and restoring. It's time.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Light in the Snowfall

The Light in the Snowfall by linfrye
The Light in the Snowfall, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.

10" x 13" Watercolor
Arches 140#CP

It's been grey and raining and cold for the start of a new year. Yesterday afternoon the color of the sky, the crisp feel to the air, CERTAINLY felt like snow ... but no, just a bit more rain.

I do miss that white stuff this time of year, and am constantly inspired by those images of snow I see on flickr. I fell in love with this particular view by my friend Linda, who so kindly gave me permission to use her photo as this painting's inspiration:

Please stop by Linda's photostream for more beauties!!!

I painted this scene twice, and with this version I used a more impressionistic approach to focus on the snow and light of the lampost. Thanks once more Linda!

The year began busy and will continue that way for several weeks as I begin teaching new watercolor classe, and meet the deadlines to exhibit my work in new venues. More framing needs to be done, and always, there are more household chores to do than I can even list! LOL

Still, winter to me, especially when it rains or snows, reminds me that this is a season of rest and recuperation, a time of 'gathering in', contemplation, refueling. I think of those hibernating bears as they spend the winter in slumber to prepare for the true busy seasons of spring and summer. And so I too, despite constant demands, will take the time to 'winter' myself ... as the seasonal clock moves ever insistently forward ....

Happy 2013! May it be a restorative time for you too!