Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Spring Break!

Hello Friends!
It's been a wild winter in Florida.  With all the cold weather up north, many friends have come down to visit us in Florida.  We have had a mild winter, which we have thoroughly enjoyed.

It is Spring Break down here....for the last three weeks, and the next few ahead.  That means twice the traffic, reservations needed for any restaurant that will take them; long lines; crowded beaches and just lots of congestion, everywhere.  It's hard on the 'locals' of which, I am now, one.

But, I do not begrudge people for wanting to warm their bones and walk the beach.  I get it!  However, with so much hosting and congestion, I am weary and ready for a bit more quiet.  It's coming.  Traffic is lighter...and there is a parking space at the beach.   Soon, everyone will head North, to tend their gardens, or enjoy spring in their home state.  I will miss my friends and company and the flowers that bloom in the north.  It's definitely a 'flip-flop' in seasons.  We head indoors, while the northerners head outside.

Of course, you know, that I will have more time for painting and drawing!!   My neighbor and I have started drawing with a few friends, each Thursday.  We pack up our art supplies - and pop over to each others homes, for a morning of drawing or painting.  There will be a smaller group this summer, but we will try to continue painting together, as it is a wonderful time of sharing art,

First, I want to share our Orchids....still working on blooming for a few of them, but several have popped open this week.  They are stunning and so easy to grow...with blooms that last for a long time.  They will carry us through to early summer.  Here they are!

Can you see the number of blooms still to open?  This is one plant!!

Again, this has not completed it's blooms yet - but it is on it's way!

These are miniatures - tucked in a pot of flowers.

We have other things growing in the garden, as well.  Our Australian Tree Fern is opening up another frond and it's always beautiful to see the transition a it opens.

Unfurling it's beauty!
Australian Tree Fern

Our Coffee beans are ready for picking....again!

Sometimes, we actually buy some beautiful flowers at the grocery.
These beauties would not thrive in our warm weather, and I miss them.
Thank you to my sweet hubby!

Watercolor of coffee bean tree.
Notice the different color of the berries.
This was done earlier in the season.

The berries reveal their beans!
These must dry out before they can be  roasted.
But, as you can tell, I am anticipating some
good coffee!

I was watching television one evening, and started doodling.
This painting, on a very poor scratch pad, actually turned out pretty well.

This is a study that I worked on, trying to recreate sea glass.
I can't say that I nailed it, but I learned a lot.
I continue to challenge myself, within my abilities.
I will never claim to be a great artist, but I will work on giving it my best for the rest of my days.

The rest of the month will be filled with some surgery and a trip to Colorado.  It's time to take care of my health and also to re-connect with our 'peeps', now that the snow is slowly (very slowly) disappearing.  It's been a difficult year for many of our friends, and we are hoping to spend some quality time visiting as many friends as we can.  These trips are exhausting, but they fill my soul to the brim with love and happiness.  So onward and forward......

I may miss May...or I might just surprise you.....depending on time and energy.  

Until the next time:  


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Marching in Nature

Hello friends - this month has just flown by and I am totally behind the eight ball, so far.  We have had oodles of guests in the last month, which not only means lots of fun, but lots of cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  It's worth it, but painting time has certainly been on the back burner.

I am grateful that we live in a climate which has been so pleasant, that friends and family want to come and visit.  I am sad, that the weather elsewhere has been pretty crazy (and mighty cold) this winter.  I expected that Spring would start popping up, but what I am hearing is a continuation of winter snow.  Hang on....it will be here in no time!

Right now, we are awaiting our Orchids, which bloom at this time of year.  We have about six or seven and they all have blooms coming.  Only one orchid is starting to flower and it takes time for the flowers to bloom, because they stay for a very long time.  So get ready for next month....I will blow you away with Orchids.

Selby Botanic Gardens is celebrating Paul Gauguin this month and we stopped in for a stroll to see the interpretation of his art through sculpture and flowers.

What a view of Sarasota Bay.
I loved the creative theme and the Tahitian flavor.

Selby Gardens brings in many variations of Orchids
and creates backdrops that would bring Gauguin and his travels to mind.

peace can always be found in the gardens.

and sometimes, a bit of birding
(the green around the eyes means that this egret is getting ready to nest)

sculptures created for the exhibit

We also spent some time at Historic Spanish Point, in Osprey, FL.  It is a wonderful place of Florida History, surrounded by Nature.  The walk usually takes an hour or two and is filled with surprises.  I took several photos of some greenery, and an unusual butterfly.

I cannot name either the butterfly or the flowers,
but the invasive "mother-in-laws" tongue is surrounding them.

Because my time was limited this month and I spent some time cleaning up my spaces, I found some old (very old) paintings that had been completed years ago.  They were bundled in a folder, which I discovered quite by accident.  I couldn't help but want to make a few changes to these pieces.  I have decided that some are hopeless, no matter what I do, and others just might be okay for use in some space.  You can decide for yourself.  These are all examples of 'wastebasket' art.  But,  it does show you that for every great piece of art, there are many, many, many bad that come before.

a sketch, done in Maui, years ago.
Large Heliconia

Tulips - yikes - so bad!!

Another attempt at Tulips.
Those are suppose to be stripes of pale blue
in the background.

Acorn Squash - not so bad!

As you can see, I had quite a pile.
I did manage to buy some radishes at the market and somehow I was
able to paint them in little bits of time; here and there.

Radishes in water color.

I am working on something fun for next month, that we have grown in our garden.

Life continues to fly by, but finding moments for drawing or painting, brings such joy to my life.  I know that next month, I will have Orchids to share - the real thing.  I know that I will have at least one painting completed in my series of three.  Hopefully, I will have more.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Celebrating Botanicals!

We received beautiful flower bulbs for the Holidays.
We had blooms from December through January and into February.
This Amaryllis had over six blooms on it.
It was absolutely stunning!!

The gift of flowers cannot be underestimated.  Through out the Holidays, we watched, as several Amaryllis bloomed at the same time.  We were touched, but also amazed, at how many blooms came from these plants.  The most spectacular was this beautiful white amaryllis.  The plant was propped up on all sides, as the large flowers overwhelmed their stocks.  It was joyful and breathtaking, and brought us into the New Year with a sense of hope.  

Blooms, Blooms....everywhere!!

Capturing the color within the color was a challenge.
(The pool was trying to compete....)

Wanting to capture the plants proved to be a challenge.  Several of my former teachers are on Instagram.  I love their work, so I asked one of them, "What colored pencils do you use in your work?"  Gratefully, she responded that she used several different pencils and left me with the following names:  "Pablo" Caran d'Ache;  Irojiten/Tombow; and Bruynzeel.  
I went to my favorite place to order art supplies - Dick Blick - and splurged on new colored pencils to start out the new year.

Oh my.....Such Fun!!

I had started this with my Prismacolors......

But, finished up with a combination of "new" and old colored pencils.
Now, that was fun!!

Switching over to watercolor, I have started my "radish" painting

I was grateful to have some time to work this past month.  I finished up the colored pencil Sunflower and bought a bunch of radish at the store.  They were calling to me....."Watercolor.....Watercolor...", so I listened.  It is good to switch from one medium to another.  I am certainly enjoying this one.

And....last, but not least...

Look what we found; just in time for Valentine's Day!  We are growing more coffee beans!  Sweet hubby is picking them and I will peel and let them dry, before we roast them for a Valentine's Day espresso.  


Until next time.....  


Sunday, January 13, 2019

2019 - Here We Come!

Life is sometimes a blur and the last two months have been just that.  Of course, most of it has been fun and filled with laughter. Family & friends.  Maybe, it is true.....time does fly when you are having fun....and when you are not...."  

Mid-December, we took a mighty hit....well, my car did.  SOME ONE WAS TEXTING  and hit my sweet hubby (who was at a stop light) at 40 m.p.h.!!  Not fun! Scary! Painful! Expensive!  but I am grateful.  My sweet hubby walked away from this.  He was badly bruised and shaken up, but okay.
That was my Christmas gift!

Sweet "Kiwi" was totaled!!

I was sadly saying goodbye to my car
when the tow truck operator reminded me:
"Be grateful....this car saved your husband's life"

As Oprah has said many times: " Sometimes we get a tap on the shoulder" to remind us that life is precious and we shouldn't take it for granted.  A broken car is much less important than a broken husband.  I get it!  I am grateful!  lesson learned.  (The other guy was okay too).

Our kids came after Christmas and spent time with us into the New Year!  What fun we had together!
We hit the beach daily; ate ice cream; worked on puzzles; and just relaxed together.  We even got hooked on a few television programs and filled our evenings with " The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"."

A 1,000 piece puzzle challenged us all.
...to be continued!

As a result of all this playtime with family, I did not make it into my studio to draw or paint.  I did play around with a quick colored pencil drawing, for the New Year.

It was done while I was binge watching .."Mrs. Maisel"

I do hope that we can have some peace of mind this year, but it is not looking good, at the moment.
I am going to hope for Peace and Plenty...and the Best of Health to everyone.

This is all that I managed to do....just starting on a bright
drawing of a sunflower.  Need to bring a bit of brightness
into our future, don't you think?

So, it's back to the drawing board.  The decorations have been put away.  The house is clean.  The "Season" has started down here in Florida.  (That means everything is busy - and there is theatre, house tours, Educational speakers forums, Winter friends filling the neighborhood, and guests arriving frequently.)  Between all the activities, I will carve out time for drawing and painting.  

Oh, I forgot one thing:  We have a new member of our family!  Meet "Blue"....he is doing his very best to help us recover from the loss of "Kiwi".  We think that he will fit right in, down here. 

Meet "Blue" - The very last of the VW bugs...they won't be making any more!

We are much more careful to check our rear view mirror when we are at a stop sign.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Endings and Beginnings

Hello friends 

it has been quite the year for me.  I have filled my life with family, adventures, enlightenment, and at times despair.  Yes, it is not a perfect world, where no one dies and no one suffers.   That thought was a challenge for me this year, as I lost dear friends, saw untold suffering, and started to see the aging of myself and others.

I have been so lucky to have a good life, a measure of good health, laughter and love of family, plus no disasters in our area.  But, others weren't so lucky, and it has been hard to know how to help friends who are struggling right now.

Mostly, I am grateful.  I have worked hard this year on my art, and it has brought me so much pleasure.  I have renewed friendships with High School friends.  I have supported dear friends through life's hardest journeys.  I have found a way to stay more healthy, through daily walks and Yoga.  I have a partner to walk with, and laugh with, and vent with, as needed.  He is healthy and near my side, every day.  I am grateful.

However....no art work this month!  Instead, I decorated for Thanksgiving...then, put that all away and decorated again.    We celebrate a bit of Hanukkah and a bit of Christmas in our house, as we share many faiths in our family.  So, I do up the house, and celebrate these special times with the kids, whenever we can find time to gather.

The 'outdoors' still feels like Summer, with plants and flowers blooming all around.  Our garden is happier when it is just a touch cooler.

our palms follow us all year long!

...as do the black bamboo.
This is my favorite planting - a place of zen.

The bright red of the hibiscus
is a lovely pop of color in the garden

Or neighbor's lemon tree is overloaded with fruit.
We are definitely sharing  in this abundance.

Our Honeybell oranges are getting ready for juice time.
We like to share carafes of OJ, with our neighbors.

They come back for seconds and thirds!!

we even have a few key limes left on our tree.
pie or drinks....
whichever is your favorite!!

We are experimenting with coffee beans.
If we are lucky, we may get ONE cup of coffee out of this first batch!
We planted these for our kids, who know a thing or two about coffee.
They will harvest and prepare the beans
and share the results.
(we do have demitasse cups, just in case there is only a sip for each of us)

The Pool is surrounded by succulents and bougainvillea.

We purchase Poinsettias each year to place by the front door.
Some neighbors can get them to grow in the soil and come back each year.
We don't seem to have that kind of green thumb.

I thought that you might like to see the inside of our house, which I rarely share.  I do love to celebrate this season, with cards and letters, decorations, friends, and family.  What ever it is, the festive approach to the darkest and shortest days of the year, is a most enjoyable thing.  We also add lots of twinkle lights around the house, so that we can sparkle through the season.

This year we received this beautiful Amaryllis for Thanksgiving.
It was ready to bloom, and we have had EIGHT flowers from it.

We are in the midst of Hanukkah.
We have many menorahs, gathered over the years.
They are tucked behind and around the main menorah,
which is lit every evening for 8 days.

I keep lots of candles nearby.
dreidels are also ready for play.

We like to decorate the rest of the house in a secular fashion.  Growing up with the celebration of Christmas, has never left me, so I still like to enjoy it just a bit. 

Soldiers watch over the sweet treats that are around this time of year!

We have our own elves on our shelves.

An old favorite made by a forever friend
This is one of my treasures

The table is ready for a celebration!

This tyrollean cottage came from my childhood, when our family
received it as a gift from friends in Switzerland.
I have found the trolls and Mr. & Mrs Santa over the years.
The plate is from a visit to Pennsylvania, many years ago.

home made, gifts and memories remind me of
our long ago lives in Germany.
Each one is a treasure.

Of course, Monsieur Le Pig is ever present to delight us.
He is dressed up and ready to help me cook for the holidays.

    Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

It all sort of flows together 

So, there you have it....our holidays from head to toe....inside and outside.  It allows me to be creative in a different way, and take a small break from painting and drawing.  As 2018 ends and we enter into the New Year of 2019,  I hope for Peace and Kindness in our world and good health for all.

I will be back next month with some art work 

 Please take time out for:

Peace - Harmony - Laughter -  love.