Monday, June 29, 2009

What I am up to today....

Working away in the studio

Yes, another "Thistle".....just love this plant!

So, this weekend, we had planned a hike, but after a long week, we decided to take a walk instead on a local trail. Of course, there was 'thistle' all over.... much had been sprayed and was dying, but there was a little bit of it to be found. You will no doubt laugh, but I had taken my leather gloves and gardening shears with me "just in case....." and they were put to good use.

Back in the studio, I took photos, and then got to work on my drawing. This is a time when I just dug in and started drawing.... no preliminaries. So, I have one thistle down and two to go, in my drawing. I will keep you posted.

I am still working on a watercolor (yellow iris) and colored pencil (Japanese Iris). I have also talked to my son, about helping me set up a PayPal account, so that you can buy my work directly from this blog. He comes in August, and I hope to have some stuff done by then and prices that will be affordable (most likely, I will not frame them.... then you can decide how much you wish to invest in that part of the process).

Let me know what you think???

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hiking the Colorado Trails much 'new growth' due to the rains this Spring.

pine cones popping out everywere

Wild rose on the side of the trail....

Water flowing along the trail.... wonderful sound as you walk!

Beautiful falls - actually a small dam controls the water source for our city

It was a week of extremes..... losing a dear friend....funerals..... a huge loss to all of us. Then, gathering as friends, sharing, laughing, remembering....knowing that we will all continue the journey together.... never forgetting... but moving to a 'new normal'.

At the end of this week, comes a birthday celebration for me.... a quiet one, for sure, but nonetheless, getting out for a hike on the Colorado trails is a celebration of the greatest magnitude. I pinch myself each year, knowing that this magnificence is so close at hand, and it it how I like to celebrate my birthday. It's my gift to myself..... and having my 'sweet hubby' along with me, is just a perfect party.

Friends & family called, along with the kids (my other most favorite treat is hearing from them).... and we laughed and shared our thoughts. There were cards too.... from all over. I savor them.... read and re-read them - they mean so much.

So, life moves on..... another year to count.....

There will be great joys awaiting me.... and great losses.... and lots of stuff in between the highs and lows. I am grateful for it all....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner?

What to my wondering eyes should appear???

Why, it's a small, hungry, happy deer!!!

We were working outside in the yard on Saturday.... and what should ramble by??? Why, of course, a deer. However, we have only had deer in our yard one other time.... in the middle of winter, during the worst of the drought years.

This year, there is much to eat in the foothills, so for a deer to wander this far down and then meander up along the ditch to our back yard, is quite a surprise. He wasn't the least bit surprised to see us.... nor intimidated with Sweet Hubby running around the yard, taking photos of him. He just kept eating (in the neighbors yard - better treats there, I guess).

I do love where we live, as we do manage to have a surprise visitor from time to time. It's just nice to know that they feel welcome, and there is a bit of a treat to eat.... just for them.

By the way, the little robins have 'flown the coop"..... they were itching to fly, so I hope that they flew out of the nest and away to the trees around us. They were awfully 'itty, bitty' to be flying, but I think the natural world grows up a lot faster than we humans.

It's also officially in to my second year of blogging. I started last Father's Day, and so today marks the first of the next year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

local Garden Tour....

Clematis in a lovely shade of violet

The palest of Japanese Iris - just so delicate!

How cool is this in your yard!
It is over a table that was beautifully set.
... so romantic!

A bit of lightness today - a local Garden Tour was just the ticket! I find that the discovery of a new plant or maybe an old favorite in a new setting, is just what I need to appreciate my own garden. I want to find a way to hang a Chandelier over my table, on our porch. This Gardener used a pulley system to attach the chandelier and then tied it to a hook that was placed on the tree. It was brilliant!!

I need to finish painting my Adirondack chair (sure hope that I spelled that one correctly), and set it outside. I want to add some ambiance to the yard - it certainly needs it. One of these days, I will take you on a tour of my garden..... We shall celebrate with our own garden tour.

I will most likely not blog this weekend - too much going on..... so I want to wish all of the Fathers out there a very Happy Fathers Day. My dear Dad is 94 years young, and will no doubt, be headed for his lake place to feed the birds, sail in his boat, or maybe just relax in a chair for a bit. I will definitely be thinking of him on Sunday (and every day).

HAPPY FATHERS DAY with love and hugs.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

As promised....Columbine & Magnolia

colored pencil work up, enhanced by Picnik

I thought you might enjoy seeing the work up drawing for the watercolor painting that I gave to my Son & Wife, upon their marriage. I love Magnolias as well as Columbines, so even though it seems like an odd coupling, I liked the way it turned out. They are not an odd couple, at all, but they come from very different areas of the country - it's refreshing!

We never know what draws us to each other, or what takes us away .....sometimes life is more of a mystery than I can figure out. I am just grateful that it is still possible for unique matches and life long love.

You probably wonder what I am rambling on about..... but losing a dear friend, whose marriage was magical and one for the books, makes one think about how those matches come together. They had a beautiful - truly beautiful - marriage that lasted more than 42 years (if my guess is right) and was still going strong. Her grief will be immeasurable, but I am so grateful that she has known this kind of love.

So, Columbine & Magnolia - I wish the same for you..... many years of joy and celebration, before you ever part.

Today, love the one you are with.... and if you are not 'with' anyone today, give a hug to someone near and dear.... pass the love along.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Magnolia at the Denver Botanic Gardens

What a beauty!

The Denver Botanic Gardens are undergoing a lot of change right now. They are building a new parking structure, changing a gift shop to a 'Bistro", and adding a new visitors center..... along with changes within the gardens.

However.... true to the quality of this beautiful place, the Gardener's are working overtime to improve and enhance the gardens. This Magnolia tree was transplanted to the center of the entrance. It is rare to see a Magnolia tree in this area, so I went crazy with photos when I saw it. I just wanted to share them with you.

I love the Magnolia, because it reminds me of my Daughter-in-law, a Southerner, who loves Magnolias and nature, in general. I did a watercolor of a Magnolia & a Colorado Columbine, for their wedding gift - crazy juxtaposition of flowers - but it fits them perfectly (and it's what they asked for). I will try to dig out my working sketch and share that with you tomorrow.

So "Cheers" to the magnificent Magnolia - a beauty, where ever it is seen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Look what I found in my garden!!

There is a magic forest of mushrooms just for the elves

We were working in the garden this weekend, when we found this forest of mushrooms tucked in the ground cover. Of course, if you look closely you will see the munchkins out for a walk...or could they be elves?

What a delight to find our own magical forest of mushrooms - they really do look like they have been there forever. I hope that elves and magic fairies have found these beautiful domes to keep the rain off.

After a week of really radical weather - the sun is out today and it is quite warm and beautiful. Everyone is still dressed for cold and rainy weather.... sort of overdressed for summer. It will be nice if this weather stays for a bit and we can experience some Summer days.

Today is not an easy day for me..... we lost a dear, sweet friend, that left this earth too soon. Life really is magical and short, so I hope that you make today count (tomorrow too!).

Monday, June 15, 2009

Good News from the Robins Nest!

We couldn't quite figure out what was happening last week. Sometimes the Momma and Papa were around with Momma sitting on the nest... and then they were gone. I wasn't sure just what had happened. But, yesterday, there they all were: Papa on the roof, Momma squishing the kids in the nest, and the babies trying to peek out! So, we are thrilled that they are all doing well. I will look forward to 'flying lessons' and a new Robin family in the neighborhood.

If you are trying to figure out what the two blue things are..... they are little 'blue bees' that are guiding your eyes to the babies. It is a small nest, so everyone is pretty tight in there and hard to see. If you double click on the photo, you will be able to see them more clearly.

That's the best news that I can share today.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Updated artwork

I tried something new....

I did a quick study of a tulip which I shared  a while back.  It just seemed flat, so I played around with it,   these things come to me at 2 a.m...... so it might be that my mind works best or worst at these early morning moments.  Needless to say, the pencil drawing developed and then I added the notebook effect.  It started taking on a life of it's own.  So, this is the result.  I plan to do the same with some of my other stuff.  It sort of lightens the mood.

I just ordered a bunch of framing equipment, so that I can eventually 'save' money on the framing.  I am excitedly waiting for FedEx, so that I can work on framing this one.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Second Camera hitting the skids....

We took this photos of a Clematis at the garden show on Saturday.....

My back up camera is a bit fritzy this week..... as I realized when I downloaded these photos from the garden show.  Actually, the lens was not closing completely, which allowed in a bit too much light.  I actually like this mistake - creates a hazy, soft photo, which I share with you.

I took a colored pencil drawing of a tulip, done about three weeks ago, and I am changing it up.  It's a wild hare choice, but I will share it with you tomorrow.  It has a ways to go, but it is definitely out of the rigid confines of botanical art.  

Another cold front moving through, but a promise of 80's by the weekend.  Cross your fingers!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Japanese Iris

A very old painting, which I plan to rework

Gosh,  all I can say is that the weather here has been most unusual this Spring.  I am NOT calling it Summer, because, it has not gotten out of the 70's for a month.  Seriously, this is Colorado, land of sunshine, blue skies, and fluffy ("Georgia O'Keeffe") clouds.   It is not usually slate gray for weeks on end, with bursts of wind, rain, and fog.   It has been a long stretch of this.... with some sun sneaking around a cloud on occasion.... not enough occasions for me.

Okay, I am just a bit crabby about the weather.  I love summer...the warmth, the sunshine, (yes, I am repeating myself!!)...and being outside.  I am not used to wearing all weather gear - just in case.  Okay, sorry about that... just got away from me...all those crabby words.

I am deciding that I want to repaint the Japanese Iris, above.  I plan to use the basic structure, but move things about and see where it takes me.  I have been doing that on several pieces, with varying results.  Since the Iris are out right now, it's a good time to re-evaluate and re-draw.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nesting instincts....

Robin hanging out above the nest

Nest ready and waiting......

Last year we had a Robin family nesting in the ivy.  Sadly, the eggs were stolen and no babies came.  However, another (or the same??) Robin came back again this year.... rebuilt the nest, and is, at present, sitting on her eggs.  I will try to get some photos of her, but with the weather (we have been having wind, rain, tornado warnings) and working in the yard, we have made her skittish enough... don't want to add telephoto lens clicking to the list of agitations.  

I will let you know what happens.   

If any of you have followed the blog for awhile, you know that we had a red tailed Hawk family nesting on the golf course last summer.  We have not seen them this Spring, and thought that they might have moved on.   However, recently we have heard their 'voices' flying over, and yesterday, my husband saw a Hawk, flying low, while all of the birds scattered far and wide in his path.  So, they are near, and I will keep looking for them.  

My camera is at the shop, being cleaned and cared for.  It was acting a bit funny, so it needed a bit of TLC.   I am sharing some photos from my 'point & shoot' for the week.  Hope you don't mind.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A plant that only a Mother could love...

Baby Yucca plant almost looks like asparagus!

As a Mother, I think this stage of the plant is quite beautiful

My favorite..... the "oldy" but goody pod!

The Yucca plant is a metaphor for least for me.   The youthful look is okay.... but as it ages, the beauty is in the blooms, and most especially in the pod, desiccated, but stunning!   Seriously, as an artist, I will have the most fun creating with the pod.  Still, this will be quite a complicated plant to draw, and it will most likely take me a while to pull this one off.  I want to challenge myself this year.

I am done with taking class for a while.  Mostly, since I have taken so many of them already, and also because I am ready to just work for a bit.... use my knowledge, before I have to get a nudge from an instructor to shape up sloppy art.  

So, today celebrates the 'aging beauty".... and the freedom to work on your own, to create without direction and see where it takes you.  Whether it is your garden, your house, your art, or any other creative endeavor,  enjoy those things that have been around for a bit...the aging beauty....celebrate it.... and find a new and creative way to put it into your world.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

peony bud - unfinished!!!!

Just starting a peony.....

Crazy - Crazy week!   Some weeks are just not calm, nor quiet, nor organized.  Some weeks are just downright chaotic!    However, I am smiling through it and there are some lighter moments within the chaos.   

Here is a peony that I started..... which is growing in my back yard for the first time since we planted it three years ago.  I am so excited to see the bloom, but couldn't wait.  The buds have been tight for a week, so I started this study and will continue to do studies of it as it blooms.  I used a cold press paper (normally use hot press), so it is absorbing more water... and more paint... we shall see.  

Today, I took a walk with friends on the most beautiful path....(road, actually).  One of my friends lives in the foothills of Colorado, and invited us to walk around her 'subdivision' which is filled with beautiful homes around a lake.   The beauty of it is that there are pine trees, grasses, wild flowers and a sense of being 'away from it all' while ten minutes from the city.  It was just breathtaking.  Since it was a misty, moisty day, everything took on jewel tones.  

Of course, I found lots of Yucca plants, at every stage of bloom.  I was so excited... (yes, my friends know that I get a bit crazy around plants).   I did NOT have my camera...Darn!!   So, this afternoon, I drove back and took photos (yes, my friends understand when I do this - Crazeeee!).  I am excited to do a study of the yucca - can't wait.  I will download the photos and share them with you tomorrow.

I also plan to take the camera in for a well deserved cleaning, which will take several days, so I may be without photos for a bit.  I will just see what I can find in the archives to share with you.  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Framing class - tra La!

Here is the one I framed myself..... so easy!

It's all in the tools.  That is what I have heard over and over.  If you have the right tools, any project is much easier.  So, I had all of these neat tools to play with and the job was easy!  

I have to purchase a few things..... but when I do, I plan to do more of this work by myself.  The teachers recommendations were:

* Have some one else cut your mat - Museum quality - it looks better!
(unless you have a $600 mat cutter)  

* Find inexpensive frames at garage sales, auctions, art stores 
and change up the color with shoe polish or spray on paint.

*  Choose soft colored mats - let the art work be the center of attention.

*  Have fun with the Framing process - it doesn't have to be intimidating.

There was a lot more information given to us, but I thought these basic tips were pretty good.
If you have any great tips on framing.... pass them along to me, and I will share.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

A completed Tulip

colored pencil of tulip is complete (for now)

It's been a long day, but I am glad that all is done and all is well.   A very early morning, running to Denver for Dear Hubby's day surgery.  All's well, but I am mighty tired and so is he.  

I have much to share about my framing class - loved it!!  and much to share when I complete more work, as much is in progress.  

However, lest I get bored for one nano second, Sweet Hubby has treated me to air conditioning in my studio.  Tomorrow, I will have a duct added to my studio (usually cooled by an open window and a fan), and cool air will keep me comfortable all summer.  How wonderful that will be!   Tomorrow is expected to be 20 degrees below normal, so it is a good day for "Air Conditioner Guy" to climb up in the attic and do this.  I would consider it cruel and unusual punishment to send anyone up there on a warm day.  Hopefully, he will be able to get it all done before the weather warms on Wednesday.

I will share photos of completed framing ....front and back, from my class on Saturday.  I am thrilled to have learned a few tricks of the trade... so that I can lower my costs and yet have a nicely framed (museum quality) piece.  Onward and forward.......