Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Filling my heart

Nothing fills my heart, in the garden, quite like our Bleeding Heart. Each year, it expands into the garden just a little bit more. I have been holding my breath this year, hoping the frost....snow.... sleet.... or hail, would not damage these tender blooms. It is holding it's own, for now, so I took a photo (just in case). These plants seem to stay around into the summer and the foliage often stays around until I cut it back in late August. It is an amazing plant, and a beautiful one.
Bleeding Hearts

I also wanted to share the Rose of Sharon that I have been drawing in colored pencil. It's been laying around my work studio for a very long time and I decided to finish it up last week. Whites are so tricky to capture....so when ever I do a drawing or painting, it is more of an exercise for me.

As for the flower, it sits outside the place we stay in Maui..... and it was one of the flowers that my Daughter- in- Law used as a bouquet, when she & my son, eloped in Maui, three years ago. It is a favorite of mine and holds beautiful memories.

Rose of Sharon
(I believe, a specific hibiscus)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hibiscus in love.....

Several weeks ago, we went to a wedding in Washington, D.C. The couple were young, and so very much in love. They love everything that has to do with the ocean. They have bought a house and are decorating it with all things "tropical".

So, how could I resist? I just had to paint them a hibiscus, which is her favorite flower. Today, it will be sent off to my friend (the Mother of the Groom), and she will mat and frame this small piece. Hopefully, it will be a reminder of their honeymoon - a tropical cruise.

A touch of the tropical in a Hibiscus

With the wild weather weekend (we had moments of sunshine.... but everything else, in between), I certainly enjoyed thinking of warmer climates and tropical flowers.

Some how, the tulips and bleeding hearts have made it through the cold, wet, & windy weekend. I would have hated to lose them to a freeze. It could still happen.... more bad weather is expected today. Spring is rugged this year.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I can't do it justice.....

My orchid is just so beautiful (the live plant).... but I can't seem to do it justice with the colored pencils. I am sorely tempted to re-do this one in watercolor. I take a break every now and again, and switch up materials. I have been working in the colored pencils for several months.... but yesterday, I pulled out the watercolors and did a quick hibiscus for some "Newlyweds". I shall post that one on Monday (still have to photograph it). I also worked on a 'Rose of Sharon" in colored pencil.... which I had planned to show you today. However, I forgot to rotate it, before uploading it, so I will have to post that one on Monday, as well.

Just a note...... I have gotten several comments from people who have just found this blog while strolling through blog land. I am so happy when you stop... look and enjoy. Many of you are avid gardeners and others are Artists.... but all enjoy and appreciate my sharing. Thanks for taking time out of your day to say 'hi' or just stop by. It does my heart good to know that we are all celebrating Nature together.

It's snowing here (seriously !!) today... when it's not raining...and it looks like we will have a weekend of the 'gray stuff'. I am holding on to the the thought that this will be good for our soil and will make the plants happy.....as long as the snow is fleeting and doesn't decide to stay and pile up on my garden. Keep your fingers crossed for good moisture and no freezing temperatures. See you Monday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

EARTH DAY - cherish it!

No matter where you live..... nor the season you are in, Celebrate the Earth today. Be gentle with it, whether it is a prickly cactus or a rare orchid....take care of it. The Earth provides all that we need in life. I am going to honor it today (even the very dark gray skies that bring the promise of rain.....yes, even that, I will honor....just for today!)

I will honor the prickly cactus today!

I will honor the spicy peppers today!

...And the Iris, yet to come into my garden this year...

I celebrate the exotic flowers of tropical zones

And the dogwood blooms of our neighbors to the South (and East!)

May you all have a chance to look out your window....
take a walk..... just spend some time outside today
and be grateful to our Mother Earth.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Garden Fresh

We are averaging one really sunny day a week, this month.....with a lightly cloudy day sprinkled in between the gray days. I almost wish it would just rain and at least give us some moisture, rather than be cold and gray.

However, I managed to grab the camera on Monday and go into the garden for some photos. We are brimming with tulips right now. Last year we just decided to go with the 'bargain bag' of tulips at one of the local stores.... and WOWIE...KAZOWIE.... they are looking great! This may start a trend around here..... cheap and plentiful v.s. the specially chosen hybrid bulb. Hmmm.... something to seriously think about.

We also have some plants that popped up in very odd places. It's fun to see where they plant themselves over the winter months. ....

Happy Tulips abound in the garden

These are not the fancy kind,
but they sure are plentiful,
and I think, very beautiful!!

Violets managed to tuck themselves
into a tree trunk (in the ditch).
As soon as the water comes in May
they may get covered.

My precious Bleeding Hearts!
They come back every year
stronger than ever.
They are a favorite of mine.

This Grape Hyacinth ended up on my small patio
Not even close to the rest of it's family.
I love it's tenacity!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blooming inside this Spring

We enjoyed a lovely Sunday in Colorado, so most everyone was out in their gardens, as we walked the neighborhood. We also worked in the garden......cleaning and raking. It's always interesting to see how the garden survives a winter. We found out where we need to 'fill in' with some new perennials; What has moved a bit, what has died out, and what pops up. We have loads of tulips in the back (I hope to take photos today of some of the flowers), and for the most part, the garden is looking good.

However, inside, my orchid is blooming. It has survived on benign neglect for the past few years, and is overdue for re-potting. Yet, it manages to give it's 'all' for another year. I am currently working on a colored pencil of it. I am not crazy about the drawing... so I may translate it to water color. I think the watercolor would create a more delicate painting.

So, I am sharing the plant with you today... and hopefully, the drawing by the end of the week.

My lovely Orchid

It survives despite my neglect

I will also go out into the garden and take some photos.... to share our Spring with you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Working away in the studio....

It always takes a bit longer to get caught up, when we leave home for a bit. So, it took me a while to get some work done this week. I have been squeezing every spare minute I can into working on this 'Brownie Orchid". It still needs touching up (I always see things when I photograph my work... blow it up... and put it onto the screen. Things just pop out at you). But, I like the way this one is heading and I have been using all the tools from my recent workshop to improve my work.

colored Pencil version of rare Rocky Mountain Orchid

The garden is breaking out into song, so soon there will be lots of things to draw. Also, one of my Orchids is blooming, so I would love to do a drawing of it, before it dies off. Every year, I have waited too long and wasted my opportunities to draw it. This year, I am going to get busy......starting tomorrow.

Well, I suppose I should say something about taxes.... but honestly, I am just glad that they are payed for another year. Doesn't it seem like April 15 comes too quickly each and every year. It's not my favorite "holiday". As my sister would say, "nuff said".

I hope that your weekend is a good one. We are hoping to get into the garden and work, work, work! It is suppose to rain, but we will do our best between the sprinkles. I am so glad that Spring is here....and that things are starting to bloom. We don't capture Spring as well as other states, but I love each and every plant that is having it's say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guess where I went?

We scooted off this past weekend, to a big city on the East coast. We have friends that we met as newlyweds...and now the children are marrying....so Celebrations are in order. We had a quick weekend, but a very fun time...exploring; chasing the Cherry blossoms (now, there's a hint!); and enjoying a celebration of love and commitment. What a treat!

The weather was perfect....warm and lovely. The trees were in bloom, and the city was bustling.

Can you guess?? Here are some hints....

This was in the Botanic Garden...
where an Orchid show was in progress.
Many sites are free....and extraordinary!

The Cherry blossoms were gone,
but the Crab Apple blooms were in their glory.
These were in the Tidal Basin (a big hint!)

Well, you guessed it!!
We took this photo from the steps
of the Library of Congress.
Washington, D.C. is an amazing city.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Crocus

I started working on this before I took my workshop..... so you will be able to see the difference in the after. Some of it is a natural progression of putting on more layers of colored pencil, but I noticed that when I darkened an area first (using a prismacolor pencil- med. french gray), the browns of the french gray sort of deadened the subsequent flowers. Well, it's in the details, and the learning experience.... but I must learn to experiment before I put down the colors... so that I know what I am getting as a finished piece.

It's still not quite done, but I did want to share it with you. Now the Daffy - dilly's are up and though they have been blown around all weekend with the blustery 'march' winds (didn't anyone send the memo that it's April??), they are hanging in there. Maybe I will get to them next.

An early start to the crocus

I am putting two of these on the blog today.
just cropping in different places.

A bit more of the entire piece showing.
The last crocus on the left awaits completion.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


The objective of this mini-project, was to create an interesting and more contemporary composition. Actually, Ann divided the compositions into three categories: Traditional, Contemporary, and "Out of the Box". Somehow, I could not get to "out of the box", so settled on a more contemporary grouping of dissimilar objects. I had a lot of fun doing it....learning new skills along the way. I hope you enjoy it too.

An "Ann Swan Directed" composition

I also meant to wish everyone a very "Happy Passover" and a very "Happy Easter". Many friends are on vacation this week, spending time with family. I hope that you are able to have time with friends or family this weekend, as well. If not, I hope you find enjoyment in the blossoming of Spring.