Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another wild orchid

FYI: just in case you were wondering.... the fire in RMNP is 10% contained this morning with 900 acres involved in the fire. It takes so little to start a fire.... but it takes a lot to put it out.
That's sort of true with life, isn't it?

So, back to business, right?? I have started another wild Orchid. It's called the Coralroot Orchid (or Spotted Coralroot). It's Latin name is: Corallorhiza maculata...... I do believe (but I have gotten that wrong before!

It popped up on the trail and my Client was quite excited for me to draw/paint this one. Due to the intricacy of it, I am working it out in colored pencil first. My sister gave me the most wonderful gift for my birthday.... which was a Dick Blick gift certificate..... I am going to order some NEW pencils .....probably the Polychromos. Oh, Joy.... I just love Dick Blick!! Thank you dear Sister :)

So here is my 'cartoon' on the right and
the beginning of my drawing.

Coming into the drawing.... a bit closer
and you can start to see some of the

I can manage about one flower a day.
I am working from about a dozen photos
that my client gave to me.
Slowly, but surely...... more to follow....

Monday, June 28, 2010

What I didn't know then....

When we were hiking on Friday, I was amazed at the clarity of the sky when we started. As often happens, clouds seemed to fill the sky as the day progressed. After our hike, we stopped by the Visitors Center (have to check out the latest flower guides, you know).

As we got out of the car, I looked over at the strangest clouds forming quickly to the North. They were interesting enough to take photos of...... but what I didn't know then...... was that there were fires starting in a nearby canyon and if you look closely, you will see the strange light coming from beneath the clouds. There are also wisps of smoke (which to my untrained eye.... looked like some sort of wind fluff) coming up from underneath the foothills.

The fires are under control, thanks to Hot Shots that were training nearby. With lightening strikes and careless humans, our mountains are at risk in the Summer. If you have the privilege to come up to the Rocky Mountains (or any outdoor space in your area), Please be very careful of the forests... and put out your fires....dampen them completely...spread the ashes and only have fires in designated areas and with the permission of the area that you are in.

We have many trees that are dead from Pine Beetle.... which makes our forest a tinderbox for fires. Next time, I will pay more attention to the changing sky and clouds..... and I will definitely be very careful to protect these precious forests and mountains when ever I am in or around them.

Take extra care today.... for those around you and the Natural world as well.

Can you see the changing colors of the clouds?
This is an indication of a fire
It often fractures the light and creates a warm cast to the clouds.

Wisps of smoke were starting to pop up into the clouds.
I should have been more aware of these 'hints' of fire nearby.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Day of Celebration....

Today was a perfect day for hiking...... well, at almost 90 degrees, it was a bit warm, but as you can see, there were very few clouds in the Colorado skies! It was a day of celebration.... as I purchased my 'Lifetime Pass" to the National Parks. I feel so lucky that we have these beautiful mountains so close to us. I am a grateful lady.

It was almost a cloudless day
in Rocky Mountain National Park!

We think that this is "Golden Banner"
of the Sweet Pea family
(correct me if I am wrong)

Wild roses were everywhere!

Heading out of the Park
Snow still caps the mountains.

Here I am....getting my "Lifetime Pass"
It was a day of Celebration!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blue Allium???

We spent the weekend going to Flower Shows in the area..... and discovered that our garden is a pretty good source of ideas, as well as all of these gardens. We ended up not taking too many photos.

However, one of the participants in the Denver show, came up with a wild hair, but quite fun. idea. He sprayed the heads of his Allium "BLUE". It stopped me in my tracks and delighted me. He happened to be standing nearby and got quite a chuckle out of my reaction. He had a truly amazing garden, which was his workplace (a Spa / hair salon). So, I am planning to take my dried Allium, cut them, and spray paint them bronze and copper (since they are quite dry now).... and then set them back in the garden. I think it will be beautiful and fun. I will take a photo, I promise.

"Blue" Allium, in all it's glory
(I mentioned that he should try red, white and blue
for the 4th of July.... think that is why he was laughing!)

Pansies in colored pencil

I have been working on several projects..... lots of sketching going on, but nothing exciting to show, just yet. I started this quite a while ago....and played with it yesterday afternoon. I do need to take time out from the serious sketching to play, and this is what I got.

Doodling is good.... for everyone. Try some doodling today.... see where it takes you. I guarantee, it will make you smile.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Finishing the garden tour....

Our garden tour continues with more photos.........

This weekend, the Garden Tours are on the docket, both locally, and in nearby Denver. It will be fun to see them all and get energized to come home and weed. I have been on a 'clean up' kick lately, so it's no surprise that after the rain, there is a lot to clean up.

If you have been following this blog for some time.... you will also remember that we have snowstorms in the summer at our house..... better known as the famous (or infamous) Cottonwood tree....that blasts our yard with it's glorious seed pods, resembling snow. This has started and it will continue until August....leaving a mess in it's wake. Every year, I wonder if we should cut down the tree.... but I don't think I have ever been truly serious about that. You just have to love all the good things about that tree.... and not this one (really annoying) thing that fills our yard every summer.

So, enjoy some photos.... before the snow hits hard......

Roses growing next to our Screened in porch.
They have the loveliest scent....oh, my....

Pots of pansies and Lavender
line the horseshoe garden

This Clematis has had a real struggle
in our back yard.
I thought I would give it the glory this year,
instead of the bursting Clematis in the front yard.

Campanula take over when the
white Peony gets tired
(you can see it in the back).

It's the 'in between' season for the
creek garden....but the Hydrangeas
have lots of buds.
(and you can see the grass littered
with the first of the snowstorm cotton).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garden after the rains......

I thought I would pop out of the studio for a bit and take some photos of the garden. There are tons of weeds (why do they manage to grow the fastest after a rain???), and things looked a wee bit 'beaten down', but there were still enough happy flowers to photograph.

So enjoy photos today.....and I will get back to work in the studio.
After several years,
this peony is starting to fill with blooms.

Ah.... "Love in the Mist" .... such a delicate beauty!

We had to replant Scabiosa this year
just because we love it
(also called Pincushion flower)

A favorite yellow rose, gifted to me when my
Mother died.... a lovely memory
every year.

We let the violas go wild.... just 'cause..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mixed Media Message

Well, I didn't fall off the turnip truck...... just realized it's been a stretch between blogs. It started raining here on Thursday afternoon, and it hasn't let up yet. Since that is definitely not Colorado weather, it sort of puts one in a bit of a gloom. Since it was going to rain anyway, I just chose to get to work on cleaning out the garage (with Sweet hubby) and getting inside work done. I figured that when the sun starts to shine, I am going to go outside!!!

Last week, I pulled out a painting from a class that I took last year. I had left it 'undone' and since I was in a 'finishing up" kind of mood, I started working on it. It is by no means finished, but thought you might enjoy some bright color today, and to know that I have been working.

Iris from our back yard
done in Watercolor

Switching subjects, I thought I would answer a question from a blogger friend, asking about my colored pencil choices. Truth be told, I am sort of a sucker for any new pencil that comes along. I love my art supplies, and if you find me in an Art store.... or ordering on line..... I am hopeless. I want everything! However, I do use two pencils specifically for my work.

I learned with the Sanford Prismacolor (USA) colored pencils, which have an amazing selections of colors (and more often, now..... Light fast). They are easy to find at Hobby shops and Art stores. They are soft and creamy and have a nice ability to blend. That said.... one can add too much of a good thing and end up with " muddy" ..... so layer, layer, layer.... with care.

Recently, I was introduced to a much harder pencil.... the Faber Castell (German) Polychromos. These are great for laying in a base and for fine edging. When used in combination with the Sanford Prismacolor pencils, the sky is the limit. I know that there are other wonderful pencils out there and I have invested in a few. Caran D'Ache is another name that comes to mind (hope I spelled it right). Pencils can be pricey so you want to choose your colors well, and be selective.
I like my pencils best with very sharp points, so I use an automatic pencil sharpener (which is no longer made....darn!!).

Sanford Prismacolors are at the top
Faber Castell Polychromos are on the bottom with the gold band

I separated the pencils, for a better look.

If you have any other questions, I would be happy to answer them... to the best of my knowledge.

Hey.... I see the sun..... I am heading outside right now!! Go enjoy your day too!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Botanical Iris

I have been working on this piece for over a year. When I get some time, I would work on the leaves, and at the moment, it is resting. I probably will continue to 'play' with it for a while. I find that having a piece that I can work on from time to time..... and then put away, is relaxing.
I have other projects that are closer to the front burner... but this one is just for fun...and sometimes you just need to "Create for the fun of it".

That is where my head is these days...... can't seem to get focused on much of anything.

You'll know when I am back..... I will be working with a new intensity.

Peace be with you this week..... and everyone in the Gulf of Mexico.... their lives and livelihoods and our dearest environment..... struggling to survive. (We need to get our priorities straight.... and now, I will get off my soapbox).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Blueberries for Breakfast....

I was playing around with the colored pencils again..... trying to capture the colors in the stages of a blueberry. I had fun with the colors of the berries. Sometimes, you just need a bit of play.

Les Blueberries

Spent Saturday, going to a garden tour and after seeing how these gardens look in perfection, we ran home and worked on our own imperfect yard. We found some plant bargains around town and put them in our garden, to see how they might do. ( I will keep you posted on that part of the plan).

We cleaned gutters, washed windows, and fixed up our patio for the summer. Exhausted, but pleased, we had our dinner on the porch, enjoying the birds, butterflies, and we even had a "fly by" from the Red Tailed Hawk. (As far as we can tell, the babies are still in the nest).

Life is good.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More of the Botanic Gardens....

I just couldn't resist, so I loaded a bunch more of the Botanic Garden photos onto today's blog. There are so many special places tucked into these gardens. They are not grand gardens, but very typical of a Mountain environment.... and they do an excellent job (if I can brag a bit), at showing this environment.

So, here we go:

A beautiful view, looking out into the gardens

I love this color combination.... reminds me of fuchsia

Oh my.... a Tree peony.....
It is just screaming, "Paint me, Paint me!!"

Loved this sculpture among the bamboo
It just felt totally Zen.

If you look closely you will see two Henry Moore sculptures
beside the waterfalls.
(When I look at the apartment buildings in the background,
I think of how lucky these people are, who can look out on this
beautiful garden setting......wouldn't that be fun???)

A p.s. to this post: When I have read other posts, I have read about people connecting and friendships resulting....
I received a comment from "Emily", only to find out that she grew up in the same neighborhood that I did in Minneapolis. I spent a lot of time exploring, as a kid ( which lets you know how long ago that was!!) and I was always on my bike and spending time with friends in her neighborhood.... It's these connections that keep my enthusiasm going..... so thanks to those who leave a thought or two...sharing your ideas and thoughts. I know that I have said it frequently, but I will continue to appreciate the connections made from this blog.

Also.... I had the greatest pleasure of hearing Sidney Poitier speak on Tuesday evening. His comment on life was simple... but oh, so hard. It was this: "Each day, be a better person than you were the day before". Doesn't that sound easy? Yet, it is so hard to do.

It means that each and every person needs to be conscious and aware of others..... in all things. Just imagine, if everyone on the planet was on their best behavior... working toward kindness, caring, good health, and good habits in the universe. Wow...

It's certainly something to think about.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Henry Moore at the Denver Botanic Gardens

"Moore in the Gardens"

Twenty sculptures of Henry Moore will be at the Denver Botanic Gardens until January 31,2011. If you are planning to be in the neighborhood, then by all means, don't miss this amazing exhibit. Of course the gardens are in their glory right now, so that is a bonus.

A few Water lilies were blooming...
many wait to be placed in the larger pond

The Iris enhance the sculptures.
The sculptures enhance the Iris

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Poppies from the garden

My poppies are tucked away in a corner of the garden, where they thrive. They are such a delight every year, and the salmon color is a favorite for me. This year I picked them (before the high winds and hail took their toll) and brought them into the house to sketch and photo graph. I liked the photos enough to share today.

A small bouquet in a jam jar.

"Hello" from above.....

In all it's glory....stunning, I think....

This past weekend, Sweet hubby and I had the good fortune to head to the Denver Botanic Gardens (where we managed to spend four hours enjoying ourselves). They are having a wonderful exhibit of 20 Henry Moore sculptures among the gardens. It is absolutely spectacular and I took a ton of photos (well, not a ton... but a LOT!!) The sculptures were more than I expected, and the Gardens just happened to have an Iris show going on....which we couldn't resist. I will share photos through out the week, of the gardens in all their glory.

If you are planning a trip or are in the area, you really might want to plan a morning or afternoon at the gardens. (Check the link at the right, for lectures, and lots of other exciting things that are going on there ).

See you tomorrow......