Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Merry Month of May!

Hello Friends

April was filled with travel and health, which pretty much consumed the month.  We had a wonderful, though very short, trip to Colorado.  We hadn't planned to go there in April, as that is not the best month for our favorite state.  We had snow, rain, sun, wind and dust within four days!  That's April in Colorado.   We were able to squeeze in time with many friends, along with physical check ups, and a gathering of friends from long ago, celebrating a reunion of sorts.

As we arrived, we were met with snow.  I do not have that many clothes that add warmth on cold days, but I wore several layers and off we went.  

It's April - It's snowing!
We didn't see a lot of sunshine on this trip, but trust me,
Colorado can have beautiful, sunny days at the drop of a hat.

See, the sun popped out for an hour or two, as we walked the Boulder Mall.
The Buffalo holds a lot of meaning for us.
We both graduated from the University of Colorado
where "Ralphie" continues to be the mascot.
Colorado is also known for it's wild west and it's great Buffalo, who still roam the foothills.

The Boulder Mall is filled with
walkers, musicians, kids, families
and fun shopping.
My Favorites are:  The Peppercorn; Boulder Book Store;
Two Hands Paperie,
and The Spruce Street Confection.
Oh my, so much fun.

As brief as it was, we had to leave Colorado, and head home to warmer days and the Beach.  The first thing that we did upon our return, was take a beach walk.  We found a parking place with ease, now that the crowds are thinning.  

The mountains are wonderful, but the water draws me every time.

Even the seabirds were celebrating the beautiful day, by flying in perfect formation.
They flew back and forth for most of our walk, keeping us mesmorized.

Our Orchids just keep getting better.  I know that you might grow weary of endless photos of them, but I just can't resist.  We also had a lovely surprise - a cactus bloomed for a day or two and left us thrilled.  I was able to get some photos of it, before we lost the bloom.  Enjoy!

Can you believe all of these blooms??
These are happy Orchids!

More blooms to come.

Upon returning home, I had surgery.  It was a necessary surgery that should seem minute, but in fact, sort of knocked me out for a week.  I was unable to eat more than soft foods, for two weeks, and healing rest replaced exercise.  This, of course, allowed me to draw and paint!  I love that!  It felt like i made lemonade from lemons, for sure.  So here is what I did:

I played around with this photo.
It's nice to see the values of a painting
and options in my photoshop allow for this.
Much fun and very helpful.

A "Johnny Jump Up" for spring!

Oops!  forgot to show you the blooming Cactus.
This was a first for us.
Quite delightful!

Not sure why I did this one.
I saw the cherries in a magazine and just started to play!
Mixed media: water color and colored pencil. 

More sketching from a book:
Sarah Simblet's "botany for the artist"
(yes, lower case letters in title)

My watercolor group gathers once a week.
This painting is a Hellebore  - from a photo given to me by PN, who paints in oil.
I enjoyed recreating the image in watercolor.

Last but not least, I found a couple of pieces of art that needed a bit of work.  One, I believe is hopeless, but I tried.  Sometimes, you just get a lemon.  

What can I say....I tried!
Cactus in colored pencil
(I tried this in watercolor, and it was worse)
Oh Well.....

The other is a memory of my Colorado lilacs.
It has always proved to be an illusive quest, when growing lilacs in Colorado.  Either, it is too dry and the blooms are sparse, or we get walloped by a snowstorm and they are lost in a moment.  So, this painting shows the tenacity of the Colorado lilac, which have always been one of my very favorites!

Lilac in Watercolor

And..... that's it for this month.  I was filled with a lot of great and a little 'not so great', but I sure did enjoy making lemonade!  

(that includes all the caretakers of children.
 your love supports the "Mom's" of children
every day, in so many ways."

Enjoy these lovely days of spring.  Soon the heat of summer will fill your days.  Until then,


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 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.....