Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day and I wanted to celebrate it with you by showing you a view from the garden. This is my favorite statue and a new climbing rose that is out of control at the moment but still beautiful in my eyes. I cropped it tightly to give you the full scale of the yard that includes all the luscious green layers and the bright sky. I hope you take the time to appreciate the little miracles of the day, I know I do.

I'm getting ready to embark on a new adventure, rediscovering my paints. I know I can still paint a straight and steady line, my nervousness comes with the ability to design and create something exciting. It's been a while since I haven't relied on photographs so bear with me and don't laugh out loud too much when I share some art with you. I would like to start once a week showing you my progressions and I hope it inspires you to get back on your horse again so to speak. We can ride out this journey together, right? I know I can count on all of you for your honesty so jump in and pledge to experience something again once a week. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, heck I would be happy with 30 minutes a week if it meant playing with the medium I loved at one time. I've always been one to jump in feet first, think about it later then experience it to the fullest - and now I'm ready to do it again. Wish me a creative muse, it is going to be a ride of a lifetime!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Summer Days

The summer weather is here today - hot and humid with a faint breeze about every hour. This iris reminds me of summer days by its coloration. Is that how you would describe it? The bright burst of sunshine on the top petals while the lower ones absorb the rays giving them a nice rich orange red hue. It just makes me warm looking at it. The structure of the iris is really seen here with all the inner petals, the fuzzy beards and the protective outer petals - what a beauty!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cinnamon and Spice

It was a beautiful day today and the evening was quite nice for doing a little yard work. While out on the mower, I couldn't help but notice this wonderful iris. Its color reminded me of cinnamon and exotic spices - I could almost smell the curry. Isn't it weird how the color can send me into spices, they are all connected I guess, our sensory perceptions. It is one of my favorites because it is just so unusual. What could I pair it with to be just as exotic if I were to paint it? How about adding some indian symbols, or lay it on a beaded fringe shawl. I would like to add a large stripe of some kind to counter all the round ruffled petals. On to the background, which do you prefer - the lighter on the left, the darker on the right? Let's see which takes the most votes shall we?

Friday, May 28, 2010


I spent a couple hours today on the riding mower. Now, I don't mind this except for those grueling hot, humid days and today wasn't one of them. It was nice, cool, with a gentle breeze and bright sunshine so I really enjoyed it. It gives me time to think with nothing else but green grass on my mind and the wind in my hair. Today's topic was what to do for the colored pencil of the month club. I have wanted to do a butterfly for a while now but just haven't found the right one. The iris and peonies are in bloom as well as the foxgloves, poppies, daisies and roses. Here's the Fantasy Foxgloves I did last August for the colored pencil club. I picked them because of the cool little fibers sticking out all over the place adding a bit of mystery to the whole piece. I kept the front flower in bright colors while placing the back bloom medium dark to fade away into the paper choice. It is one of my favorites so I hope I can come up with something just as intriguing this month. Wish me luck, creativity and please send caffeine :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Comfort and Ease

While away in Wichita, the iris and peony began blooming making our yard a colorful palette for any artist to enjoy. Peonies are my favorite bloom but iris have a special elegance to them that just can't be beat. We have about 12-15 different color varieties around the property and I like them all for different reasons. This one reminds me of a pair of blue jeans that is half worn out but fits you like a glove. I don't know why but when I look at them, that is where my mind goes. Creativity comes from within and my brain doesn't shut down to often so just roll with me on this one. The deep, rich top and pale lower petals just put my ideas into overdrive wondering which medium would do them justice. I'll have to ponder on that for a while...huummmm

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


This is a close up shot of Tuesday's cloud. Did you happen to see the extremely faint rainbow almost in the center of the lower cloud? We couldn't help but see it since the cloud formation was just huge. It seemed to be the brightest, most brilliant white we had ever seen. Of course, the rain and the grey clouds surrounding it helped that out I'm sure. You can see by the small items in the landscape just how massive this cloud was - it sure made an impression on me! The earths beauty is always a treasure and a spark of inspiration for me. I hope you take time to admire it for what it is - a gift to be enjoyed and marveled at!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Feeling Small

We were in Illinois when we saw this beautiful sight, talk about feeling small. Once again, the landscape was just awesome and I'm thankful to be sharing it with you all. So, what does this kind of photo mean to you? Do you have any feelings attached to it? I just feel small in relationship to all there is out there in the world, not just here on earth. It makes you wonder about the grander scheme of things - is it all figured out in advance or are we able to explore the journey as it unfolds. I sure hope it is the later so I can enjoy the adventure!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Here is the first rainbow we saw and it seemed to stretch for an eternity. The colors were nice and pale but the sentiment was still there. I have had a rainbow on all the important days of my life - graduations, wedding and as Cassie informed me, now traveling with her :)

The image of the rainbow is just so intriguing. The fact that it can only happen with rain and sunshine at the same time seems like an oxymoron to me. Its beauty just fills the sky and I often wonder if it makes all people stop in their tracks or just me. I know I always find myself looking up in amazement. I hope you take the time to admire it. Rainbows are something that just don't happen everyday and when they do, the elements have lined up just right. Take advantage of the rare opportunity and look upwards with a smile on your face!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Town with a View

While traveling to and from Wichita we (Cassie and I) found many interesting names of towns to share with you - Altoona, What Cheer (our favorite), Truro, Tonganoxie. The landscape outside the car window was just awesome due to the farmland, hills and brightness of the sky. We saw several rainbows, I'll be sharing those with you in the next couple of days. When you view something like this, you can't help but feel small. There is so much open land that you start to wonder why we put ourselves in major cities and suburbs right outside them - if only we didn't have to work to survive! I know I will be dreaming of a place where you can see the sky for miles and miles uninterrupted by electrical lines - aahhhh!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Drawing Class

I just got home from the Society of Decorative Painters Convention in Wichita Kansas and have to say that I had a great time. It was a smaller show but the students, staff and people were all wonderful to get to know. If you have never been, it will be there again in 2011 and I hope you can plan on making it. The class rooms had plenty of light, the students were willing to learn and the shopping was shopping, how much fun is that? I taught a creativity class, a drawing from real life class (this photo is a part of the set up) and was on the panel for the Business Strategies class. What I really liked was that the students weren't afraid to try something new and were willing to challenge themselves - YEAH! I had such a fabulous time in all the classes even if I was a little nervous in the business class but it all worked out just fine. Now, what to submit next year...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Crab Apple Quiche?

Yes, another nest but I just had to take the photo because of the wonderful touch of red added by the crab apples. I elongated the photo cropping to stretch out the tree giving the nest more importance and your concentrated attention. The catchy title, well hopefully it made you read this post and it was fun to think of. A little humor goes a long way sometimes!

The sun was finally shining today after several days of dreary weather so I can't wait to get into the yard tomorrow and get some things cleaned up. Of course my camera will come out when we are ready to take a break. It's a little adventure for the puppies and me to see what is coming up in the garden. The irises are starting so I'll be able to share our many varieties with you. I also noticed the poppies blooming in town so I'll have to walk to the neighbors because they have a whole section of them. The orange is just so striking this time of year and they always make me smile with their bright and cheery demeanor. I hope when you see the streak of orange, you will have a big smile on your face - enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Different Kind of Tree

This is another great piece from Nell Hill's and I knew you would like this one. Can you imagine setting a table and pulling this out to serve tea in? Fancy smancy is all I have to say! I wish there was a place setting as well because it would look great in my little green display area in my cabinets. If you collect teapots this would make a great addition to any collection just because it is so interesting. I loved the way it was displayed on top of a couple old books bringing together great layers of various finishes making it quite a statement. Is it giving you any decorating ideas? I sure hope so. I'm off to find some books for my glass study, maybe even a couple bird guides to complete the setting!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Glass Bird

I wanted to take flourish in a different way, more home decor. While visiting Kansas I stopped at Nell Hill's and took many photos, this is just one I plan on sharing with you all. The subject matter and great settings in this store just make my imagination go wild.

I couldn't resist this little glass bird on top of the jar lid - pure perfection to me. The reflections, lack of color and great interest were all inspirations I knew you would appreciate. Can you just imagine the jar filled with a real nest and a couple faux robin's eggs? Now I wish I would have bought the container! I would have never thought of layering the glass and silver objects the way they did but I really like the way they work together creating new and exciting shapes and shadows. What do you think? I'm off to find a way to use this technique in my house, now if only I had that tall glass jar hummmm...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Garden Embellishment

Some Thesaurus words for "flourish" - curl, display, embellishment, flaunt, furbelow, garnish, ornamentation, plume, quirk, twist, swish.

We have a lot of alliums throughout the gardens and they are such an embellishment that I wanted to share. They have a lot of design possibilities as well. I can see them as a border, on the side of a picture or repeated as a background pattern. They don't have to remain their beautiful violet color, you can make them any hue you like. They stand tall and when the bloom is fully blossomed, their round shape can't be missed. The seed pods are just as intriguing as I shared with you in the March 1st posting. So, what are you going to do with this great flower shape? I'll be waiting to hear your creative thoughts...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Word - Flourish

The word of the week is flourish.

Its noun meaning: a florid bit of speech or writing; an ornamental touch or decorative detail; fanfare, showiness in doing something.

Its verb meaning: thrive; prosper; to be in a state of activity or production; to reach a height of development or influence; to make bold and sweeping gestures; brandish.

I picked this word because it and style go hand in hand by my standards. While style is the distinctive character, flourish is the decorative touch. I chose this photo because although it is in our tiny rose garden, the small statue and giant allium bulbs give it an ornamental effect that is very pleasing to the eye. The alliums are in stark contrast to the roses in size, stature and shape giving this bed attention now as well as later on when the roses are in bloom. The richness of the violet hue next to the crumbled concrete statue is very dramatic and old world creating a nice place to look and imagine the possibilities of what is to come. Wouldn't it make you stop and look twice? I know it would grab my attention not matter what!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Vibrancy Defined

We received this wonderful azalea from my dad when we moved here and it is doing great. It loves the spot we put it and I can see its beautiful color everyday from my studio window. With the sunshine on it, the striking color combination of the vibrant magenta and lime green really makes it spectacular wouldn't you agree? I also love the shadows on the stamen falling gently on the curving petals. For me, this is the reason to take the photo. The speckled dots are the stamen heads, who knew they had so many gathered in the center of the flower? It is an interesting composition as well, the only thing I would change is to eliminate the bud at the top center left because I find it distracting. Hummm, colored pencil or acrylics, not sure which medium would be best for its intensity so I'll have to do a bit of thinking for that answer. Enjoy the flowers and treasure their brilliance while they last!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eggtraordinary Color

These brilliant blue treasures were hiding in the "perfect spot" nest shared with you in yesterday's post, aren't they gorgeous? The mother robin just sat quietly in a neighboring tree while I took photos of her youngsters in the making. She is quite use to me by now since I'm always looking into the nests of all the trees holding the camera up in the air to see if I can get a good shot. Luckily this one turned out great and shows you the fabulous blue color of the eggs. We, the puppies and I, are discovering egg fragments along the bottom of the tree so the babies are hatching already. I'll have to wait a couple weeks until I shoot them again with my camera, don't want to scare the mom too much. Have you seen any wonderful spring time wonders? I hope you have been lucky enough to observe natures hidden treasures - she does have a wonderful eye for color doesn't she? I'm thankful she lets us share in the many tiny discoveries because it is a delightful treat for me everyday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Perfect Spot

I discovered this nest while taking crab apple blossom photos - what a perfect camouflage setting. The soft pinks, vibrant greens with the nest materials of various browns, it's an artists dream. I peeked inside and will share the little blue eggs tomorrow and they are just as striking as this photo. I love to be surprised like this and all because I was taking the puppies for a walk around the pond. If I hadn't been walking by, camera in hand of course, this little opportunity wouldn't have presented itself. Lucky for me!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

100 Blogs - Wow!

I can't believe this is my 100th blog, already! Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday when I was worried I wouldn't have any one following or know what to say. After all, what can I possibly share each and every day? Well, somehow I've managed some quick little thoughts supported by colorful photos for 99 previous posts and hope to continue for many more. So, thank you to all of you for "bearing" with me and I hope along the way you have been inspired by our "wordy" journey. It has been a wonderful adventure for me and I always look forward to ending my day with a thought out to you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Study in Green

Here's my latest Colored Pencil of the Month Club project. I wanted to explore the color green and fell in love with the blood root leaves covered in water drops. My trip to White River Gardens in Indianapolis let me get the shot of the butterfly. I combined the two and am so pleased with the stunning results. Can you see my style? This one defines it pretty well - nature explored! I love the movement of the leaf shapes complimenting the position and the stiffness of the butterfly. I placed the butterfly in the bottom portion of the design because I liked the negative space created by the tall right hand and gentle curve of the lower left hand leaves. It gave me a lot of flowing lines and because of that, I chose the black surface. I wanted to keep the negative spaces in tact and important - do you think I made it work? I sure do!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pink Profusion

Here they are just as I promised, a close up of the prairie fire crab apple in full bloom. Isn't the color magnificent? I would love to paint these as large as possible because I know they would make a fantastic statement and brighten any room no matter the size. With all the various values this photo offers from the pale pink in the highlights, rich magentas as the base and the deep red violet shades, how could any artist go wrong? I'm not thinking they could unless they didn't enjoy flowers. I also think this would make a great graphic art statement. Squint your eyes and just look at the dark and lights because it creates wonderful shapes that could be blocked in with bold color. Imagine the extreme picture it would make - hummm, I may have to explore this a little further in the future because this visualization has given me many possibilities I wasn't thinking about earlier. What a great surprise to be sharing with you and get myself inspired - thank you for that!! Don't you just love the power of words?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Modest Glimpse

While out in the yard yesterday I couldn't help but notice our prairie fire crab apple tree. Not only is it a profusion of deep magenta but there are so many blooms this year that the tree seems a little bit overwhelmed. I'll share a branch photo tomorrow but today I wanted to give you a glimpse of one of our statues with a touch of color. There is also another one blooming in the background completing the picture. I found it quite stunning and might even frame the photo to hang in the living room. Should I make it black and white for the drama or keep it in full color? Hummmm, the choices. I'll give them both a try and let you know which one I've chosen at a later date.

We have had great color this year starting with the golden daffodils, stunning white star magnolias and cherry tree, the pale pink crab apples and magnolia, the white daffodils and blooming fruit trees, the deep magenta of the smaller magnolias and the prairie fire crab apples to the now blooming soft violet lilacs. It has been inspiring to say the least and the smell of the lilacs is just intoxicating and one I look forward to each and every year. I hope you have taken the time to appreciate mother natures beauty in the springtime, I know I have!