Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Our plans to pick up strawberries yesterday didn't materialize as the morning rain kept the strawberry farmer from the market. But our early venture to town revealed an issue with C's car, so instead of strawberries, we wound up at the car repair shop -- minor issue --but one that should have been taken care of during his car service the day before.
During our drive and travels, I was struck by the incredible clouds and sunshine of the day, especially after so many storms. The details of the sky are a bit richer than this scan shows -- but I just HAD to race home to paint that sky before the image and the 'feeling' of such expansive blue and sun left me. This is the result - along with one of the many 'barns and out buildings' we see so often.
C spent much of the day creating a portable exhibit for me for next week's art festival -- what a sweetheart! We're able to display over 20 framed paintings and as many in mats in a canvas 'sling' --and still have room for a basket of notecards. I priced the paintings and organized the 'paperwork' ...
Today, we rest. If we feel motivated, we may drive to the strawberry farm and pick our own -- we'll see.
Hope your day is sunshiney and fun!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I'm still not satisfied with the poppies as I can't seem to paint the 'view' in my mind's eye -- sigh -- I suppose some days are like that. The poppies at Montrose, such a wonderful gold and yellow, were so beautiful set against the deep purple/blues of the larkspur ...those complimentary colors -- whether on palette or in flower design - are really incredible.
While the sun shone for a while, I finally got to the garden - planted a few more perennials, sprayed the weeds, trimmed the tomatoes (some already forming), checked for insect pests and generally did a bit of 'clean up.' We spent the majority of the day though, reframing, working on the exhibit pieces, rematting paintings for the art festival next week. I still have almost 3 dozen I wish I had frames for that I'd like to put on my own walls ....! LOL
We had another fierce storm last night, and I'm so glad I got to the garden in time for my new plantings to be 'watered in' ....
We're in for more rain today and a quick trip to the farmer's market for strawberries. I have yet to put up jam or dry some for winter use and the season is almost over ...
Hope your day is terrific!
Friday, May 28, 2010
From bright, cheery sunshine to dark, foreboding storms -- I got in last night, had dinner, unpacked the car, and sat down to paint -- the light began to dim, grow dimmer, darken; lights began to flicker, and then the storm rolled in in its furry - crashes of thunder, streaks of lightning .... Yep, springtime in NC!
We should have a bit of sun throughout the day, but more storms tonight and most of tomorrow ... I think the 'weeds' are in cahoots with the weather as I am losing my battle with those pesky things!
Enjoy the day!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Visiting Montrose Gardens again last week, I was struck by the incredible number of poppies - California, Asian, wild - in colors from soft pink to orange to crimson .... I took dozens of photos - but no matter how I tried this week, the photo in my mind didn't quite match the painted results. I also wanted to try for something a bit less splashy and a bit more considered.
In thinking about this painting, I wanted to keep the background pale - but which tends to wash out in a scan. What impressed me about this scene in real life,was the array of yellow and green - the bright sunlight - the cheerfulness of the flowers. I may play with this image again to see if I can get 'closer' to what I 'see' in my mind.
It's been a busy week, and we've certainly enjoyed the sunshine. The intense heat has returned, but our 'yellow sunlight' will soon fade into the gray and wetness of more rain this weekend.
We'll be harvesting this morning and we'll all be glad to have the sun on our backs instead of umbrellas over our heads for a while!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
The yellow fields are quickly being cut - and I won't enjoy that mass of 'weeds' again until fall ... I wanted to paint one last homage to that blanket of gold before summer grasses and crops take over ..
Our rains 'should' be done until the weekend .. and we truly need a bit of drying out.
I'm dashing to an early meeting - take care!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Roadsides, along with hay bales (LOL) always fascinate me -- in fact, watching wildflowers populate those untamed areas are the very thing that got me interested in botany. The places where humans do not cultivate and nature has her way are always filled with such diversity and interest - some of the most fascinating grasses and wildflowers seem to occupy these bits of land.
These days, the 'ditch daisies' are the 'show' along with wild grasses and the leaves of our common daylilies. With our weeklong rain, much of the browns of past vegetation are gone, and are being replaced with more and more green - I chose to use more yellow and brown in this sketch to indicate a brief sunshiney moment between all our bouts of rain.
I'm off to a busy workweek, and a bit more rain.
Hope your day is merry!
Monday, May 24, 2010
It's haying season and I cannot experience or view enough fields or barns! My dear husband kindly drove me around the countryside the last two weekends as I snapped more and more photos of haybales and barns! LOL
I remember how excited I was when I was in Italy and saw THEIR hay bales - there's something to elemental about rolled straw sitting in tawny fields that thrills me to pieces ... perhaps it's the earthiness of them, the fundamental aspects of farming, countrylife, the need for food and air that we all share - perhaps it's that very basic bits of 'life' that binds us - that seems to tug at my soul year after year. Whatever -- it's THAT time of year again, and I am loving it!
I've taken a day off today to begin preparing for the art festival in a couple of weeks. I've got tons to frame and mat so my painting time is limited.
We've had tremendous thunderstorms everyday this weekend and more continuing through the week. Those farmers who still have standing grass to cut and bale will have to wait until next weekend before they're able to get into their fields.
Take care today!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
I've been playing around with my landscapes, trying for something a bit less formal ... and though I've overdone it here, I like the vignette style and 'different' foreground.
We spent the day yesterday touring one of our area gardens -- incredibly gorgeous with so many poppies, nigella, speedwells, larkspur, roses in bloom that it was like being in flower heaven! We had a leisurely lunch, and then roamed the countryside to see the hayfields and barns in their spring dress. We made it home before the thunderstorms .... wonderful day.
Today we'll see the grands and hopefully I"ll get back to the paint table.
Hope your Sunday is terrific!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
My own hydrangeas are just opening their blue blossoms, but my friend Guy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/10422334@N08/) posted and allowed me to use on of his pink beauties for this inspiration! THANk YOU again, Guy!
This small painting took me far longer than I thought it would -- I tried to keep the values -- all similiar - soft and light, and yet give it enough contrast for those wee florets to pop a bit .... challenging indeed! Additionally, our soils in the North Carolina piedmont are predominently acidic, which renders the majority of hydrangeas blue instead of pink. So this was quite fun to paint.
We're off to see some gardens today, though rain is in the forecast. My 'weeds' still beckon -- but they'll have to wait a bit longer ...
Have a great Saturday!
Friday, May 21, 2010
This week's painting practice was a better week for me despite the busyness of the office. I worked on this still life over a couple of days trying to capture the light once again. I wanted to paint a larger image than I did earlier, and to 'test' myself to see if I could replicate that 'light' once again. I need to paint a few more before I will be comfortable with my own 'method!" LOL
Our harvest and lunch yesterday went so well! We are blessed with a grand group of volunteers who have formed a closeness and camaraderie that is so heart-warming to be a part. Our lemon balm tea and lavender cookies, plus the addition of herbs to our salad have convinced so many of the group to now 'experience' herbs in new ways. Wonderful fun -- and another ten pounds of food for those who need it most.
My own small garden is demanding some attention, so while the sun is out, so will I.
I hope your day is wonderful.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
This is another attempt to capture that wonderful acre of batchelor buttons that we saw in our stroll around Oxford. We saw the title of the field, "God's Acre" was on a hand-painted sign on the well a bit behind my view here.
We're harvesting again today for the hungry, and rewarding our volunteers with a light salad lunch. We'll be talking about herbs and using them in cooking - so we'll all make some lemon balm tea and lavender cookies.
Hope your day is grand!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Charles' family reunion was held at one of our local parks on a wonderful lake this weekend. This part of the lake (a bit more yellow in the painting) reached out into blue waters ... calm and cool in the 95F degree weather. Children swam in the sandy beach front behind where I stood, and behind those trees, there were small boats and fishermen. Our pavillion was about 50 feet behind me - and even from this point along the waterfront, I could hear C and his family members playing music and entertaining us. It was quite an enjoyable time.
I have to brag on our students who worked with my assistant and me to develop a landscape design for the neighboring town. One of the students gave the presentation in front of the almost dozen townspeople - and they loved the design! We now get to install the plan ... the students will be paid for their first 'professional' work...and the Arboretum will receive a significant donation ....!
We continue our oral history gathering today. It's still raining and we've almost made up our rainfall shortage for the year -- yahoo!
Hope your day is terrific!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
There's so much going on lately at work and home that sometimes one's mood takes over a painting -- and last week, THIS happened -- and the title "Going in Circles" was really how I was feeling. Has that happened to you too? Your intent with a painting begins one way and ends up somewhere else ... a good lesson to think about. LOL
It's a busy week here - our landscape design presentation, registration, new classes beginning ... yep, still a lot of circling going on! LOL
But it's been raining for two days now, and it's been much appreciated ....
Hope your day is great!
Monday, May 17, 2010
This weekend our evening walks have been graced by the sweet scents of honeysuckle and privot ... air mostened with humidity and traces of past rains, and ferns and dandelions by the roadsides. Both seem to occupy the wettish areas in the ditches, their colors and forms giving a brightness to the ever-increasing greens of the trees and shrubs.
C's jam went well yesterday - his cousins joining his 'regulars' to make a most joyous sound - laughter and music and talk - lots of fun.
It's yet another busy week with graduation, new classes, and two oral history interviews this week. I'm grateful for the rain we've gotten ...and the plants seem as thankful ...
Hope your week is terrific!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
In one of our walks around Oxford, C and I came across "God's Acre' - a corner lot that for years has been planted in flowers -- right in the middle of town. This time, the field was filled with batchelor's buttons - an incredible sea of blue and lavender! We walked among the many stalks, watching the bees do their work, and trying to capture that beauty on film.
I've tried since that walk to paint the scene, and all the blues and greens with bits of purples seemed to merge into one same tone. This is the closest I could get to keep a bit of impressionism and still capture all that blue and green.
The family reunion yesterday was fun. It was held at a lakeside park, and all the children were in the water most of the day. Temps reached 95!! C and his cousins sang and played their instruments, and the rest of us listened and enjoyed the picnic. A nice get away.
AND, we finally had rain! Thunder, lightning too - but about 3 am this morning, the rain came - and the crashing of the thunder, the flashing of the lights, and the most welcome strong pattering of rain on our skylights woke me up -- but a good wake up call! LOL
We may be in for a bit more rain today, and C's cousins and friends are coming here for another music jam.
Have a great day!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It was a mighty full and long day yesterday and another one today with my husband's family reunion ... not much time for painting, I'm afraid. But I did manage a small work to keep in practice.
Temps and humidity hit a high yesterday in the 90s ... and the lightning and thunder woke me at midnight - but still no rain. C and I spent a good amount of time insuring that all our newly planted 'wee ones' got their needed water.
C's jam is tomorrow so hopefully, there'll be a bit of time to wet my brushes ...
Have a great day!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Though this is from a photo reference, the scene is so similar to my view driving along our rural roads. We lack the distant mountains, though in some of our counties the dips the road takes when we cross rivers and streams often give the illusion that the land before us is far hillier than in reality. Already the trees are dressed in full green, and the grasses tawny. Polka dots of white and gold wildflowers pepper some of the fields...
We've overcast skies again and still no rain. I see my day filled with getting water to all these thirsty shrubs and trees ...
Take care ...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I've another full day of meetings and workshops and preparations for an even busier time next week ...
I'll be back as soon as thing slow down a bit ... but I do hope your day is great!
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
We're in for a warming trend - but barely a trace of rain for all the cloud cover and coolness ....
I return to work today to a mighty full schedule so will probably be somewhat scarce ....
Hope your day is great!
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I'm having one of those weeks where everything I paint, I detest ... this one posted is the ONLY thing I've painted this weekend that comes close to what Ihave been attempting. I know this will pass, but mercy, do I HATE times like this -- frustration and angst! LOL Seems like my muse has taken a few days off herself! LOL
The weather is doing its fickle thing again -- and has turned much cooler. We swing from 90sF to 50s. When I pack for the week I'm packing WINTER and SUMMER clothes --! LOL Crazy times.
We're in for a bit of rain, thank heavens. There is lots of fruit on the trees - blueberries, peaches, apples, figs -- but they need some good, deep water in order to mature to the luscious berries and fruits we hope they will become.
I'm heading back to the paint table and see if my muse will join me!
Monday, May 10, 2010
9" x 12"
There are things about each place we live or visit that seem to stay with us and 'call' to us time and time again. Live oaks, Spanish Moss and water remind me of living in South Carolina and visits to a city filled with memory and feeling. This is from a photo I took during our visit several months ago. It evokes in me that same sense of place, tranquility and awe of a landscape gardened with grandeur and magnificent live oaks.
We were given a number of live oak seedlings that we have nursed for several months so that now, still in 6" flowerpots, they are almost 6" tall. I have a couple of plants that I'll continue to culture until they are large enough to place in my own landscape. But they are slow growing trees, and so I will probably never see a size close to the magesty of the magnificent oaks in Charleston, but I can at least hold a bit of their legacy and progeny close at hand.
I hope your day is wonderful!
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Saturday, May 08, 2010
There are some color combinations that neither my scanner nor my camera seem to like. I have tried for two days to adjust this scan to better match the painting ... in the painting, the yellows and golds and even browns are far more subtle, and the entire work, though light with dark contrast, is not as bright .... This image comes the closest though.
It was an experiment in splattering again, but with a bit more control toward the finish. I want to play more with this idea. The 'splattering' for me helps me keep those wet in wet blends without getting too tight or covering them too much. The 'lost and found' edges that I've been playing with through the 'inspired by series' also was at work here - but looking at this yet again, I can see how I could have worked even more of those into the piece.
We've a ton of chores to do today ... so I'll be scarce - but I do hope to return to this type of exercise before the weekend is over.
Hope your day is wonderful!
Friday, May 07, 2010
Though the gardener in me cringes at fields of 'weeds,' the artist in me delights in the wonderful blanket of color they make, especially when set against rural barns and fences. I must have taken 20 photos of this single barn last week - the sun just right, the field painted in yellow, white and turquoise. We've begun hanging all the Oxford barn paintings on one wall in our living room .. it's like looking out our own windows to see the neighbors!
We had one heck of a freak storm last night. Quarter inch hail, winds that bent trees and made the cats run in terror, pounding rain --- all for less than 30 minutes! I'm grateful for the rain, though, which means I can cross off 'water plants' from my chore list today. I'll have to survey the damage once the sun gets up.
Hope you have a great day!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
I thought I'd splatter a bit - always fun after a stressful day -- and these sunflowers 'appeared' in the wet paint. We have several in bloom right now in the children's garden. They're early for the season, but since we planted them in the greenhouse, we were able to encourage their flowering in time for the plant sale several weeks ago. I'm hoping the fields that were planted in these beauties last year, will once again sport their bright faces.
It's meeting upon meeting today and harvesting more food for the hungry. Temps are high - just like the humidity -- and we are still in need of more rain ...I know my plants at home will be looking for me and the water hose!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Driving around our county this weekend, I was struck by the incredible fields of yellow --- those dandelions, false dandelions, wild grasses, and mustards that grace the once tawny brown earth and announce the change in season. Skies are wonderfully blue, and the new leaves are a mix of chartruese and turquoise. These leaves quickly adding their cutin to protect themselves from spring-hungry insects, to become the green we recognize as 'summer' dress.
This small barn sat so nicely among the grasses, even though the porch roof was falling down a bit. I love these bucolic scenes ... and they're quickly disappearing. I'm glad to have the chance to capture them on film and in paint before they, and the way of life they represent, are entirely gone.
It's been a struggle painting this week - I've been tossing out paper after paper -- sigh -- Don't you hate those times! LOL
We're bathed in fog this morning and temps will reach the 90s -- returning to the 70s tomorrow ... the swings in temperature truly tire me out....but I'm glad the heavy winter coats remain in the closet!
Have a great day!
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Every spring, I eagerly await the blooming of my snowball viburnum. This 20 foot tree sports round clusters of the most amazing chartreuse balls of tiny flowers that, over time, turn a snowy white! My tree is so heavy with these soft balls, that they hang like earrings from the branches! When Emily and Nick came this weekend, they too were enthralled, and the burdened limbs hung so low, each of them could run their fingers over the clusters to release floating 'flower snow.' What a tree!
I worked on our summer lecture and tour schedule yesterday, and today, I have to finish grades and do some much needed bookkeeping. Our fiscal year ends soon and I want to be sure we have sufficient garden supplies to get us through the summer.
Have a great day!
Monday, May 03, 2010
I am still enthralled with the new ideas presented in Karlyn Holman's new book. I love how she is combining elements of collage and watercolor. Since I started my visual journey with collage, these ideas return me to my 'roots' so to speak ... and it's fun to see how I can take her ideas and weave them into my own.
This image is based on a photo reference of a field of bluebells in partial shade. I used Unryu papers in the shadows to darken them, and then used some of those paint colors I've been playing with this week. I wanted to keep the work impressionistic and yet filled with vibrant color.
When I finished this, C and I took a short drive around our county to photograph some of the old barns sitting in some of the prettiest yellow fields. Somehow this work really had me wanting to play more with yellow, purple and turquoise!
It's back to work and yet, sigh, another busy week. It's the last week of classes, and so there should be a small wind-down by the end of it.
Have a great one!
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Bill's new challenge asked us to paint what the 'essence of spring' meant to us. Here in NC, one of the first signs of spring are the violets and pansies. Along with pansies, we first see so many of that lime green color, and clouds of pink and red as the trees add their new leaves.
I wanted to use some of the colors from my earlier experiment and see how they'd play in my palette. I also wanted to continue developing this splatter style of painting ... it simply relaxes me and makes me happy! LOL I combined some new colors, especially turquoise, a bit of cadmium orange and Winsor yellow, a bit of Winsor Violet, my mix of greens ... and these pansies showed up for the challenge.
OH!!!! I found that that though I didn't win any of the competitions -- I sold my large Grapes Painting ( www.flickr.com/photos/linfrye/4097321421/ ) - YAHOO -- paint supplies!!
We got most of the plants in the ground yesterday, watered the veggies and the flowers we put in last week, prepared dinner for the grands, and then spent the majority of the day playing with Emily and Nick. It has been a while since they made it to our home, and there was much catching up to do. We managed a mile walk together -- along with visiting the creeks and making mud pies. I don't know about Emily and Nick, but I sure slept well!
Today, we rest. It's overcast and I'm still hoping for much needed rain. Somehow, Monday's come around fast after Saturdays .... and I've a bit of painting on my wish list.
Have a super day!
Saturday, May 01, 2010
This painting from one of Allan Kirk's watercolor lessons --- an image that so reminds me of Italy. I couldn't get my scan adjusted to show that in real life the shadows are a bit darker ... when I adjusted THAT, the foliage got too garish ... so just imagine the building a bit pinker with more purply/blue shadows! LOL And if you've missed it -- Allan has a new step-by-step video on his blog ( tarnincolour.blogspot.com/2010/04/tower-st-martin-video.h... - really terrific!
I wish I had news about the art exhibit -- but life events often changes one's plans. I had a doctor appointment first thing yesterday morning -- but there were a few things my doctor wanted to check and so I was sent to the hospital for some procedures to find out more information. My doctor tried to hurry things along so that C and I (prepared with new outfits, a freshly washed car, tickets and eagerness) could make the anticipated exhibit.
After the hours at the doctor's office, and over 4 hours sitting in waiting rooms at the hospital for procedures that took less than 30 minutes, we finally got home at the time the exhibit (a 2 hour drive away) was to begin. Disappointed, you bet. And frustrated as we left all that 'hurry up and waiti' with 'the doctor will call you on Monday." GRRRRRRRRRRRR!
But, on the good side, I'm feeling fine, my 7-day book rental is halfway read, and we managed to get in a dinner with my son and grands .... the high spots of the day!
The grands return today for a longer visit and our gardening work will wait until tomorrow.
Meantime, we're hoping for some rain - the dust is getting thick!LOL
Have a good one!