9" x 12"
I painted this wintry landscape before I left to be with my mom. I was playing with some of my friend Doris' techniques (www.flickr.com/photos/djr-aquarelle/) and this was the result. It wasn't what I had hoped to post at the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, but it sort of fits with the experiences I've had this week with my mom's illness.
She's suffering from Parkinson's disease, had a bad fall, a hip replacement, infection. Her condition seemed to be improving, but the roller coaster ride we've been on this week continues, and the optimism we felt yesterday, has been dashed today.
If I can use this painting as an anology, my sisters and I stand in the foreground, aware of the snow and the trees and the winter, and mom, sadly, stands in the magical light away from us - much like the etheral forest of this painting. At times, she joins us, othertimes, she's across a chasm ...
It's mighty sad, depressing, frightening, for us ... and more ... for her. We all deeply appreciate your prayers thoughts, encouragement. We'll all need the strength to endure this until the end, whenever that comes.
We know that we are not alone in this kind of challenge as we watch our beloved parents age and decline, and we lose them bit by bit ... physically and mentally.
Thank you for your patience as my family and I work our way through this...
I'll come home in a few days time to pick up the threads of my own life and my sisters try to fit this new challenge into their daily routines. I imagine I'll be making more frequent visits to see my sisters and mom and lend what support, encouragement and relief I can.
It's going to be quite a different new year than we had hoped for ...
But we're strong, we've got some wonderful support, and like many others, we'll come through this ... and we thank you for being with us through the long, journey ahead.
May 2012 be bright and surprise us all with miracles!
Friday, December 30, 2011
9" x 12"
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Illness in Family - Back Soon - Foggy Night - Morning Moon, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.
9" x 12"
My thanks to TT_Mac (www.flickr.com/photos/j_mac_tt/6514098065/in/photostream) for inspiring this painting!!!! THANK YOU TT! Please stop by to see some incredible photographs from TT!
It's been a roller coaster of a holiday for us. We've had some incredibly joyful times with our grands and visits with family.
But my mom has been ill. Just before Christmas she had a fall, fracturing her hip and requiring a partial hip replacement. She was doing quite well in rehab, but then fell ill with an infection. Just before Christmas Day, her infection worsened and she was rushed to the hospital. For a few days, we weren't quite sure if she would recover.
As of last night, she seems to be making a bit of progress - though it's slow going. I'm heading out of town to visit her for several days and will be MIA.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and prayers on my mom's behalf. At 88 years old, these set backs take a long time to work through.
Hope your holidays were joyous ...
Sunday, December 25, 2011
9" x 12"
Arches 140# CP
MAY THIS SPECIAL DAY AND SEASON BRING EACH OF YOU THE MOST PEACE, JOY AND LOVE YOUR HEARTS CAN HOLD!
May you be filled with peace and blessings!!!
We are sharing this day with our grandchildren - and thus have returned to the wonder of children and the delight of the holiday.
We pray for those who are ill, sad, depressed, lonely....that the holiday season may fill them as well with hope and with love.
MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Friday, December 23, 2011
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...
Just like the ones I used to know ....
Where treetops glisten
And children listen
Sleighbells in the snow......."
Yes, my dream as well for that soft blanket of white that hushes the world and carpets it with a momentary innocence and a feeling of hope....
That white that casts an incredible shimmer of light when darkness falls
That white that seems to amplify the magic of the season.
Denis Collette recently posted a photograph that inspired this painting (www.flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/6534622675/in/photost...) and it fed the dream of white Cristmases that I hold dear. Thank YOU, Denis, not only for permission to use your photo, but more for the inspiration that continues to feed this holiday season and the white Christmases I love. Blessings, my friend!
I wish each of you a most joyous, memorable, peace-filled holiday season. And may you be surrounded by love, family and friends, and all good things....
Buon Natale..........May the peace and joy of the season fill your homes and your hearts!
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Gold Ornament - "Celebration" - Thank you, Ronah! Merry Christmas!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.
This painting was inspired by a glorious photo taken by my dear friend, Ronah (www.flickr.com/photos/kookie895/6499102511/in/photostream). THANK YOU SO MUCH for the inspiration!!! Please stop by Ronah's flickr stream for some amazing and glorious works!
Today is the first day of winter .... the solstice has passed, and now, ever slowly by bits and bits of time, with each circle of the earth our days will begin to lengthen. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, when in the northern hemisphere, the cold, damp, freezing temperatures have really set in, and the deep dark of night seems longer than ever. A trick of perception perhaps ...the cold making those jet black nights seem longer than they are. For most of us, we'll rise in the dark, travel to work in the dark or just at daybreak, and end our workdays -- in the dark once again.
Another reason, I think, for the wonderful emphasis on "light" during this special season. The twinklings on the tree, starlight, candles in the windows, flames of fireplaces, Advent wreath candles, the shininess of gold and silver -- all offer that mystery and magic of light than can illuminate even the densest, deepest dark...
Let your light shine this holiday season! Let's make merry!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
In the denser air of grey, brooding clouds
I smell the coming rain.
Muted autumn colors are saturated, yet
Dulled without sunlight’s bright touch.
There’s a somberness to this winter's day,
A foreshadowing of the season's advance, creeping
ever toward us
As the earth slides away from center.
We've seven days of rain predicted for this last of the pre-holiday weeks. It's warmed up again, with temperatures in the mid 60s - and tomorrow, we're to reach 70F! Though I welcome the warmth - I really dislike being cold - there's something un-Christmasy about it.
Each Christmas when I was a girl, my father, who also disliked the cold, used to take our family from the frigid, damp New York suburbs to the sunny, warm sands of Florida. We'd wake up Christmas morning to swim in the Atlantic, while we bathed ourselves in bright sunlight. After a week, we'd return with our holiday 'tans' ...
While it was fun and felt good to be warm in the middle of winter, the palm trees and Santas in airplanes instead of sleighs somehow made us long for snow and cold even more! (go figure! LOL)
I suppose I am still that little girl longing for 'chestnuts roasting, sleighbells and white Christmases' .... and if it's going to be damp and wet and grey, it'd be more enjoyable if it were white and snow! LOL Guess I'll be painting my own, this year!
Today is my last day at work before holiday break. Already the students have left for a couple of weeks and most of the staff and faculty will leave after this evening. The campus is quiet, and it's a good time to get a few of those 'never can get to' things accomplished.
Hope your day is terrific!
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The cold has finally come - at least for a short while - but here in the piedmont of North Carolina, no ponds are frozen, and there is an unlikely chance that we'll have snow for Christmas. I suppose I'll just have to make my own -- on paper, at least! LOL
After such a party-filled workweek, it's been a far more quiet weekend. I've prepared our Christmas spaghetti sauce (traditional for our family) and a few other things, and all that remains is the cheesecake from my mom's recipe om and handed down to all her children and grandchildren.
We drove around a few towns last night to view the Christmas lights and beautifully decorated homes, a display of decorated and lighted tractors (so much a part of our rural life), big Santas and snowmen, Crèches, candles in windows, snowflakes -- a wonderland indeed.
What struck me most, I think, were the lights .....those bits of brightness against the mantle of black sky.
Each tiny bit of illumination seemed to defy the cold depth of the dark - offering a glimmer of optimism and promise against the deep vastness of space ...
Ancient peoples worshipped the light, the sun - and knew the power of a tiny spark, and how that one glowing ember could light the world. These days, with lights and warmth at our fingertips, we tend to take them all for granted...and forget the miracle that they are ....
But driving around in the cold, ebony evening, those bits of light glowed their messages of hope ..
And isn't that what this season is all about?
Friday, December 16, 2011
9" x 12"
Poinsettias - the icon of the holidays! The greenhouse program at our college (run by Johnston County Mental Health as horticultural therapy) grows HUNDREDS of poinsettias each year. A walk through their greenhouses is a visual delight - poinsettias in all styles, colors, sizes - pink, speckled, ruffed, red, marbled and more!
I chose to paint PINK this year - perhaps influenced by the unseasonably warm weather we've been having. For our holiday parties yesterday - the temperature reached 70F!!!! And here we all were with Santa, jingle bells, bright red, holiday fashioned sweaters and scarfs! LOL
We had one wonderful, incredible day yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!! It began with our Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteer breakfast--- oh my gracious -- the tables were bowed with the bounty! Breakfast foods, candies, sweets, cookies, cakes, veggies, dips -- holy moly! What an AWESOME - and DELICIOUS feast!
And to add to the flavor -- these over-the-top generous individuals brought gifts -- for everyone! Wrapping paper was flying, gifts were admired, giggles drowned out the talking, the recipe books we put together were examined and ooohed and ahhhhed over! There was more food, calendars, ornaments, hugs, laughter...I tear up just thinking of the heart-filling JOY and friendship of this small group of women and men. But those hours together --THOSE to me, were the essential spirit of Christmas .... amplified by the smiles and good cheer of folks who thoroughly enjoy one another, the work they do, and the enthusiasm them demonstate! What a blessing!!
After eating more than any one wee, short woman should do, this delightful time was followed by our annual college luncheon ... another scrumptious feast! Every employee, staff, faculty, board of trustee member, past president, retiree, council member -- all squeezed into the auditorium lobby for some of the best holiday music performed by our chorus, mouth-watering food, laughter, years of service recognition and more. I was recognized for ten years of service yesterday - the time sure has gone by quickly! And more gifts - and at each table - a marvelous poinsettia! (I didn't win it - but it was great to SIT by the beauty!!! LOL)
By the time I got home last night and unpacked the car (truly loaded down like Santa's sleigh), find a place for everything, feed the cats and catch up on email and flickr ... it was after 11 pm ... and I turned in.
But the day replayed in my dreams last night...
As I lifted again a heart filled with thanksgiving .....
Thursday, December 15, 2011
10" x 14"
When the day begins with frost on my windshield, and the darkness of morning seems deeper and denser than any ink,
When day breaks with a mere changing of the grey,
and clouds gather even more closely,
When sound echos and arrows through the cold air
is a day that I so hope
But here in the piedmont of North Carolina, even with days that begin with such promise, by afternoon that bright El Sol seems to win the battle of the sky, temperatures rise, and no snow falls.
But it is most often then, that my Northern friends on Flickr, provide just the inspiration to fill that longing -- and one of these dear hearts, Denis Collette inspired and filled me with joy with his image "Rivage sur glace...!!!" (http://www.flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/6489454849/in/photostream). Thank you Denis -- not only for permitting me to use your photograph for this painting -- but for bringing me that longed for SNOW that sends my heart singing!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!
Driving into work this morning, I saw a shooting star -- another rare event for me ....it so made me smile!
We have our 'eat-a-thon' today - our volunteer brunch and our college annual Christmas luncheon ...The day will be filled with holiday music and laughter, the joy of folks coming to celebrate the season, and for those of us in higher education, the close of a fall semester. We are all ready for a small break.
There's no snow in the forecast for the next week - but I'll keep hoping. And thank Denis, and those of you who are fortunate enough to have some, for sharing that part of the season with me!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
9" x 12"
Everywhere I go, the homes, rooms, restaurants, towns, buildings, stores, even PEOPLE - are bedecked for the holidays. Red and green are the predominant colors, and Christmas carols and music, specials on television and radio, have taken over the airwaves.
The newscasters give daily countdowns for the number of days until Christmas, and the lines at the Post Office and UPS stores are as long as those at the food kitchens.
The weather has turned cold - no snow predicted - yet (fingers crossed!) - and frosty mornings envelop the fields, and windshields need scrapping.
Work remains intense as the list of 'get done by this week' grows as long as those other lines. And in between the push for the year's closure, are the celebrations of food, gift exchanging, and visiting.
And all the while ...
I wish for snow
and that quiet cloaking,
so the frenzy of the season can slow a bit,
the white, peacefulness
still the racing and the madness,
and the world return to center.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
10" x 13"
Day's end - the putting down of a rushed, intense busyness that marks this time of year. The last glimmers of an almost 'celebratory' completion of a day filled with cooking, wrapping, preparing, planning, and more cooking.
And then -
That soul-lifting, heart-jumping joy of 'finished' - with a kitchen that still holds the aroma of the day's work. The amen and halleluhah of a good day of labor followed by sundown and the satisfaction of a long night's rest.
This painting began with a challenge posed by my friend Doris with permission from Taru to use her incredible capture (www.flickr.com/photos/taruski/6256283498/) to inspire a painting that both Doris (www.flickr.com/photos/djr-aquarelle/) and I would do. A most special thank you to Taru for the inspiration and the jaw-dropping beauty of her work! THANK YOU, Taru!! Please take a look at Taru's wonderful flickr stream! And check out Doris' alternative and spectacular approach! A really interesting aspect of imagery - to see the same scene through different eyes!
I began the painting after a two-day marathon of holiday baking and gift wrapping and completed the work yesterday. I took a more moody approach to the image, trying to capture that rosey, sienna light that marks the kind of sunsets I love best.
In writing my comments this early morning, with the last glint of moonlight in the west and the sunlight just rimming the east, the sense of celebration did indeed inspire the work ... as it truly marked the ending of two long, long days. It was indeed - my sunset - felt through every tired muscle! LOL I LOVE when life comes together like that!
Hope your Sunday is filled with celebration and all good things!
Friday, December 09, 2011
Winter's Coming Landscape - Thank YOU Andrey Salikov!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.
One should be careful for what one wishes. Our warm weather has disappared, and the freezing morning temperatures have arrived! And though I throw on an additional article of clothing -- it FEELS more like the season -- and I can begin to ready for the holidays with a more spirited soul.
My thanks to Andrey Salikov for inspiring this painting! Thank you Andrey! Please see his awesome flickr stream! www.flickr.com/photos/andrey_salikov/6441432041/in/photos... Andrey's view is of a frozen winter scene - and it looked so much like the view of my neighbor's farm that it begged to be painted! Thank you again, Andrey!
Here and there beech and oak leaves linger on the trees....but for the most part, the woodlands are bare save for the evergreens that seem to anchor the landscape. While the mornings are frigid, the afternoons warm to a wonderfully pleasant 50F to 60F. There is often fog in the morning, and often sunshine in the afternoons. Yesterday was one such marvelous day as we took our Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers to see the Christmas decorations at our state's capitol and Governor's Mansion. What a treat!
There was a small crowd queing to go through the metal detectors before entering the stately home, but we moved quickly - and oh was it worth the wait! The main floor was decorated in high style - enormous Christmas trees from various North Carolina counties decked in different styles. Some were gold, some old-fashioned reds and greens, others, like the one tree in the sunroom and dedicated to our state's military, fashioned with children's drawings and ornaments in red, white and blue! Carolers were singing in one of the rooms and chandeliers, walls, doors, stairways were all swagged with our native greenery! Eye candy to be sure.
Our own wreath-making class the night before - see
made us even more aware of how rich our own woodlands and properties are for collecting an incredible variety of different greens and berries and using our native plants for decorations and wreaths.
We had a warm, talk-filled lunch, did a bit of holiday shopping, then returned to the college to finish out the day. A grand time for everyone - bringing this kindred group of generous volunteers even closer.
I got home late last night and began this weekend's busy commitments. Next week is the last workweek for most of our college employees (not me, sigh), and so it will be filled with gift exchanges, luncheons, and the like. I must have all my gifts, recipes, lunch items ready to take on Monday - so I'll be in the kitchen cooking, baking, and then wrapping and mailing gifts in order to get those delivered in time for Christmas. I won't have much painting time, but the house will smell divine! LOL
I hope your weekend is wonderful and filled with those memory-making scents of the holidays!
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
9" x 12"
Fickle weather this week -- for the last three days, we've had temps in the mid 70sF, sunshine and mild winds. The plants too are confused - and though they all need cutting back and readying for winter, here and there these same plants are sending up new shoots and blossoms!! YIKES! We have a cold front moving in tonight with rain and cooler temperatures -- and though I am the LAST one who wants to see -- or feel -- the cold - this lingering heat spell just seems out of season!
I suppose it's where one spends most of his or her time that determines what 'feels' like a normal seasonal weather. Growing up on the East Coast of the US, I'm used to four pretty distinct seasons -- winter, spring, summer, fall. Even when I moved to the South, I could still have a winter season -- milder and shorter, perhaps, but a winter - cold, grey, wet, and snow every once in a while. I like this sort of weather -- albeit for a short time -- but enough to be called 'winter.'
Winter for me is a calming and slowing down, a contemplative period when the sun doesn't quite beckon me out of doors, when the plants and animals can be left to slumber and hibernate -- and in a way -- so can I. Winter for me is a time of planning, a time to consider the year and activities ahead. And even though at work we hold classes all winter long, that frenzied feeling of spring and summer activities just isn't there. Quite truthfully, I need a bit of winter to recuperate from the activities of the past year, and rest up for those to come -- don't you? Right now, I am longing for fireside cups of coffee, cuddling up with a good book, retreating to my art table for more than a few minutes at a time... and winter seems to provide just the 'excuse' I need to do these things -- bring it on! (ahem ... but only for a short while ...it doesn't take me long to miss the sun!! LOL)
So that brings us to rose hips. There are still some lingering on the bushes ... provider of vitamin C, bright berries for the birds, and wonderful color amid all the sere foliage. I painted this view of rose hips a while back and the painting found its way to a new home. I enjoyed painting it and so, with warm weather still around me, I repainted the view .... adding a bit more leaves ....perhaps my bit of a nod to the unseasonable weather ... and making the painting as bright as the sun has been this week.
Today we make our wreaths. The workshop has been sold out for weeks and we've a full house. I'll be glad for cooler weather coming later this week - it will help keep our fresh greens brighter and longer lasting. AND it will feel more like winter...!
Monday, December 05, 2011
9" x 12"
Already the first days of December are behind us, and the days seem to shorten as cold returns and daylight disappears. It's after 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time before the first glimmer of sunlight breaks the cloak of dark and merely 4:00 pm EST when the sun begins its decent and evening begins to creep back. Add to this scant bit of 'day' the hustle and rush of the season.... the frenzy of preparations, decorations, purchasing, cooking, finishing up, closingup of the year ... and the days collapse into seemingly mere moments of time.
While it's true that daylight is shortening with the winter solstice is only weeks away, it seems that the FEEL of time is shortening as well. I took an incredible Anthropology class when I was an undergraduate - "The Reckoning of Time" - and how different cultures around the world sense and calculate time. Fascinating. And there's that marvel of a book "Einstein's Dreams' by Alan Lightman where ever few pages, time is being lived in different ways -- like we do - from past to future, or perhaps like in the movie Ground Hog Day - repetitive, etc. etc. Again -- fascinating and imaginative.
But think about it ... each of us lives the same 24 hours - but does every day FEEL the same way? For me, when I'm sad or disappointed, the same hour seems to DRAG and the clock click so v e r y s l o w l y. But when I'm in the flow of painting ... the same hour FLIES by! So .. time... and its reconing .. and its FEEL.
All this to say - it's that holiday "time"....
And for me it's marked with evergreens and berries. My holly trees are chockful of bright red berries and the shiny, pointed, prickly leaves that seem to mark the season. Today we 'gather in the greens' - holly, red cedar, wax myrtle, pine, cryptomeria, juniper, spruce, fir, boxwood, magnolia, ivy, hemlock, bay, boxwood, arborvitae, and pods, cones and berries such as pyracantha and holly berries, and more as we prepare for our wreath making class on Wednesday.
The time will fly as we stalk the woodlands and gardens seeking those plants that will decorate our doors. We'll be noting the wonderful fragrance of the evergreens and the bright berries that will brighten our eyes (and wreaths) with joyful color.
'Tis the season -- and time to gather the greens! But hurry --- time is aflyin'!
Saturday, December 03, 2011
9" x 12"
Nope, still no snow -- but THINKING about it as the holidays approach.
The cold welcomes me each morning, and though the temps rise nicely during the day, by 4:00 pm, the cold returns - seemingly even more frosty than the morning with the sudden drop. Still, I favor a bit of cooling these days, as it seems more 'holiday-ish.' I find it difficult to sing Christmas carols when I'm in short sleeves and flip-flops! So, I dream of snow, and imagine that the morning frost is really an inch or two of the white stuff, and the fleeting frozen dew stays on the ground long enough to create a winter wonderland. And what's even more fun ..... as picture-makers -- we can paint what our hearts see ... and not just our eyes! LOL
We begin our holiday cooking today as well, and a bit of decorating. My chores, except a few for work, are about done, and so the weekend can be filled with holiday preparations.
The sun is shining, the frost is quickly disappearing, and the clock is moving swiftly ....
Hope your day and weekend are wonderful.
Friday, December 02, 2011
"The color, we say, is gone, remembering vivid October and verdant May. What we really mean is that the spectacular color has passed and we now have the quiet tones of Winter around us, the browns, the tans, a narrower range of greens, with only an occasional accent in the lingering Winter berries. But the color really isn't gone. The meadow is sere tan....the bronze curve of the goldenrod...the cinnamon seed head of the pungent bee balm....the white parentheses of the stark birches...bronze tuffs of one-winged seeds...of the box elder..." (Hal Borland - 'Sundial of the Seasons'
One of my most influencial nature writers - Hal Borland - was once a columnist for the New York Times. He died in 1978, so his books and words have been keeping me company and helping me 'see' the world around me for many, many years.
I like to start my day (when I'm home) with one of his 'journal' entries, In his book 'Sundial of the Seasons' these entries are daily and mark the progression of the seasons day by day as he saw them in his Northeastern home. Some days, like today, his sentiments echo the words I'm searching for, the observations I too have made - his pen far more eloquent than my own.
When I finish one of Hal's passages, I find myself a bit more aware of the world around me, better able to approach a new artwork with a heightened sense of 'seeing.'
Do you have books or music or words to inspire your paintings and creative work? I'd love to hear them ....
Thursday, December 01, 2011
9" x 12"
December 1 -- and yet here and there in my own garden and at the Arboretum, I can find flowers that have not yet succumbed to the frost and cold. A few knock-out roses, some of my red verbena, clematis, and here and there, since it has been so warm during the day -- a few IRIS have been fooled into blooming!
These fall flowers were painted more in memory than in reality - as all of my daisylike flowers are slumbering for the winter. I wanted to paint something somewhat soft while using my splash and splatter approach. These remind me of some of those wonderful Thanksgiving bouquets that bright such cheer to the season.
Our soap crafting class was a BLAST! Oh my gracious -- so much going on - great creations, wonderful scents, herbs, ideas, and everyone went home with gifts for the holiday. We've been asked to hold another class so we'll probably do that in January. It was a late night, as expected, and so I'll be dragging as we weed the Plant a Row beds this morning and collect more of our cole crops for the hungry.
Hope your day is terrific!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
No, no snow here, just the cold and damp following our heavy rains yesterday. Instead of white, our world is grey and only those long-clinging leaves on the oaks and beech trees give our evergreen woodlands a bit of autumnal memory.
Snow fell in our mountains, and according to 'weather signs' - like the inside of persimmons seeds, we're to have a snowy winter. I like snow -- of course - when I don't have to shovel it, when the power holds, when I don't have to go out in it. So in the warmth of my office and no snow in the forecast, I can DREAM of snow, remember it from last year, and anticipate its falling this winter.
It's been a busy, productive week - designing portions of the ethnobotanic garden, preparing a wreath as a sample for our class, year-end reports and the like. Tonight, we hold our soap crafting class - and if it goes like those in the past, it will be a late, late night --- but a lot of good, clean fun! LOL
Temps will remain cold today but the sun should be up soon ...
Hope your day is bright!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The weather has turned cooler with rain, rain, rain and more rain - and this early in the morning (6:00 am EST) the dark is so DARK that the roads, especially with the precipitation, were difficult to navigate. I thought we might all be enjoy a bit of sunshine this morning in the form of some splash and splatter sunflowers.
I enjoy doing these types of paintings --- the freedom of splashing paint, the finding of form, the negative painting. It must be like the work of sculptors, in a way, the carving out of a 'thing' from the surrounding 'confusion.' Very meditative.
While we're having rain in our part of North Carolina, our mountains - four hours west of me - are having snow. Snowfall seems a bit late to the ski industry there, so we're hoping this snowfall will bring kick off the season for them.
Hope your day is sunny and bright!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Riverside Trees - Luminescence - THANK YOU Denis Collette!, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.
Frosty, gray mornings greet me this time of the year - and early mornings smell like winter on the wind. My friends to the north already have experienced snowfall - and it is especially around the holidays, that I begin my annual 'pining' for snow.
I have to make do with the frost - and your inspirational images - right now! I owe a special thanks to my friend, Denis Collette for allowing me to paint from his image of luminescence (www.flickr.com/photos/deniscollette/5214285398/).... THANK YOU, Denis! I have been admiring this capture since LAST November - and tried and tried to paint it without any success. Finally, my muse decided to be kind, and sat on my shoulder as I rendered this interpretation of winter trees, riverside. I LOVE Denis' work- there's a fabulous sparkle and light to them that is such a challenge in watercolor. Still, I hope I was able to capture a bit of the 'magic' I see in his incredible photography!
Though rain is in the forecast, snow is the furthest thing from reality for us. Temps reached 70F yesterday, and our visit to the JC Raulston Arboretum found roses, flowering maples, camellias and more still blooming like colorful candy!
THIS morning, the sun waits behind pink/gray clouds and the woodland trees are somber in melancholy - and I wait
for the snows
Saturday, November 26, 2011
The mornings have really become schizophrenic these days. Upon awakening some mornings, the air is so warm that I'm reluctant to put on long sleeves and a sweater. Others, like this painting inspired by Nancy Rose's marvelous photograph (www.flickr.com/photos/nancyandwayne/6316312568/in/photost...) make me want to crawl back into bed and turn on the electric blanket! Frost covers the ground - making our sienna fields look as though we've had an early snow. There's a decided CRUNCH to the icy frostiness on those days - but acting as changeable as the wind, mornings that begin with a CRUNCH often end with soft winds and air conditioning ... and temperatures in the 60sF! Mercy!
Still, this game of see-saw will soon end. The trees have shed their cloaks and only those hardy evergreens and the persistent leaf clinging by a few oaks and beeches remain. In our area of North Carolina, pine trees dominate the landscape as do magnolia, red cedar and wax myrtle - so one can easily overlook all the bareness above those treelines. Still, the somber grey of tree bark and the olive evergreens will be our landscape palette for the next several months. Already, I am missing fall.
Thank you once more, Nancy for your inspiration!
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Dawn is just breaking this chill Thanksgiving morning. With the leaves off the trees, I can now folllow the path the sun takes around the rim of my property - lighting first the eastern trees by the garage - moving westward around the back of the house - and if I linger too long at my computer - right into the window of my office.
Today we celebrate Thanksgiving - a most appropriate time to stop and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. A traditional celebration centers on roast turkey, sweet potatoes, greens, cranberries, pumpkin pie - so many of these foods that our first peoples - Native Americans - gave to the world.
It is also a day to enjoy the deserved rest following the seasons of growth, maintenance, harvest, preserving - a bit of celebration for the work of the year and the larders we filled.
It is a time of family and friendship - a time to enjoy the blessings of relationships, the kindnesses and the giving.
It is a particularly difficult day for those alone, for those who are hungry, cold, sad....and so for those with plenty to be grateful for - may hearts be a bit more open to share and to help....
We give thanks for so much ...
I give thanks as well -- for you --- for your kindnesses, encouragement, comments, awards - friendships. So often we cannot know the ripple effect of a simple smile, a 'GREAT JOB', a friendly note. These bits of ourselves, given so freely and generously may encourage a struggling soul overcome a hard time, get past an illness, a sadness, a bit of trouble. And we share that with our words, with our art.
And so on this day of giving thanks, I thank each of you - for carrying me through a journey we share, an expressive art we love, and a place that brought us together.
Happy Thanksgiving..........you have filled my 'cupboard' with so many blessings ....
May we open the doors ...
And share with those who may be in need ...
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
9" x 12"
A quiet pause in the day
Save the scuffles
of leaves under
our feet ....
My sincere appreciaton to Fossibear for allowing me to paint from his incredible work ....!Please stop by to visit his wonderful flickr stream (www.flickr.com/photos/fossibear/)!
Our walk through the park this weekend graced us with a quiteness that we haven't experienced there in a long while. There were no ball games, no soccer games, not too many other walkers... just that rare autumnal hush that seems to quiet time and surround us with a long sigh. Only our feet making their way through leaf litter made any sound ....
Back to work and though a short week for the Thanksgiving holidays, it's been busy with meetings, budgets, planning meetings, and more changes. Somehow the immersion back to the workweek makes a week of art seem ages ago! LOL
We're in for some rain today and tomorrow, but the temperatures have -- including the flowering shrubs -- confused. Last week, we needed winter jackets and mittens; this week, our students are in shorts and flip flops ... and instead of readying for the winter, so many plants are putting out another flush of growth.
I'm having some computer issues at work, making comments and viewing difficult. I hope these will be remedied soon.
Hope your day is wonderful!
Friday, November 18, 2011
9" x 12"
Getting the colors right on my screen for this painting has been a real challenge ... the wonderful reds and yellows in the painting itself seem to make the scanner go crazy!! (Maybe it too loves autumn!! LOL) Nonetheless, my thanks to Fran for the inspiration and the autumn view (http://www.flickr.com/photos/fahansen/6336108819/in/photostream) -- her photograph that literally had me YEARNING to join her for a walk in these woodlands! Blessings and thanks once more, Fran!!!
Our workshop has been a blend of demonstrations and painting with critiques ...an interesting way of learning. Each of us choose our own images and we were encouraged to have Freeman critique and assist. I've had a good amount of time to paint, which has been a blessing in itself...and I've throughly enjoyed the week. Like most things, I truly hate to see it end!
The rain is behind us, but oh my, my woodlands no longer look like this painting. Bare trees are ever more visible, and the leaf litter at my feet is inches high. Temps are supposed to climb a bit this weekend -- another tease of fall ...but the loss of color in the landscape is more prediction of winter.
Hope your day is great!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
9" x 12"
A Moment of Magnificence - inspired by Fran's fabulous photograph (www.flickr.com/photos/fahansen/6333363505/in/photostream) ... please stop by her flickr stream to see some wonderful, wonderful photos! THANK YOU Fran for the inspiration!!
My watercolor classes are going well - it's always interesting to see how different folks approach a painting ...! I LOVE Freeman's work (fbeardart.com/) - he makes it look so simple! LOL We've painted snow (will post soon), and yesterday we watched him paint a waterfall ...last, he'll demonstrate painting fall scenes. We paint today and I have a photo of mine that I'd like to attempt -- fingers crossed.
The weather's turned cold ... and we've had some good rain. With each bluster of the wind, more and more leaves fall ... and I am startled each time I look up to see so many branches losing their cloak of color ....
I can hardly believe that the holidays are upon us .. and with each advertisement, I'm beginning to panic to get some holiday shopping done.
I want to linger - longer still - in the remaining colors of fall ....
I so LOVE this season!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
9" x 12"
A special thank you to my dear friend Nancy Rose, whose incredible photography inspired this painting. Please check out her photostream ! Most amazing work! www.flickr.com/photos/nancyandwayne/6309202927/in/photost...
This image of Nancy's so reminds me of North Carolina - though she lives miles and miles north of me. There's a wonderful bond among flicker-ites I think - when they share places of home or of things they love. There's a kind of resonance that speaks louder than words that melts the miles and makes the world a bit smaller. Thank you, Nancy, for this part of your world that can now be so much a part of mine.
The workshop went well yesterday - we had a demonstration and -- homework! This part of the week we're focused on snow -- and though we get only a few days of it during the year, it's such a special time for us when the while fluff doth fall. So today we return with our value sketches and we'll paint. It's a small group of ten women - most of us know a few of the others, so already there's some instant camaraderie. Some are beginning their painting journey, others are looking to try something different, still others are there to learn how to make improvements to their work. It's a good group.
Temperatures are in the 60s and 70sF again - seems so fickle and a bit of a challenge to imagine bare trees and blankets of white. I've pulled out some of my photographs from last winter and know in my soul that those cold, icy days aren't too far away.
Still, lingering on the porch in only a sweater was an absolute delight -- one more day without bundling up and having the heater run.
Hope you have a day of sunshine and creativity. And thank you for your most kind comments and invitations. They are most sincerely appreciated!
Monday, November 14, 2011
9" X 12"
Despite the cold and frosty nights, these purple pansies are still peeking out from the leaf litter and adding a violet element to all the fall golds and reds. What I love most about pansies is not only their bright colors, but mercy, are they ever hardy! I planted these in early summer - and they've survived drought, torando, hurricane, hard, pounding rain, and now the first bit of frost. They won't last much longer -- but their seeds will be strewn wily nily around the property, and I'll probably find some of these purple pretties in the lawn, across to the vegetable beds, and hopefully, in other spots in my 'wild' flower garden. Whatever, it will be a marvelous surprise!
Today I begin my weeklong classes with Freeman Beard (fbeardart.com/). I'm looking forward to this week of art immersion as well as looking at landscapes with a 'new' eye. It should be fun -
Temps this week are on the rise again, teasing us once more with the last sighs of fall. Leaves are drying now, so when the wind blows, there's a wonderful rustling melody to the ear. Underfoot, the drying leaves have a definite CRUNCH, and in the mornings, wood smoke evokes feelings of warmth and coziness.
There is so much sensuosity to this season ... tart apples, brilliant leaves, wood smoke, crunching foliage, the nip of frost ....
And always, the fleeting nature of it all ...
Catch it while we can!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
9" x 12"
This painting was done for a workshop I'll be taking next week with Freeman Beard (http://fbeardart.com/). I"m looking forward to the workshop and working with landscapes for an entire week! After the last busy four months and the busy weeks that will follow, this weeklong respite and focus on art will be, I hope, most restorative for me and reenergize my creative side.
This painting is from a photo Freeman took while in Asheville, NC. His image was from the summer, and I wanted to focus a bit on the colorful season of fall.
As I look out my window this morning, those magnificent vertical boles of woodland trees are becoming more and more evident. Their splendid gowns of burgundy and gold now lie at their feet as if the trees were too tired to hang their dresses after the fun of the autumn ball.
When I fed the kitties this morning, there was ice in their bowl, and in my garden frost rimes the verbena. There are a few roses still struggling through the growing cold, and next week, our temps will tease us with yet again with warm breath....but the earth has made its annual turn, and autumn will soon slumber for another year.
In the stores, we are reminded that Christmas is less than 8 weeks away ...and like the roses, I am reluctant to see the end of autumn's splendor. I suppose that is the melancholy of fall - its short-lived, vibrant celebration of spring and summer's work, and the magnificent display of its harvest joy.
Still, like all creatures and Nature herself, winter is the time for rest, recuperation, the rebuilding of energy for another year. It too has its beauty ...but I have never been easy with goodbyes ....not even to seasons.
Today I hope to return to the art table and hopefully I'll find my muse patiently waiting for me. The busyness of the last months has made painting - and getting into that glorious 'flow' of the process - mighty challenging. Perhaps today, she'll whisper in my ear, and sit on my shoulder, and linger a while ...
Hope she joins you too! Have a great weekend!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
9" x 12"
Tis the season for these luscious orbs -- and after last night's class on fruit trees and berries -- I'm ready to plant even more! Here in North Carolina, muscadine grapes grow naturally - and many varieties are not only coming to market for the table, but even more are being grown for our expanding wine industry.
This morning our volunteers will harvest the cole crops we planted eight weeks ago -- brussel sprouts, lettuce, cabbage, turnips, carrots, mustards, collards ...we've been using 'floating row' covers - soft, woven netting that covers the plants - keeping out insects and also keeping the plants a bit warmer than the surrounding air. This method has worked well for us to help avoid insecticide use and also extended the season.
The last bit of warm days this week tease us like a lingering caress ...morning's chill reminds me that the sharp pangs of winter are on their way. Winds are rising and the beautiful kaleidescopic colors are quickly undressing the trees and returning to them in the form of next year's nutrition.
Let's savor this last bit of fall ...it won't be around for long.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Rico Montenegro, Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Me, a photo by linfrye on Flickr.
What a glorious, spectacular, incredible day yesterday! Seventy-eight people showed up for the celebration, and more than half remained to plant our 43 fruit trees!
The day was warm, sunshiney, and filled with fall color all adding to the celebration! The media was there, dignitaries, and volunteers, all enjoying the day and the time outdoors.
The project was an award from Dreyer's (Edy's Fruit Bars) and the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. We were one of 20 projects awarded fruit tree orchards this year. Folks from the granting agencies worked with us to secure the trees, our staff and students worked to prepare the grounds, and everyone from hortictulure students from JCC and another college, to Plant a Row for the Hungry volunteers, staff and friends all dug, planted, mulched and installed irrigation to the trees. At the end of the day, Rico gave us a fruit tree lecture - and tonight, we will learn more about those trees and berries that grow well in North Carolina.
Of course, we all were refreshed with Edy's fruit bars -- perfect for the 75 degree weather -- and fresh apples!
It's been a busy,busy time -- but in a few years, those trees will bear the fruits that will go to the hungry in our community - and extend this amazing gift.
rom Left to right:
David Johnson, JCC President
Denise Holder, VP, SGA Association
Rico Montenegro, Fruit Tree Planting Foundation
Michael Cross, VP, Administrative Services
Jordan Astoske, Arboretum Gardener
Butch Culbreth, PAR Volunteer
Minda Daughtry, Arboretum Assistant
Lin Frye -- ME
Hank Daniels, JCC Board of Trustee
Lynn Auston, JCC Board of Trustee Chair
Planting the first tree - our native persimmon, Diospyros virginiana
Sunday, November 06, 2011
9" x 12"
The Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) is a native of Asia, growing up to 30 feet and when mature, equally wide. With compound leaves that at this season are a marvelous gold, the tree has a 'lacy' appearance. One of the most striking things about the tree is its fall production of showy yellow flowers followed by these multi-hued, long clusters of seed pots. When I saw this tree last month at Montrose Gardens, the pods were this incredible pink/tan,blue/green/brown ... not as bright, perhaps, as this painting shows in the scan, but with all those colors that just took made me gasp! Over time, the papery pods turn brown and cover a three-compartment, bladder-like structure full of seeds.As the pod dries, the compartment splits and each rolls back to reveal the seeds inside. In warm climates, this abundant seed-maker can become quite invasive. where the shorter growing season prevents formation of seed. The tree is used as a marvelous ornamental landscape additon.
I'm finding it difficult to drive this week - the colors of the leaves seemed to be just at their peek, and I'm constantly staring at their display! My head keeps turning from one vista to another and I can't seem to take in enough of the magnificence of it all!
Our weekend has been mighty cold - but there's another warm front coming in for the next few days .... teasing us into thinking winter will be delayed..... (we DO know better! LOL).
BTW, did you remember to set your clocks back an hour last night to standard time?
Hope your day is filled with the colors of autumn!
Saturday, November 05, 2011
9" x 12"
Fall weather has claimed almost all my flowers - but a few, especially those closest to the house and somewhat protected by south facing walls - still rally on a bit longer. My cinnamon basil is chock-full of seeds arranged in spires of rich purple that stand tall against leaves turning a fading yellow with smudges of purple. Once basil has bloomed, the energy of the plant goes into producing and protecting the next generation, thus,the leaves haven't the same rich flavor as they did in the summer. Still, those seedheads make a wonderful dried arrangement - as well as stores for next year's crop.
I was honored to be interviewed by Leslie Panfil from Hubpages:
She also did an interview earlier with another flickr friend, Bev Morgan:
Take a look if you get a chance.
Our orchard planting is coming along. The holes have been dug, trees and irrigation supplies received, invitations sent .... Tuesday's the big day so our fingers are crossed for good weather.
Here in the US we change our clocks tonight - turning them back one hour to 'standard time' - which will give us more daylight in the morning hours (good especially for school children waiting on street corners for school buses) - but will mean early evening darkness - Hard to believe how swiftly time is flying...
Charles has a performance today at one of our local craft shows so I'll take some photos for his blog and see what's new at the show - especially with the holidays around the corner.
Hope your day is great!
Thursday, November 03, 2011
9" x 12"
My heartfelt thanks to Nancy Rose whose magnificent images of fall inspired this painting. Please see Nancy's exquisite photos (www.flickr.com/photos/nancyandwayne/). Thank you so much, Nancy!
Our colors are still mighty bright - and though our evening temperatures are in the 30s and 40sF - our days are incredible warm and can range from 50s to mid 70s! While it's wonderful to walk in warm temperatures, it sure makes clothes layering a major necessity! LOL
Orchard preparations continue, and now we wait for our trees to arrive. Today we work on tidying up the rest of the gardens, organize the day, and work on the kitchen garden.
The cisterns we've also won are due to arrive any day. We will be collecting over 5,000 gallons of water from our greenhouse roofs ... and this water will go right to the orchard.
Should be another wonderful sunny day before rain returns tomorrow ... Hope your day is great!
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
9" x 12"
A special thanks to my dear friend Ernesto for allowing me to use one of his incredible photographs for this work. Please check out his wonderfully inspiring photostream - http://www.flickr.com/photos/vilageron/ .
The cold has arrived - and after our bout of rain yesterday, the leaves are falling fast from the trees. Walking from my house to the mailbox is like walking in colorful litter -- only a bit crunchier! LOL
It'll be a super busy week as we prepare our grounds and celebrations for orchard planting next week -- it's exciting to think that we'll soon have over 40 fruit trees in the ground - and after a few years - delicious fruit to share! Each time I eat an apple, I'll be dreaming of these trees!
Hope your day is magnificent!
Monday, October 31, 2011
Oh the tree color! After a quick trip to visit family - and yes, more plane delays - 12 hours to ARRIVE to see my family -- one glorious fall day -- followed by rain and SNOW!!! -- we were able to return home to autumnal bliss with trees and landscapes a kaleidescope of golds, magentas, reds, oranges, yellows --- and the fields - that autumn ochre that sets off such vivid colors!
It was such a joy to finally visit with my family after such a fiasco in August. And our start to New York this time with three hour delays at our local airport and even more delays in New York - all seemed to be a repeat of the summer trip attempt. But we prevailed -- and our time together, though short, was incredibly wonderful. But travel lately just isn't the pleasure it used to be - nor the luxury. I suppose the next time we take off for a family visit, we'll steel ourselves for a long, challenging trip - and hope to be pleasantly surprised if and when it turns out to be as easy as it was returning home! LOL
Today is halloween - time for little goblins to play 'trick or treat,' visit their neighbors and collect treats of candy and the like. Living in such a rural community as we do, we have very few little visitors ... but I see them at the shopping centers, church parties, day care parties and the like... all dressed in costumes to frighten or delight.
It's a catch-up day for me - a bit of work from home, repacking for a busy week ahead preparing for the orchard planting and the cisterns that are en route, and a few more workshops...
We're expecting a bit of rain and cooler temps ...and with halloween ... the beginning of holiday preparations as well.
Have a marvelously SPOOOOKKKKYYYY DAY!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
This fall view is a bit lighter in real life than on my screen this morning - but the bright colors are definitely what I see around me. Fall color - is just about at its peak in piedmont North Carolina.
Our trip yesterday went beautifully well - a gloriously warm day, beautiful colors, historic buildings, jaw-dropping, unique trees to marvel and purchase, a terrific lunch --- really a nice way to end the tour season just as our temps change to winter-chilly and rain.
I'll be off line for several days...and will catch up as I can ...
Hope your weekend is filled with sun and color!!
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
9" x 12"
I FINALLY got a chance to paint my OWN challenge! LOL (http://www.flickr.com/groups/watercolouristpwl/discuss/72157627675865521/). These hibiscus were spotted on a recent visit to Montrose Gardens. My own hibiscus are long gone, but several weeks ago, these pretties were gracing the incredible historic garden in HIllsborough, NC - along with salvias, caster beans, lycoris, helianthus and rudbeckias. The gardens today are wearing their fall wardrobe - and while the blossoms have faded, leaves and berries have taken center stage ....
We're off on another tour - one of the last for our season .... and probably one of the last warm days. Winter is nipping at our mornings, warning us of its coming arrival....
Hope your day is grand!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
9" x 12"
The winds seem to intensify this time of year, taking the colorful leaves on a final, rolicking adventure. As we walk, they fall around us, reminding me of large, bright snowflakes. They collect at our feet, on the shrubs, along the roadsides. On the paths, feet crumble these drying bits of autumn, and over time, the nutrients locked within their mighty cells, will go to feed the next generation of foliage. Amazing!
We continue our preparations for the orchard and celebration as well as a few remaining workshops. Right now, we're collecting berries, nuts, cones for our wreath making class in December. Tomorrow we venture through nature as we visit a state park to view the historic buildings and a nursery that has amassed a collection of unique trees. The weather should cooperate, and the travel to these sites a beautiful kaleidoscope of fall hues.
Hope your day is filled with autumn magic!