Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Just Glorious!

A trip to Brookfield Zoo and the butterfly conservatory was a great way to spend this beautiful day. Since our word of the week is intense I thought this photo captured it the best. Could the colors jump out at you more? I don't think so. It almost looks airbrushed but trust me, the camera did all the work. I just love the brightly colored hues and find them very inspiring. Can you imagine doing this piece 16x20 or even 24x48? WOW, would that make a dramatic statement or what? I can guarantee it would start many conversations and probably have you painting quite a lot for family and friends. Not bad for spending the day watching butterflies sway with the gentle breeze amongst the flowers.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vivaciously Lime

Some Thesaurus words for intense - acute, agonizing, ardent, burning, concentrated, consuming, deep, diligent, earnest, energetic, exaggerated, excessive, extreme, fanatical, fierce, forcible, great, marked, piercing, powerful, sharp, shrill, strong, supreme, violent, vivid, zealous.

For me, the only words to describe this spider mum is piercingly vivid. The main reason is because of its wonderfully dramatic lime green color - who knew this hue could be found naturally? Nature offers many colorful feasts for our eyes, you just have to be willing to see them. Awareness is the first step. Look around and take pleasure in your surroundings, you might be pleasantly surprised by your findings!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Word - Intense

The word for this week is intense.

The adjective meaning: existing in an extreme degree; marked by great zeal, energy, or eagerness, showing strong feeling.

This exotic flower was part of a centerpiece and I just loved the energy it puts forth making it a perfect example for intense. Does it command your attention or what? I know! It is just a flower but the composition and the striking position just demands that you look at it. Wonderful I think. By focusing your awareness to something so normal and turning it into something so captivating is what art is all about for me. Enjoy, appreciate and experience the world around you. After all, it is our artistic perspective that gives an everyday object a new life!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Artistic Thoughts Anyone?

I found this great sentence in Art Quilting Studio and wanted to share it with all of you..."for you, and the Starry Canopy". What kind of visions come into your head? Of course mine is thinking about the huge moon we saw last night tinted the most glorious yellow orange - sorry I don't have that photo to share with you. Instead this is one of my favorite stamps and to me it evokes a daVinci kind of quality. She seems to be quite in thought, maybe dreaming about last nights secretive interlude.

Today I looked towards the sky to see what wonders awaited me and I was pleasantly surprised by the great blue heron flying overhead. Upon further inspection the gently breeze was also helping the treetops sway from side to side creating a great fluid movement of the most luscious greens in just about every value possible.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sweet Peas

Sweet peas, what can I say about these brightly hued magenta blooms the size of half dollars except WOW! I love them because they start on a small climbing vine and blossom all summer long. We have them everywhere almost as a weed, but what a colorful weed it is. We have them in many different places in the lily bed, the peony bed and last year we set up a little area just for them. It's an elongated oval that have two climbing fences for them to go up about 5 feet and although weedy looking, I love their long leaves and spindly quality. After the bloom comes a long, thin pod filled with seeds - how cool, right?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Commanding Coral

Talk about a perfect example for fluidity - here it is. I just love the flow each three petals form. Did you notice the front petals are much wider than the back ones? The combination gives it such a wonderfully full shape that to sketch it out you would start with a simple circle. Add the interesting stripes on each petal and you have quite an intiguing piece. Did you happen to notice that the wider front petals have a smaller stripe? I know - how great is that! Mother Nature at work once again, she is truly gifted. I wanted to keep the brighter flower in the shot so you could appreciate the length of the main stamen, amazing isn't it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yummy Yucca

I love the yucca plant. From the strikingly pointed leaves that have wonderful little fibers that curl off of them to the giant stalk of flowers that shoot up in the summer heat. I captured these after a light afternoon rain and found the bloom shape mixed with the touch of sparkling water just too much to resist. I want to do a botanical rendering of this glorious specimen but can't figure out how to do the whole plant plus its moth without it looking to sparse. I'll let it percolate for while longer, maybe something will start to form for the design.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Splash of Green

Some Thesaurus words for "fluidity" - adjustable, aqueous, changeful, flexible, flowing, fluctuating, juicy, malleable, mercurial, mobile, mutable, running, shifting, unsettled, watery, variable.

I love to take photos after a rain because it makes me look for anything that the waterdrops are showing up on. This single leaf contains so many drops that I couldn't count them all but knew it was a great study in light and shadow. I am very intrigued by the tiny droplets than the larger ones because they are just so small and seem to be clustered together more. I would have also put drops everywhere but liked to see the negative spaces clear of water. I don't know why they aren't there but it sure makes the leaf a little more interesting doesn't it? I hope you are looking for watery subjects, I know my weather has been supporting this word for a couple of weeks now. Let me know if you stumble upon something fantastic to share. I'll be waiting...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Word - Fluidity

The word for this week is fluidity.

Its adjective meaning: capable of flowing; subject to change or movement; showing a smooth easy style; available for a different use.

This luscious lily represents fluidity for me in the way it moves. Not only does the wind cause a gentle shift to the little grouping of these lilies with each and every breeze. The water from this mornings rain also showcases its smooth style creating a movement of its own as it runs down each curling petal. I think it is also relevant in the color change that occurs as the light goes towards the center of the flower, isn't it lovely? I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Saturated Sunshine

It was a hot and muggy day for yard work today but mowing doesn't wait for anyone. I couldn't help but notice all the wonderfully colorful flowers blooming throughout the yard and wanted the share these extremely bright beauties with all of you today. Their intense and saturated color just couldn't go unnoticed even as I whipped by them hanging on to the mower with both hands. I hope you are taking the time to appreciate all the wonders of the garden. I love the richness of the green on the top bud, it just seems to cool down the photo so much - maybe that's what I needed today so that's where my mind is going. I survived the mowing this weekend, wish me luck for the next, it's suppose to be in the high nineties AAGH!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

While out for my morning walk with Captain Jack and Princess Sophie I spotted this little jewel in the grass. I just loved the large round bowl shape with the textured edge. It was only 2" in diameter but the sun was catching it just right to grab my attention. It reminds me of a cookie with sides that have been rolled in small pieces of walnuts - yum. Of course it would have to have a wonderful filling to make it extraordinary too. Does anyone have a recipe for that?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Orange Abstraction

These bright orange beauties are near our porch so anyone who enters will see them. They are hard to miss with their intense color add the interesting shadows and I couldn't help but photograph them. I cropped this one tightly around the bloom to show you all the values inside the flower. Aren't the shadows wonderfully intriguing? I could do a lot with this one. I would like to crop it even tighter around the center stamen to give it an abstract feel. Hold your fingers up to the screen, see how it changes its appearance? Neat, huh! Of course I would have to leave the interesting shadows on the lower petals as part of the abstraction because I just love them. I hardly ever use a photo exactly like it is, move your cropping around until you get something a little more spectacular.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NOLA Statuary

I was so inspired by the statuary everywhere in New Orleans. It seems like you couldn't go a couple houses without seeing another beautiful creation. This one was in the middle of the French Quarters across from the cathedral I shared with you in yesterdays post. The glorious goddesses holding up the roof just captured my attention while looking at the courtyard through some very tall shrubs. I just loved the color, the texture and the formality of it, don't you?

I hope you have enjoyed my inspirational tour of New Orleans. I promise if you ever do get the time to visit, you will already have a head start on this secret little garden of eden. Be inspired, eat benignets for breakfast, lunch and dinner - after all, they are just dough filled with air lightly sprinkled with powered sugar served in the most creative atmosphere I've ever experienced.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NOLA Architecture

Architecture to me evokes such a sense of history that I really miss it in today's building. In New Orleans the architecture is so full of ornate carvings, mile high pillars, decorative iron and just everything they could think of to carve or put in a nook that I found myself constantly looking toward the sky. I share a love of the detail of architecture and wanted to know the history of everything while walking around. The wonderful churches, cemeteries and historical buildings kept my mind busy for a very long time. Here's one I would like to share with you to help you understand the emotion I felt while discovering the French Quarter - breathtaking isn't it? The dramatic sky was just the icing on the cake for this cathedral to look so intriguing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

NOLA Shutters

While being driven around by the wonderful Miss Sylvia, the New Orleans Chapter's hostess, I couldn't help but notice shutters of all sizes and shapes. They were quite intriguing since I have never seen them showcased in such a range of wonderful colors. There were various shades of red, orange, green, aquas and neutrals. I can almost bet you could find of every tone on a color wheel, after all it is a town full of eccentric artists. In fact, one was more fabulous than the other and I was so taken by their beautiful hues that I forgot to take pictures duh!

Here's one I just adore because of the off kilter shutter blades. Picture four in a row on this house front and you will get the idea of just how amazing the whole French Quarter was. Add cast or wrought iron railings, the intoxicating scent of flowers, a touch of jazz music filling the air and a steamy bit of humidity - yep, you are now in New Orleans!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Orleans

I taught a seminar this past weekend in New Orleans and have to say I just loved it there. Me and the French Quarter shared something special - a spirited and powerful energy filled with artistic passions of music, painting, architecture and food - WOW! If you have never been, I suggest you book the trip tomorrow because it is a one of a kind locale you should visit at least once in your lifetime. If I could have a second home anywhere, put me in the French Quarter.

This lovely aqua door was one of my favorite photos and I can't wait to put it in a colored pencil piece. My only question is what to dangle from the hole in the bracket? When I figure it out, I'll let you know.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Smile at Sunset

We have several statues in the flower gardens out front and I am just intrigued by the hair. Can you imagine having these locks all tied up with ribbon? It is such an interesting texture to me that I know I will be using it somewhere in my artwork, I just haven't given it enough time to perculate yet. As a one color background it would be such a great starting point, now, what to put on the top in full color...hummmm. I also loved the way the sun was setting behind her making the warm glow appear on her neck and shoulders. She sure looks happy overseeing all of John's lovely lilies, if only she weeded!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cactus, Really?

While out in Phoenix last year I got to take a lot of pictures of various cactus and this one really caught my eye. Isn't it interesting? It reminded me of pine cones but they grew on the ground, just fascinating. This variety is called a spruce cone cactus, no I didn't remember, there just happened to be a sign elsewhere in the photo :)

It's another example of great texture and the shining sun sure makes the structure interesting to look at, doesn't it? I think this would make such a great background texture to show off something wonderfully delicate. Then again, a band of this in the middle of a picture would be quite nice as well. Maybe it could be showcased with a winter theme - some cardinals, a poinsettia, who knows - let your creativity go wild!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Blistering Berries

While taking the puppies around the pond I noticed the mulberry tree starting to fruit. There are such wonderful colors going on from a pale pink to the deep blue black. I can stand for hours just looking at the magnificent colors nature has provided us on just one tree - truly amazing. I also thought this is a great subject matter for texture because of all the bumps of the berry. Don't you just want to reach out and eat a couple? The puppies sure enjoyed the fallen ones!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dewy Web

Some Thesaurus words for "texture" - arrangement, being, character, composition, disposition, essence, feel, fineness, form, grain, intermixture, make, nature, pattern, quality, sense, strategy, structure, surface, taste, touch, warp, web, woof.

I found these words quite interesting since my idea of texture is movement by an additive. I did love the word intermixture and woof definitely peaked my curiosity. By the way, I just had to look it up and "woof" means weft, a woven fabric, its texture. Very interesting and I hope you all learned a new word today. Keep a look out for the ordinary, you never know when you will be surprised by it!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Word - Texture

The word for this week is texture.

Its noun meaning: the visual or tactile surface characteristics and appearance of something; essential part; basic scheme or structure; fabric; overall structure.

I love texture and when designing it is my main component I try to include. It adds such visual stimulation for me and I hope the viewer of my artwork. Imagine a single rose laying on a table, nice but kind of boring. Now, add a piece of lace under it with a couple of folds, getting better but this still life is expected. Add a piece of burlap with the ends all loose and unruly, now you are talking my language. Rough and unexpected next to the soft and prettiness of the rose, perfect combination in my creativity.
The lovely photo is of dew drenched lambs ear. Can you feel as well as see its texture? What would you accompany with this for an interesting piece of art?

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I wanted to share this great photo with you for two reasons. One, the color of the tulip against all that greenery, can you get anything closer to perfection? Two, I wanted to show you how interesting the greenery is. In most renderings the artists usually make everything all straight, perfect and orderly - do you see order here? I love the way the bloom is teetering on a curved stem almost falling over due to the weight of the flower. The striking red and white is just so beautiful to me that I find myself staring at this photo wondering where it was taken.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I was looking through my photos and found this one with the various colored hen eggs. I loved the soft muted shades and subtle differences in their color palette. Wouldn't you just love a basket full of these on your kitchen counter every morning? They are almost too pretty to crack but I'm sure you would get over that quite quick. I also love the shades of the towel laid underneath the eggs. Without meaning to, I've managed to make quite a little still life. Who knew breakfast would be so much fun! This is a great lesson on finding something wonderfully special with something so ordinary - three eggs. Get inspired by the everyday!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ready for Flight?

Here they are a couple days larger and getting ready to leave the nest. I will definitely miss taking their photos but I'm sure the mother robin will be glad to get rid of me and my camera. Until next year when I can guarantee the crazy lady and her puppies will be waiting!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feathered Friends

I just had to share this wonder-fully charming photo of the baby robins all tucked into their nest. They are waiting patiently for their mother to come back with food but also for the crazy photo-grapher to gather her puppies and leave them alone. The nurturing they receive is amazing. I see the parents constantly in the yard looking for food and believe me, with all the bugs, freshly mowed grass and a pond nearby they don't have to go too far. When they aren't foraging, the mother is sitting on the nest looking like she might topple any moment because there isn't much room left for her. It's a bit precarious but it brings me great joy to watch!