Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Curious Inspirations

Some Thesaurus words for "wonderment" - amazement, astoundment, awe, bewilderment, curiosity, fascination, marvel, shock, stunner, surprise, wonder.

As you can see these are some pretty amazing words so I wanted my photo to represent them to the fullest way possible. I have a fascination with clocks, nature and anything found outside as you know by my blog photos. Here is my inspiration in front of my desk, complete with a lab instrument holding my favorite subjects - leaves, pods and a twig. Add the curious nature of the mixed medium clock and my wonderment is complete. Enjoy and surround yourself with the objects you love!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Word - Wonderment

The word for this week is wonderment.

Its noun meaning: astonishment, surprise; a cause of or occasion for wonder; curiosity about something.

If you have no idea what is pictured to the right then I hope you are curious about it. It is the fruit of the dogwood. Actually the center of the flower that turns into this bright red globe like sphere of wonderment - yes, that's what the word is all about. I just love these fruits and once they drop the leaves, it gets larger and resembles a nice bumpy heart shape making it only more intriguing. I especially like the direction of the grass in this photo giving the fruit a little more emphasis on its unusual shape, don't you agree?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Phlox Up Close

Another great day and a closer view of both the swallowtail and phlox flower. I love this shot because you can see the butterflies proboscis (tongue) that retrieves the nectar. Can you see the little moisture drops on it? Pretty fascinating isn't it? I love studying about the insects I render and learning all I can. It gives my artwork a little more credibility when you know exactly what is going on with the specimen. Take a closer look the next time you get the chance, mother nature is just captivating!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


It was a gorgeous day here today and the butterflies were all over the place. Our center bed has several butterfly bushes, phlox, a giant rose bush and hibiscus. I was lucky enough to take a couple great photos of this swallowtail. I caught it in motion landing on the phlox and liked the subtle blur of the top wing. Enjoy the day and savor the moments!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vibrant Green

I discovered these chinese lanterns hiding in the flower bed. I caught the sunlight bouncing off their fragile shape and loved how it showcased their compartments. It will eventually turn bright orange then in late fall it will lose all the colorful skin leaving only the vein structure. It is a great plant and so intriguing that I'm glad to know we didn't lose them all. I'll try to get them in their various stages so you can appreciate them as well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Symmetry Up Close

I wanted to give you a close up view of the symmetrical wings of the dragonfly - aren't they just mesmerizing? The way the light bounces and reflects off of the individual compartments in the wings veining is just a dazzling example of nature at her finest. No wonder I'm so captivated by this species.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


We have flower stalks all over the garden this time of year and it seems like no matter where you look, you will also see some kind of dragonfly resting among them. I loved the symmetry of the dark spotted wings against the tall stem. If only it would have cooperated and lined up the body with the stem it could have been symmetrical perfection! I let a little of the coneflower pink seep in at the edges just to add a touch of color. I love the juxtaposition between the dried and still blooming flowers, it gives it such an alive quality even though my focus is on the burnt out section of the garden. I hope you stop to look and I mean really look at what is around you - you never know what you might discover!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Some Thesaurus words for "pod" - capsule, case, covering, hull, husk, sheath, shell, shuck, skin, vessel.

I found the extreme values of this photo captivating. The dark coneflower skeleton against the vibrant green background really makes this pod structure stand out. Notice the way the light hits them and actually gives them a bit of life. That is truly amazing to the artist in me. I also love the colors found in the dark, dried pods - would you have included them in your rendering?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Word - Pod

The word for this week is pod.

Its noun meaning: a dry fruit (as of a pea) that splits open when ripe; an external streamlined compartment (as for a jet engine) on an airplane; a compartment (as for personnel, a power unit, or an instrument) on a ship or craft.

Isn't it interesting the way the pod opens untwisting itself to spill the seeds for next years plant? I just couldn't believe my eyes seeing the beautiful unfurling of the pod, who knew it uncurled itself? I will definitely start paying closer attention to this intriguing vine from now on. I am so glad we moved it to the backyard otherwise I may have missed this breathtaking moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Pod Already?

While walking those 2 year old puppies :) I looked over at the sweet peas and was startled to find pods already. Now don't get me wrong, this is my favorite time of year where the flowers die out and the seed pods begin to form. I find them fascinating and love to watch them plump up and eventually open (see tomorrows post). The elongated shape enhanced by little air holes was just a treat to find so much so that I had to run back to the house, puppies way ahead of me mind you, to get my camera. Now they are used to this since it is almost an everyday occurrence so they usually beat me to the studio to get it. Camera loaded and out we go - the final product you are now viewing. Thank you for coming along for the adventure and I hope it inspired you to take a closer look at your garden!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pumpkin Plant

Another marvel in the agricultural building, a pumpkin plant. I was so captivated by its strong color, the deep violet stem and wonderful shapes that I wish I had paid more attention to what my camera was doing. The brightness is from the flash and it just intensifies the colors and shapes so much that I wish I had some without that bright light. Oh well, it is still totally inspiring that I will be including it somewhere in my artwork. Wouldn't it make a nice background rendered in a monochromatic color scheme? Hummm, that has me thinking...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Garden Garlic

This was one of the many photos I took at the Fair. I love the agricultural building where the vegetables, fruit and flower exhibits are and find a lot of inspiration between its doors. This is a garlic bulb complete with stalk and roots and one I find very intriguing because of all the various texture it offers. Not only does the top stalk start peeling away from the bulb but the tiny curls that are created are just visually stimulating. The bulb paper offers great color, the veining is terrific and the shape is quite unique. My favorite part though, those free formed wiggly roots still attached. I even like the fact that it is tied to the cardboard for stabilization and would include that in whatever I put this in. The roots give you movement, tremendous values and you could have a lot of fun with them. Tint them with the slight violet color you see on the bulb or hide a word in them. Let the viewer discover it and wonder why you put it there. Isn't that what art is all about?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Puppies!

I cannot believe they are now two years old - where does the time fly?
It has been an extreme joy having Captain Jack and Princess Sophie in our house and I can't imagine life without them!
Happy 2nd Birthday sweet puppies!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Trumpet Vine Pods

We had these trumpet vines along the road until a couple of years ago. I loved the intense orange color and the buzz of the hummingbirds but it was just so invasive. Now, had I noticed these interesting pods hanging from it I might have kept a piece. The pods are just starting and get smaller and thinner with age before they open and the seeds fall out. This delightful specimen was at the Fair and I just loved the various colors and shapes it offered me as an artist - vibrant melon flowers, sunny yellow round buds and brilliant chartreuse oblong pods - a summer time color scheme, don't you agree? It reminds me of going to a farmers market and coming home with all this wonderful bounty in the richest, warmest colors. There is just something magical about the season and I hope you are experiencing the same in your area!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let the Sun Shine

The sun setting is a beautiful thing to experience in the garden. It creates wonderfully bright lights and nice dark shadows making picture taking a thing of beauty. I captured this naked lady bloom just before I went in and found it to be breath-taking when going through my photos. Nothing could say let the sun shine more, don't you agree?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Seashells Class

Taught the Seashells on Friday at Hoot. Had about 6 beginners, the rest were experienced. The class did great and we moved along at a wonderful pace. They were able to get the glass finished, about 5 completed seashells and a bit of the raffia. I would say a huge success. The color and composition of this really made it stand out in the class selection room, something I was hoping for - yeah! Now to follow it up with another interesting and intriguing piece, hummmm, what can I do next? I set up the still life so still have the pieces, just have to find a great glass piece. Maybe a bowl, no a pedestal, of some sort. Yep, the pedestal wins, have to go shopping now - darn :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Odonata Class

Taught this class on Thursday at Hoot and had a great time. There were a lot of beginners in the class, 90% I would say. I was thrilled with their progress and skills - they all looked great! The comment I heard the most was listen to all that theory - a good thing I hope! I want to make you understand why you are doing what I am asking so that's why all the theory. I know they learned a lot and when asked if they would do colored pencil again, all YEAHs! Job well done.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Backlit Beauty

The sun setting, taking a turn around the garden, the magnified intensity of the rose of sharon - a photo I must take. The scene was breathtaking because there were dozens of blooms, this is just one of them and I knew you would want to take a peek! I will do this as a piece of art, just not sure which medium will allow me to capture the drama of the scene - any ideas?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giddy Up

I had a couple cooperative dragonflies letting me get close enough to take a couple dozen photos so I wanted to share my favorite. I just love the way it grips the flower head as if riding a stick pony hence my title pun. Their balance intrigues me so much since the body is just so huge compared to the rest of it. These wings caught the light giving the ride just a little more expression. The wings on this dragonfly are dark near the body, white in the middle and clear on the ends. We have a lot of them near the pond and they give me great pleasure watching them cruise back and forth.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hibiscus Hat

I like a lot about this photo especially the way the buds seem to be sitting on the blooms head like a little green bowler hat. It's interesting to me that I didn't even notice that in real life, I was more concerned about the front twig framing the flowers center. The light of the white hibiscus is great for showing all sorts of colors in the shadows. Can you see the green around the center and under the buds, the blue on the front bottom petal not to mention all the wonderful warm and cool greys in each and every ruffle? It would be a great value study of white.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Study of Red

As the sun was setting I couldn't help but notice the interesting shape of the light on these dinner plate hibiscus - amazing isn't it? What a great color study of red this would make. From the intense pink brights to the extreme grape darks, any artist would dream of this range in palette. I even like the dappled foliage in the background making the flowers stand out even more if that is really possible.

Monday, August 9, 2010


This little bit of perfection just happened to be blooming as I went by with my camera. It's small but oh so lovely, don't you agree? The color is just awesome and notice how it gets more intense and vibrant towards the center. I also love the color of the leaves since it is khaki green that I am drawn to. I'm sure this will end up in my colored pencil designs since the center is so perfectly swirled.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shadow and Light

Another glorious view enhanced by the dancing light on the flowers. I find the values exciting and they do create a certain mood, wouldn't you agree? I cropped the buckeye to the left to showcase the individual blossoms and the detail that is revealed in them. It adds to the mood and creates an alluring moment in time for me as an artist. I can see this in color pencil rendered 20x16 so that it captures the intensity I feel for the subject. I hope you stand still long enough to appreciate the wonderment nature has created for you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Little Buckeye

This little buckeye butterfly posed perfectly for me while enjoying a bite. It's on a tardiva bush and let me tell you this plant blooms all summer long into fall. The flowers are huge, at least a foot tall, the bush is circular in shape but it does take up the space. And the fragrance - wow is all I can say. When the humidity is heavy, the air is just filled with a touch of sweet perfume. If you have space, I would suggest you put one in just so you can enjoy the insects that come to the blossoms. I have counted at least 8 different butterflies not to mention the dragonflies, bees and beetles that seem to enjoy them as well. I imagine the various moths of the evening also take part in their bounty.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Together Now Ladies!

I wanted to share the royal stateliness of this bloom with you all in this photo. They are just so beautiful and stand tall no matter how much rain and wind hit them. Of course, ours are surrounded by butterfly bushes and couldn't fall down if they wanted because there just isn't room. I enjoy waiting for these lovelies to come up in the garden all year long because they have such a mysterious quality to them. Not only are they tall, have an opalescent color but the aroma is soft and delicate - it is no wonder the butterflies and bees can't get enough of them.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Resurrection Lilies

These resurrection lilies or as my husband calls them, naked ladies, come up this time of year without any greenery. The leaves come up in the springtime and one day in August these lovely, delicate flowers just show up all prim and proper. We have a lot of them and this year they are about 36" tall and full of wonderful color and mystery. They form a circle of blooms shared by one elegant, long stem. You'll see more of them in tomorrows post. I just loved the light and dark combined on the bloom, it makes it so captivating don't you think?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hibiscus Buds

Some Thesaurus words for "security" - armor, assurance, calm, care, certainty, collateral, contract, cover, ease, freedom, immunity, positiveness, precaution, redemption, safekeeping, sanctuary, shelter, soundness, token, ward, warrant.

I chose this photo because of the intriguing buds that serve as an armor to the beautiful blossom. I also love the darker buds because of the dappled light coming from the holes in the leaf above them. It adds the kind of interest I look for in a subject. I wouldn't think twice about doing this cropped rendition. It stirs up my creative juices so much, I might just have to paint it. Now, what can I put with it, that is the question to ponder for a while longer.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Word - Security

The word for this week is security.

Its noun meaning: safety; freedom from worry; something given as pledge of payment, bond or stock certificates; protection.
I loved this picture because of the safety the balloon flower is giving the phlox. The colors are intense, vibrant and beautiful creating a wonderfully exciting palette. The pods in the background I just had to leave in for the interesting shape and bright celadon color. The composition of the photo is dramatic in a way that you wouldn't really expect. I should say that I haven't seen one yet and I look at a lot of books about artists, design and inspiration. Be free, leave your security blanket behind and embrace the unusual!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Painted Rose Hips

I can't believe it but I have finally finished my painting WHEW! I can honestly say it even looks like me and my artwork, not a small feat you know. It is on a long, tall bread board from JB Wood and screamed for some kind of nature to be put on it so here is it, the final look.

I found the skeleton leaf in the yard yesterday and knew it would be a perfect addition to my little trompe l'oeil piece. The decoupaged quote says "In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous" by Aristotle. I like adding that special something to draw the viewer in for a closer look and this will definitely do it. The rose hips are from a colored pencil piece I did years ago but felt if would add vibrancy and interest in its square format. The hanging pencil was added for depth, a touch of yellow and the vertical element. I think it brings a lot to the final piece.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Paint in Progress

I cannot believe that I haven't painted since October, 2009 - yikes! I've been a little hesitate to pick up the brush again but with the help of my friends I finally did it. I got past the angry little brush faces taunting me, the stunned silence of the paint bottles watching my every move and the hidden water bucket just waiting to be found. It took all my courage to start but I'm thrilled to say here it is, the start of an actual painting project YAHOO! Thanks girls!!