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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Moonshine explosion in the alley

I went out early yesterday morning to see if the yarrow that is planted next to our garage in the alley was still looking good enough to paint. The photo below shows the yarrow as they were when I did a quick sketch of them last week. Today, they had been beaten down by the rains of the past few days... and that was before the downpour we got yesterday evening. Three inches or so of rain!
I have grown to love this plant, but I cannot tell you how hard I have tried to remove it from my yard, and I finally gave up. I am glad I did as it now just brings joy to my heart and it makes such a lovely fan to brighten up the alley.

And then I turned around and saw the black raspberries behind me up against our neighbors garage. I ended up picking 3 cups or more of berries. I just recently found out that most raspberry ice cream is made from black raspberries as they have more concentrated flavor. I did my best to inspire my husband to make a batch of ice cream, but he did not take me up on it... This patch of berries planted itself a number of years ago but this is the first year we have had enough to really harvest at any one time. The plant has beautiful baby blue stems but the thorns are know to grab and then hold on to you. I love the way you can see how the berries ripen. From new baby, peach colored, to rosy red, dark red and then black and ready to pick, all on one little cluster. Isn't nature marvelous?
Right next to the black raspberries, there is another beauty that planted  itself. I have not planted sunflowers in years, but we still manage to have them come up and as long as they are out of the garden area, we leave them for the birds and the bees.

On my way back into the house I had to marvel at how large my Anna Belle Hydrangea has grown. I bought this in a one gallon pot many moons ago, and I remember the first year I got 3 flowers, and then the next year, 6, and so on. Sometimes the flower heads on this plant can be the size of a hat, and we have been known to model them! Every year brings fresh surprises in the garden.
 Below is a painting I did a few years ago of this bush. Painted at high noon standing in the shade of our lilacs. Another painting I have been wanting to do. Where does the time go?
Writing this post has made me think I should do a blog with all the paintings I have done just on this little plot in central Denver. Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reflecting on Reflections

Reflection, 18x36, oil on linen; After
I know I have been quiet for awhile. Only because I have not had much to say. I decided to spend the summer reworking and refining those paintings that need it even if at one time I thought them "done." I have found "done" is a relative term when it comes to a painting. I have this painting facing me when I sit at our dining room table, and since I sit there at least 3 times a day, I have had a year or so to look at it. I did not make major changes to it, even though I did repaint pretty much the whole thing.
Just so you don't have to strain your eyes to figure out what is that different to warrant painting it over again...the thing that bothered me the most was the spit of sand that is the darkest near the end of the horizon line. It was too prominent and the water did not flow naturally around it. The beach did not have the cant I wanted so I redid the beach, adding more dark value in the lower left hand corner. That value needed to read as the same value as the distant hills. I am still debating whether that corner is dark enough, but I think the slope of the beach is better. After I redid the sand I lightened the sky and to both, I added texture. My new thing is to not paint so smooth. In the original I wanted it to be more glass like, but now, no. I want it to feel wet not just misty. Last, but certainly not least, I redid the figure. I started at the top and worked down; darkening his head so it doesn't disappear into the mist while the rest of him was with us; lightening his jacket, correcting some drawing along the way; then the reflection had to be touched up too. Comments are always welcome no matter if you agree with me or not!