Wildflowers on the Meadows

Im still awaiting the arrival of the Monarchs, the Swallowtails, the Orange Sulfurs, Cabbage Whites, and the list goes on and on… Each year we see more species of butterflies on the Meadows Gardens at Longwood. As the meadow matures and the wildflowers multiply and spread, the wildlife here has abundantly exploded! And along with the butterflies and bees, so have the birds and other wildlife. You are more likely to spot several species of bird without even looking for them. Or hear the bull frog in the pond below, and occasionally if it’s  real quiet you’ll spot the Great Blue motionless on the Hour Glass lake patiently awaiting his supper to arrive. The songbirds serenade you as you walk along on the winding pathways and quite oblivious to your presence. A walk in the meadows is no longer just a walk, it’s a passage through time. Although it might appear to the novice that these meadows just magically stay alive there’s a silent crew of gardeners and specialists that tend to it to keep it healthy and going strong! A big shout out to these great people hard at work who make our lives just a little bit richer. 

Looking up from down hill

Day 13/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

The heat and humid of the past few weeks with intermittent thunderstorms every two to three days surely says it’s summer. That being said, the usual summer blooms on the meadow garden are a bit late and just putting out color. The  rudbeckia, coreopsis and a few culver’s root are out but generally there’s a lot more than yellow and white – there are purples, pinks and mauves, reds and oranges of the allium, Joe Pye Weed, milkweed, aster, sedge, fern, turtlehead, sunflower, goldenrod, verbena, monarda, penstemon, mountain mint, ironweed, and more, dispersed through the hillside on the meadow gardens by now. Still I’ll settle for some color any color on a hot sultry day like this. 

Brandywine Valley in brights!

Day 12 /31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth 

On the way back from the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum, I stopped for a really quick sketch of the lovely Brandywine Valley as seen on a partly cloudy day! The stunning sketches and paintings of Wyeth were still swirling in my head, and I was in the mood for a landscape. Although Wyeth used a much subdued palette for his landscapes, And subjects, I was in the mood for colors with a punch! What I wanted to capture was really the atmosphere rather than recreate the actual scene. To that effect I condensed the perspective a bit and tried to convey the mood that it represented to me as the sun sulked in and out of the stormy clouds casting a shadow sometimes and then taking it away…

Snow on the Meadows

I love to go for long walks whenever I can and I always bring my sketchbook along for that quick capture of a scene or a mood that strikes without warning. Walking in the meadows at Longwood Gardens after a snowfall takes on a whole new meaning. The blue and purple hues of the distant wintry horizon, the soft fluffs of snow clinging to the seed heads, the dry grass that once stood upright now bent over weighed down by the icy snow clumps, the melting snow frozen in dripping icicles on the twigs and shrubs that catch the sunlight and scatter it into flashes of rainbow colors, the crunch of the frozen snow beneath you feet, and that smell of the frigid air that surrounds you, all make for an atmospheric experience that words fail to describe in full. Here’s my pictorial description in purples…

and here’s another one in moody blues…

Sketchwalking in the Meadows

My favorite place to sketchwalk is in the meadows at Longwood gardens. Since the meadows expansion project, the trails and pathways now meander through the meadows and the views from each vantage point are spectacular any time of the year. My favorite view is from this one spot where I can see the Webb Farmhouse across the undulating landscape. I tend to be biased and sketch from this vantage point more often. Although there are other views that I’ve sketched, this one always gets my attention. In my last post I’d shown you its summer glory. Today’s post has the fall colors of the meadows.

There is so much color in the fall with all the greens now darker and the seedheads and pods taking on various shades of browns and purples and grays. The skies in the fall have their own stories to tell in color too, but I kept the sky muted in this sketch, as I thought it would be too much and detract from the main theme. What do you think? Comments welcome.

Still working on creating texture

I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but trying to create texture in watercolor has been a journey for me thus far… I’ve built up quite a stack of experimental washes, not always with a subject in mind, just allowing the paint to flow and seeing where it leads me, but always keeping in mine my aim to develop textures of all sorts in the making! Sometimes subjects emerge and I follow through and sometimes they’re just an abstract outcome. Below are just two of my stacks that will end up as bound sketchbooks. img_5068

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It has been such a satisfying experience that I’m still continuing with this process, but I thought I’d post a few of the final results too.

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This is a view of the farm on the meadows at Longwood Gardens in summer. I used a quick 5 minute sketch I did while sketchwalking there in summmer as my reference for the above painting. Below is the 5 minute reference sketch I did while walking…quite a difference in textures between the two …don’t you think.

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