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. 

Tropical Patterns 

Day 8/31 – #WorldWatercolorMonth

Today’s post is about Patterns. At the US Botanic Gardens the tropical plants all around were luscious and very green. Only a few had blooms on them, but that didn’t really matter because the leaves were large, some of them even a 2-3 feet long and a foot wide and heavily patterned. Meandering through the pathways you didn’t really distinguish each leaf individually because the stripes and the colors just seemed to merge and flow into one another forming intricate patterns of yellows and greens in all shades. This is just one pattern that stood out and it happened to have a calyx adding an extra pop of color. 

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…

Playing with Purples 

Everywhere you look out side, everything is covered in white. Three days of snow and ice storms, three days of painting snowy wintery scenes, and I needed color in my life! My  blue orchids are blooming indoors, and on this cold winter day they bring such brightness and color to the indoors. At present these orchid and the winter jasmine outside my window are all that’s blooming around here. So I’ve been playing around with purples and blues. Here are some different version of blue orchids and my play with purples…

And then without the oranges…

And now that I’ve got my color fix and used up a lot of my purples, I can go back to painting snow again! I’ll post my winter scenes in my next post.

Happy Year of the Fire Rooster!

Happy New Year to you all. Based on the Chinese calendar, 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. “The Chinese people say that this year people will be more polite and less stubborn, but they will have the tendency to complicate things.” Hmmmm, I wonder if this was written with anyone particular in mind!

“As they see it, the year 2017 is a year dominated by the orientation towards progress, honor and maximum integrity, people learning to temper their ardor.” Again, I’m wondering if would apply to the leaders of certain countries I have in mind…just saying!

Nevertheless, not to get too political here, I thought I’d honor the rooster today, the first day of 2017. Now, I love painting birds, but for reasons unclear to me, I’ve never really had an interest in roosters. I’ve seen them on farms and often enough while at a pumpkin or fall festival I’ve had a chance to see some quite gorgeous plumage on these birds, and yet I’ve never really sketched one. So today I got started on one, and it turned out alright…for a first try!

I did give it a second try, aiming for more texture…

Having stuck with the same color scheme the second time, although not intentional, I thought I’d go a bit quieter for the third try.