Monday, July 21, 2014

Time for flowers!

Dahlia, Fountain Grass and Lime Potato Vine.  (Purple
Million Bells in the pot next to it.)

Here are some beauties from my garden this year!  It was a great year for my Peonies, Hydrangea, Nasturtium and Clematis!  They did better than ever this year!  We're finally getting a break from the "hovering-around-100" stuff we were getting, so maybe I'll get out there and get rid of that awful ryegrass that gets in my beds!!  And, the crab-grass and the blackberries and..... ugh.... I do love living in a place where plants grow with wild abandon, but that means that *weeds* grow with wild abandon, too!!  Barkdust is a flower-gardener's friend!!  But, I've gone too many years without replenishing it.  I have to get these beds weeded and then lay down more BD this fall!  If a weed seeds itself in there, you can just pluck it right out!  And, it really keeps weeds *out*, for the most part.  Plus, it just makes the beds look so nice.  Hopefully, you can get the kind that I can get, locally - the Hemlock barkdust.  It's "splinter-free"; not 100%, but way better than the other types.

Crososmia "Lucifer", with Loosestrifes in back (yellow and

I've tried to grow Delphiniums, with no success...but, I know it's because that dang grass gets in there and crowds them out.  They never come back!  :(  I LOVE Delphiniums!!  Well, it's true for anything that I really love and don't have in my garden.....Foxgloves (I have one, I think)...they should put out babies like nobody's business...but I don't get that lucky.  Lupines?  Something always eats them down to a stub.  Hollyhocks?  (The old-fashioned variety, not the double ones.)  Those should really be planted by seed and when you have cats and there are about 10 million other cats in the neighborhood, well, not a good formula for seeds.

My dream is a cottage garden.  That's what I strive for.  But, you can't really have a cottage garden without Hollyhocks, Foxgloves and Delphinium, in my opinion.  So, I have to work on that!  I've also realized, after poking around on Pinterest this morning, that I need some Allium in the garden!  But, I do enjoy the flowers that I *do* have, don't get me wrong!  I love having flowers, right outside my door, to bring inside, while still getting to enjoy the ones left outside.  I just need to get things cleaned up out there and add more!!  Enjoy your trip through my garden!  And, enjoy the day!

 ~ Teri

Lavender, of course.  Bumblebees were going crazy for it that day!

Buddleja - Butterfly Bush.....honeybees and butterflies love!!

More of the Butterfly Bush... I *love* when this thing blooms!!

Petunia hanging basket, from one of my sons.  :)

Black-eyed Susan Vine
Nasturtiums - they've done wonderfully this year! 


Sweet Pea, the perennial variety

One of my finds from The Farm Chicks Show (!!) in with those little, annual Daisy-like flowers....can't ever remember their name!!  :(

Hydrangea.... this was its best year, ever!

Yellow Loosestrife


Clematis...this was the best year for this plant, too!

Lewisia, an Oregon native.

Mimulus, "Monkey Flower"

Ah!  A garden visitor!  This is a perennial dianthus - Carnation.

Speedwell with Day-lily in back
Gooseneck Loosestrife

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lost in Twinkling H2o land!

 Greetings!!  Oh, my gosh.... yes, I'm still alive!!  Thank goodness!  ;)  It's not that I haven't been busy creating.... I *have*!  So, this is what I've been focused on, as far as art goes, since last October.  I started taking a class - Mastering Twinkling H2o's, with Dion Dior.  So, last fall was the first class and now I'm taking the second one.  I can't say enough about these classes!  And, the "Twinks"!  Oh, my!!  They're amazing watercolors that have mica and binders in them, so they are shimmery.  It's very difficult to pick up all the shimmer in a photo.....most everything is more shimmery and vibrant in person.  I hadn't done any watercoloring for several years, so it's been good to be doing that again... plus, just drawing.  Dion gives us a drawing lesson each week, which is very cool.  She's so generous with her knowledge; people in the class have said that they've learned more in that first 5-week course than in all the years of taking watercolor classes from other people.  I concur.  I highly recommend her classes.

So, here are a few of the things that I've done.  I'm behind, but that's one of the beauties of her classes.... you can go as you like and you will have access to the online content (the entire class is online) *forever*!!  The first five pieces here are from Twinks 1; the last two are from Twinks 2.  The Peach is done on Yupo paper - it's a completely synthetic paper than has no tooth; it's completely smooth.  Paint or ink or whatever will just sit on the surface for a while, so it can be tricky to paint on!  I was a bit intimidated by the stories that I was hearing about it, but I didn't have any problems, at all.  It was fun to work with.

One of the activities we did was an ATC, which I've talked about before on here.  I love ATC's - they're so small that they're not so intimidating, but you can do everything on an ATC that you'd do on any other painting or mixed-media piece.  So, this ATC had to include frisket or masking fluid.  I had to toss my old masking fluid and actually bought what The Merri Artist recommended which was Pebeo "drawing gum".  Works beautifully.  It's thinner so you can get a pretty fine line.  I bought a Speedball calligraphy pen/handle with a very fine nib and that's what I use for applying the frisket.
   The butterfly was just a lesson on drawing butterflies.  :)


These next two were lessons on drawing leaves.  Dion has shown us how to make them curl, twist, etc.... and it's been wonderful to practice and play with those techniques!  Very fun!  So, even though the leaves in this first one may not have a flower, in real life, I wanted a bud on there, so I added one!  This wasn't about was about drawing and getting to know our Twinks better.  :)

 This next one is from Twinks 2.  We started out by working on various papers - this one is black gesso on cold-press watercolor paper.  I have a hard time working on the black substrate.  Yes, the Twinks can show up more vibrantly - but they don't always show up as the color that you expect them to be!  Once you get to know those little tricks that they play on  you, I guess it'd be okay.... you'll know what to expect.  But, I almost gave up on this one, actually.  I let them dry and then I completely changed the color of the upper-right one.  It was frustrating but, in the end, I was happy with it.

Peach on Yupo:

I think this next one might be my favorite, so far.  This was about tracing.  Lots of fine-art artists trace some of their work onto their paper.  "It's not cheating", our lovely instructor tells us.  :)  When you're working with expensive, high-quality watercolor papers, you don't want to ruin them before you even start painting.  Every time you erase, you're compromising the structure of the surface of that paper.  So, there are cases where you'll want to trace.  I couldn't find my tracing paper, so I opted to do it the cheap way.  Rubbing a pencil over the back of the paper, then laying it down over the "real" paper and drawing over my lines.  I'm working on one right now that I will trace the "correct" way.  ;)
Anyway, this was a Hellebore that I saw in a catalog.  If you're interested at *all* in learning how to watercolor, or learning how to work with Twinkling H2o's, in particular, I highly recommend Dion's courses!
Enjoy the day!  Happy Spring, by the way!
   ~ Teri