Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beauty and magic takes a lot of work

Finn & I are packing up the sleigh for a Christmas road trip.  
The weather has warmed up just in time for me to clean out the car, rake the last of the leaves from the yard and carport, pack and drive to Virginia. 

I love the timing of a sixty degree, dry day right when I really need it.
I stayed on top of the maple leaves all fall, but the oak leaves fell with the cold snap a month ago, and pretty much buried my lawn. I was beginning to get real depressed about the garden view from my window.  

It was so delightful to get outside and hear the birds tweeting happily while I raked. Finn was glad to get out too. We have had three days in a row of rain and fog.  I always feel better when leaving home if these things are done. Now I am freed up to feast and play.

I did get a start on a series of garden paintings I want to do this winter.  I have been wanting to paint this scene for a long time. 
I couldn't get the true colors to come through the scan. In real life it does not look quite the same. It is really a bit more greenish than it looks here. It looks like I was hoping it would, though I may fuss with it a bit more after the holidays. 

It makes me want to write and illustrate a story book for my granddaughter. Maybe that will be one of her Christmas presents next year. 

I just had a giggle over that last line I wrote..........
I have always said I wanted to grow up and live like Tasha Tudor.  I read her books to my daughters when they were little. The link takes you to Tova Martins book with all the beautiful photo's of Tasha's garden in Vermont.  Ms. Tudor finally let go of her garden last summer, I was sad to hear when she went over the rainbow.

I never even thought about illustrating children's books until I did this painting.  My father always gave my sister and I beautifully and whimsically illustrated fairy tale books. He encouraged us to believe in Unicorns and such.  He imprinted in me a love of magic and beauty. Just by investing in some great books. I used to spend hours staring into those images of the beauties and the beasties. The beasts were so beautiful and horrific at the same time. The beauties were so enchanting and tragic.

My parents sent my sister to art school. Every line she ever drew was frame worthy. Some people have that gift. I don't. They sent me to gymnastics. I was not born with a green thumb either. My mother never even kept a houseplant.  The only garden I remember planting with her was when I was two and she let me poke some zinnia seeds into the little holes she made in the earth. We moved around too much to ever garden as children.  

But, I did have this love of beauty. When I figured out I could create natural beauty in gardens, that was it....I studied everything I could about garden design. I tore up and re birthed hundreds of yards learning my craft.

When I was thirteen I loved the beauty of harmony in music, so I made myself learn how to play a guitar and sing harmony. It didn't come naturally, I begged friends to teach me. I locked my self in the bedroom for several years, fingers raw on the ever plucked strings, until I finally did not sound like a cat in heat. It turns out, I could make people emotional when I sang. Even grooms at weddings.
I gave it up professionally when I was being asked to sing at too many funerals. I didn't want to make people sad with my music. I was young and didn't want to be around all that grief.  But I had found a sense of beauty that spoke to my soul.

It is the same with my new love of painting. I hasn't happened naturally. But I am getting better at it all the time. I do know, that when I watch the colors spread out on a piece of white paper and form a flower or a landscape, I get that sense of the soulful harmony in the act of creating and I know when I hit a perfect tone, or note.  Something magical is trying to happen. 

Speaking of magical, Christmas is always magic!  Morgan and Barrie were trimming the Christmas tree together the other night. Every now and then Morgan would step back and look at the tree and ask little Barrie, 'Isn't it beautiful'?  Barrie would step back, hands on her hips, just like her Mom, and said 'Jus gorejess". Who knows how she picked up such a big word, she won't be two until spring. Must be magic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


For two years I have ignored my old website. It was still tied to the nursery in Virginia and just soooo out of date.  Finally this week I dove into the land of website building and powered through the resizing of photo's to be Internet friendly for your easy loading...and learning to use the software.  So, no painting this week, but I did manage a new creation after all. has been reborn. Take a look if you like and let me know of improvements I can make. 

It is a joy to have this off of my to do I can get ready for Christmas. Amen

Friday, December 5, 2008


We have had quite a cold season for the end of Fall. So we are hibernating.  Days are now spent feasting on Thanksgiving leftovers, reading and being generally lazy.  I have enjoyed cleaning up the house, rearranging things and finally, I have a studio in the basement.

Finn is getting used to the stay at home routine now after a brief confusion over our new schedule. Instead of packing lunch and leaving the house at the same time every day to go outside and play, we are now unscheduled for a brief while and I am soaking it up for all it's worth. He is bored and follows me all over the house. He loves to ride with me to the store, and patiently waits for me in the drivers seat while I shop. He loves his afternoon naps, the big old fuzzy brown dog that looks like a bear.  I find him on the bed, with his head on my pillow, snoring away, often. I do owe him some good hikes when we get a warm spell. He is so patient with me and my quiet hours of painting.

I have been painting winter trees with India Ink. I think I'll use this one for my Christmas cards.

It is a quiet thoughtful time as the year draws toward it's ending. I love my peaceful winter days with so few interruptions. It his heaven. I am truly in the painting mode, so many things I want to try now that I have some room to spread out and work. I have things I need to frame for gifts as well. December will go by quickly no doubt.