From My Garden, Two Rainbows

As you might have suspected, I’ve been really busy lately! I haven’t created nearly the amount of garden-inspired art that I wanted to, but I have been carefully tending my garden every evening, giving all the plants plenty of water to help them through this very hot and dry time.

The other day I was spritzing the flox with the hose, and I noticed that the sun was cooperating with the water droplets to create a pretty little rainbow. Luckily I had my phone on me, so I snapped a quick photo at just the right angle.

Rainbow

The second rainbow I discovered in my garden developed in quite a different way.

Since I haven’t had the time to sit and watch and sketch lately, I went out early this morning to take some photos of all the lovely flowers that are in bloom right now. As I was snapping lots of photos, I realized that I probably have flowers blooming in all the colors of the rainbow. I had to search a bit for red & purple, but I found them on the side of the house and in the front yard.

I realize this is going to make for an extra long post, but I think it’ll be worth it. Without further ado, here is rainbow #2!

Hot Pink

Red

Orange

Orange-Yellow

yellow

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Blue

Blue-Violet

Red-Violet

White

Isn’t it pretty?!

These two rainbows are just a couple of the ways my garden inspires me. I’ve been enjoying the quiet time spent outside each evening when I water the flowers. Even if I don’t have the time to draw or paint every day, it’s wonderful to spend time looking at all the plants and noticing how they grow. I’ve got so many ideas brewing, especially after this colorful photo shoot. Now I just need a little spare time!

From My Garden, Hops

We’re growing a couple of hops plants for my brother (he likes to home brew beer), and I really love how the leaves are heart shaped with what looks like a serrated edge. My first impression was that they would be a challenge to draw, and since I’m always up for a challenge, I set up a little “outdoor studio” and got to work.

outdoor drawing "studio"
(Not pictured are a couple of cushions to sit on.)

Hops Leaves

I zeroed in on a pair of leaves to draw, did a quick sketch to figure out the composition and make sure I got the scale of the leaves right, and I then started working on the details of the shapes of the leaves. The hardest part was seeing the leaves as the light dwindled, but I finished the first phase of the drawing just in time.

hops

Once I got the outline of the leaves worked out, I tried shading to give a sense of depth, but it just wasn’t working. Instead I decided to focus on adding detail texture, so I drew some of the main veins of the leaf. I was really interested to see how there was a clear pattern in how the veins were distributed, but it wasn’t always a perfect pattern–just my style!

I had to pack up my outdoor studio that first night, since I lost the light, but I took some time to refine the lines of the leaves and veins.

The next day I evaluated the drawing, and realized that the composition seemed to be wanting a little more. I set up my studio again and used my artistic license to add a smaller set of leaves below the first, even though in reality they were located elsewhere on the plant.

hops leaves

I want to do more with this drawing. I even transfered the drawing to another sheet of “good” paper to work with, but then it sat there. After mulling it over for a couple days, I’m still not sure exactly what the next step will be. I’ll set it aside for now and move onto something else. I’m sure I’ll figure out what to do eventually!

Late Night Visitors

I noticed a huge moth clinging to the screen of the window. I went outside to check him out and was so impressed by his markings that I had to grab my camera and snap a few shots. I was even lucky enough to have one of them turn out well too!

Moth

Gorgeous, right? I love the pattern on his wings and the slightly iridescent dark blue sheen on some of the spots in the middle.

Much to my surprise & delight, once I’d finished the photo shoot with the moth, I happened to spy a pebbly green tree frog clinging to the trim that wraps around the front porch.

tree frog

tree frog

Isn’t she beautiful? I’ve seen similar frogs now & then, but usually they are gray or brown. To see such a pretty green one was a real treat!

It’s amazing what can be discovered if you let your curiosity lead you & investigate the things that catch your eye!

From My Garden, Days 2 & 3

Today I suddenly realized that what I’d called lupine seed pods in my last post are actually *larkspur* seed pods! It hit me out of the blue and I was like, “duh, of course i knew that!”

Painted

The larkspur seed pods I used as part of Day 1’s exploration didn’t really show up in the art piece I created, so for Day 2, I decided to draw them since I really love their shape.

Larkspur seed pod pencil drawing

pencil drawing of larkspur seed pods

I took a photo of the drawing with a clematis plant on the steps of my back porch. My brother’s dog, Chief, jumped in the shot at the last second, helping created the perfect photo!

For Day 3, I wanted to take the larkspur drawing a little further. I saw this amazing, huge grape leaf that is lacy with holes in some areas. It seemed perfect for a spray paint stencil.

huge grape leaf

Otto & huge grape leaf

(Pictured with Otto to show a sense of scale. Isn’t it big!?)

I really like how the drawing of the seed pods turned out, so instead of experimenting with the original, I printed out a copy and refined the drawn lines with black ink before spray painting.

Outdoor Studio 2

Again I used a very simple outdoor studio set up. I placed the paper on the grass with the leaf on top and sprayed the desired color, adjusting the leaf slightly before spraying the next color. I used a combination of bright red, lavender and light blue, which all blended very nicely together.

larkspur drawing & spray paint

I really enjoy the speckled texture that the spray paint lends, and I’m happy that the paint managed to make its way through some of the holey areas of the leaf.

I was also happy to notice that the spray painted leaf itself was quite beautiful. I find it interesting how the colors combined with the dull yellowish green of the back of the leaf to create a neutral gray color that almost matches the wood of the porch!

spray painted grape leaf

I know I’m only on Day 3, but I’m loving this project. Everyday I see more & more. I could have easily created 20 drawings inspired by the plants I’ve examined, but I’m taking it easy and having fun with it. At least I know I won’t run out of ideas any time soon!

From My Garden, Part 1

During June’s 20 in 20 project, I started taking photos of the daily paintings I created with various items in the environment; sometimes surrounded by paints, with potted plants, or next to wild flowers I picked from my garden. It’s not the first time I’ve photographed art in the environment, but it’s been a while since I did, and I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

It was a lot of fun to go exploring in my garden to find just the right grass or flower to pair with the paintings. I’ve decided to keep the fun of that exploration going for the month of July. This project won’t be as structured as the 20 in 20 project. My goal will be to create 12 to 15 pieces by the end of the month, but it’s less about the final product, and more about the exploration of the plants in my garden and whatever techniques I feel inspired to pursue.

For the first day I ended up using spray paint and cuttings from a couple of plants: larkspur seed pods and morning glory leaves to be exact.

I worked spontaneously. I snipped a few of the larkspur seed pods, and then remembered the cabinet of spray paint in the basement. I grabbed three cans and brought them outside. I arranged the larkspur pods on paper and in the process, some of the seeds scattered on the surface. Since the seed pod stems weren’t flat, they didn’t leave much of a silhouette on the paper, so thinking quick, I cut a few morning glory leaves & arranged them in layers. I sprayed the dark blue paint, removed a few leaves, sprayed again, and so on.

Outdoor Studio

When I finished spraying the dark blue, I shook off the seeds, revealing the little white spots which reminded me of the background of my friend Jessica Gowling’s recently completed collage; although she achieved the affect with an entirely different technique!

0701

The larkspur pods themselves aren’t visible in the artwork, but they became quite colorful after a layer or two of paint and make the perfect arrangement to photograph with the piece.

Painted

0701

So there you have it! I see this project as a collaboration of sorts between me and my garden, and I, for one, am looking forward to see what “we” come up with!