Tuesday, November 23, 2010

save it! your national azalea collection

I found this terrible news on our Washington Gardener Magazine yesterday.  I don't know how many of you have been to the National Arboretum but it is a beautiful natural refuge in the city which has been suffering since President Bush's government cut their funding 60% and froze all new hiring which continues under Obama. Keith and I have spent a lot of time there touring, learning and enjoying nature, ikebana, bonsai and so much more. Hidden in the forests they have one of the most amazing collections of azaleas in the country which I have been lucky to see and photograph a few times. See a few recent examples below...

The new director wants to cut them all down, he claims they draw too many visitors which they can't afford to host! With one click you can read all about this insane mismanagement and get three addresses to write and let the government know you want them to keep the park's azaleas standing! I know it only takes a few words from tax payers to stop this sort of plan. Let's axe director Scott Aker's plan, before he chops all the azaleas down by the summer of 2011.

Kids enjoy it and adults like when kids run and laugh. 


Even dogs love the national azalea collection. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

busy weekend delights

nighttime photographer Keith in the studio bent over his tripod
My weekend began making photos from all the great autumn leaves in the neighborhood. Keith had ikebana arrangements and flowers going on everywhere. I have lots of colorful photos to share after a walk during peak coloration of our fall leaves Saturday afternoon. 
Sunday afternoon, I attended a talk by Lee Newman an artist who's prints I admire very much. I was so happy he brought all his tools to 'show and tell' us about his process of making prints. I asked a lot of questions and learned about a few things I hadn't known. Today I got to work on my own new tree print right after my morning ritual of journal writing and a small sketch in my pocket book. During the talk Lee Newman gave us permission to mess with the marks on the etching plates and keep exploring the marks effect until I am delighted by something in the print. Great advice from a master printer which I have heard before but this time with examples of how I might proceed.  I think I feel emboldened but hope I can pull something new out of my etchings.
some of our colorful flowers in the studio 
Cor shows off his new Frederick print in Rotterdam.
 Monday morning, I received a picture portrait showing one of my new prints, "Kindly Light Lily" that I sent to my artist buddy Cor Windhouwer in Rotterdam. We write emails and make art together through the Internet since about 2001. 

The Urban Sketchers DC group is now up and waiting on us to post some drawing articles. I am wondering where to start my sketch posts. But in the mean time I wanted to share some of these great autumn colors before it all gets so stale that I have to move on to pumpkin pie and stuffed turkeys. I hope your weekend was full of new discoveries and good autumn fun.

willow oak's golden leaves in the afternoon sun

ginko are just beginning to go golden

golden maple across the street from red oak leaves 

this maple tree's leaves look like a red lollipops 

 Japanese Maple, so red it looked like candy

orange to yellow cherry leaves 

orange maple leaves one of my favorite colors of leaves

 sycamore is beautiful against the blue sky

Brookland elementary school oak currently my favorite local tree 

Virginia creeper vine turns red slowly in the shade

red oak & wood thrush state tree and bird of Washington, DC

Thursday, November 11, 2010

this afternoon was red in the garden

red cut-leaf Japanese maple leaves
I went out for a little while this afternoon to photograph and turn new materials into the compost. I dumped a shopping bag full of recycling in the blue bin and was amazed to see there was so much color in the trees under the bright blue skies. I spent a few days writing a biography for a new blog I am joining called DC Urban Sketchers. I struggle every time I have to do one of those "brief bios" for a web site or an exhibition. It is hard to tell your story in a few sentences especially with a colorful back ground like mine. So this time I lit it up with more than just the basics. I added some of the not quite fore filled childhood dreams and the grown up nightmares I have survived. Then I edited these great pictures of the garden and trees around the house. There is a lot to tell but not all of it sounds like an artist's bio material. Yet it is part of who I am and that plays into my creative life.
red maple & yellowing hosta leaves 

trash collection came while I was out there and they have a shinny new truck

The autumn is nearly at an end with all the great colors. I am still waiting on the red oaks to color up fully then I look forward to going over to photograph them in the sunny afternoon. We have been lucky this week is mild and very clear skies overhead make the light for colorful leaves just amazing. Even the yellow in the Norway Maple at the side of the house makes a nice image against the blue sky and the dark of the cedar trees by our windows. 
Norway Maple is bright yellow

red chrysanthemums 

Tropicana tea rose's last bloom 
The flowers are almost all gone just the remains of the wild Chinese chrysanthemums are still showing their various colors and this one rose. I took our banana tree out to over winter in Manassas in the basement again this past week. It did really well there last winter and was a delight to draw this summer. We will be missing our gardens colorful display over the coming months. I think even in winter it is interesting with the dried plants and tress showing the bare branches. I posted lots more photos on my flickr page along with some from inside where we have some very pretty flowers in the studio.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

colors of autumn

The maple in Turkey Thicket is the first to show color. 

Today I went to cast my midterm vote then I walked home from the poll with my camera on an urban nature walk. The trees are still turning colors, some were brightly colored.
I entered the woods of Fort Bunker Hill park, once a dirt fortress during the civil war built to guard this capitol city.  Now it is a wooded parkland over looking parts of Brookland.  Other parts of the walk included a few street side trees and flowers. 

Fort Bunkerhill 

This park is only a single square block in size but it is a real retreat from the city and right near the Monastery gardens another place I enjoy walking and admiring flowers and trees.