Sunday, January 30, 2011

thawing flowering walking

This afternoon I took a little walk to the post office box. I was glad the walks were cleared and the sun was shinning. I wanted to test my stamina after this respiratory distress I have been experiencing to see if it was completely gone now. Answer is not quite gone all the way but maybe I was just run down from laying about the house for so long. I sure feel a lot better than I did. I enjoyed a short walk and took a few photos to make a memory of the thaw as it seems to be warm enough to melt the snow. 

alley melt water runs down the middle

tip toe over the flow

beautiful patterns in the pavement under melt water

some of our trees want to be shrubs in Turkey Thicket

To begin my walking I went out back with a bag of plastics to the recycling bins. While I was looking at the yard it was revealed the Hellebore is blooming, even under the snow. This is the first flower in our garden this year. It was kind of exciting to see those white flowers coming out to greet me. Next will be some green ones in the front yard I hope.
hellebore blooms in winter, in our garden these are the  first flowers of 2011

Inside we have these great parrot tulips that were grown in Virginia by some new local grower. Most tulips are imported from Holland and this time of year they make getting up a joy to see how much they have grown in their vase and how they will look when they open up if they do open, some don't. I am having a great time drawing and water coloring this batch.
parrot tulips opening

nice shades of lavender pink white and green 

I wonder if tulips will be a subject for a new etching.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

better than last week

We had a nice first snow storm last week which caused a lot of people a lot of misery. I was stuck home with fevers and breathing problems but a couple of doctor visits went smoothly between snow falls. I sat home reading looking at TV and Internet for a full week without going out the door. Pretty snow falls, fresh flowers, lots of good food and support from Keith made it bearable. The snow in DC was about 5 inches in our neighborhood and we were fortunate to have our power continuously.

Now my fevers are gone and my breath seems to be normal and appetite has returned. The flowers remain and I have been photographing them and making my daily sketches as usual. We made a trip to the market together yesterday and I got to select a bunch of new tulips myself. I chose these pretty lavender pink parrot tulips grown by a local Virginia grower for this week.

red tulips grew out in wild directions like a bunch of serpents
the first pinks tulips going strong

orange Peruvian lilies came in one day

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

pink tulips

I received this bunch of tulips while the red-orange tulips were fading out the end of last week. I am sick and stuck in the house for the last 6 days during the coldest few days we have had this winter. My pink tulips have been standing there looking lovely and slowly changing from tight to open wide. Drawing them each morning has been fun. Looking at them in different ways and playing with the two colors green and pink a combination brings spring to mind. We only have to wait two more winter months until spring returns!  January is nearly over. Seems to me I am feeling better today than I have in a while because I decided to scan the newest drawings and edit them with the photos to share here. I had to miss my drawing group last night but I am trying to keep up by drawing the tulips.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

new sketches

my metal tin that holds pens and pencils 

This week, while I am stuck home with a respiratory infection, I found time to scan and edit my recent drawings. These are mostly with opaque water coloring. I believe the fun I had at home drawing and adding colors last Christmas helped me move back toward adding color to my daily morning sketches. Yesterday I missed the International Sketch Crawl #30 here in Washington DC at the Library of Congress Jefferson Building because of my infection. Meanwhile I don't let the illness hold back my daily sketching routine. It feels so good to get at least one image on my list of daily accomplishments. All these images can be blown up for more details, just double click on the image for a closer look.
lopsided Braeburn apples stacked high in a green depression glass bowl 
some dried up pomegranates in a old silver bowl with just a little water wash added 
I am sure there are going to be some good sketches from the artists who went to draw at the Library of Congress Saturday. Here is a link to the Urban Sketchers DC to see what they drew!
red orange tulips 

soft pink tulips in a ceramic pot

Mom's magnificent ceramic rooster pepper shaker

baby shoes and stuff on the side board

wooden form holds string and turkey feathers 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

orange warms winter days

I have been under the weather this week and a bunch of  orange tulips have given me some hope that this will be over soon. I am still able to draw and take photos so I must be ok, right? 
Tomorrow, I hope to scan some of this month's sketches from my morning sketch book to post soon. I have been using lots of watercolor this month to help chase away the winter blues. Meanwhile rest is the order to follow and drinking plenty of fluids... 

Afternoon light from the north 

Early morning light rakes across the tulips

Garuda and the big vase of tulips and dried red roses 

small bunch of tulips for my desk side with  a nice Cor Windhouwer painting also with Orange! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

winter birds

female & male house finches

junco also called a snow bird

black capped chickadee and a junco

black capped chickadee 

chickadee splitting open it's sunflower seed
While I was visiting my family in Manassas I was delighted to discover the squirrel proof bird feeder is attracting birds, many we don't normally see. My mother spent a couple weeks with her best pal Mildred in Myrtle Beach last fall and they discovered these special feeders that don't allow the squirrels to eat all the seeds and scare off the birds. Mildred hung her's up right away and they watched it work and were entertained by all the colorful birds and the frustrated squirrels. Mildred sent one to mom for Christmas and I was happy mom had black sunflower seeds to fill it with right away. We hung it in the spot where we used to have a feeder for the gold finches on the dogwood tree. It is on a branch that is easy to reach right in front of the house under the bay window where they are easy to spy upon.

Now there is a routine of birds visiting mom has noticed. They come each morning and late afternoon. All these in the pictures above were there on my last day of visiting and a few others I missed photographing. We bought some smaller seed mix to help attract a few more varieties of birds besides those that like the sunflower seeds. I was sorry I didn't capture a photo of the Downy Woodpecker nor the Red Cardinal but time ran out and the squirrels did hang on one side of the contraption trying to figure out how to get some seeds out which cut down our viewing time. In any case I am very happy there is a bird feeder at home again. We are talking about adding one in the back yard which can be viewed from the dinning room and maybe one in my own window on a tree branch far from my second story window. I would love to have it but I haven't figured out how to hang it and refill it five feet and two stories away from my window sill. Maybe a specially bent coat hanger 'hook' attached to the big branch and a long pole to lift the feeder in and out for refills would do the trick?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

new year

We got a little snow this week the second that I recall. Nice to see it so softly on the ground and not blocking traffic and life in general. I had a nice holiday season and got everything I wanted from Santa Claus. Now I am working on drawing each day and trying to get my health problems solved. Exercise this time of year is very challenging but last night we went on an adventure to hear a NY artist talk about his work on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He grew up in NYC and played at the Natural History Museum where his mom worked. His art reflects the youthful fascination with bugs and monsters of the dinosaur ages. Ecology is in it too but it is very difficult to see what he hopes to accomplish with his work other than make interesting pictures using all sorts of painting techniques learned from the masters of the ages. He showed us slides of his influences and talked and joked about making his art. Alexis Rockman at SAAM for a while longer. There is no doubt in my mind he is a great painter and you can see that in his retrospective at the museum but here is a link to his artist's website for a broader view of his work. Alexis Rockman offical website  The talk he gave will likely be added to the internet as a pod cast soon. I wish I had gotten up and asked him if he knows another artist from NYC's Tribeca who paints animals in a more romantic way Walton Ford appeals to me even more. 
view of 10th street after our last snow

our car covered in snow

branches covered with last night's snow

apples in their plastic bubble package