This summer the weather has been either beautiful. To find inspiration in a beautiful day you have to expect the unexpected. You have to be willing to take whatever comes and to be spontaneous. Most times you don’t even have to look for it.
And so it started
I’d like to tell you about a beautiful day that had endless solid blue skies and big clouds with definitions. That day was filled with activities I enjoy most. It started with early morning coffee on the deck. I’m not talking 7 a.m. but 5:00 a.m., a half an hour after the morning sky starts to turn from black to tired gray. A bird was calling in the wood that I’d never heard before. The call was so clear the cliche “cut through the air” came to mind. I sat there for a long time before going inside.
The garden is looking great this summer. We have had a fair amount of rain in the evenings. My Lenten roses have had two blooming cycles! The variety of lilies are extra tall and the hydrangea is loaded with blooms. Whilst finding the hidden weeds to pull I was delighted to see my first blue dasher dragonfly of the season. He was beautiful and enjoying a sit down in the early morning sun on a phlox stalk.
Sitting in the Adirondack chair with my big floppy hat reading a great book. I try to read once a day when events will let me. Reading, like gardening feeds my soul. Up until that time the sun was relentlessly beaming down making the woods smell heavenly. A shadow cast down and for a moment my eyes on the page sighed a sigh of relief. Looking up I saw clouds, big burly clouds of white with gradients of gray. They were handsome so I decided to try and take a picture. Below is the result.
Dinner table conversations with my family sometimes gives me inspiration for my work. I have two nearly adult children home for the summer. Though I see how much they have matured, I realized my job as a parent is to keep encouraging them to follow their passions. Reaching goals or having dreams doesn’t stop at a certain age. In fact, if you think about it, aspirations and goals never stops in a human life.
We all need a little reaffirming of our dreams so I decided to do something with the picture of clouds I had taken earlier. The results are the canvas print and tote bag shown below.
I can’t believe summer has come and gone. Because of our lack of rain September slipped by masking itself in the unusual warm weather. As I sit and look out the window I see a few maple trees already have put on their red leaves. Some trees have lost many leaves while others are still a summer green.
Last weekend I started to clean the garden. Collecting seeds for spring, trimming dead branches and even planting a few new plants. I started by digging a hole for my newly purchased Japanese Anemone. This variety of Anemone caught my eye not only because of the delicate pink flowers but that this plant also blooms in September. With our recent warm weather this Autumn the flowers are still blooming.
Creating holes and moving dirt give me a sense of accomplishment. I believe it is the same feeling when painting or any other creative process. The work is more physical than what I do in the art room but has that same lasting vibe of a job well done.
Digging on this property sometimes yields treasure. I’ve dug up colored bottles, kids toys and less exciting objects too. Occasionally I find bits of clam shells or beads. This day I found a rare treat. Three preserved seashells fully intact filled with dirt and buried almost 12 inches deep. Upon washing them I found their brittle shells had worn quite thin. I tried to clean their insides but found the dirt is keeping their shape together.
These three seashells stayed on this deck post for several days. One morning I found a squirrel was investigating them. He picked up the two on each end and threw them on the ground. The shell in the middle he took, with difficulty, and hopped away into the woods. I guess he had found his treasure from the sea.
The first flowers in Spring to show their silent beauty were the Lenton roses, English daisies and the delicate white magnolia blossoms. I believe Spring is truly here to stay in New England. Though currently there is a steady rain and heavy mist, we have had sunshine more times often than naught.
Taking advantage of a fresh clear blue sky, I captured the small but fragrant white blossoms on our magnolia tree.
Sun loving English daisies are spreading over our wildflower hill. They are the first wildflowers to bloom this spring. With the white and pink variety, the hill is awash in small flowers.
In the dappled shade of the main garden are the purple bell shaped Lenton roses. Their blooms last so long they sustain color in the garden until the columbine show their variety of colored flowers. This Lenton rose plant is approximately 8 years old. I can’t imagine the garden without it.
And lastly, the promise of delicious fruit crisps, pies and compotes sit in the noon day sun. As the rhubarb plants gather strength from the sun, I removed their flowers to create a hardier plant to produce tasty stalks.
Spring is here in New England, though you wouldn’t know it from the snow that was dumped on us yesterday. Here on the coast we received over 8 inches of the sparkling white powder. Within 12 hours the sun was doing what it does best and melting away the last of winter.
What a strange winter we are leaving behind. Warm weather quite early in March has awoken the plants in the garden. Crocus have come and gone, the rhubarb, chocolate mint and columbine show signs of green coming above the dirt. The day lilies (shown below) are surrounded in the last of yesterdays winter. Underneath the white are last Autumn’s leaves to be raked. But for now, I’ll have to wait for the leaves to dry before removing them. I can sit back and enjoy the sun streaming into my windows.
My favorite time of the year is fall. Perhaps because I love change and become excited in the changes found in nature with each season. The cooler days, different smells from the forest and cooking with gourds gives me that feeling of nesting to come. Farmer’s markets brim over with jams, homemade pickles and lot’s and lot’s of apple products.
Strangely enough I start reading more poetry during the fall and winter months. I enjoy the poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning such as her 1833 poem “The Autumn”. I give you the first stanza below.
“Go, sit upon the lofty hill,
And turn your eyes around,
Where waving woods and waters wild
Do hymn an autumn sound.
The summer sun is faint on them —
The summer flowers depart —
Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,
Except your musing heart.”
Capturing the colors of fall are easy however, finding those leaves or scenes that are unique are harder to find. When I was younger I would draw the individual leaves during their transformation from green to brown. Admiring each leafs individual color patterns always intrigued me.
I don’t draw them now though occasionally I still find ways of capturing them into immortality. The colorful birch leaf below is an example of the symmetry of changing colors. The veins of golden yellow, what is left of the green and its fringes of brown on the tips creates a magic only nature can know.
I share this image with you on a wooden canvas print. It is available in 8” x 10”, 11” x 14” and 18” x 24”. The wood is high quality birch wood (how fitting) and printed with eco friendly inks. A beautiful presentation with wood grain accents, this wooden print is stunning. Click on the image above to find pricing.