When I look back to see that my last post was on June 12th, I am astonished and amazed!!!! It feels as if the summer has just begun and here we are half way through!
This summer has seen me busy tending to two gardens, one here in Colborne and one in the Village of Tweed. After my dreadful fall a couple of years ago Mother Nature did what she does best in any untended space and that is to fill in spaces with verdant greenery. Both gardens suffered severely from overgrown-itis and with a lot of help from Don and Donna Spencer from Dragonfly Garden Care we have seen the good bones of these gardens begin to emerge. It has been an exciting yet exhausting time but well worth the time and effort spent. I have been too busy to document the changes but will soon post some “after” pictures.
There is more news which gladdens my heart to share. If you are a follower of my wee blogette you will know that my second story book, Gladiola Groundhog Sleeps In, has been inching closer to completion. Well, this week we came one step closer to the finale, with the arrival on Friday of proof copies. Very exciting to see paper copies after all this time. There are changes to be made of course, our eagle eyes did not catch all of the mistakes but we are one step closer to final copies! Exciting. Below are some pictures of the historic moment when the UPS Guy arrived with the precious cargo. He was such a good sport and joined in happily with our celebration.
For the last few years it has been my habit to take advantage of the first warm day to hang out my wash. While I am not a stalwart who braves the winter winds to save on the hydro, I do love the smell of sheets fresh from the line. Usually when I am hanging out the first load of the season the ground is a carpet of Scilla. Not so in this picture. The Scilla are long over, the Tulips and Daffs also, even the Giant Allium have faded. No blustery early spring winds this year to toss the sheets, as you can see. Warm June sunshine abounds and the bed will smell delish this evening. Just wish I had gotten around to it earlier in the season.The thing is, it has been a crazy busy spring. For some reason all of the garden chores have taken longer. Could it be my aging body? Methinks so! I have even had the help of the wonderful team of Don and Donna Spencer from Dragonfly Garden Care. They have been amazing. Between us we have filled 36 brown bags full of garden waste and even as I write this the bags wait by the side of the highway for the collectors to come and take them away. I just love this service offered by the town.
Life has kept me so busy that I missed taking pictures of the Redbud and Magnolia which were absolutely spectacular. They are just a memory now.
The culprit for part of my busy-ness has been the fact that I signed up for Throwing boot camp with Monica Johnson at Frantic Farms Clay and Glass in Warkworth. Monica has set our goals high for production potting and I have learned so much. There has been HOMEWORK for me and I have been diligent. There will soon be photos.
Thanks for tuning in!
Every spring, early on, we like to bring in branches from the orchard and force them. It takes a while for the flowers to emerge but it is just magic to see wee blossoms appear at a time of year when it is still cold and nasty outside. My thumb is in the picture to provide you with a sense of scale. Along with the tiny blooms I have posted a picture from the orchard this morning. A different kettle of blooms altogether!
Exciting news today! Those of you who have been following the evolving of Gladiola Groundhog will be happy to hear that in 6 weeks or so Gladi will appear in her final form-hard copy. This is the last painting which is now in the hands of my computer guru Rachel Dunleavy. She will work the magic which will take my paintings and story to the publisher and set the presses to rolling.
3 years ago in June, I presented myself to Peggy Collins at Loyalist College for a story writing workshop. With coaching from Peggy in all things illustrative I was able to take the story of Gladiola to a greater skill level.
Watch for the announcement that “Gladiola Groundhog Sleeps In” has landed! I am beyond thrilled!
This is the final painting in the book. You will notice that Gladiola’s clock reads half past April. The title of this painting is
Arn’t You Gladi It’s Spring!
April 21st and still we have snow in corners. It has been a looooong slow spring up until now. The buds on the daffs are just waiting for some heat and then they will spring into action. Some of the buds are half in and half out of the ground, they are so anxious to emerge. Next week they say it will finally be spring!
May 1st. That was then, and this is now—It has to be admitted that the last half of April was schizophrenic. One minute the sun was warm and the breeze balmy, next it was like we were living in a snow cone with mounds of freezing ice pellets every where. So it went, freeze and thaw, freeze and thaw. As you can see the spring bulbs have fared very well and are coming in strong. I have concerns about the more tender denizens of the garden. The roses are looking very lifeless, and the magnolia must wonder what hit her.
We will see what happens, that is the name of the game as a gardener in the north. Each year we wait to see who has survived, who can be coaxed into blooming and who will have to be replaced. The game is on!
Special thanks to Dragonfly Garden Care who arrived yesterday to undertake a massive cleanup of all of the winter detritus. It was a joy to look out and see everything taking shape again with out back pain and sore muscles for me. Thanks Don and Donna Spencer!
Our vultures are back and living in the Old Barn Habitat. Seven birds spent some time on the barn roof one morning this week. Life in the garden is good!
One last thought-a riddle for Ontario gardeners. What is the average time elapsed between the last frost and the first mosquito and/or black fly? If our experience this year is valid—Eight hours!! So long for now and happy gardening!
As you can see it has been ages since I have been able to post here. Family life and busy-ness in many directions seem to have used up all of my time. January and February saw the completion of the artwork for Gladiola Sleeps In. That was a huge job completed. Now Gladi is is the capable hands of Rachel Dunleavey who will get her ready to meet the publisher. I have gracefully conceded that computers are not my metier and Rachel will perform the magic necessary to go forth.
So for a while now I have been thinking that I am itching to get back to doing some landscape painting. Yesterday Bruce and I went for a drive and I was armed with my painting gear. We found a lovely little black water brook-lette and I did a small painting. It felt very good to be back in the game.
CREEK BELOW BRIMLEY ROAD-GRAFTON
PRIMULAS FOR MARY
In a quirky little happenstance this morning, this little painting from 5 years ago showed up on Face book. It seems to stand the test of time and I am happy to see it again. I had forgotten all about it. With Spring coming on there are going to be so many opportunities to get out and paint and for that I am exceedingly grateful!
HAPPY GROUNDHOG DAY!!
Gladiola Groundhog Sleeps In has been a looong time in the works. To celebrate the fact that the end is coming nearer you are getting a sneak peak in honour of my favourite special day. The story has been read and corrected a million times, the drawings have morphed over time to be the best I can make them and the paintings are half finished. I had hoped to have her published by Feb 2 this year but alas that is not going to happen. However, I am on a roll with the paintings and they should be completed by early spring at the latest. Then off to the printer.
The concept of Gladiola first saw the light of day back in 1988 in my kindergarten class, so it seems fitting that she should go to print in 2018. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing with you some of the paintings as they head towards completion.
IT IS WITH SOME SADNESS THAT I REPORT THE “POTENTIAL CLOSING” OF THE 52 WEEK CHALLENGE. THE PERSONS THAT HAVE BEEN RUNNING IT NEED A BREAK FROM THE JOB OF KEEPING ALL THE BALLS IN THE AIR. THE IDEA THAT THE GROUP WOULD BE PACKED UP REALLY KNOCKED ME FOR A LOOP. I HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO CONTRIBUTE SINCE JUNE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS. I HAVE HOWEVER, ENJOYED SEEING THE WORK THAT OTHERS HAVE PRODUCED AROUND THE WEEKLY CHALLENGES AND HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH FROM ALL OF THE PARTICIPANTS. WHEN THE LAST WEEK ROLLED AROUND WITH THE CHALLENGE “CELEBRATE” I COULD NOT LET THE OPPORTUNITY PASS WITHOUT PRODUCING A QUICK LITTLE SKETCH. BELOW YOU WILL FIND THE LAST ENTRY OF MINE FOR 2017. IT TURNS OUT THAT THERE WAS SOME VERY IMPORTANT LEARNING JUST WAITING FOR ME!
Hi all! Wishing you all a wonderful year to come. Like many of you I was shocked and horrified at the news of the shutting down of 52. As I read comments and and adjusted to the concept I began to make peace with whatever the outcome might be. The learning curve has been huge for me and I have gained so much from seeing what my fellow creators have posted.
It has been six months since I have been able to send in work and as the close loomed closer I realized that I did not want the end (or a new beginning) to come without an offering from my brush. but what? With that question one more chunk of learning came to me. I realize that I hold myself back because I am always looking for the perfect, just right and amazing idea and often just let the opportunity to create disappear because it does not live up to my self imposed expectations!!
This wee Deer mouse appeared in my family room a couple of days ago and I took the opportunity to do a quick sketch. This morning I decided to include him in the Celebration of the End (or the New Beginning) My new motto for the year to come—DON’T OVERTHINK. JUST MAKE ART! I hope to make it my way forward! Thanks to you all for the fun and games and creativity!
IN THE END WE DISCOVERED THAT THERE IS A LIST OF CHALLENGES FOR 2018 AND THE POSSIBILITY EXISTS THAT NEW PERSONS WILL BE ABLE TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND TAKE THE CHALLENGE INTO A NEW INCARNATION. STAY TUNED!!!
If you are a follower of my little blogette you will know that I have been struggling with transmitting the scans from my new printer to the folks at the 52 Week Illustration Challenge. It has been a very slow process. It seems that the file I am sending are too large and this morning I have been playing around with different ideas. Just noodling around technologically speaking! It seems as if I have success at last buuuuuut-I HAVE NO IDEA OF THE SEQUENCES THAT I USED!!!! LOL. If I can recreate it I will soon have more work to submit. For a variety of reasons, technology included, I have not been able to post since June. If I can recreate the technological path to success I will soon have more posts, if not I will keep on keeping on! I do so want to catch up if I am able.
Oh yes, the painting above is
Week 40 Rope-Water colour
SO with that mysterious outcome under my belt I was encouraged to try again! Et Voila! Success once more. I realize of course that really my skills with the computer have had nothing to do with the outcome. My Dad used to say “It’s all in the way you hold your mouth” and I think perhaps in this case he was absolutely right. So here with out further ado—
Water colour-Pencil Symphony
Just a story fragment really. I love my mechanical pencils-They never get dull!!!
When I spoke to them about this challenge they suggested that they invite their friends, the paintbrushes, to go on an adventure together. This is the result.
When we got together to discuss the results we noticed that the paintbrushes did not like staying within the lines and did their best work when allowed to move freely about. The pencils on the other hand felt much more comfortable with much structure. We all decided that it seemed like a symphony where everyone has a part to play to make a wonderful whole. We all applauded the concept of different but equal!
So it seems as if technologically I may be back on track. I have tons of ideas rolling around in my head but time is running out to complete the Challenge before the end of the year. I will see how it goes. Stay tuned!
Edward Covered stepped out this weekend to Ellena’s Cafe in Napanee, Ontario. You can see by the pictures below that he is traveling in most illustrious circles-pun definitely intended. Edward can be seen in the bottom right, peeking at that lovely Giraffe. If you are needing children’s books for upcoming special occasions, pop on down to Ellena’s to view this amazing selection and treat yourself to a wonderful gourmet luncheon or snack. The laughter and smiles from the staff will make your day!
There is also a display of lovely and whimsical art upon the walls of the cafe. I was privileged to have 3 of my paintings chosen to hang in the show.
So—–get a group of friends together and head out to Ellena’s. Check out the art and investigate the wondrous culinary delights that are in store!! You will have a wonderful experience.