Out of a blast of thunder my Iris took wings. In Central Oregon this time of year hot dry days can create violent storms such as the small, isolated blast that shook me awake from an afternoon snooze. A wave of boldness seemed to overcome me, and knowing this painting was no “show stopper” I relaxed, had fun, put some paint down and am happy with the outcome. (Still no show stopper.)
So many surprises as the clematis continued their show. The larger purple blooms reminded my of the little ballet skirts my granddaughters wore for their recitals…and to grandma’s…and to the store…and in the tub…and to bed. Memories are so precious.
May 27th, I’m totally out of control. Opening my blinds early this morning, a display of snow white Clematis had flared forth just outside my dinning room window. It was too beautiful not to paint. Completely exhausted from over-painting I ran, well walked slowly as any well-trained 79 ½ year old will do, out in the yard and shouted out, “Hey Ya’all. Can you hold things up here for a day or so? I’m way behind.” No one listened, and they simply continued to remember who they were and joyfully displayed their beauty in an orderly fashion.
May 23rd, I awakened to a small bird just outside my window. I believe it’s a Wren, but I don’t think that’s what he calls him self. We who don’t have wings need names for every thing under the sun, but anyway it was a sweet way to start the day. Small birds don’t survive long in the mountains, so this is yet another perk-me-up to ease my Skyliner home sickness.
May 27th, the rhododendrons that surround the edges of my house, front and back, began to announce themselves. Their colors were lovely, deep magenta, dark pink, light pink, and lavender, oh I can’t forget the bright orange. The orange blooms might have been Azalea. What a learning curve I’m negotiating. There are literally hundreds of ground plants, bushes, and vines I have no clue as to their needs or wants. My deteriorating condition as a garden painter is evident, as you can see. Oops. you can’t see. In fact I’m in such a slump…I lost the painting. Maybe next year.
I find it deeply fascinating to learn that the plant’s colors and their placement, in the wild and in the garden, is vital. Orange and magenta, for instance, are blooms whose colors are situated across from one another on the color wheel. According to plant biologists when opposing colors grow close together they attract more bees and other pollinators and are healthier because they are better pollinated. This speaks to the intelligence of nature, and to me this is a beautiful “knowing.”
May 17th, and then there were lilacs: two very tall trees of lavender colored blooms, mostly high out of reach. Not a problem, a long handled rake brought enough down to eye level to cut bouquets for several weeks.
This “painting my garden” idea was becoming a bit much, so I decided to execute a fast, very loose rendition of a bunch of lilacs in a vase. Not a good idea. In my previous life, before taking a 5 year hiatus to return to school, I could have made this idea work. I hesitate to include this image in my garden series, but I’ll allow it to speak to human frailty – like the flaw Navaho’s leave in the weavings of their rugs. Painting my garden is my re-entry project into self-expression and the search for beauty through art. Step-by-step as the garden grows…may I so grow.
May 9th,looked like it had snowed again, at least on the cherry and the apple trees…and on Isabella. No snow, just cherries and apples being themselves. As for Isabella, her groomer took about 10 years off her life with this new cut, and she, too, is simply being herself. I’m not going to paint her, but the apple blossoms were irresistible.
OnMarch 4tha light snow covered the ground, the streets were icy, and winter showed no signs of leaving. After living in the mountains for 18 years at 1000 feet above Bend (4500 feet) I was no stranger to spring snow. Lots of it. Up there in a land where, maybe,when spring had passed a few daisies and daffodils survived the summer deer.
But, surprise, all has changed down here in the city. That which came after the snow had melted around my little cottage was amazing. In the following posts I attempt to share a bit of summer as it blossoms behind a precious six-foot fence.
March 30th, Spring Equinox, 2018. Light was returning in our hemisphere, snow had melted in town, and I was in the back yard rooting around mysterious foliage in my thickly planted garden. Crunched between a fir hedge and an adjacent monkey tree, appeared my favorite fantasy flower, a Lenten Rose. Never had I seen one in real time, I’d only seen pictures of this plant, also called a Heliotrope. It was my favorite image that I had painted on Christmas cards – the year I set out to paint each and every card I sent individually. (Out of 100 friends on my list, I made it to 50. Fun, but too much.) So, here it was, in person. It’s not clear why I have such fondness for the Lenten Rose, sometimes referred to as the Christmas Rose. Maybe it’s the colors, the faded mauves and light greens, the shapes, the way the blooms grow close and back- to-back to one another. It awakens something deeply spiritual, or complete, or maybe ancient within.
It was at this point I decided to paint my garden, flower-by-flower as each new botanical wonder displayed its unique expression of creation.
April 28, 2018 on my early morning stroll, the weather still, sunny, and cold I discovered this tiny little tulip. It seemed shy nestled up beside a pinecone, maybe for a little comfort. Small as it was, it sounded a fanfare for its many sisters, brothers, cousins and family members who soon awakened showing random colors, shapes, heights in many locations throughout this half-acre garden.
Yesterday Isabella and I explored a different walking trail. We drove just west of Bend up Century Drive, turned off on the road to Benham Falls and ended up at Slough Camp. From Slough Camp’s parking lot we headed on foot towards Benham Falls, about 2.5 miles. I hadn’t been up in this area for ages. It brought back a fun/funny memory. In The 60’s when I was attending COCC my folks sent me $70. a month for rent, food, gas, etc. One memorable month I out-spent the month by two weeks and had only a dime to last until next payday. No problem, well not really. For food I, every day, fished the Deschutes and lived on the catch of the day – trout. I ate fried trout, baked trout, boiled trout, and fried trout again. The dime I had bought me two lemons from the market on Franklin St. just two blocks from my apartment. Bend was so compact and easy back then. Anyway, Slough Camp was one of my fishing spots and it felt good to be back, although I’m happy to hike and not fish.
Isabella found a place where she could get to the river for a drink without tromping through brush and river grasses. She took off over a little embankment that looked almost straight down to me. I questioned her ability to get herself out of that hole, but she did it, eventually. I let her rest a bit, me too, before we carried on. It was such a beautiful, quiet Fall day, and I’m grateful for every minute of it.