As most of you know, a lot of my inspiration comes from nature and the garden. That is definitely true of a new small series I am working on related to pollinators.
I have been fascinated by bees most of my life, despite have an allergic reaction to stings as a kid. I still remember one day when I was playing down by the creek behind my dad’s house and a huge bumblebee landed on my neck. This was when I was allergic and I pretty much froze in fear. As I sat there with this guy wandering around on my neck, it started to tickle. His little feet just pattering away and his fuzzy body just meandering around. I calmed down and just sat by the creek letting this bee walk all over and felt like we became friends. I’m sure in my child’s mind there was some story running around about the magical girl who could talk to bees, or some such thing.
Skip to today, and our growing problem with the declining bee population. We have a Korean Bee tree in our back yard that has seen better days and will need to be replaced soon. I am hoping to get one more summer out of it, but those pesky lantern flies love it. It blooms at the end of the summer, giving the bees one last source for stocking up for the colder months. And boy do they! When you stand under the tree while it is in bloom, it sounds like you are next to a highway with all of the bees buzzing around!
We also let our garlic chives go to full bloom at the end of the season, so we get a swarm of bees there as well. I think one day last fall I counted at least 10 different species of bees and pollinators hitting up the chive blossoms. And that has led me to my current small series of paintings for pollinators.
My collage work for the early layers is pulled from an apartment gardening book from the early 70s; beautiful yellowed paper with a grainy, pulpy feel to it.
I have started building up the background layers, using light, earthy tones and pulling in some honeycomb. This piece will become my County Collector piece for the Chester County Studio Tour coming up on May 19th and 20th. As I continue to build up layers and work on the foreground details, the garlic chive blossoms with begin to take center stage.
I’ll be sharing the finished piece soon and will include it and others from the series in my April Newsletter. Be sure to sign up below to stay in the loop and get more details about the studio tour as we get closer to the event.
One of the questions artists frequently get asked is ‘where do you get your ideas?’ Inspiration can come from many, many sources. Things that we see, experiences that we go through, thoughts we remember at odd moments. Everything that has happened to us in our lives influence what we create and put back into the world.
The painting I am sharing today has some pretty straight forward origins. In my Zentangle practice, I will switch back and forth between working on Zentangle tiles and working in my sketchbooks and journals. Some of the drawings are just for the meditative practice, and some call out to me to be turned into something else. This quick drawing in my sketchbook was one of the later.
My mornings in the summer normally start with a quick trip out to the garden to say good morning to the bees and check for any new vegies that are ready to be harvested. The blooms always draw me in, this pumpkin blossom being no exception.
I had a few new boards prepped for new paintings with some background colors blocked in. I had already been influenced by these trips to the garden and had a background in progress with shades of green and orange. With the 2 images above in mind “Abundance”, the final painting, started to emerge.
The mandala of ‘Abundance’ captures the energy and potential of new growth, while the colors fading into the background reflect the peacefulness and serenity I feel sitting in the garden each morning, listening to the bees as they make their rounds.
So I go away for a week, with a reminder to my husband to tend the garden while I am gone. What do I return home to? This:
Weed and watermelon vine invasion!
The first day back was spent in catch up mode. Still plenty of work to do in the garden, but was able to get the vegetable beds under control. I am always amazed how much better I feel after working in the garden – no matter how back-breaking or tedious the work may be. (I confess to sometimes just running my hands through the tomato plants just to smell them… ah, smells like heaven!)
They have room to breathe again!
In the weeding and trimming, I was able to get a good look at how the crop is coming along – including the little melon babies that are really starting to put on weight!
Our little baby is growing up!
We’ve been staggering our planting a bit this year, trying to learn form last year’s ‘everything is ready at once’ problem. At this point we have one bed left to plant our beans and transplant herbs so that the dill will be ready when the cukes are ripe for pickling.
I always have to ‘squee’ as the little vegies starting showing up so here are the garden baby pics for this year:
Thumbnail size water melon
First eggplant of 2015
Early girl tomatoes
Teeny Tiny cucumber – got some growing to do before getting pickled!
(Yes, I know these aren’t all technically vegetables, but cut me some slack!)
How about you – how are your gardens doing this year?
Happy New Year 2014!
It is that time of year when we all start thinking about resolutions for the new year, setting new goals for ourselves, thinking about making a fresh start this year. This type of reflection tends to hit especially hard for me as my birthday is just a few days away as well.
This year is not getting a long list of resolutions, though. Last year saw a lot of changes in direction and focus on living a better life by the whole family. This year, we just want to keep that momentum going and building on what we have.
Our key points to continue focusing on this year:
- Eating less processed food
- Getting more exercise as a family
- Expand the garden (plan to add 2-3 more raised beds this spring)
- Continue sharing creative expression
So, as you can see, nothing too strict or specific, so we don’t have the let down of broken resolutions. What is the point if they cause more discouragement than progress? I’ll be starting off my Tuesday totals again for this year, which help keep me going on my writing goals, and those are more specific because I need precise goals there to shoot for.
What about you? What are your plans for 2014?
Edit Note: After I posted this, I got the new weekly challenge from I am the Diva’s site. It is for a 2014 tangle so I linked back here. Check out all the other entries – lots of creativity and some beautiful designs.