The last in a trio of vegetable paintings, I present "Farm Onions" I love how, unlike most onions that I buy, you can see the part of the plant that grows above the soil.
The painting challenge here is in the subtle study of white... for white objects are rarely actually white. I learned this from my hero John Singer Sargent. When I look at paintings like "Simplon Pass: Reading" done in the Alps in 1911, the multitude of greens, blues, yellows, and grays that create the white drapery stun me. Feast your eyes on it here.
Have I mentioned I love terrariums?
Something about the way they contain earth, air, light, water and plant life is so elemental. As a microcosm of an ecosystem, the relationship between entities reads like a metaphor for an environmental theory of well being. When I observe them, it is like they are talking to me. And yes, I've come into the habit of naming my terrariums.
This terrarium, I made three years ago. It is one that unfortunately didn't make it .
Old friend- I wish we had more time together. Thank you for all that you have taught me. I wish I had been better able to fit your needs. I am grateful that I made this painting of you during your prime as a way to remember you and to share the story of your brilliance with others.
What I find most fascinating about the meadow on the top of the hill in High School Park is the fact that under less than 2 feet of soil there is a buried high school. Erected in 1904 and used as the Cheltenham School District High School until 1959 (Go Panthers!), it went up in flames in 1995 and what was left was imploded in order to create the park.
The meadow is mowed each year. This juvenile red maple somehow escaped trimming several years ago to show its spectacular autumn foliage last week before our deep freeze. It's shallow root system isn't bothered by its underground neighbor. What I think is Indiangrass in the foreground captures the light like a brilliant autumn flower that I feel like I'm discovering for the first time this year.
This may be my last outdoor painting for the season since I moved my operations back into my studio last week. But who knows? A 70 degree day may come our way some time in the next few months!
Since it's still plein air painting season (meaning it's not too hot and not too cold to paint outside), I went to High School Park and found this lovely spot along the meadow walk built in memory of Joshua Schwartz.
It only seems fitting that if I am a resident artist in Cheltenham that I paint Cheltenham. I foresee "Meadow Walk" as the first in a series. I'm putting on the hat of being a tourist in my own town!
That "Tourist in my own Town" theme, by the way, is an excellent writing prompt that was given to me by the great Mt. Airy writing teacher, Minter Krotzer. I, in turn, assigned that topic to countless unsuspecting 10th grade students when I taught high school English. We read an essay entitled "A Tourist in my own Town" by an American author for inspiration. I'm a bit embarrassed that I can't remember the author. Can anyone help me out?
In Alaska, this lone cottonwood tree sat in a field behind the Glacier Bay Country Inn where I stayed with my family earlier this month. I painted this on the only day we saw sunshine and one of the few glimpses that we had of those distant mountains of the Fairweather Range. I saw my first moose walk across this field later in the week.
The inn is situated in Gustavus, Alaska: population 428. To get there we needed to travel by plane since, as opposed to Rome, no roads lead to Gustavus.
Hummingbirds love this stuff! It's like the blossom of this coral honeysuckle plant was made for them.
I planted this in our yard 3 years ago. It grows more slowly than the aggressively invasive honeysuckle plants I enjoyed while I was growing up, but it's much more beautiful and better suited to our ecosystem.
However, in its first year this plant's greatest threat was a local predator, my son.
Nowadays, the plant is big enough that I no longer have to protect it from his sweet blossom appetite. New growth outpaces his "harvesting." I painted this on a recent rainy summer morning, similar to the daylily I posted a few weeks ago. Doesn't it look delicious?
I feel pretty comfortable when I do drawing demonstrations for the classes I teach. However, I realize with this painting that I started a few weeks ago as a demonstration for my current outdoor painting class that it's hard to explain what you are doing while you do it!
When I paint in watercolor, it's a deeper experience than drawing. The act of explaining does take me out of the zone where I create somewhat spontaneously. In fact, I needed to work on this painting for about 20 minutes without my students watching because I felt that there were some issues that needed to be resolved and I honestly wasn't sure yet how I would address them. I'd say it's mostly finished now, but I've saved several things that I have in mind that I want to show them..
One day my demonstrations will likely be more polished. In the meantime I appreciate the fact that my students accept my vulnerabilities as an authentic part of the process.
Red globe radishes bring me such delight. Fresh from the Pennypack Farm & Education Center where I pick up my CSA (community supported agriculture), this bunch did not last long in my house even though I am the only one who eats them.
This power food is so heathy to eat that there is a Chinese proverb that says, "Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors bend on their knees." No offense to my doctor friends.
Thank you to the former owner of my neighbor's house for planting this wonderful cherry blossom tree! This early bloomer was buzzing with bees before the petals drifted away.
I can't help but wonder about the people who lived in my neighborhood who planted these trees and how it's like a part of them is still here, even though they are gone. My family and I planted a River Birch tree two years ago. I hope it brings joy to whoever gets to see it in 50 years!
"Cherry Blossom" is a 5 x 7 inch watercolor painting.
Terrariums. They hold a deep symbolism for me that I haven't quite put my head around completely. I think it has something to do with the Earth. As I educate myself about climate change in the macrocosmic sense...these little worlds act as a corresponding microcosm that I can observe and nurture.
This is "Rabbit Foot Terrarium," an 8 x 10 inch watercolor painting that is currently hanging at Elcy's Cafe in the Glenside Train Station. Yes! My show is up! April 1 - May 12.