Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tropical breezes

Sometimes all it takes is a whiff of ripe pineapple or a snippet of tropical fabric and I am transported back to the beaches of that little corner of Hawaii Mr. Wonderful and I call "ours."

 Which is hilarious, considering we've only been there three times and the last time was 28.5 months ago (not that we are counting or anything!)

This time it was a pineapple from Costco and a scrawled postcard from Sarah. 

"Natalie and I are here for a few days in the sun..."

I had no more than uttered the word "Hawaii" when my husband dashed to the computer and booked flights for only $10 using our mileage plans! Oh, how I love a man of action.

So now the calendar has dates penciled in and I find myself drawn to my old reference photos. How did I miss so much great resource material buried there? Time to dig out the old sketch books. 

I feel a surge of beach-scented creativity... the tropical breezes are blowing in the studio. Funny how a pineapple from Costco and a postcard from a vacationing friend can set you off down a new creative path!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chicken for lunch

"Don't go over that fence again," I scolded, "unless you want to be Emma's lunch." 

But clearly the Hen Who Loved to Stray did not listen.

Which explains how there came to be a rather impressive pile of feathers in the yard next door and a dog licking her chops after a rather larger than usual meal this noon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

So lucky

For as long as I can remember I've always had a favorite spoon.

It bears a scar on one side from the time it fell down the drain while my mom was running the garbage disposal, but I don't mind. It's still my favorite.

When I looked up the pattern online in a random moment of inspiration, I found Angela from Kansas, who had some listed on Craigslist.

Which is how I found myself gleefully opening a box of silverware today.

As I unpacked the silverware I began to laugh. Soon I was dancing around the kitchen.

Really, it's the little things that make you giddiest. A spoon or knife can make your heart sing.

When I picked up a packet of spoons, guess what they were wrapped in? LUCKY! 

More laughter in the kitchen.

Retro happiness. I'm stylin' in the kitchen today!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pen & paper in the garden

Oh, heavenly day!

If the glories sprouting on my windowsills and in my own homemade little starter pots were not enough...

... if the splendor in my own garden didn't lend me enough eye candy...

I knew a trip to Skagit Valley Gardens would provide an overload of inspiration. I could not leave well enough alone. Of course.

I phoned Anne-Marie and tempted her to hop in the car and zip north for a Grand Shopping Trip.

I bought a giant ostrich fern, unable to resist its dramatic unfurling. (Note to self: when something is labeled giant, I will in future inquire just how "giant" the giant will be.  I returned to the studio only to discover the fern is expected to be taller than yours truly!)

Blooming quinces, viburnum, even a poppy! 

Then the mad dash for children at school and deadlines back in the studio...

I have been snipping away madly and playing in the ink pots again.  

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bleeding heart in the garden

Spring is an embarrassment of riches, not the least of which is the unfolding of one's favorite plants, reappearing like old friends who show up for a reunion.

Bleeding hearts are popping up all over the garden here, probably because I love them so much that I add more almost every year. White ones are my particular favorites but those common pinks are delightful, too.

Even the shape of the foliage is so graceful...

Right after a shower I wander outside with the camera

I like to tell myself that I love perennials not just because they're easy (though that is definitely a great selling point) but also because the typical cottage garden plants have a humble beauty that never ends.

What are your favorite plants? And what do you love about them?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Columbine's dramatic foliage

"We would," said the email this afternoon, "be very interested in seeing more of your modern botanicals."

It was almost as if this woman knew I had just come in from shoveling more steer manure on the perennial beds and snapping photos of the dramatic leaf shapes emerging there, fingers itching to get going on new imagery.

Sketches litter the studio now with those leaves and the buds and bees... I have been working on the very botanicals this woman is asking for. Funny she should ask just now when I'm in the thick of it already (happy coincidence!)

Right now it's these columbine leaves that are fascinating me the most.

I love the curves and curls, the scallops, the bends and dips.

And the palette of colors is scrumptious, too, don't you think? (I know, I know, I included too many colors but this was one of those times it was just impossible to stop with just a few!)

I think it's remarkable how these colors change when the background color changes. Once again I'm left thinking how smart the Creator was to dream up combinations of colors to make any artist drool. 

I can barely wait to send out this next collection of modern botanicals. No surprise, there are paper and ink images of columbine foliage littering the studio tonight.

It's going to be a long and lovely night, with the studio lights burning into the early morning.
 I love my job.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Road Not Taken

I've always loved paths.

Do you love them, too?

Usually my choices are different than others, and only in the last few years have appreciated the fact that I'm not like most people. I almost always prefer a path that's different. And what used to make me feel weird now seems comfortable somehow.

Perhaps that's why I resonate with this poem. Is it one of your favorites? What poems to you like best?

by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this ever with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Today's eye candy

It was the usual chaos of barking and howling, doggy pals trying to chew the leash in a frenzy of excitement... the usual chasing of tails and rushing after the tennis ball as the three pups and I left for our Daily Walk today. 

I went in search of creative inspiration. They just went crazy. Or maybe crazy with joy.

We'd barely left before the eye candy began...

Right away I found great ideas for new work. Nothing new there. Isn't it odd how the same place holds a million fresh fascinations?

Soon I had to rush back to the studio to get some leaves sketched just right and try an idea for my annual New York show which seems to be creeping up faster than usual this year. 

How dandelion fluff inspired me to cut a hole in some black paper and flip it backward with another layer of paper behind it curling sideways and stuck over a different pattern... 

 I will have to let you know how that all works out in New York in May. 

The seedlings are sprouting in my garden like the ideas in my imagination. I am snipping away at a 26 foot long piece of Tyvek house wrap and will show you teensy peeks, though I will save the big picture for after the opening of the show in NYC. 

Suffice it to say I found plenty of eye candy on today's jog down the road.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On the radio!

Guess who's going to be on the air via the internet?

Ah, yes, it's moi!

Tune in if you're the crafty sort or interested in hearing about my latest project: Creative Getaways for Girlfriends... and start planning your own retreat with some of your favorite friends.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mountains & mole hills

Sometimes I get confused. I forget which are the mountains and which are the mole hills.

The big things...

taking time for quiet reflection with the Master...

...working hard and giving ourselves permission to enjoy a happy rest.

Spending time with friends is a big thing but going the same direction as everyone else isn't. Or shouldn't be.

Keeping in touch matters.

Savoring good food.

Finding the beauty right in our own backyards.

Reaching high for dreams...

feeding a sense of wonder and holding possessions with an open hand...

and always looking up with a smile.

The way I see it those are the mountains. The rest is just pesky mole hills.