Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Flowery Blue Sea

I love so many flowers but I have a real soft spot for blue flowers. I also love tiny things. My mother says that when I was a baby I used to ignore toys and become completely enraptured with a tiny speck of something. My eye for detail and appreciation of small things have apparently been with me for a very long time! Forget-me-nots fulfill so many loves.

The photo of Meeko above was taken at the edge of a park near us. There is a house that backs onto the park in that spot. Their entire backyard is covered with forget-me-nots! They spill into the park beside. It is the most exquisite sight--like a soft blue cloud. Meeko sat beside me while I took photos. He's so patient when I use my camera although that rightward turn of his head suggests that he is most likely thinking of the squirrels he often sees in the park a bit beyond.

5 x 7 print of my 'Forget-Me-Nots' print
I don't pick bouquets in the big patch of forget-me-nots in the top photo. It feels too much like it's part of a private garden even though it's in a public park. There is a patch of forget-me-nots beside one of the little paths I walk with Meeko. That's where I pick small bouquets. The houses are far away so I don't feel that I'm depriving anyone by picking a few stems.

I also have forget-me-nots in my garden but they are in a very shady spot and haven't bloomed yet although they have buds. Something to look forward to. 

Having fresh forget-me-nots was the perfect reason to retake photos of my forget-me-not print. I am trying whenever possible to incorporate the actual subject of my paintings with my photos. That is not very easily done during our winter months so I have to hurry while things are still in bloom!

I also recently completed a painting of blue scilla that makes the perfect companion to my forget-my-not print--two beautiful blue spring flowers. If you haven't looked at my new website, I hope you'll have a peek. I have added many new items over the past few weeks. 

Blue flower spring duet

Henry David Thoreau wrote of forget-me-nots, "It is one of the most interesting minute flowers. It is the more beautiful for being small and unpretending; even flowers must be modest." I love that. I love them.

❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Little (Lotta) Lilac Love

It's that beautiful time of year when the air is heavy with the sweet fragrance of lilacs. I have four common lilac shrubs (Syringa vulgaris). They are planted around the corner of our house where there are no windows. Their tantalizing scent draws us out of the house and around the corner to visit them. I bury my nose in in the blossoms whenever I pass by. I am sensitive to many fragrances but I have no trouble at all with the scent of lilacs. Thankfully.

I did the watercolour painting below in 2012. I think it's one of the originals that I will always hang onto. I offer both prints and cards with this image and they continue to be among my most popular products. I often use my Lilacs image on the little thank you cards that I include with orders. Maybe you've received one from me.

My original 'Lilacs' watercolour painting
Lilac Watercolor Note Cards
Set of 5 Lilac note cards
My dwarf Palibin lilac is gearing up to bloom just as the others fade.
I did my 'Lilac Sprig' watercolour in 2013. That original has sold but I offer the image as a print and note cards. I took advantage of the lilacs being in bloom to take this new photo on my 'Lilac Sprig' print this past week. It's a sweet 5" x 7" print that looks very pretty framed.

Watercolor botanical illustration of lilac
Lilac watercolor note cards
I don't cut lilacs often for bouquets. I find that they don't last very long in a vase. I couldn't resist cutting a few though recently and they were drooping by the next day. Does anyone have a trick for making cut lilacs last? I would love to hear it!

And to close, a little music sung by Jeff Buckley. Because lilacs!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Update: My friend, Margie, of Resurrection Fern has given me a tip for making cut lilacs last longer. She suggests smashing the woody stems with a mallet or meat tenderizer. I will give this a try!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Spring Walk in the Woods

Meeko and I went for a walk in the woods near our house this morning. These are the same snow-covered woods that you have seen in my blog countless times. In the spring and summer, it is usually too boggy to walk there. We have had such warm and dry weather the past few days that the pathway was completely accessible. Well actually, it was a little squishy in places but walkable if you stepped carefully. I let Meeko lead the way.

What a treat to see the spring version of these woods and all of the lovely plant life there. There were trout lilies everywhere. Such elegant little flowers. I also saw these delicate white flowers. I think they are some type of heuchera. I love the little bit of fluff attached to its side. 

I exclaimed out loud when I saw the next flowers! Meeko looked around as he thought that such an excited voice must mean a squirrel or other small creature. Nope. Not a four-legged creature. What I had seen was a trillium!

I put my head right down on the ground to take this photo. Then I had to pick the leaves out of my hair afterwards! Completely worth it. What a beautiful flower. I've seen trilliums often where my parents live in Northern Ontario. I didn't know that there were some within walking distance of my home! So exciting.

Everything looked beautiful in the morning light. I loved the curved pattern of these little tufts of grass and the lovely pairing of this trout lily and the heuchera.

What a beautiful way to start a morning. I haven't stopped smiling since.

❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tea with a Friend

One of the best parts of being in Paris was seeing my friend Lucile again! Having an overseas friend is a lovely thing but it makes getting together a little bit difficult.

Lucile paints gorgeous watercolours and sells them under the name lucileskitchen. (You can follow her on Instagram if you are interested in seeing more of her work.) We became internet friends in 2011 when I was in the process of opening my Etsy shop. I contacted her because I love her art so much and I had some questions about how she did her prints. We soon learned that we had lots in common--watercolour art, teenaged children, a love of cooking and gardening, a sense of humour (absolutely essential to artistic sanity) and an interest in each other's world. We are in touch with each other on a regular basis to discuss art, Etsy, Boucherville snow, Paris rain, flowers, food, our children and Meeko!

We met each other in person in 2012. We were very lucky (well, actually it was planned) to vacation in New York City at the same time. Because we were there on family vacations, our time together was brief but very enjoyable. We visited the Ellsworth Kelly plant drawings exhibit together at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Our families had dinner together at one of Mario Batali's restaurants.

I own three of Lucile's original paintings, one of which is this lovely watercolour of macarons, a Sheffield's teapot and tea cups. It hangs in our dining room. Lucile and I have often mentioned how nice it would be to have tea together someday. Well, we finally did! Best of all, it was in her lovely Paris apartment! She invited my husband and me for 'un gouter'--a delicious snack at her place.

I was so grateful that she was able to squeeze in some time to see us. Lucile is currently working on a crazy schedule--doing three paintings a day (three!!!) for a recipe book contract that is due in May.

I completely adore Lucile's small, warm Parisian kitchen with its big personality. I love that it is painted with a strong yellow.  Although not exactly the same yellow, it reminded me of Monet's boldly painted kitchen at Giverny. I also love the historical Vilmorin vegetable plates on the walls.

Lucile bought a gorgeous strawberry tart from a local pâtissier to share with us and her children Jeanne and Werner. She poured tea. We ate. We chatted. It felt like we did this all the time.

Just before leaving, we had a peek at Lucile's studio. I had glimpsed it previously in an Etsy blog post on inspiring workspaces. It was so lovely to see it in person. I was very touched to see that a little heart watercolour I did for Lucile as a thank you for her help a few years ago was framed on the wall beside her Wacom Cintiq tablet.

Her softly lit studio had an almost magical quality for me, with its high detailed ceiling, the beautiful chandelier that belonged to her grandmother, the tall window and the painting she had worked on that day drying on the table. I love that now when Lucile tells me that she is working on a painting or cooking dinner that I will be able to picture her exactly where she is.

Sending a big anglophone hug across the ocean, Lucile. Until next time, my friend!

❤  ❤  ❤  ❤  

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