Thursday, May 17, 2012


Trowel or paintbrush...or spade?  I've definitely been torn in past days. I didn't look after my garden the way I normally do last year because I was involved in a huge volunteer project for my youngest daughter's class in May and June. So I am definitely committed to getting my garden up and running in a more respectable way this year.  The biggest task right now is cleaning up my vegetable garden, an even bigger job than normal because of it having been so horribly neglected last year. I'm taking photos as I go, so I will post a step-by-step transformation of my sweet little veggie patch in the next week or so.

Here are some violas from the veggie garden dug up and ready to be transferred to pots and other parts of the garden
So I have my vegetable garden as well as flower beds to clean up. Seeds to sow. Annuals to plant. And yet there are so many lovely things begging to be painted in the garden right now! Like lilacs. Oh, if you could smell them.  I can't walk through the backyard without stopping to bury my nose in them.

I cut some to paint a couple of days ago.  I started my painting in a very loose way with lots of water on the paper. Then I added paint and let it spread in a pretty free way.  It's not my normal approach but I felt the need to do things in a less structured way. Maybe because of all of the emotion of last week. I'm using a different paper (my experiments continue!) and I quite like this one. It's Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. hot press paper. It has a very smooth surface. It is noticeably smoother than the equivalent 300 lb. Arches paper.

This is just after the initial washes and a first few details were added
This morning I had planned to continue my work in the garden, but then I realized that if I didn't work on my lilac painting, the lilacs flowers would be gone. That's the thing with a spring garden. There is constant change and the blooms of one week are gone the next.  Even just two days later, I had to go out and cut new branches to use as my references. The first ones were already wilting. That's a flower that I wish would last a little longer in a vase.

Here's my work on it this morning.  You can see how I'm starting to add more detail. One lovely side benefit of painting lilacs is that you get to smell them as you paint!

I'm writing this while listening to birds chirp outside and sipping on green tea steeped with fresh mint leaves from the garden. How I love this time of year. Now up to the studio to continue work on my painting!


  1. Well, I have to say this loose watercolour looks always looks so watercoloury, if you get my meaning? I think it's just lovely, don't overdo the working in would be my tip, it just needs some hints, because it looks so nice as it is! I've been working on that paper too,but doing tighter illustration work, which I can't show. Good luck with the garden, it will wait a bit longer :)

    1. Thanks Julie. This painting has really elicited a response. I posted it on my Facebook page and on Twitter and the 'likes' and comments were almost immediate. Hope I don't gum it up! :) I've worked on it more since taking the photos (trying not to mess up the loose parts). I think I'm going to put it up somewhere very far from my paintbox where I can look at it for awhile and figure out if it's done or not. Your project sounds secret and, so, all the more interesting. :)


Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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