Saturday, April 20, 2013

Forest Legend

Well hello there! I can't believe it's been a week and a half since I posted last.  Just after my last post celebrating the return of spring flowers to my garden, there was a big April snowstorm. I think it knocked the spring breeze right out of me! I certainly wasn't about to post more snow photos here. I haven't been idle though. I've been painting quite a bit and enjoying myself too.

I've been working on the painting at the top the past few days. It is special in several ways. First of all, it was painted in gouache rather than watercolour. I had a few tubes of rarely used gouache in my painting drawer but have just invested in a wider range of colours. The scene I painted is very special to me. Meeko and I walk on the same forest path all winter long. I thought I had every curve in the path and tree trunk memorized, but no. All of a sudden I came upon this gorgeous tree with a beautiful heart shape on its trunk. I gasped out loud when I saw it off to the side of our path. The heart, the gnarly bark, the gorgeous green lichen all made this tree trunk look more alive than all of the trunks around it. I didn't post the photo I took of it anywhere. I didn't want anyone to take it. I've actually been using it as my desktop image the past few weeks while I gathered the courage to paint it. I chose to use gouache as I wanted it to be a strong painting and for the heart tree to have plenty of character. I put the final few details on it this morning. The image measures 8 x 10 inches and it is painted on 300 lb Arches watercolour paper. There's a close-up of the trunk below. I am calling the painting "Legend has it she gave her heart to the forest".

The day of the snowstorm, I gathered bouquets of crocuses and scilla from the garden just before the snow began to fall. I even plucked some bulbs right out of the ground. (Crazy lady!) I took a crocus bulb because I wanted to paint it. I took several muscari bulbs because I wanted to see if I could force them to bloom a little faster inside the house if I 'planted' them in fish gravel with water up to their roots. It's working!

Here's the crocus painting I started the day of the storm and finished over the next couple of days.  (I'm such a slow painter.) It's painted on gorgeous feather-deckle Twinrocker watercolour paper. I made it complicated for myself by choosing a bulb that had two intertwined stems but I'm happy with the way it turned out. It's the first time I've included a bulb in a painting.

Good news! My flowers all survived the late snow cover. The garden is coming alive again. Leaf buds are swelling. The birds are singing. Here's a pretty little bouquet of botanical tulips I picked yesterday. The blue in the background is scilla. From me to you! Have a lovely week!


18 comments:

  1. incredibly beautiful painting

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    1. Thank you so much, Margie. I am in love with that tree and wanted to do it justice.

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  2. I love your tree painting - what a wonderful find that tree was! I also love the little crocus painting. I think the roots look so pretty.

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    1. Thank you, Janet! It is a special tree. I loved painting the curly roots of the crocus. I think I will paint another flowering bulb.

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  3. Oh, love those flowers and your paintings are beautiful as always! :-)

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    1. Thank you, Tina! I've been vicariously visiting Paris through your Instagram photos! :)

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  4. Oh I just find both paintings gorgeous! That tree would have captured my heart too. The bulb painting is so well done! I lose everything I plant around here for some reason.

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    1. Thanks for the nice words about my paintings. I have a soft spot for hearts and I love trees, so this tree stole my heart. It sounds like maybe you have marauding squirrels? :)

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  5. Lovely tree and painting, and I love the strong contrast between the bulb and the delicate colour of the stem and flower. We have had some welcome sun, but cool winds still and more to come?? But my little flowery gems are brightening corners all around. :)

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    1. Thanks, Julie. We have had so much mixed weather lately--strong winds, cool temperatures, occasionally a blue sky and sunshine to tease us.

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  6. Your painting of the heart on that tree shows all the texture of the lichen so beautifully and then the totally different style for the delicate crocus, so lovely. I need to look at more of your older posts to get myself back into painting.

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    1. Thanks so much, Barbara. Sit down with a paintbrush in your hand! :)

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  7. Dear Kathleen - your tree is beautiful. You have captured the lichen so well. It as if I can feel the texture coming off the page. Your crocus is beautiful as well. I so enjoy seeing your art. Thank you for sharing. God Bless.

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    1. Thanks so much, Debbie. So nice to know that my painting conveys the texture of the trunk and lichen. The lichen is so beautiful on that tree, some of it is green and some of it is blue-green. Thanks for your lovely presence here.

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  8. Très beau billet Kathleen. Moi aussi j'aime les arbres et le lichen. Le lichen est très intéressant à peindre.
    J'aime beaucoup l'aquarelle de crocus.

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    1. Merci Hélène de votre encouragement! Nous avons des intérêts en commun. :)

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  9. Oh my goodness, I LOVE the painting of the tree and the name you picked is perfect!
    -Jamie
    ChatterBlossom

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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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