Monday, May 30, 2016

A Soft Spot for Pansies


Pansy watercolor prints by Trowel and Paintbrush

One of the things I have been trying to do as often as possible the past couple of years is to create sets of images when I paint. It's not something that I necessarily find to be intuitive. Often I want to paint one thing and then for the next painting, do something quite different! But by trying to offer more sets of images which I think is helpful to customers, I am finding that I do enjoy painting series. This is one of my favourite sets of prints that I currently offer in my shop: my set of four pansy prints. I introduced this set a few months ago but I have pansies on my mind these days because of all of the planting I am doing in my garden!

 Set of Pansy Watercolor Prints

Anyone who has known me for a while is aware of what a soft spot I have for pansies. One of my grandmothers was named Viola. Here's a photo of my recently planted herb pots on our back porch taken in the late afternoon light. Of course, I had to add a pot of sweet little violas!

Pots of herbs and edible flowers, photo by Kathleen Maunder, trowelandpaintbrush

You can view all of my print sets here. I hope to introduce more sets this year. I have several paintings in my studio just waiting to be converted into prints. As with all of my sets, you can also opt to buy the prints individually or to make your own grouping.

And now back to planting!

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tulip Time


This spring, I've had one of the prettiest tulip displays ever in my garden. The mild autumn we enjoyed here in the Montreal region meant that I had more time than usual to plant spring bulbs. I bought a lot of bulbs on sale in November and planted them. In December, the earth was still workable so I bought more! Lots of bulbs planted means lots of spring flowers!

In the photo above, you can see the early stages of the tulips in my back flowerbed. The elegant pink-striped ones in the back are 'Ballade'. They have been there for several years and I love them. The multi-coloured mix in front was planted this fall. On Instagram, I mistakenly said the mix was called 'Monet's Garden'. This colourful mix is actually called...wait for it..."Long-Stemmed 2 Months of Flowering Tulips Mixture".  It's certainly not a very poetic name but it is a very diverse and pretty combination of tulips. With the very warm days we have been having recently, a two-month display seems overly optimistic but I am enjoying every single day of them.

This particular flowerbed is visible from our kitchen window and back door so I have been making frequent trips there to gaze out at the tulips. In the more recent photos below, you can see how the stems are taller now and the blossoms more full.




Can you tell that I'm in love with them? 

Sometimes nature give you something a little extra. In the middle of all of these tulips was a very special one. A renegade. Isn't it amazing?


At the side of the house, I planted yellow-pink and purple-toned tulips together and they look like they were made to be friends. The pinks ones are a bunch-flowering tulip called "Quebec". The purple-edged ones are a Triumph variety called "Affaire". Both types have multiple stems so it makes for a very full display. I can see these ones from our dining room window. If it sounds like I spend a lot of time looking out of windows at my garden, I do.



I don't know what the funny-looking tulip below is called. (In case you are worried, he is not in a cage. I have these wire fences throughout my garden. I call them 'Meeko fences'. They are meant to slow down the galloping of a certain boy through my beautiful flowers. In this case, I had pulled one of the fences back in order to photograph the tulips. When I looked up, 'guess who' was sitting behind it grinning at me.)


One of the ongoing disappointments I have about many tulip bulbs is how they disappear over time. The silver lining is that it means that I can adjust and renew the look of my flowerbeds by adding more bulbs each fall. Every spring brings new surprises. I have many other tulips planted here and there in the garden but wanted to introduce my 'newcomers' to you.

Here's the "Monet's Garden" mix of tulips planted in front. I have to admit that I bought them mainly because of their name but I am very happy with their refined and elegant appearance.

If you'd like to see the watercolour images that include tulips in my shop, you can see them here.


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You may have noticed that I've made some small adjustments to the design of my blog. It's a little wider than before and my photos are also bigger. I hope that you like these small changes. I thought of changing my blog header but I still like it. It's been the same since 2011 but it feels like me. It's one of my favourite watercolour paintings that I did many years ago. The original hangs in our living room.

Today, I also managed to solve a problem I've had on Blogger since I began it in 2011! My photos would automatically indent from the left so I had to manually remove a piece of code after adding each and every photo! It was especially annoying when I had posts with several photos. I found some code that automatically corrects the problem! Hurray! It gets added in the CSS portion of the blog template. I also found some code that resizes my photos to fit my blog columns, also added to the CSS. Two internal changes that make posting a little easier! I'm sharing in case anyone else is struggling to solve similar problems.

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