Showing posts with label galanthus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label galanthus. Show all posts

February 18, 2015

Unfrozen

With Valentine's Day over, I changed my Facebook profile photo from a heart painting to one I did of a snowdrop about seven or eight years ago. I've used it as a profile photo before.

Seeing it on my Facebook page made me want to get out the original painting. I still have it in one of my studio drawers. It's one of those paintings that I think I will hold onto forever as it has special significance to me.

It was the first painting I did after a long creative hiatus. Emma had just started high school. Chloé was still in elementary school. I hadn't painted for a few years and I was feeling very stuck. I wanted to start creating art again but had somehow convinced myself that I couldn't. I was spending an unreasonable amount of time reading books on painting techniques and consulting art websites (I spent weeks on 'Handprint'--an amazing source of information on watercolour paints and materials.)

The thing is that I already knew how to paint. I had painted for decades previously. What I needed to do was to sit down with my paper and paints and start again. (It sounds easier than it seemed to me at the time.)

This snowdrop painting was the first watercolour I completed after that period. I wasn't trying to choose a subject with deep meaning. I just sifted through reference photos I had taken of flowers in my garden and selected it.

Without trying to choose a subject with a deep meaning, I did. The snowdrop (Galanthus) is one of the first flowers to emerge in the garden after the winter. What better subject could I have chosen after a long period of creative block.

I still like the painting. It is simple and elegant.

It seems like the perfect image of hope as I deal with my annual case of February blues and as many of us deal with this difficult winter. In Montreal, we have had ongoing snow accumulation and intense cold but nothing like the extraordinary blizzards and snowfalls on the east coast of Canada and the US. I feel for you.

If you need a little spring encouragement, I sell my snowdrop image both as a print and note card.

My 5 x 7 snowdrop print
Snowdrop note cards
Here's to spring flowers, hope and becoming unfrozen.

❤  ❤  

TO A SNOWDROP 

LONE Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they 
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend 
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend, 
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day, 
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay 
The rising sun, and on the plains descend; 
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend 
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May 
Shall soon behold this border thickly set 
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing 
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers; 
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget, 
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring, 
And pensive monitor of fleeting years! 

William Wordsworth (1819)


I also wrote about my snowdrop painting in this post from 2012: 
http://trowelandpaintbrush.blogspot.ca/2012/03/spring-garden.html


May 6, 2014

More signs of spring

I was very excited to see the first snowdrop bloom in my garden today. I planted two different kinds of snowdrops in the fall. What a little beauty this one is. I can't wait to see the others.

I added about 300 bulbs to my flowerbeds this past autumn, so many that I've actually forgotten where I planted some of them. I tried to be organized. As I was planting them, I scribbled codes on the bulb packets to remind me where they were. Some are very clear to me. 'FR' is front yard.  'EMCH' means in the garden beds that belong to Emma and Chloé. 'DR' is the flowerbed that's visible from the dining room window. I can't for the life of me think of what 'LW' refers to. My daughter Chloé who is our resident comedian said that's easy. She said "Length times width gives you the area of the garden. They are somewhere in the garden." Thanks, sweetheart! Very helpful! Oh well, it's fun to see where things are popping up. :)

My first crocus bloomed almost four weeks ago. For the past few years, I have had pale yellow and purple striped crocuses in our front yard. I added a mix of crocus bulbs in the autumn so some of them have been wonderful surprises like these spiky white ones. The front beds have had a month-long show of beautiful crocus colour. They've been helped by the cool spring weather we've been having. A month of crocuses. They make my heart happy.

These gorgeous little pink tulips are new additions in my side garden. They are a dwarf species called Tulipa pulchella. They are native to Iran and Turkey. I absolutely love how they have combined with the Chionodoxa luciliae which have been there for a few years. Perfect marriage! They are planted under my dwarf weeping crabapple which is also showing signs of waking up.

My garden is not the only place with botanical activity. I noticed a welcome sight when I was walking with Meeko through the park across the street today. The trout lilies are in bloom!

Such a graceful, unassuming little flower. They are so close to the ground that it would be easy to miss them if you don't make it a habit to look down and observe. I actually had to kneel down to take this photo as well as some I posted on Instagram. As I was taking the photos, I was fully conscious of this being an area where I regularly see garter snakes. I saw my first snake of the season yesterday. I am not very brave about snakes but the desire to have some closeups of the lilies proved stronger than my fear.

Just to show that I'm not making it up, here's the garter snake I saw today--maybe it's the same fellow from yesterday. My phobia is so strong that it was actually hard to take and post this photo but I am trying to love all of the inhabitants of the woods. My eldest daughter Emma just saw me post this photo and high-fived me for trying to face my fear. :)

While indoors (and there has been plenty of rain in past days to encourage indoor activity), I have been painting and also working on new prints. I have been doing a constellation painting for Emma. She requested it for her 19th birthday which is coming up. I chose constellations that are visible in the northern hemisphere in June as a tribute to her birth. I've posted a couple of photos of it in progress on Instagram if you want to take a look. So much research went into it and I've spent hours placing, drawing and painting each constellation. I hope it does justice to the June night sky and to my wonderful Emma.  

Today I converted my woodpecker feather painting into a print. It took me hours as usual. Two and a half years of creating prints with Photoshop and my Epson printer and I still find the process to be slow and painful. I'm sure my perfectionist tendencies both help and hinder me. I care so much about my prints looking as close as I can make them to the original paintings. I am happy with how this one turned out. I found those woodpecker feathers this past winter in the same little forest that is now full of trout lilies and garter snakes. Everything is connected. 

 Woodpecker feather print





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