Daisies and Irises

Daisies and irises

Daisies and irises

I spent the the last few days working a little bit at a time on this one. I worked the longest session on the first day, laying in the most color, especially the purples.  I am rather pleased with the the way the irises turned out.    While the irises were totally purple, I made the artistic decision to shade them more subtly and leave a bit of white highlight.  I had a hard time deciding how much to do with the daisies.  They are so white that I needed to distinguish them from the background, but not too much to make them not look like daisies.  I think the compromises I made are pretty good, except for the one right in the middle.  I may decide to put a little white back in at some point.  I also went back and used more ink.  I only had the flowers sketched in and after the watercolor was added I thought they needed more definition.

It’s a good thing I decided to paint this now.  These irises don’t last long when cut and when I went out yesterday to get one last one to help me add a few details, they were all beyond use.  Daisies seem to last forever, which is a good thing.  I have a single huge cone flower blooming right now.  Maybe I will pick it and do a daisy/cone flower picture.  The flowers are so much prettier this year with all of the rain we’ve had.  The day lilies are next on the landscaping agenda so look for them in the near future.

The Third Experiment

I was able to work on this latest watercolor over the course of several days this week. And while I am happy that I made the effort, I think I like it least of the three. I picked several flowers from the beds and went from there.

Just the watercolors

After two sessions, this is basically what it looked like.  I was okay with the purple flowers and the background, but the yellow ones just got muddier the more I worked on them.  I decided to let it sit for two days and then see how I felt.  I was just dissatisfied enough that the pen and ink were looming in the background.  When I did come back, I felt that the yellow flowers needed more definition and I didn’t want to muddy them more, so I got out the ink.  Unfortunately, I got too carried away for the smaller flowers.  I think the ink must have bled a little more than I expected because it quickly overwhelmed them in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.  From there I had to add more ink into the background – more than I had intended and things kind of went down hill from there. 

After the ink overlay

I quit after a short while so I could look at the black areas the next day with a fresher eye and also tone them down with a little more watercolor.  I am not sure where I want to go from here with this painting.    The pictures actually look a little better than the painting itself.  I had to take them indoors under my daylight fluorescents because it is so hot and humid out that my camera lens fogged over outside.  I think that I may just let it sit for a while and maybe adjust the ink somewhat later in the week.  I do have two small 5×7 pieces of board left and will probably do something simple and quick on them.  Then I will probably feel like moving on to something else.

Who says I have a green thumb – not me

I have been told on occasion that I must have a green thumb. Nothing could be farther than from the truth. The reality is that I get  plants, indoors and out and if they live, they live and I keep them, and if they die I don’t get anymore of those. Through a process of attrition I have learned what will survive with a minimum of care.   Nothing exotic for me.  If it looks exotic and pretty that’s fine but I have a rule.  I only plant it once.  And none of this put it in in spring and take it up in the fall.  If you can’t make for a whole year – too bad – no second chances – usually.   

Half volunteers

I have broken that rule once in a while, but not very often.  As a matter of fact, when we built the new house and I had to start from scratch, there were two plants that were supposed to be good to -40.  Both were evergreen types and had a pretty little spring flower.  I think one was pink heather and the other was bog rosemary.  I lost about half of them  over the first winter and decided to break the rule and replace them.  I should have kept to the rule.  Many of the new ones died and most of the ones that had survived the first year succumbed.  I gave up on them and have moved on to the next.  I do try to pick plants that are fairly cold tolerant needing little care.  The no care rule extends to mulching over winter also. 

All volunteers

The only exceptions are the few annuals for the flower pots and the petunias along the stone steps.  There is a lot of gravel just a few inches below the ground and I can’t really plant much there except some shallow rooted annuals.  I have managed to get some daffodil bulbs going  and I wanted something to cover the ground when they die back.  I never liked petunias much when I was growing up but I decided that the spreading wave petunias  (wave means expensive, you know, as in wave your money goodbye) would be a good choice.  They have actually done very well there, spreading up to a square yard each and lasting well into October.  Last year I had a few volunteers come up in mid summer quite far from the stair area.  I never knew that they could come up from a stray seed so I thought how lucky I was and perhaps that birds had helped spread them.  This spring when I went to look and see how everything had survived the drought of the fall and the very cold winter, I saw what looked to be petunias coming up where I had planted them last year.  Surely not.  In the spirit of doing the minimum of yard work, I decided to let them alone for a while and see what they might really be.  I went ahead and planted some wave petunias just in case I was mistaken (which was most likely given my plant identifying skills).  Low and behold after a few weeks it became apparent that they were indeed petunias.  They are starting to bloom.  The flowers are a little smaller than this year’s new ones and I can’t tell how much they will spread, but I love the fact that they have reseeded themselves.  I have more coming up about 25 feet away.  The colorful petunia blooms are quite lovely coming up in the midst of the vinca where they were never planted.  I think I’ll let them stay.

Oh, and I asked my mother and aunt who they thought planted the hardy peonies and both agree that Grandma was not a flower garden person.  Great Grandma must have planted them at some point.  Neither could remember the first time they remember seeing the peonies, but they must predate the early sixties.  That means they really are 50 to 100+ years old.  I am betting older rather than younger.