Fall gourds

I’m still been keeping an eye on my irises. They have managed to survive a couple of light frosts over the last week and continue to bloom. The colder air seems to slide right down the hill past them and perhaps they will last until we get a hard freeze.  I still have hopes that the buds on the second stalk will flower fully but you never know.  There must be over a dozen buds between the two.  The petunias are also still carrying on.  Such vivid colors so late in the year.  I like it.

Fall vegetables

After a full week of having to do other things, I finally was able to get back into the studio and work on the painting yesterday. Everything survived the wait except the carrots.   They have shriveled up quite badly and look like sad shadows of their former selves.  The humidity in the studio must be a lot lower than I thought.   I had been a little worried about the pepper lasting, but certainly not the carrots.  They look pretty sickly.

I think parts of the painting are okay, but it all still needs work.  I don’t like the back end of the carrots and the balance is off on the left.  I feel like I have to add something next to the gourds, just off of the middle.  I haven’t decided quite what to do, but I have a another small pepper I can use.  I guess I’ll try a few things out.  Perhaps a small onion.

The background came about in a funny way.  Lately, for some reason I have had trouble keeping my fingers out of the paint.  I noticed some red splotches on the upper right that came out of nowhere.  When I looked at my hands, I found that somehow I had brushed my nails into the red paint on the palette while I was loading another color onto the brush and then accidentally touched the watercolor board with them.  What a klutz I can be.  I tried to scrub it out but was unable erase it completely.  Ergo the swath off to the upper right.  It doesn’t look half bad but I would rather make those decisions on my own. 

I will probably let the painting sit for today and look at it with fresh eyes tomorrow.  I thought it looked off last night and still do today.  The photo only enhances the perception.  Decisions, decisions.

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Unexpected pleasures – take them when you can

Sometimes things don’t go as planned, no matter how I try. I guess the trick is to let it go and deal with what the reality is.  I had picked out a drawing to do and was preparing to start it when my new watercolors arrived.  Naturally I had to see what I had really bought since all I had was the pictures on the website and a sheet of recommended colors to purchase.  I altered my plans and made a still life with the gourds I found a week or so ago.  I was able to spend a few hours setting up the layout (jeesh are gourds hard to pose attractively) and lay down some preliminary colors.  That is where the fun stopped.  Other considerations intervened and that is where the painting sits.  I guess it is a good thing gourds are durable and long-lasting because I think it will be the weekend before I can get back to it.  I must say I am happy so far with what colors I bought.  I might make a few additions but not too much yet.

My confused iris

On the better side, these days my studio smells like an herb garden.  I recently picked most of the last of the tomatoes, peppers and herbs before an expected light frost.  The tomatoes are in the garden window to ripen, but I spread out the herbs on a piece of newsprint on the studio table to let them dry.  I did this last year and it worked out well.  I turn them over every day or two and eventually it all is dry enough to put into containers.  The aroma is quite pungent for the first few days and increases again when I turn them over.  I got a little bit of a surprise, though, when I picked the produce.  I glanced over to where the herbs were to check on them and something caught the corner of my eye.  There was something odd about the irises.  I did a double take when I realized several of them had sent up flower stalks and were attempting to bloom again.  They had never fulfilled their advertised promise of reblooming due, I guess, to the drought.  When we finally got some rain and more moderate temperatures, they must had decided it was fine to try again.  I held my breath through several more cold nights, but you can see that they made it.  I don’t know how many of the buds will actually get to fully bloom, but I am so glad to have the ones that did.  And you can see the petunias also made a great recovery.  Who’d have thought all these flowers were possible at the very end of October.  Certainly not I.

The sun will come out – maybe

We have strung a few nice days together lately  – or at least parts of days,  We have had some  pleasant mornings into the afternoon before the thunderstorms pop up. I am grateful that we haven’t had the terrible storms and tornados that parts of the rest of the country has seen.  I don’t think there is a building code established that will help a structure withstand a direct hit of a tornado.  I have started on the next work, lining it out and beginning a little of the landscaping.  Not enough to show yet.  I did look at some animals to do but wasn’t drawn to anything in particular, so I just went on with the next Ohio entryway.  This one is definitely a Tudor. 

In the meantime I have been keeping a close lookout for this year’s crop of fawns.  They often start to show up about now and I would love to get some pictures this year.  We did see a herd of deer earlier in the week.  I thought it was all does but when I got out the binoculars to get a closer look at least one was a buck with half-grown antlers in velvet.  I think it was the “big guy”.  The antlers were multi-tined and very fat,  Unfortunately, I was on one floor and the camera was on another.  They were crossing the lake at the shallow end, slopping through the water and then quickly moved into the trees, so no picture.  I will keep a lookout now that I have seen them.  I never realized that the antlers started to grow this early and that is going to be quite a set.

Chinese (?) irises in the yard

I have started to pick flowers from the beds to bring into the house again.  All through the year, my husband gets me a small bunch the first of the month as a year round birthday present.  One year when he asked what I wanted as a gift, I said flowers every month.  He just has to go to the grocery store and spend $5-8 on flowers and I am happy.  In the months that I have blooming flowers like my daffodils, irises and peonies, he gets a break.  Otherwise he finds me some nice carnations or daisies that are long lasting and we are both happy. This is a great gift and not too expensive.  I have told this to a few other women I know and everyone thinks it is a great idea.  No one has done as well as my guy though, from what I hear.  Anyway, right now there is the lovely smell of peonies in the kitchen.  They are from my Grandmother’s or my Great-grandmother’s stock and have to be at least 40-50 years old – maybe up to 80 years if Great-grandma planted them in the twenties.  I just don’t know.  They always make me think of Grandma though and that is nice.

Peonies, an iris, and store carnations