Inspiration for my latest painting -- a row of purple irises

Inspiration for my latest painting — a row of purple irises

Ado
by Mary Ursula Bethell

It grows too fast!  I cannot keep pace with it!
While I mow the front lawns, the drying green becomes impossible;
While I weed the east path, from the west path spring dandelions;
What time I sort the borders, the orchard escapes me.
While I clap my hands against the blackbird,
Michael, our cat, is rolling on a seedling;
While I chase Michael, a young rabbit is eyeing the lettuces.

And oh the orgies, to think of the orgies
When I am not present to preside over this microcosm!

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Radical Amazement

April 27, 2016

Rhododendron

Rhododendron

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually.  To be spiritual is to be amazed.”
— A. J. Heschel, rabbi and scholar

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Watercolor sketch of rhododendron

Watercolor sketch of rhododendron

 

 

 

Single poppy with buds

Single poppy with buds

Bouquet
by Robert Francis

One flower at a time, please
however small the face.

Two flowers are one flower
too many, a distraction.

Three flowers in a vase begin
to be a little noisy.

Like cocktail conversation,
everybody talking.

A crowd of flowers is a crowd
of flatterers (forgive me).

One flower at a time.  I want
to hear what it is saying.

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This was the lone poppy blooming in a bed of buds.  So I had no choice but to gaze intently at this one flower.  So much to see!  I was reminded of my Wordless Wednesday project of last year, when I took the time to photograph 12 views of a single object.

I think of Georgia O’Keeffe’s many flower paintings — most depict single flowers.  For most of my painting practice, I have been focussing on small watercolor sketches of single flowers, too.  But this year I have been branching into painting bouquets from time to time.  Even when painting bouquets, one has to paint one flower at a time!  Each one is a little portrait, so varied and unique.

For me, painting always involves looking deeply at things.  It adds another layer of enjoyment to seeing.

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My first watercolor sketch of this single poppy

My first watercolor sketch of this single poppy

 

Another watercolor sketch of poppy

Another watercolor sketch of poppy

Silver Rain

April 25, 2016

Rain through living room window

Rain through living room window

In Time of Silver Rain
by Langston Hughes

In time of silver rain
The earth
Puts forth new life again,
Green grasses grow
And flowers lift their heads,
And over all the plain
The wonder spreads
Of life,
Of life,
Of life!

In time of silver rain
The butterflies
Lift silken wings
To catch a rainbow cry,
And trees put forth
New leaves to sing
In joy beneath the sky
As down the roadway
Passing boys and girls
Go singing, too,
In time of silver rain
When spring
And life
Are new.

Raindrops on window panes

Raindrops on window panes

Fallen peony flower with raindrops

Fallen peony flower with raindrops

 

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These “cups of gold,”  California poppies, grow like weeds in the ditches and gardens of the Pacific Northwest.   They are also the California state flower.  You can read more about them at this link and here. They seem to be universally loved, little celebrations of sunshine (they fold up at night and unfold in the sun).

Watercolor painting of California poppies

Watercolor painting of California poppies

 

Multiplied Green

April 22, 2016

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

Dogwood tree, like upside-down umbrellas

Metamorphosis
by May Sarton

Always it happens when we are not there —
The tree leaps up alive into the air.
Small open parasols of Chinese green
Wave on each twig.  But who has ever seen
The latch sprung, the bud as it burst?
Spring always manages to get there first.

Lovers of wind, who will have been aware
Of a faint stirring in the empty air,
Look up one day through a dissolving screen
To find no star, but this multiplied green,
Shadow on shadow, singing sweet and clear.
Listen, lovers of wind, the leaves are here!

Dogwood tree

Dogwood tree

This is the season of the greening of the world.  Trees and bushes and lawns are in a range of green values.  Some trees are in full leaf.  Others are still emerging green.  And it’s true, you can’t ever seem to catch the exact moment when the green bursts forth.  Suddenly it’s just there.

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers

Big-leaf maple, new leaves and flowers

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Deciduous Spring
by Robert Penn Warren

Now, now, the world
All gabbles joy like geese, for
An idiot glory the sky
Bangs.  Look!
Now, are
Bangles dangling and
Spangling, in sudden air
Wangling, then
Hanging quiet, bright.

The world comes back, and again
Is gabbling, and yes,
Remarkably worse, for
the world is a whirl of
Green mirrors gone wild with
Deceit, and the world
Whirls green on a string, then
The leaves go quiet, wink
From their own shade, secretly.

Keep still, just a moment, leaves.

There is something I am trying to remember.

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Watercolor sketch of dandelions

Watercolor sketch of dandelions

“The Dandelion’s pallid tube
Astonishes the Grass,
And Winter instantly becomes
An infinite Alas —

The tube uplifts a signal Bud
And then a shouting Flower, —
The Proclamation of the Suns
That sepulture is o’er.”
— Emily Dickinson

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