June 29, 2016
June 28, 2016
June 27, 2016
“Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight,
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper fingers casting at all things,
To bind them all about with tiny wings.”
— John Keats, from “I Stood Tip-Toe Upon a Little Hill”
I loved seeing the array of colors in the sweet peas at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Their ruffled petals really do look like flushed wings, as Keats so aptly observed. And their tendrils look like wayward calligraphic lines, ready to bind those wings from actually taking flight.
I had the opportunity to visit Jello Mold Farm recently and was rewarded by the sight of a greenhouse full of sweet peas.
I wish I could do a better job capturing sweet peas with my watercolor paints. Sometimes, even when I paint something over and over, I don’t seem to be improving. Aargh!
April 14, 2016
“Is any moment of the year more delightful than the present? What there is wanting in glow of colour is more than made up for in fullness of interest. Each day some well-known, long remembered plant bursts into blossom.”
— Henry A. Bright, from A Year in a Lancashire Garden
Blossoms abound this time of year. One can hardly keep up with the newest blooms. This year, in the midst of tulip season, the lilacs are already bursting into flower. Since we were in the Skagit Valley to see the tulips, we decided to swing by Jello Mold Farm to see what was happening there. And lilacs were abounding. These are indeed long-remembered plants to me. My mother had a large lilac bush by her garden, and the scent of lilacs brings back memories of my childhood on the farm.
Here are some photos of the lilacs at Jello Mold Farm:
October 11, 2015
“In any careless combination they delight.
Pure peach-cheek beside the red of boiled beet
by the perky scarlet of a cardinal by flamingo pink
by sunsink orange by yellow from a hundred buttercups
by bleached linen white. Any random armful
of the world, one comes to feels, would fit together.”
— from “A Bouquet of Zinnias” by Mona Van Duyn
I love how Van Duyn’s poem celebrates the brilliant multi-colored pageantry of the zinnia flower. As summer fades to fall, the tenacity of this flower means that we will enjoy their splashes of color when other summer blossoms are spent. The poem is brought to life in the zinnia beds at Jello Mold Farm.
“How tough they are, how bent on holding their flagrant
freshness, how stubbornly in their last days instead
of fading they summon an even deeper hue
as if they intended to dry to everlasting,
and how suddenly, heavily, they hang their heads at the end.”
— from “A Bouquet of Zinnias” by Mona Van Duyn
October 7, 2015
What a funny mix of textures there are in each chestnut seed case. Those prickly-as-a-hedgehog seed cases protect a nut that is as smooth as marble. I love the feel of chestnut conkers in my hands. Jello Mold Farm has several rows of chestnut trees separating their flower beds, and I was so taken with photographing them, I thought they deserved their own post.
October 6, 2015
It’s impossible to say what Diane, Dennis, Andy and the staff at Jello Mold Farm do best, but their dahlias have to be near the top of the list. How fortunate that the growing season has lasted into early October, so that I could feast my eyes on their riotous glory. These have to be the most exuberant of blooms, a welcome splash of color in our muted fall landscape. Enjoy!
July 2, 2015
“The exceeding beauty of the earth, in her splendour of life, yields a new thought with every petal. The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live, so that the longer we can stay among these things so much the more is snatched from inevitable Time.”
— Richard Jeffries
I have a terrible track record with painting outdoors, especially if I have my camera along and know I will be taking photos, too. I find it easy to pull my camera out and snap shot after shot, but it feels like a hurdle to set up my watercolor supplies. Countless times I have carried my painting supplies with me on trips and outings and left them in my bag, unused.
No, now when I think about it, it is not the physical act of setting out paper, water and paints that proves difficult — it is the mental adjustment I need to make before painting . Slowing down, forgetting to feel self-conscious, becoming absorbed, etc. All processes that I find easier to embark on in the privacy of my home when I am alone.
But I do want to get better at painting en plein air. So I packed my little palette of travel paints, a sketchbook, a brush, and a water bottle in readiness for my daytrip to Jello Mold Farm. On the drive up to the Skagit Valley, I thought I might set a goal of painting 12 sketches in one hour, an exercise to free me up because I would have to work too fast to think much. And then I discovered that I had not packed any pencils, so I had to skip my usual step of making a light pencil drawing before applying the paint. This was going to be a day of experiments!
Here are my sketches from Jello Mold Farm. I simply could not sustain my focus beyond seven sketches, so I stopped. Still, it was rewarding to have made an attempt at working outside.