Spring bouquet

I attempted to rescue a dissatisfying watercolor painting by doodling over it.  It think I redeemed it!

Phase one, rough composition with color. It’s still okay at this stage.

Phase two: bringing out details. I think it got too muddy.

Phase three: Doodling. Voila!



Camellia bouquet

Red camellias from my yard



Daffodil: King Trumpeter

March 10, 2017

Spring bouquet

“King Trumpeter to Flora Queen,
Hey, ho, daffodil!
Blow, and the golden jousts begin.”
— from “Daffodil,” The Wind in the Trees: A Book of Country Verse, by Katharine Tynan

Watercolor sketch of daffodil


“Life is just a long succession of small epiphanies.  You need to stop and seize them.  By making art, you will be recording what you are living through and what you are learning about.  A drawing and a sentence or two in a sketchbook turns those everyday moments into something significant.  Your art will set a frame around it and give you perspective on what really matters.  Over time you will build up a book of memories — a true record of what’s important in your life.”
— Danny Gregory, Art Before Breakfast

This is indeed what drawing and painting does for me — turns everyday moments into something more.  (And creating blog posts about these ordinary moments does the same.)

Watercolor sketch of a bucket of sweet peas

Watercolor sketch of a bucket of sweet peas

Another watercolor painting of sweet peas

Another watercolor painting of sweet peas



Lilac bouquet

Lilac bouquet

I find painting lilacs a challenge.  So instead of getting bogged down in the details, I tried to keep this painting tip from Monet in mind when I set out to paint this bouquet of lilacs:

“Whenever you go out to paint try to forget what objects you have in front of you — a tree, a house, a field, or whatever . . . and merely think, here is a little squeeze of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact colour and shape, until it gives your own naive impression of the scene before you.”
— Claude Monet








I mowed the lawn for the first time this year, a multi-sensory experience.  I love the smell of freshly mown grass and the sound of the mower itself — both seem to be symbolic of spring and the long days of summer.

This is also the time of year when I try to dig out all of the dandelions that have rooted in the yard over the winter.  I know they are considered weeds for the determined way they take over the lawn, but I do think they are awfully pretty, too.

Lawnmower attacking dandelions

Lawnmower attacking dandelions

The Dandelion
by Vachel Lindsay

O dandelion, rich and haughty,
King of village flowers!
Each day is coronation time,
You have no humble hours.
I like to see you bring a troop
To beat the blue-grass spears,
To scorn the lawn-mower that would be
Like fate’s triumphant shears.
Your yellow heads are cut away,
It seems your reign is o’er.
By noon you raise a sea of stars
More golden than before.

Dandelion bouquet

Dandelion bouquet


Dandelion chain

Dandelion chain


Jellybean with dandelion garland

Jellybean with dandelion garland


Watercolor sketch of dandelions

Watercolor sketch of dandelions



Goodbye daffodils!


Watercolor sketch of daffodils in a vase

Hello tulips!


Watercolor sketch of tulips in a vase

Bouquet of fresh peonies from Carol's garden

Bouquet of fresh peonies from Carol’s garden

” . . . [the peonies] have come into their full adult beauty, not strapping, but statuesque — the beauty of women, as Chekhov says, ‘with plump shoulders’ and with long hair held precariously in place by a few stout pins.  They are white, voluminous, and here and there display flecks of raspberry red on the edges of their fleshy, heavily scented petals.
These are not Protestant-work-ethic flowers.  They loll about in gorgeousness; they live for art; they believe in excess.  They are not quite decent, to tell the truth.  Neighbors and strangers slow their cars to gawk.”
— Jane Kenyon, “The Moment of Peonies,” Yankee, June 1991



Thank you, Carol, for this lush bouquet.  It is scenting the room as I write this.  Ahhh!

Exhibit of my watercolor sketches at the Elisabeth C Miller Library

An exhibit of my watercolor sketches is now on display at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library at the Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle.  The exhibit, which runs through September 28, is available for viewing during the library’s normal visiting hours.  Please check this link for hours and driving directions.

I spent a delightful couple of hours yesterday morning with a group of six women who drove down from Bow, Washington to see the show.  This is the first time I’ve actually met new friends through my blog, and they are each kindred spirits — some painters, a couple of librarians, some with ties to the Midwest, fellow travelers.   I am touched that they made the effort to see my work and it was a real pleasure to meet them.

Magnificent bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market.

I was also very honored to see a stunning bouquet from the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market delivered to the Miller Library to celebrate my show.  The bouquet is so beautiful, and it is such a thoughtful gesture of support from my friends at the Market.  The bouquet was quite a showpiece of local, seasonal blooms — I was tickled to see a stem of blackberries tucked in among the flowers and greens!

Display cases show sample blog posts, some photographs, and tools of my trade — watercolor sets and journals.

The framed watercolors are arranged by season — spring, summer, fall and winter.

I invite you all to stop by the Miller Library to see my show.  And to spend some time visiting this wonderful horticultural resource in the city.  Tomorrow’s blog post will take you along the trails of the Union Bay Natural Area adjacent to the Miller Library.  And Friday’s post will introduce you to the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium, also part of the Center for Urban Horticulture.  I’ll close here with some photographs from the demonstration gardens.


This purple trumpet flower is called “the devil’s trumpet,” or datura

Bed of sneezeweed

Sneezeweed, so much variety in one bed



I loved the range of colors here, too.

A hanging curtain of green

Looking through the curtain

Grape leaves like stained glass