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

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Looking at Things

February 26, 2016

“Looking at things is never time wasted.”
— Diane Athill, from Alive, Alive Oh! and Other Things that Matter

Buds are starting to pop!

Buds are starting to pop!

 

“Well. Then we had the irises, rising beautiful and cool on their tall stalks, like blown glass, like pastel water momentarily frozen in a splash, light blue, light mauve, and the darker ones, velvet and purple, black cat’s ears in the sun, indigo shadow, and the bleeding hearts, so female in shape it was a surprise they’d not long since been rooted out. There is something subversive about this garden of Serena’s, a sense of buried things bursting upwards, wordlessly, into the light, as if to point, to say: Whatever is silenced will clamor to be heard, though silently.”      ―Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Irises

Irises

I’ve been watching these irises from buds to blooms:

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“In winter when there are no flowers, and leaves are rare, even larger buds are interesting and somewhat exciting. I go a budding like a partridge.”
— Henry David Thoreau, from Winter: The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 8, January 31, 1854

Azalea buds, Arboretum

Azalea buds, Arboretum

Many trees and bushes are actively budding right now.  I saw these azalea buds along the Azalea Way path at the arboretum.

Azalea buds

Azalea buds

And the magnolias are simply profligate with their showy, soft-as-mouse-fur, perky, candle-flame buds.

Magnolia buds

Magnolia buds

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Watercolor sketches of magnolia buds

Watercolor sketches of magnolia buds

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down the sidewalk in front of my house this morning

Looking down the sidewalk in front of my house this morning

I carried my camera with me as I ran some last-minute errands this morning.  I wasn’t planning on doing another post today, but I want to show you what I am leaving behind for one month.  (Am I crazy for taking a vacation in April when it is so beautiful here??)  I’m consoling myself, knowing I can look back at this blog post from the road whenever I feel homesick.

 

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Blooming Magnolia

March 26, 2013

“Nature is infinitely patient, one thing lives after another has given way; the magnolia’s blossoms die just as the cherry’s come to life.”
— Teju Cole, Open City

Magnolia in full blossom

Magnolia in full blossom

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The artist Ellsworth Kelly has captured the essence of the magnolia blossom in just a few clear lines.  The simplicity of his drawing is beguiling.

From Plant Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

From Plant Drawings by Ellsworth Kelly

I was also inspired to try my hand at painting magnolia blossoms after seeing some botanical prints in Treasures of Botanical Art by Shirley Sherwood and Martyn Rix.

Magnolia painting by Siriol Sherlock

Magnolia painting by Siriol Sherlock

Magnolia painting by Barbara Oozeerall

Magnolia painting by Barbara Oozeerall

My watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

My watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

Another watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

Another watercolor sketch of magnolia blossoms

 

 

 

 

Jello mold with rabbit

Jello mold with rabbit

While I was out driving in the country north of Seattle, I stopped by Jello Mold Farm to walk in the flower fields.  The beds are still awaking from winter dormancy.  A few more warm days, and this will be a totally different landscape.  Right now, the farm holds just the promise of blooms.

Here are some photos:

Bundled twine in readiness for planting

Bundled twine in readiness for planting

Forsythia

Forsythia

Yellow against gray -- forsythia

Yellow against gray — forsythia

Pussy willow and catkin

Pussy willow and catkin

“I have a little pussy,
And her coat is silver gray;
She lives in a great wide meadow
And she never runs away.
She always is a pussy,
She’ll never be a cat
Because — she’s a pussy willow!
Now what do you think of that!
— author Unknown

Winter bed

Winter bed

Seed head

Seed head

New buds

New buds

Old seed cases

Old seed cases

Single dangling chestnut

Single dangling chestnut

Fallen chestnuts

Fallen chestnuts

Net over peony beds

Net over peony beds

Blossom

Blossom

Last season's hydrangea bed

Last season’s hydrangea bed

Dried hydrangea

Dried hydrangea

Wheelbarrows at rest

Wheelbarrows at rest