A shabby chic vignette of flowers on top of flowers. Five pretty roses in a blue can rest atop layers of vintage floral fabric. Sweet and feminine.
An impressionistic little plein air painting done from my neighbor’s dock looking upstream. Looking westward in early evening and the sky was beginning to show some pink, and what happens above also gets reflected below around here. The Conodoguinet Creek is deep and wide at Cave Hill in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, allowing for a variety of boating activity. This same little white cottage with its blue shutters can also be seen in my Cave Hill Skater painting.
Believe it or not, this squirrel has her own social media page and has achieved a degree of fame! She was a tiny orphaned baby when a kindhearted couple took her in and successfully raised her to adulthood. After they released her into their yard, she stuck around and would come when called, rewarded with pecans and other tasty treats.
But then, why stop with just one squirrel? Word got out and before long there was a steady stream of orphaned baby squirrels coming their way. The couple’s home became a licensed wildlife rescue, where many more animals were loved and saved. But as their first rescue squirrel, ChippyBug holds a special place in their hearts.
Bean is a New England boy, through and through. He gets to go adventuring with his outdoorsy family and they started him young. Here he is standing on granite boulders in coastal Maine, and it’s always a joy to paint dogs in their favorite places.
Coco is a sweet Labradoodle with striking golden eyes. Her people say she is a very intelligent dog, almost like there’s a human behind those loving eyes. Coco is one of those special types of dogs who knows when her people aren’t feeling well. She willingly and intuitively steps right into a nursemaid role, “taking care” of them until they feel better.
After a short stint at the San Francisco dog pound, Wilma made a lucky landing with her new family. They describe her as the smartest, nicest dog they’ve ever had. Her DNA reveals her to be half Malinois, one quarter German Shepherd and one quarter Sheltie. Yes, those are some extra large feet on this girl, but they don’t seem to trouble her in any way! She gets almost daily sunrise walks on Baker Beach where she loves to play ball. With the Golden Gate Bridge as the backdrop, it was really fun painting this pretty dog in one of her favorite happy places!
An old photo, a favorite bracelet, the little hand-carved jewelry box Dad made for his bride, these were some of my Mom’s favorite things, now favorite remembrances of mine.
March of 2020 was a very different sort of month than any of us had lived through before. Covid-19 was upon us. It started like any other March but ended with life turned upside down, businesses closed and people afraid to venture out of their homes. A very dark time of more questions than answers. Mother Nature didn’t seem to notice though. Robins returned and spring flowers popped out like they’ve done for thousands of years. In my own neighborhood there is a Star Magnolia tree that can never wait to bloom. It will burst forth in exuberant display long before it’s safe to do so. Often it pays dearly for taking such a risk. Freezing temperatures cut short the fragile blossoms.
When I photographed a few stems for a still life painting, the white drapery came out nearly black in the background in contrast to the bright sunlight streaming in the window. It seemed a fitting scene for those dark times. Hopefulness amidst dark shadows. The gamble of emerging too soon into deadly danger. The determined persistence underlying fragile life. For me this Star Magnolia painting will ever remain a remembrance of those challenging times.
If you’ve ever shared space with a guinea hen, you know that she will spend the majority of her time looking for bugs to eat. That was in fact the reason that I got a flock of guineas. Living on the edge of a small woods frequented by deer, and deer ticks, any and all solutions were on the table. This watercolor started out as just a dense collection of Easter flowers but as I worked my way up the painting I found myself wanting something more than just tulips and daffodils. No one was more surprised than me when the idea of a guinea hen in the flowers was the flash of inspiration that come to mind. But I had seen it a hundred times in my own flower beds. Why not go with it?
West of Carlisle, PA is Meadowbrooke Gourds Farm, where every fall the sunflower fields are open to the public. On more than one occasion I’ve come home with armloads of sunflowers to share with family and friends. On this occasion, an old enamel bucket full of sunflowers made its way to my Monday paint group. Teamed up with a matching sunny yellow pair of ceramic chickens and my favorite vintage tablecloth, this still life was irresistibly cheery!