Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The set from Yosemite

I haven't shared the Yosemite photos yet, huh? There aren't too many. You can see our tent cabin, though, and a shot from Glacier Point.

And a wandering bear.

Click here

to see the Flickr set.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Like it says

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It must be June

If the agapanthus is blooming, it must be June.

Slowly settling into the new place. I’ve started to re-establish my good old routines: Running at the gym and taking long walks in the neighborhood, catching up with writing after my shower after the walks and runs. I admit, I miss the old neighborhood and the long walk uphill through the soccer fields and park that ended my morning walks, the stream, the chirp of frogs, the peacefulness. The new place is busier, more urban, more gritty and the people are, in general, also a bit more urban and gritty. It’s all a bit more scary.

The neighborhoods are old. Some homes are dusty and overgrown in that vacant haunted house sort of way. It’s also a historic district, I think, so some homes, on the other hand, are renovated, in the original bright colors and ornamentation. Overall, the neighborhood is mature enough that the homes have evolved away from all being the same, one after another. There’s a nice quality of character that each home has, old and tired or neat and tidy, and I’ve already identified favorite gardens along my walking route, spilling over with wildflowers, or lush with tropical plants. I’d like to take photos to draw and paint from, even if I suspect that people will think that I’m casing their places, or would just be weirded out about it. It’s gritty enough, you know, that that’s what I’d be thinking. But, bit by bit, it feels more familiar.

The walkway up to our place has agapanthus, that solid staple in Southern California gardens. All the places I’ve lived in SoCal have had them. And the saying goes: If the agapanthus are blooming, it must be June. I see the bundles of purple flowers along our walkway straining to burst open, waiting, waiting, maybe holding back for just one more week so that they’ll accurately and politely make their June arrival date. Even if I’m still wary of the new neighborhood, it’s a sure, familiar sign that summer is on the way.

my red ti-leaf plant, a revitalized branch

My own plants are doing well, having survived the move, as well, and the bitter freeze before that. For all the goodness of the old place, there was this squirrel that would dig through all my potted plants every morning, looking for peanuts. My ginger and ti-leaf plants always looked stressed the two years there, never quite comfortable. The frost came, and I thought, “Great. That’ll just do them in.” I couldn’t throw them out, though. After the move, I had to cut away quite aggressively to get rid of all the old, dried dead limbs. Within a week, we started to see new leaves. Bunches of ‘em. The plants, protected from marauding pests, look happy and very content. My miniatures roses have bloomed once already. The ti-leaf plant looks like it’s on its way to being revived, and the ginger plants that J had re-potted for me earlier in the spring, look secure, unfurling broad and healthy green leaves. I’m hoping that this is the summer that I’ll get the first blossoms from the ginger plants. It’d be such a sweet – in more ways than one – and gentle blessing for the patio and for our life together. I’d hoped for a lazy summer last year, with barbequed burgers, fresh green salads and beer. The kitchen flood derailed my energy and motivation last year. But this year, I’m hopeful.

So, if the agapanthus are getting ready to bloom, it must be June.

The hot, but lazy, days of summer can’t be far away.

the smaller ginger plant. I'm hoping it'll bloom like this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Improv in the Garden

yet another gnarly tree

… and not only did Karen and I manage to get (uhm) around rules about painting (or, not) at The Huntington, but we also, erm, redecorated a bit to provide better views from their benches. We’re very dangerous, reckless gals. Don’t let word get out, now.

This pathway is the last sketch/painting of the afternoon. When we were both done, we looked at each other’s work and realized that we’d chosen opposite halves of the path. I chose the gnarly tree on the left side of the path, and Karen did a really pretty job of capturing of the right side, further back.

Here’s a photo.

Here are a few more little sketches from The Huntington (is that like “THE Ohio State University”?) lilypond, as well. It was sort of a grey day, with thick clouds. It made for soft, mostly consistent lighting through the afternoon and kept things cool so we could work out in the open, not just under the shade. A nice way to spend an afternoon…

If I label this as 'plein air', you guys are okay with that? The more formal definition says that it pertains to paintings done outside, in natural light... But, for me, I see it broadly, 'plein air' = 'outside', and that's how I'll label the outside/plein air stuff - - sketches, paintings, whatever. Close 'nuff?
Enough dawdling and typing. I need to go run (back at it. On the treadmill. Maybe slow and long today).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mountain meadows

Brad Paisley sings it best: I'd like to see you out in the moonlight / I'd like to kiss you way back in the sticks / I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers / and I'd sure like to check you for ticks...

This is the best picture of the two of us from Yosemite.

It shouldn't be quite this hard to capture the two of us together, but apparently it is. We tried. Really, we did.

J didn't take photos. I didn't take photos of J not taking photos. No sketches or painting. No time spent doing work. No sneaking in a few more extra chapters of Harry Potter. No hiking, even. We walked through the meadows, caught up with sleep and took in lots and lots of the mountain air.

Serious R&R...

.. oooh you never know where one might be / and oooh there's lots of places that are hard to reach ...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Been doing

a little bit of this.

paint sketches of Ken's waterlillies

Last week I browsed through an art store that a friend suggested and bought issues of 'Watercolor Magic' and a bottle of Iridescent Medium...

Which can only mean that now ... I can paint shiny things. ;)

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I got a nudge from a friend, reminding me of something I’d mentioned that I’d wanted to do. We all have stuff we want to do, competing for time with stuff we have to do.

Fill the wallet? Or nurture the soul? Buh!

The important thing this morning, procrastination issues aside, is the power that a personal message of support brings. You people, rushing around out there, being busy, being stressed, being focused, living those very full lives, reading blogs while you're working, remember that.

When was the last time you reached out? No, don't lecture. Don't psychoanalyze. Don't gossip. It’s time for just a cuppa’ coffee with that person you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

Do it.

Thanks Ken.

Coffee shop

I wandered over to the local coffee shop, which offers free Wifi! Free! [Did I mention that I don’t have direct internet access to my computer at the new place and have to download and upload files from email or for blog posts to a memory stick to go between my computer and J’s computer? My old modem won’t work with his particular brand of DSL. In fact, when I try to use my old modem, it kills the connection. Dead. Gee, great. That’s top on the list of stuff to work on. I’m considering switching to wireless broadband… Then I could cruise wherever I roam… ]

So, anyway, we’d drive by and wonder when the shop would finish remodeling and actually open. It finally reopened a few months ago, and I finally got tired and wandered out for an afternoon break. The coffee shop is cool, hip (music, board games, magazines, d├ęcor) and exactly what I was looking for. And I can watch the trains go by – chuggachuggachugga. The coffee’s good, and I figure I’ll work through the different varieties of baked nummies. The chocolate-slathered almond biscotti was good, for starters.

The shop owner said business was good, and she got a lot of people in who worked from home, that would stop in for an afternoon break – get out, see some people, get some caffeine. I tilted my head, and smiled back at her,