Thursday, December 31, 2015

Weird and Wonderful Perennial Vegetables and Edible Flowers

There isn't much to do in a Minnesota Garden over the winter except plan next years growing. This time of year my mailbox overflows with garden catalogs which make it easy not only to pick the things that I want to be growing but to compare the prices on everything as well.

I see no real benefit in maintaining a lawn when water is so precious so the majority of my city lot around my house is devoted to growing things that are both beautiful and useful.

I'm lucky that everyone here would rather pick dinner than mow lawn.

Perennial veggies are new to me so I'll begin with organic Egyptian walking onions that I hope will grow well here. I'm a bit concerned because they say 250 days and we've got such short seasons here but I'm looking forward to trying them anyway.

So far all I've come up with for flowers is Chamomile which I plan to use for tea, nasturtiums and chives.

I'm sure there are many other possibilities so I can't wait to settle back in with the catalogs and explore.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

A coat of snow for the garden

As you can see, the weather is perfect to be working on my houseplants and dreaming of next year's garden as I page through today's stack of garden catalogs.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ugly Sweater Designs

This is the finished design and i'll walk you through they way I worked to get here.The whole project start to finish took me 3 days because some of the paints I was using required several coats to cover early mistakes I made along the way. Still, I'm more or less pleased with the results and it has sparked a few other ideas.

I used to knit and crochet a lot years ago but my hands aren't up to it anymore so I'm indulging myself by letting my imagination run wild and just painting up some designs for sweaters that I would like to have made.
This one feels like it's off to a pretty good start so far.

The reason I added a Santa Suit to the design is that many years ago I had knit baby outfits like that and for a few years I knit dog sweaters like that so this is my little nod to sweaters past too.

I'm planning on using this design in my Zazzle stores on cards, stickers and more. That's where I have the most fun with it all.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Back to work on the last sunflower

When I started this painting last summer it had a dark background because I was trying to paint all of the other plants that were around it. Somewhere during the process I decided to focus just on the flower itself and am giving it a bright red background to help me do that.

This is a small painting, just 8 by 10 inches so it will be cheap and easy to frame if it turns out the way I want it to and I'm able to use it for a Christmas present. I'll continue to take pictures of it from time to time as I work on it and add them to this blog.

After I'd decided on a background color I began working on some shading and texture with painting knives and brushes.

Once the background began to satisfy me I moved on to developing some of the other areas as I find some of my garden photos to capture a bit of the mood and the energy that there was when it was blooming.

I always feel that it's best to paint from live flowers but summer moves so fast that I never quite have time to do that. The other reason for this painting is that I give so much of my work away and when the last one came off the wall this year as a Christmas gift  I had to promise my husband that I would paint another one to replace it. Perhaps the motivation for that is what's holding back the real "flow" and inspiration on this one.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Wading back in with paints and knives

Sometimes when I feel like painting but can't quite get started I just grab an old canvas and scrape a few new colors over it here and there to see if anything pops or inspiration strikes. Often it doesn't and I just spend a lot of time relaxing into the process. Far from being a waste of time,it makes me feel better and I find these paintings make useful backgrounds for a lot of my florals.

I haven't got any photos yet but will shoot a few tomorrow and will add them to the blog.

I'm still not sure if this one's going to go anywhere but here's the picture of how it looks so far.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Making do with paint

Sometime's there's more to an artist's life than art. If you're lucky enough to live in a place that allows you to paint the walls, there's always something you can do to improve your surroundings.

There's nothing I can do about repairing the walls or installing baseboards so I've settled for painting things out and pretending it's nice. it's not the perfect solution but it works for me.

The white was nice and clean but a bit stark so I'm painting a woodgrained finish on the shelves to warm it up a bit.

There's still paint to touch up and more work to do on the woodgrain finish but I think it's quite an improvement, don't you? It's what my Mom always called "a lick and a promise" which is just making things as nice as you can get them until you can afford to really do the job right.

It may not be perfect but I like it.