This is the first time I have painted mushrooms and I love it almost as much as I love eating them. Each one has its own "mushroomality"with little twists and turns that are so much fun to paint. This is the start of my series of mushroom paintings and I really hope you'll enjoy them along with me.
There are so many delicious mushrooms available that could not be purchased in the past. Let me know what your favorites are and how you like to serve them.
There are directions for a carved watermelon basket that appeared in Southern Living, which you all know is one of my favorite magazines. I made this several times and filled it with melon balls from cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon, and other cut up fruit. It is a time consuming project but beautiful for a party or cookout.
I pulled out this tool for making melon balls and realized it had been a long time since I used it so then I
remembered a much simpler idea, fruit kebabs that you let soak in a syrup made with sugar and mint leaves. I spend a lot less time in the kitchen now that I'm painting every day, so the quicker and easier it is, the more I like it.
It takes time to set up a still life and decide on the best arrangement for the subject. Today I got this all worked out and ready to paint when I realized I had left something I needed downstairs. With great trust, I left my dear dog Camden in my studio and was gone for about three minutes. When I returned, she had the triangular piece down on the floor, happily slurping up several bites. I did not think it was cute.
Much of the piece was missing so I had to fill it in not as I saw it, but as I imagined it must have looked before it was half eaten. She was banished from the studio for the rest of the day.
I was pretty mad at her, but what was I thinking leaving her alone with such a sweet, juicy, temptation!
This new melon arrived last night and demanded to be painted this morning. Notice how she completely stole the spotlight from her sister who is now relegated to the back corner. There will be more watermelons when I return from the beach in a couple of days. I guess I should say more melon paintings as I hope these don't multiply while I am away.
Can you tell I am gearing up for the fourth? Watermelon, corn on the cob, burgers, peach cobbler, beer, and FIREWORKS. Oh yeah, beach time, too. I really love the fireworks and wish I had a camera that would take good photos of them. Any recommendations? I am starting to look for one soon.
For this painting I was inspired by all those thoughts of fun, food, and festivities, but mostly by my friend in Maine, Brenda Ferguson, who has been doing the coolest paintings with stripes. Bren always has clever ideas for doing a whole series of paintings and she is a terrific artist. Check out her blog here.
This is my first painting of a person in uniform. The full uniform of the Queen's Guards is something I knew little about. The tall cap weighs one and a half pounds and is made from Canadian black bearskin. The search for a synthetic substitute has not yielded a suitable alternative. I was drawn to the photo my daughter Caitlin took recently and she graciously let me use it.
London will soon embrace the Olympics and many of us will be watching the events. It will be fun to cheer on Team USA!
Just as there is a birth stone for each month there is also a birth month flower. Roses are the flower for those born this month. These were in the sunlight so they were especially fun to paint. This variety which is my favorite bright pink, is called "hot fun".
When I visit friends and relatives in New England it amazes me how beautiful their window boxes and gardens are at the peak of summer. Flowers in our hot humid climate often fizzle by late July. This year may be different here since we have had almost no days in the 90's. Nothing is choking for lack of water and the water use restrictions we sometimes have are not mentioned.
I am betting on one thing though. If the heat does get bad, I have friends in cool places that I will be visiting, looking at their gardens with envy.
These are the vegetables I picked today from our garden. Cherry tomatoes and bell peppers are plentiful. It took awhile for the yellow squash to start producing. ( I'll paint some in my next garden painting.) There have been many blossoms but maybe the bees weren't doing their job and pollinating them. We have several raised beds and have finally streamlined our planting so that we have enough for us and a little to give away to friends.
We began our married life with a ridiculously large garden which took hours of labor. Now we enjoy our small plantings. We did much canning and freezing in those days.
I am looking forward to the eggplant and the big tomatoes that are almost ripe. Then I can make one of my summer favorites, Ratatouille.
I was feeling ambitious so I decided to try a beach painting in a different format. I always love doing long paintings which are especially good when your subjects are all moving in one direction. This family was just coming onto the beach at Bald Head Island when my friend and I were finishing our morning walk.
Everyone is loaded down with beach stuff except the excited little girl who can hardly wait to get to the ocean.
This painting is going to the Summer Regional show at Franklin Square Gallery in Southport, N.C.
Most of my favorite snacks are crunchy. Nuts and seeds top the list, closely followed by raw vegetables.
It has been said that no one ever craves broccoli and this is a truth I can attest to. I do, however, get great satisfaction from snacking on crunchy carrots, radishes, cauliflower, celery, and broccoli. These are succulent summer snacks fresh from the garden or the farmers market.
I find radishes very appealing just plain if they have been harvested at the proper time and are still tender and sweet. One of my early fascinations was watching my grandmother make radish roses for a garnish. She taught me how to do this many years ago. Painting these radishes brought those hand carved roses to mind so I think now I will have to give it a try once again.
I used to think that sunflowers must go in a tall vase to accommodate long stems, but ideas change. This tiny pot is my vase today with a small cup inside to hold water. I found the lilac colored pot at Crate And Barrel accompanied by the cutest little matching saucer in the world. Did I remember to use the saucer in the painting? No, indeed, I was in too much of a hurry to start painting my morning still life set-up. This calls for another use of my latest purchase very soon. You're going to love it with the saucer!
Sometimes when we see an empty vessel, we can think of so many uses for it, both practical and decorative. This is one of my favorite pottery pieces from the Associated Artists Of Southport gallery.
I have painted it a few times but I have never used it.
This piece was purchased specifically for me to use in paintings and I have not considered other ways to enjoy it until now. I will work on the idea of painting it again when it is not an empty bowl. After all, when you love something as much as I love this bowl, you just naturally want to focus your attention there.
This was my breakfast this morning after an early painting start. Summer seems to call for some new ways of doing things. I plan to begin painting first thing in the morning to see what it will feel like. I have always admired five a.m. painters like Lisa Daria who paints before the day gets busy.
I may not make it that early, but I have been thinking how enjoyable these summer mornings are, so I may as well make the best use of their beautiful light , coolness, and energy.
This will enable me to post earlier, too, which got me thinking after a friend told me she would not go to bed until she received my daily painting. What a nice compliment!
Every once in awhile I feel the need to revisit France with a painting of something charming that I saw and photographed. This candleholder above the door could be reached from the window above it to provide light for visitors and friends.
The shadows on this particular day were very cool and blue. I wish I could remember the name of the town where this pretty house is. It is somewhere in the Dordogne region.
If you are thinking of art for a Father's Day gift, this would be a good choice. I have sold several that will be opened on June 17th and I am always excited to help plan a surprise!
We met this cigar smoking fisherman when we walked on the beach at Oak Island. We were impressed with the number of fish that he had caught so he pulled one unusual fish out of the bucket to show us. It's always so much fun to chat with beach people, who seem relaxed and unhurried. Southerners are known for our slower pace and this can be beneficial because there is more time to converse with people and visit.
These delicious peaches won't be around long so I am lucky to be passing by the peach stand again on Thursday. I will be driving to Charlotte to meet my daughter Caitlin and her friend Liz when they arrive back from their tour of several European countries. They left a week after they graduated from Carolina and had a blast traveling from place to place on trains. They were so smart to plan the whole itinerary themselves and stay within budget all the way.
It will be nice to pick up more fresh local peaches, but even nicer to have my sweet girl back in North Carolina.
We stopped on the way home from the mountains to buy local peaches and bought these Ruby Prince beauties. Kalawi Farms, a favorite orchard, is also known for "Ben's homemade ice cream" but Bill and I avoided the temptation and quickly returned to the car before even looking at the list of today's flavors.
The peaches here are ripening early due to the mild winter and spring weather. It may be a short season for peaches because they will finish earler than usual, too.