July 1st, deep into the Maryland summer, and the sun is shining on the office of the Marina next door to our house. The owner’s daughter keeps the gardens neat and plants lots of flowers. It looks wonderful! We’re so thankful to live here.
Our sailboat is in the marina, which makes it right outside our back door on the creek. On a hot summer day like today, it’s cooler on the water, so we’re going to spend the night on the boat.
For a brief period in spring, the lilacs bloom and fill the surrounding area with their delightful fragrance. Blooming in either pink, white or lilac(!) the cone-shaped bunches of flowers drape elegantly from the ends of the new growth.
Today was one of those rare days when everything came together nicely.
The Doodlewash theme for the month of June is “Outdoor Fun” and today’s prompt is “Sunshine.” As I thought about how to depict the sunshine (which we didn’t have much of today) I thought of a photo that my husband had taken on our walk through the bog a couple of days ago. The sun was shining through the trees and creating dappled shadows on the boardwalk.
My two favorite online watercolor instructors each recently posted videos showing how they paint sunlit paths, Angela Fehr in “Spring Landscape” and Steve Mitchell in his kickoff of a “30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge.” So, after watching these, here’s my sunlit path:
A couple of days ago, my husband and I visited a bog.
There are many different plants in a bog due to the moist, sometimes wet, and acidic soil. I was primarily attracted to the ones that were flowering at that time, as you will see by my sketches.
When I haven’t gone out to paint en plain air I usually carry a sketch pad and pencil case with me, just in case there’s something that captures my attention and begs to be captured. My usual procedure is to start with pencil until I have the basic placement of the image on the page. I switch to the pen as soon as I am comfortable. I’m still surprised by how much detail I can get down in a few minutes. Watercolor is added after I get home, after erasing the pencil.
My husband and I spent a couple of hours at a botanical garden yesterday. The roses weren’t blooming yet, but the garden was filled with large, shimmering, purple allium (A.giganteum), a flower related to garlic.
When one moves to a new home, it is interesting to find what floral gems spring up from the ground, having been planted by previous residents. We have had a wonderful flower make its appearance each year in this home, but until this year I haven’t taken the time to paint it before it faded. It actually took me a couple of years before I looked up the name to find out that we had bluebells planted in a corner of the garden.
I had to grab a few painting moments between rainstorms. Welcome Spring!
We’re getting some warm days interspersed with days of rain, so the plants are all happy and growing. When I walk outside, I am surrounded by flowers begging me to sit down and paint them. I don’t mind obliging!
When my daughter was little, there was nothing she liked better than to go out in the spring and fill her little hands with bunches of violets. Now that she is grown and has daughters of her own… she still goes out and picks violets!
Dakota is my son’s cat, a sweet calico that he and my daughter-in-law adopted a couple of years ago. Dakota has kept us entertained while her “staff” have been at work during our visit. Here she is enjoying a few moments in the sunshine.
I continue to be fascinated by fluid acrylic paint and what happens when the colors flow over and around each other. I was thinking of the beach, so I chose several blues, a green, some gold for sand, and white. This one came out looking like a wave or a piece of agate.
As we go on this Doodlewash Nature Hike together (and thank you for journeying along with me!), we have explored many different terrains. Yesterday we were in the Pacific Ocean and today we are on the surface of a leaf, looking at ladybugs.
I was wondering if this were one of Charlie’s trick prompts, as these insects are not really bugs, but are properly called Lady Beetles. (Beetles have one set of hardened wings which form a “shell” over their abdomens and another set of membranous wings with which they fly. True bugs have only half of their first set of wings hardened, with the other half membranous like the other pair of wings.)
Here I have painted Lady Beetles in all four of their life stages: eggs, usually laid under a leaf in an area where the larvae can find aphids after they hatch; the tiny larvae which look like brightly spotted little alligators, the pupae in which the lady beetle undergoes metamorphosis, and the familiar adult form.
May your garden have many lady beetles and few aphids this year!