I was out at our house in the redwoods this week for a little respite and of course with home ownership come chores. There are some things that must be done and my ongoing battle with three fierce enemies is a summer ritual. My battle for dominance is akin to the Game of Thrones series. For those of you unfamiliar with Game of Thrones, there are multiple competing forces all vying to rule a fantasy world. I can’t really keep track of who’s who most of the time; and there really doesn’t seem to be a clear good guy, but there are clearly bad guys….any how, I took on my annual battle with the forces of nature like Khaleesi fighting the despicable slavery lords. My three opponents are these: One- the wily Poison Oak, clever at disguising itself – it can be a shrub, a vine and often likes to hide among other plants lying in wait to spread it’s itch inducing oils. Two- the spiny Blackberry, armed from leaf to root with thorns and able to amass a great, vast, impenetrable army of shrubbery to defend itself. Three- Scotch Broom, an invasive species that shoots up everywhere, really everywhere, like the Zombie White Walkers in the afore mentioned fantasy world; and left unchecked can take over a hillside in a year or two. So those are my enemies, and while the weapon of a hoe is honorable and effective, it is no match for these voracious foes. Don’t hate me for bringing out the big guns, Round Up and a two-gallon hand pump sprayer is my bazooka, or to keep the Game of Thrones metaphor going the Round Up is akin Daenerys Targaryen’s mighty flying dragons defending her territory from all comers. Fingers crossed I have kept my rivals at bay for another year, but never fear, season 12 is just one rainy winter and sunny spring away.
Here in my little slice of paradise spring has long sprung (sorry you guys in cold climes) and now it is iris turn to stretch out her long neck and open her beautiful face to the sky. The iris come in an awe-inspiring color palette that surprise and delight every year. Some time ago a friendly acquaintance asked me if I wanted some iris rhizomes (they look like a ginger root gone mad) he was digging out of his yard. I picked up a bucketful not really knowing what a treasure trove I had. The following year blooms of impossible beauty shot tall and sturdy in my yard. I have this purpley-pink bloom (above), and a surprising periwinkle blue one, there is a pale creamy yellow one and one that is a deep cabernet red and another that is a purple black of astounding darkness standing like the night sky facing the full sun. The flower itself is a delicate fluttering silk butterfly but the stalk it opens from is tall and sturdy and strong giving a wonderful jux of position. I have been admiring these beauties that rise from my garden with seriously no help from me now for at least 10 years. They rise and bloom and slowly fade and fall to burrow again in the comfort of the ground and spring forth strong and beautiful again each year, a good reminder of beauty and strength and resilience. Thank you iris, for standing as a bold reminder that I too can grow and bloom and fold fallow ready to bloom again when the time is right.
The painting above is from my watercolor sketch book- I’m teaching a Wine and Watercolor class this Sunday at a local winery Campo Vida website. If you have ideas of places I can teach or contacts with organizations or businesses that you think could pare well with a watercolor class, let me know and I will reach out to them.
I have to admit that I’m in a bit of a funk this week. Nothing serious really, I’ve had some spinning wheel issues for a couple of weeks. Things I started not going anywhere, idea balloons for new endeavors unceremoniously popped by a reality pin. Smallies in the big picture of the world and human struggles and sorrows. So to pull my self up a bit I went for a hike this morning. Always a good thing to let the body take over when the mind is mired. Striding along I began to take note of the colors, the lurid greens flooding forth from muddy ground with new dew drench grasses, a few miniature white wild flowers rearing there tiny heads, a tenacious patch of daffodils planted a century ago by homesteaders long gone, the creek and pond at it’s head muddy blue-brown from the recent rains ringed with the dark dried tendrils of last years Queen Anne’s Lace curled up on itself. I took note of all these things combined with the impossibly blue sky. Cloudy with a chance of blue skies or blue skies with a chance of clouds, oh it matters not, impossibly blue.
I have been thinking about but not acting on an idea I had about color mapping. Mapping might not be the right term but I’ll use it anyway. Mapping the mood and the day by colors. So I made a little template to make witness of the things I saw, to make witness to my mood, a melancholy marked by daffodils can’t be all that bad. So, as always, taking time to make a little art – mark a moment, has shifted things a bit. So now the forecast seems to be for clearing skies, impossibly blue with a chance of clouds (but only the white puffy picturesque ones).
I am trying to put together some on-line classes teaching iPad drawing and where to go with it. Color Maps as part of art journaling is an idea I hope to flesh out more. I’ll keep you posted.