Sunday, May 18, 2008

Mother's Day and Springtime Rites

Things have gotten busy in the past few weeks, and it's been nearly impossible to get back into the studio. That doesn't mean that I haven't been thinking about art and making plans. I'm still pondering, for instance, what to do about the background for Bard's portrait and how to fix his muzzle area which is still bothering me. I did some experimenting in Photoshop and think I have a plan for the next time I sit down to paint him, though, so that's progress, even if it isn't visible.

Last weekend I drove down to Ann Arbor to visit my mother in her nursing home for Mother's Day. I got in a nice visit with my daughter as well who took me out to dinner on Saturday night. We went to an Italian restaurant on Main Street and had delicious Lasagna made from all fresh ingredients. I don't remember the name; Pinalo's or something like that. But I do remember that the building used to house the Quality Bakery when I was growing up; one of the best bakeries in Ann Arbor. They had absolutely yummy molasses cookies that my mother would buy occasionally.

Ann Arbor has changed a lot since we moved "up north" 37 years ago, but I'm glad that my daughter loves it there and that I can visit her periodically and take trips down Memory Lane. A2, as we natives call it, offers her a lot more opportunities for the things she's interested in than northern Michigan does. I just wish that she'd find a nice boy and get married. She's 32, by the way.

The drive home on Monday was a delight. Maybe thanks to high gas prices, the traffic was unusually light for a weekday, especially the truck traffic between Flint and A2 which is usually the worst section of the drive. And the road construction barely slowed anyone down now that MDOT has a new system for construction zones. We have a saying here; Michigan has two seasons; Winter and Road Construction. As soon as the snow is gone, out come the construction barrels and signs which remain until the snow flies again.

After leaving the flatlands around Saginaw/Bay City and south, I headed into the hill country and spent a lot of time observing the colors of the landscape made by the various species of trees and underbrush as they leafed out. There was a surprising variety ranging from the usual lime greens to beiges, soft oranges and muted reds, punctuated here and there by trees full of white blossoms. Cresting the tops of hills presented me with vistas of more hills receding into the distance and gave me more painting data to store away in my memory banks for future paintings.

Much as I would have liked to, I couldn't sit down and paint these scenes when I got home. As usual, I hit the ground running to catch up on laundry, bills, paperwork and other duties. And now there's the yard and flower beds to deal with. Most of one day was spent in raking the last of the leaves out of the beds, cutting back perennials that hadn't been cut in the fall, pruning broken or dead branches and various other Spring gardening chores. It's time to make plans for this year's projects and head for the nurseries for new shrubs and flowers! That's almost as exciting as visiting an art supply store.

Since I don't have any new art to share with you, today's first image is one from Mother Nature. These are my Chorus LIne daylilies from last summer; the ones that the deer didn't eat. If I paint these, I think I'll title it "Captive Beauty".

The second image is of the flower beds I built last summer with our fountain installed as the focal point. This makes a lovely spot to sit and look out onto the yard and flower beds while enjoying the cool shade of the large Beech tree on a hot, sunny day. It won't be long now before those days will be back, frost warnings not withstanding!


Judy Wood said...

I like the "Captive Beauty" painting idea. Can see it with the foreground lilies in sharp detailed focus, the fence a tad less so, and the background quite blurry. Be sure to post it if you do get it done. I'm a big fan of day lilies and luckily we have no deer to distrub them. One of my rural friends has this same problem ever since they became dogless.

Karen Thumm said...

Thanks, Judy. That's exactly the vision that I have for a painting of this photo, also.

So far this year there has been no deer damage in the yard, knock on wood!