Monday, May 24, 2010

Solitary, but not unloved.

I haven’t sketched much in nature; I mean, on the spot, out in the field, en plein air. I’m not even sure this little sketch qualifies to be blogged here, since the plant pictured grows in our garden. Still, though we may guide, nudge and occasionally eject a plant, Nature is really still the greater Controller.

I was glad that it was so perfectly calm and sunny today, just right for painting outside; especially as I had set time aside to paint, which is not so easy; neither the setting aside, nor always the painting. May is really gardening month, but squeezed by many other things.

I looked around the garden to choose one of so many available subjects: everything comes and goes so fast. Today the peonies are bursting out. I picked a luscious deep, dark red one to sketch, the most amazing bloom; it would look so striking done ‘botanically’ against a pure white background.

I headed around the back of my little workshop, to get out an ancient kitchen chair I keep there, better for sketching than one of the garden chairs: it makes you sit up straight! As I opened the workshop door my glance fell upon the beautiful white columbine that had self-seeded in a tiny patch of compacted ground between the pavement of the back patio and the high trellis that borders it on this side. Most of the columbines are over now, but this one, in its hard, dry, mostly shady location came a little later, and at this time of the day, when it got its small allotment of sunshine it was looking so proud and happy. The corner behind it is darkened, being under and behind the barbecue. Nothing else grows there. The delicate white blooms just shone against the dark background and I thought – oh, this is it. Actually a far fussier, more detailed subject than I had wanted to take on, but this little beauty deserved to be memorialized.

Oh, you wanted to see the peony? No time now to paint that this year – it’ll be over in two days. I took a photo, and put it up on Flickr.


  1. Andrew! I was just thinking of you, it's so good to hear from you. This is just gorgeous, and of course it counts...

  2. A gorgeous painting! Love how the light just shimmers off of it.

  3. Lovely, lovely flower and painting! Great use of values.


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