As winter continues to wrap its cloak of snow around us, I think toward Spring and flowers bedecking gardens, meadows, homes. I bought a blooming orchid to remind me of Spring. I have yet to draw or paint it, but I enjoy its beauty on our dining room table.
I brought my two calla lily plants inside last fall to see if I could keep them alive until spring. One started sending up green shoots last month, reaching 18-20 inches now. The other plant has not shown any sign of life.
Yesterday, in my Acrylics class, we used a picture of a doorway wreathed in blooms to inspire us. I showed my students how to create a stucco texture using eggshells, sand and sawdust. We used a slightly thick application of gel medium on the canvas and placed the eggshell into it, sprinkling on the sand and sawdust around the rest of the medium. While it dried, we worked on the doorway. Then we continued to paint over the mixed media with colors of stucco (white mixed with yellow and red creating various shades of peach and yellow ochre). The plants were painted dark to light in the foliage first. The blooms added last. Then we worked on shadows. It was fun to see the results. All the students did a great job with the challenge of painting on the rough texture.
Are the flowers blooming where you are? Or do you dream of Spring, flowers blooming and warmer days?
For this commissioned painting, Lilac Garden, I recently finished, I imagined a place of peace and rest. I would like to sit and enjoy a garden like that. I am so glad they liked the painting!
I used eggshells and sand for the texture of the wall and sawdust for texture in the ground. The stone path was also of eggshells. It is a fun way to create texture. The bench was made from acrylic paint I mixed and poured out on plastic so it would be like a “skin” of paint. I cut out the bench and attached it over the painting for another 3D effect.
As I write this, I am sitting on our deck in the cooler morning hours, listening to the variety of birdsong around me. and enjoying the beauty of the flowers in planters. This year for one of the pots, I chose a flame colored dahlia which I started to paint in watercolor to capture its translucent, brilliant beauty. I am including a short video here of the first part of the painting.
Since Easter, I have been noticing our resident hawk. I noticed when it looked like he got a mate. Since June started, I have been too preoccupied to notice, but this week, I discovered that the hawks have now become a family of five. They were all sitting in a tree together sitting perfectly still as the sun came up. Alittle while later, two of the younger ones were calling out and flying in circles like two children at play. I had wondered why I was hearing the call of this bird more frequently throughout the neighborhood. The “youngsters” actively and incessantly voice their flights, more so than the parents.
I love that even in the city, we can see and hear the beauty of the natural world if I stop long enough to notice, to sit and just “be present.”
The idea of sitting still is foreign to our culture. It has taken work, but I find myself sitting and not feeling a need to always do something. I must admit that I easily fall back into doing mode and wander around lost when I have nothing pressing on me to get done. I can feel the difference when I am racing around, exhaustedly trying to get a lot done; when I push myself past where I should have stopped or rested. But I find if I maintain being present as I work, pausing to smell the flowers and listen to the birds, I am more awake, alert and relaxed to deal with whatever comes my way. It is more peaceful and I feel content.
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Is 30: 15
We enjoyed a week with our children and grandchildren around. I had lots of opportunity to practice just being present with everyone and enjoying the time we had together. Like the young hawks, children have a lot more energy and keep the rest of us moving. So thankful for the visit with all of them!
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!
Spring is slow in coming this year. Well, I’m not sure it is any different than other years, but we had a teasing 20C day a week ago, which has made this past week feel even more cold with its sub-zero temps.
This wintry spring that doesn’t want to let go brings to my mind the last verse of the Easter hymn, Now the Green Blade Rises:
“When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain, your touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that bare and dead have been; love is come again like wheat arising green.”
(J. M. C. Crum 1872-1958, French Carol)
The beauty of flowers and the promise of spring lighten my heart. They bring the promise of new life, hope, and the renewal of love touching our wintry hearts and souls. A touch our world surely needs.
I contemplated these things as I sat in the Muttart Conservatory on Monday, delighting in the lovely scent of tulips and hyacinths and painting the fresh signs of spring while the cold wind blew outside.
I continued to work on the painting a little bit more this morning, but it is still in progress. It is at the long stage of pushing and pulling, deciding what details to keep and what to abstract or suggest. The process cannot be rushed. Although I refer to the photos now and then, I also listen to the painting and let it help me decide where to take it. The delicate fringe of the frilled tulips is delightful to paint, but whether I saved the frilly whites well enough with the masking fluid I will not know until it is ready to be removed.
12 students learned to see the flowers in new ways and paint their favorites during the Acrylic Flower Painting workshop last Saturday at the Muttart. Here are some of their results:
As people learn the creative process, regardless of the medium, I find I am always teaching them how to see this beautiful world in new ways and the nuances of light and contrast. It is all about seeing and trusting the process of painting as it unfolds.
Even winter has its beauty. I completed this painting of cross-country skiing at dawn amidst the hoarfrost. Title suggestion? I loved that crisp morning with the light of dawn coming through the trees as we skied the field and enjoyed the magical hoarfrost sparkling and lighting up the trees. Medium: Acrylic on canvas, size: 14 in x 17 in.
One of the things I do when I teach is to demonstrate painting techniques. Sometimes I already have a painting in mind and sketch it out before class, knowing it can work for a demo.
However, most of the time it is a technique or project that I start with the class or a demonstration of a technique for one of my student's projects. Then, I have a partial painting or just some random colors and texture that I can turn into something else.
Over the last couple of years of teaching, I have accumulated more unfinished pieces than I have managed to complete. I just counted 59 I had photgraphed last fall to record the process of painting. Rather daunting. I had no idea there were so many. Not all of them will be completed. For those that will be completed, something about them inspires me to press on with them.
Artist: Julie Drew
October 25, 2018 - Jan 2, 2019
Reception: Nov 20, 2018
2 - 6pm
Location: Blue Curve Gallery
Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital
10230 111 Ave NW, Edmonton AB
I love flowers and birds there is something that is so joyful of the beauty of flowers and the singing, the soaring and the delight I find in watching birds. When I walk in the great outdoors, it is like a treasure hunt to see what I can find. I am thrilled when I find something that really catches my eye and my heart. I take a photo reference or sketch it right away.
Flowers come in so many shapes and colors. I seek to capture the details and essence of the flowers. Birds have a character all their own. I particularly like the ones I do not see every day, like the egret, eagle and osprey. These birds and flowers speak to me of God’s beautiful creation.