Wednesday, July 30, 2014


A little over a year ago, I lost one of my best friends.  My mom.  She lived a long life, well into her 80s - but it's still hard and I miss her every day.  Now, memories of her play in my mind.  Daily, I see or do things that trigger thoughts of mom, and that's a wonderful thing.

The fall before she died, she and I were clearing out her garden pots and getting things ready for winter.  There was one huge geranium in a pot that she was ready to toss, but I suggested that I take it home and nurse it through the winter, with plans to return it to her in the spring.  

I spend a lot of time in my art room, especially in the winter.  It's also the room that gets the best light for plants.    So, here it is, in full bloom, last January!  I felt like I had a little bit of mom with me while I painted through this especially dark, cold, Wisconsin winter.   

Now, it's out in my garden storing up energy to get it through the winter to come.  And it is BEAUTIFUL!  I've even rooted multiple cuttings, not wanting to take a chance of losing this plant.  

You can see just a bit of it off on the center of the left side of this photo - one of the first plants to be seen as you enter the garden from the front of our house.  

 And last, but not least, I chose Mom's geranium as my model for drawing today, after adding watercolor . . .

and before.

Looking forward to many, many years of remembering mom through her beautiful geranium.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I love Cedarburg, Wisconsin!  If you've never been there, it's a quaint little town with an active and charming little downtown area.  This year, the Cedarburg Art Museum is hosting a juried exhibition called, The Doors of Cedarburg.
The description reads, "Artists working in a variety of media are invited to explore and interpret the diverse architectural heritage of our community with art works that have as their predominant subject, a doorway found in the city or town of Cedarburg."

What a great excuse for us to go up to Cedarburg on some nice summer day, have lunch, do a little shopping, and take some pictures to work from.

So, this morning I starting working on my first practice door . . .  

Up to four paintings can be entered for possible entrance to the exhibition, and the chosen paintings will be on display and for sale at the Cedarburg Art Museum.  I think this sounds like a fun project.  

Cedarburg is one of our favorite places to visit and it's active all year long.  Here's a painting I did from the Strawberry Festival last year.


We came across this bustling group around some tents hosting a corn roast during the festival - my painting is  loosely based on the photo below.

Cedarburg also hosts a Plein Air Painting Competition during the Strawberry Festival.  Maybe next year I can muster up the courage to participate in that.  It would be a lot easier if I had someone to paint alongside - anyone out there want to do this?

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Over the last year, along with working in a watercolor journal almost daily, I've been completing  separate journals to remember trips we've taken.  Coming up is a trip to Northern Wisconsin to spend a week in a log cabin on Butternut Lake.  For this trip, rather than buying a ready-made journal, I followed a great little video on how to make my own coptic stitch watercolor journal.  

A little coneflower bouquet nameplate on the back.

12 pages = 24 useable sides. This should be just the right amount to capture a week of memories.

Coptic binding is from the 2nd century AD, used by the early Christians in Egypt.  When open, the book lays flat, which is perfect for my purposes.  This could also be used as a vacation scrapbook or photo album.

The video I followed can be found here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


What is the business of childhood?  Discovery through books, play, and nature SHOULD be the business of childhood - especially in the summertime!

 I am so thankful I grew up in the 50s when technology meant a phone attached to the wall and one tv in the house that was black and white for the first 5 years of my life.  Things were so much simpler. We made our own fun in the neighborhood, playing outside - and books played a large part of my days. Having a mom who was such an avid reader, I learned to treasure books myself.  Summer meant long walks to the library to check out the 10 allowed books, a long trek home, and then a blanket in the backyard with my new pile strewn around me.  I remember this being a long walk - so I looked up the distance, just to see if it was just another mirage of childhood.  
Lo, and behold, it WAS a trek for a little girl - just shy of a mile.

Inspired by the beautiful summer days we've been having, I've been reminiscing by doing some little 4 x 9 inch watercolor paintings that include quotes from a few of my favorite books of childhood.  
These paintings can be found in my Etsy shop, Gillyflower Cottage.

The Secret Garden
Francis Hodgson Burnett
(I remember reading in my classroom during "library time")

Winnie the Pooh
A. A. Milne
(Below is a photo of my mother's old Pooh book, now in MY library!)

 I love the inside cover of her book.  It has a charming little map of Pooh's neighborhood and wanderings.   And on the right is my mom's signed bookplate.

"The Swing", from A Child's Garden of Verses
Robert Louis Stevenson
(I LOVED this collection of poems and memorized this one as a little girl!)

Now, on to my last two favorites to make a set of five - Little Women and Little Ballerina . . .



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