Archives for category: real botanicals

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Suddenly, the signs of spring I have been looking for. Yes, the snow is melting and the days are longer but more importantly, Im feeling the energy that flows when my email starts filling up with show invitations. Today I had my first meeting with the president of the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly which I was recently juried into. Their next scheduled show is themed “Views from the Street” so my landscapes will work there.

Meanwhile my daughter, Shelley who is a talented photographer with a studio at a nearby converted velvet mill, has invited me to join her for a pop up show at her studio in two weeks. She has chosen some of my abstract botanials for that.

Finally, I plan to introduce a new series of abstract paintings featuring various sizes of metal washers (no plants) and want to produce enough pieces for a meaningful launch of the series at the spring shows.

That means multi-tasking. This week, these are three of five pieces that are in the middle of the process of soaking up their resin baths. By the time they are cured and ready to show, I hope to have many more of all three series waiting for their resin treatments as well. Somehow I’ll have to make time to produce more plants, but with a good foot or more of snow still on the ground, I’m guessing I have some leeway there.

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At the VIRTU Art Festival in Westerly, Rhode Island, last week, my little 4 x 4 landscape was the first to go so I felt emboldened to try my hand at an 8 x 8. The real botanicals in this piece are all in the immediate foreground. I used feathergrass against the white of the reflection in the water, added just the tip of a ginkgo leaf on the lower right, and a few individual sections of a Japanese maple leaf just for some added drama and color. As it turns out, feathergrass tends to lift a little on the first application of resin making it hard to reach a glass-like finish in less than three coats, so I had to wait a full 4 days to see the finished product. I think it was worth it though. Next in line for the resin bath is a farm scene in which I use only my ferns at the edges of a field.

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Yesterday was a perfect spring day in southern New England, so my husband and I paid a visit to our favorite garden center – The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingston, Rhode Island. This collection of spiky papyrus, ruffled coleus, scented geranium and abutilon will spend the summer in a great planter on my deck and supply me with terrific foliage for my pressed botanicals. Meanwhile, in the garden, my ferns, miniature ivy, yellow archangel, and fringed bleeding heart have all come to life and are ready for a judicious harvest.

Meanwhile, work continues on my new project – pressed botanicals on acrylic backgrounds. For these I use wood panels as supports, and encase the finished work in two or three coats of two-part resin. This one features a single feathery Japanese maple leaf and awaits its second coat of resin. Out with the gas mask…

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Having a great time with my new project but there’s a lot to protect. Note the latex gloves, and the waxed paper to protect my counter. Then there is the issue of my lungs. Need to upgrade to a full-on gas mask even though there are hardly any noticable fumes from the Envirotex two-part resin system I use. Better safe than sorry and I’m so happy with the process and results that I plan to gear up for a full series. This little guys are just 4″ x 4″. The abstract features azalea leaves and carnation petals, while the little landscape sticks to tried-and-true ferns. My next piece will be a boat at sea. Haven’t settled on what plant to use to represent land flora and sails. Last season, raspberry leaves made great sails, but, alas, my raspberry bush is not yet prepared to supply me with more.

I’ll be showing these at Lippett Park in Providence on May 17th, weather permitting, and at the big VIRTU art festival in Wilcox Park in Westerly, Rhode Island on Memorial Day weekend. Meanwhile they’ll be in my Etsy shop.

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Resin is a wonderful way to preserve and enhance real botanicals, so I decided to try a few pieces on wood panel in order to provide the best possible surface for the ice-smooth resin coating. First, I painted my background on a 5″x 5″ panel. Then, I chose a plain mustard yellow for the 7/8″ sides of the cradle, and mounted my two sweet ivy leaves. Before coating the work with resin, I couldn’t resist adding a tiny ‘droplet’ of water on one of the leaves using more acrylic and a tiny signature brush.

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As winter sets in, I’m going back and forth between creating new graphics for my sizeable harvest of ivy, ginkgo, and dozens of other plants, and using those same leaves as inspiration for a new series of acrylic paintings that mirrors my pressed botanical compositions. I love the freedom of choosing color schemes and degree of detail in the paintngs. I’ll bring about ten of them to the Velvet Mill in Stonington on December 28 and January 4th. Hope to see some familiar faces there. Others will pop up on Etsy soon or on request.