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I just finished a small custom piece that included a “palm tree” made from simple ferns and sensitive ferns so took the opportunity to take inventory. Fresh out of Mexican Feathergrass but off to Florida in a few weeks where I will hunt and gather them. For ferns I may have to resort to an off-season visit to my favorite nursery. I see Japanese painted ferns in my future.

Meanwhile I received a shiny new photography tent which makes it possible for me to end my long battle with glare when photographing my resin peices. Hopefully this means I’ll be putting more of them into my Etsy shop.

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This is  typical of scenes I pass by every day in and around my home town of Stonington, Connecticut. As summer goes into its third act, I wanted to spend some time celebrating the sea and the shore.  This little piece is just 4″ x  6″.   My next piece will be a night scene  looking across the Caribbean at the lights of villas and boats on a tiny island.  

I’ve been busy perfecting my technique applying resin, graduating to a full-sized propane torch for bursting the tiny bubbles that form in the mixed resin and need a little help rising to the surface. I started out using my husband’s little kitchen torch meant only for crisping creme brulee, but sadly, too much handling with sticky resin-covered gloves  quickly rendered it kaput.  The good news is that I have become sufficiently adept at applying resin that I can work on up to six pieces in a session. Considering all the prep for any given session, this is a real time-saver.

 

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Foam flowers or Heuchera, are fuzzy little white stems that don’t make themselves particularly useful for purposes of floral composition. The leaves of this hardy plant, on the other hand, still look three-dimensional even when pressed flat. I love the depth of color around the veining and I especially love the asymmetrical and somewhat tattered look of the outer edges. I added some abstract ‘framing’ to this one with touches of sap green, cobalt blue and gold and I popped on a couple of dew drops for fun. The edges are painted in the same colors and style and the whole 5×5 piece is coated in three layers of glossy resin.

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My daughter, Emma and her boyfriend, Nick recently brought me some lovely flowers including some brightly colored carnations. I thought they were perfect for a trial run with my new microwave flower press — a gift from my other daughter, Shelley. The press yielded great results right out of the gate and will allow me to use more flowers in my work. ! I’m sure I will find inspiration for many designs with these pretty petals but this one was irresistible.

This piece is also a departure in that it combines computer graphics with acrylic painting for the background. I used a deep brownish yellow printed foreground to support painted grasses. The plants other than carnations are fern and ginkgo. As always, I varied the size of the fronds to create depth of field.

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Until now I’ve created backgrounds for my real pressed botanicals on computer. To compliment that body of work, I recently began adding a series of acrylic paintings with similar subjects.

My last two pieces combine both disciplines. Instead of computer graphics, I have created bacgrounds on original watercolors. So far, I’m having fun with the process. I popped these two into my Etsy shop tonight and will show them next week in Stonington at the Velvet Mill.

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It occurs to me that while I often make mention of projects in the works and talk about process, I have never posted a photo of an unfinished piece until now

Today I am working on a companion piece to the scented geranium and fig leaf pairing I posted earlier in the week.

I prefer to begin these paintings by blocking in the negative spaces. Although I did so in this case as well, my plan was to show the geranium, this time, in summer colors rather than in the soft tans it turns to in the pressing process. The variety in my garden is variegated with light yellow to white ruffled edges and I needed to see it on canvas before settling on a final background color. The dark raw umber that I chose after blocking in the leaf will serve well to bring out its contrasting colors.

As the work goes along, I will add layers of pigment gradually reducing the degree of transparency you see both in the background and foreground at this early stage. It seems fitting that the background be the color of the rich soil this plant grows in. When I turn my attention to the space left for the ginko leaf, the background color will now dictate the shades of chartreuse that I choose to represent the spring colors of that lovely tree.

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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.

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In between working on my pressed botanicals, I have decided that my winter project will be a return to some painting. In years past I have concentrated on landscapes and portraits, but now I plan to stay with my botanical theme. Don’t know yet how the series will develop. The image above is 18 x 20 and features ginkgo — one of my favorite leaves. I’d almost forgotten how quickly the process of painting makes me lose track of time. That’s a good thing unless it’s 2:00 AM on a work day.

Looking forward to meeting friends at the Yellow House on the 24th.

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With nearly 30 original pieces now on display at the Yellow House in Stonington Borough, the pressure is on to make some work for my next commitment in Providence on November 17. The first ginko of the year is ready to go with lots more in the wings so I worked on this combination in muted tones and added just a bit of pastel to highlight the lovely natural ribbing in the ginko leaf.

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Now that the outdoor artisan’s, markets have closed for the season, I’m turning my attention to replenishing my inventory and showing my work in more traditional ways. First will be the popular Yellow House coffee shop and restaurant in my home town of Stonington, Connecticut. I’ll be showing there throughout November. For anyone unfamiliar with our little village, it is a perfect place to spend an autumn afternoon with a stroll along Water Street past the shops and restaurants and down to DuBois Beach at the Point. The water views are almost 360 there and there is plenty to keep you busy. The Yellow house has been a favorite of ours for breakfast and lunch since my grownup kids were little. Gargain hunters with discerning tastes shouldn’t miss FUN! It’s filled with little luxuries you never knew were such necessities!

While we haven’t had a killing frost yet in Stonington, the growing season is definitely over. As always, I missed a few harvesting opportunities, but took in a very good supply of ferns, ivies, ginko, sweet potato vine and grasses. I’ll be spending next week managing my hydrangeas and gearing up for a few holiday shows including the November 17th version of the upscale Providence Flea which has just moved indoors.

Winter will also give me a chance to return to brush and canvas — this time to compliment my real botanicals. Can’t wait to get started in earnest!