Archives for posts with tag: garden art

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This 12″ x 6″ resin-coated piece features several plants I’ve used before and one I haven’t — bald cedar. The long cedar leaf spans all three of the rectangles in the painting and ties the whole thing together, I think. Compositionally, it serves almost the same purpose as the garden asparagus I’ve used in some of my works on paper, but is sturdier and easier to deal with at the stage of adhering the plant to the support. Once the resin is poured, any leaf or part of a leaf that is not firmly attached to the wood panel tends to float to and through the surface–a problem that no amount of poking with a toothpick is likely to fix — so proper attachment is critically important.

When using white backgrounds, I don’t always leave the cradle sides white as well, but it works well in this case.

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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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I’ve recently made a few pieces that include water drops in the background including this little composition using real ferns so it’s not that big a leap to work directly on a leaf. This dramatic sweet potato leaf made the perfect canvas for this experiment.

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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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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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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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Lots of people ask me questions about how I protect the color of my leaves.

The first thing I point out is that many of the leaves I used in my botanicals have already changed colors by the time the pressing process is complete. Still more, like the andromeda in the example above are harvested at various times during the season specifically to achieve variety within my collection from a single plant.

While many leaves stay close to their harvested colors during the drying process, others do not. Chartreuse sweet potato vine, for example dries to a chocolate brown with clearly visible darker brown veining. Scented geranium dries to a variety of shades from light tan to dark taupe. My first principle,then, is to embrace these changes.

Still, some plants are more likely to continue to change after mounting than others. While such changes do not detract from the beauty of the compositions in my mind, I still take steps to preserve my original colors. First, after mounting leaves on my graphics, I paint them with a specialized dried material preservative that includes UVA and UVB protenction. Next, I spray each finished composition with an acrylic finish before matting and framing. This also contains a layer of UV protection and prevents fading of the botanicals as well as the underlying graphics.

These steps, along with the use of acid-free papers, adhesives, and matting ensures that the compositions retain their beauty for many years.

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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!

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For my pressed botanical art, I usually disassemble sprigs of Sweet Woodruff so I can make perfect little wagon-wheel whorls and folded leaves that work well as sepals for my fantasy flowers or shrubbery in my stylized landscapes. This time, I went the traditional route for pressing botanicals, and kept the whole sprigs intact. The central sprig — largest of the three — had a small white flower at the tip which I replaced with a folded rose petal.

Waiting eagerly for more roses to bloom. Meanwhile this little piece is the latest addition to my Etsy inventory. Hoping for drier weather than is now predicted so I can set up shop in Lippett Park in Providence on Saturday as part of the Providence Artisan’s Market.

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For my latest pressed botanical, I used some asymmetrical whorls of leaves from my Sweet Woodruff and added miniature ivy. I like the juxtaposition of soft and severe shapes. For the background, I chose some soft blues and mild rather than dramatic contrast in the alternating colors. This is a continuation of a series I did with oranges, golds, and reds and featuring the variegated leaves from my Euonymus shrubs. See the others in my Etsy shop.