Friday, May 28, 2010


Milton's daylilies are presenting their last blooms today. I have looked at them every morning for the last two weeks. I realized if I didn't take a portrait of them today it would be too late. Thirty years ago, June 28, my husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in New Orleans. As I showed him the city we drove around the lakefront to see one of my childhood homes. Across the street, our neighbors were tending their garden. This was a massive undertaking unto itself. They had also added the grass filled circle at the end of the cul de sac and filled it with daylilies. Milton would go to the new beds and hand pollinate the flowers. Mixing and painting the pollens to achieve an incredible combination of colors.
Years later we moved to Colleyville, Texas, a half hour from Dallas where Milton's daughter and my childhood best friend lived. She arrived one afternoon with a box of daylilies. Her parents had driven up from New Orleans for a visit. Knowing she shared their love of gardening they were bringing her treasure. She was kind enough to share them with us. They grew in front of our house in the baking sun. The colors were amazing.
When we moved from Texas to Florida eleven years ago we had to bring along some of Milton's daylilies. They were our friends.
Every year as a little girl I watched my best friend drive off to visit her grandmother in Florida. They would pack up their station wagon, fill it with girls and aunts and cousins and drive off for weeks at a time. I was always so envious of their adventures and envious of the huge family community. Finally living in Florida I asked where did she go? Must have been Fort Lauderdale or Sanibel or another exotic sounding beach. No, it was Sanford. Sanford. Twenty minutes away. I had a studio in Sanford.
A gardener's soul is filled with patience and optimism. You must wait to see the results from what you plant and you wouldn't plant if you didn't have hope. What man can do when he patiently plays with God's creation. Those are Milton's daylilies.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blackberries, Folsom, and sisters

The garden is growing and producing. The first tomatoes, the midlife in blackberry brambles, and the beginning of Gardenias. All of these blessings remind me of childhood weekends on the ranch in Folsom, LA. We picked baskets of blackberries in muddy bottoms sharing borders with fences or rivers populated with water moccassins. The tomatoes ripened like a choir singing "Onward Christian Soldiers", all together with red cheeks and much Protestant fervor. Delicious in their statement of victory over our appetites. The gardenias simmering in the heat, letting passers-by know they were there as their fragrance filled the air. In my walks I can smell them as I travel by, their perfume reaching my nose before their glare touches my eyes. There are several scents to be had in gardenia bouquets. One of the plants we have shares its nose with that of a Camino Ranch gardenia from years past. It is unmistakeable in its spiciness. My sister and I can weep at the scent, the memories of horseback rides, herds of cats and dogs that found their way to the ranch house door and became part of the family. The hunts for strawberries and the infamous jeep rides. And little girls in the big bedrooms talking till they fell asleep exhausted. Still holding hands after a day of fresh air, fresh food, and sunshine. Best friends and sisters.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Meeting Spring with St Anthony and St Paul

Several weeks ago I had a collage afternoon with some willing friends. Our theme was spring. It is interesting what spring means. To some it is a personal awakening, a new way of looking at things and going forward with images of fresh flowers and members of the animal kingdom. Others look at spring as nature starting anew with colors and flight of birds. Flipping through found images I pulled anything that made an impact on me at a glance. These hugging figures, by Sienese Sassetta (1423-50)are cut from the Quiet Eye. This book was first published in 1954 by Sylvia Judson. In her words,"to communicate a sense of affirmation, of wonder, of trust. This is a spirit alien to much of the art of our insecure time, but one which I am confident will some day return." This quote is taken directly from the front flap of the copy I purchased at a YMCA book swap. The words of this Quaker sculptress are even more accurate now. Looking at photos of artwork chosen for recent international exhibitions I think how true Sylvia's words still are. I think we are so far from sharing the positive and so near cynicism it is a sad commentary on the direction we have grown.
My chosen images are a personal depiction of what spring means to me. The loss of my dear father at Easter, the comfort from my loved ones, and my faith. In the corner the bright hope of one of God's most imaginative creatures, the Goldfinch. He is too bright, too funny, and too perfect for man to have designed. The copy is from an Easter card from my mother. It expresses so much.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

the view from here and there

Posting from a hotel room in beautiful Golden, Colorado. The spring blooming trees, lilacs, tulips, wildflowers, and the soft western grass have welcomed us to this beautiful and majestic part of the country. On our first evening we celebrated Mother's Day in Evergreen at a restaurant overlooking a lake. A fox walked by the window, a little boy with a net fished the shallows with his mom, and the Canada Geese swam and flew in the dusk. The inspiration is everywhere to fresh eyes. The heat and humidity of Florida create a different atmosphere. There the air is tinted with warm hues until the white hot heat of the summer bleaches the sky of color. The moisture in the vegetation mists in green hues with hot yellow and orange flowers accenting the dark of the growth. Man plants pinks and blues to cool the view.
...and so it is, a contrast in temperature to feel and to see.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bright colors and a lonely kitty.

Last weekend on May Day I spent several hours at Artistree Co-op. Two beautiful tents shaded me with several other designers as we monitored the Mother's Day sale. I painted for those hours beginning a project of 9 panels that will be hung together to form a mosaic of canvases. The bright colors are layered on a base of purple giving them depth. The birds are making a comeback on these canvases as they perch on branches interspersed with flowers.
I have been away from the computer for several weeks while our lovely daughter visited then while on a trip to see family in Texas. In all of the activity we lost our little Scratch. She had had a good long life approaching twenty years with our family. She moved in with us in San Antonio New Year's Day after our son was born. She moved to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area then retired to Florida where she could enjoy time by the pool, chasing furry things in the woods, and curling up on the laps of family and friends. One of my last posts included a photo of her in her swimwear cover-up. Her portrait is also on this blog. She was a good girl. We are contemplating an addition to our feline family to keep Harold company. Any advice on adding another cat to a family that already has a seven year old hairy male monster in residence would be helpful.