Saturday, June 23, 2018

Capture Summer Workshop

Today my mom and I completed the second of four watercolor nature journaling workshops we are doing this summer!

What a joy to be out in the beautiful Indiana summer enjoying the flowers and wildlife and introducing people to watercolor!

Last Saturday our attendees braved the 94+ degree weather to spend the day at Coxhall Gardens.

Watching people grasp basic watercolor techniques and color mixing is such fun!

Group one had 15 participants and we all huddled in the circle created by a bunch of pine trees.

The best part of the day is seeing all the lovely paintings everyone creates!

Today's workshop moved indoors for the first half of the day as the temperatures began in the high 60's and rain threatened.

The overcast skies created a beautiful contrast of gray and bright green.

This morning we painted bee balm, wild rose, and chicory. I loved seeing everyone's work.

Each sketchbook was unique and beautiful!

After lunch we headed out to the park for our afternoon session.

After a walk around the pond observing the redwing blackbirds and even a snake (!!) we worked on landscape elements.

And before we knew it the workshops were over! There will be another one to look forward to in July and then August!

Monday, June 18, 2018

On the Bookshelf

I just finished reading Maine Summer by Edwin Valentine Mitchell. The next best thing to being in Maine during the summer is reading about it. When I passed this vintage book on the library's shelf I stopped in my tracks to pick it up and threw my reading time budget out the window as I placed it in my bag. I loved getting lost inside the book and letting my mind wander to the cool and breezy, pine-covered forests that line the Maine coast.

There's no plot to this book, no story really. Just the love story of a writer for a place. And my own memories that I add to the pages as I read, recalling the Maine visits of my childhood, sanctified by the sands of time washing over them year in and year out.

It's not a book for everyone -- but if you like little vignettes about place, musings on the "cats of Maine," or the old lore of pirates, or the "islandmania" that overtook people at the turn of the last century, this is lovely, old-time read.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Painting This Week

There were a few opportunities for sketching this week -- I took a walk with my mom last Sunday afternoon and we captured a few scenes at Eagle Creek.

This is such a beautiful time in Indiana right now -- there is plenty of green, lots of blue skies and usually gorgeous white clouds, crops growing, country roads about to pop with June lilies. It's taken a long time for the mountain-less scapes of Indiana to grow on me but this week I felt I was truly home in her beauty.

Painting food is so much fun. I had to do a little sketch of Olivia's birthday cupcakes.

 One of the best things I did last week was to take myself out for a little breakfast while Laura was at VBS. Being alone, having the treat of eating food I didn't cook, time for painting and sitting outside did wonders during a very hectic week in which Michael was away for several days.

While sitting at breakfast on a very boring sort of street I finally noticed the hilarious sight across the street -- a stop sign that looked like a green monster jumping out at passing cars. The red and green, being complementary colors, looked particularly good together and added to the drama of the situation. (A car pulled into the parking space before I finished so you can't really see what I was painting.)

Next Saturday will be our first Capture Summer workshop! I've got a list of things that need to be painted before then! I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

From the Bookshelf: The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables

The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery by Catherine Reid is destined to be one of my favorite books this year. It has filled my soul with such beauty -- it's the next best thing to going to Prince Edward Island in person.

The pages are filled with delightful photographs: PEI scenery, historic photos of Lucy Maud Montgomery's life, and interiors.

It's balm to the soul looking at these scenes of idyllic countryside.

My dad took us to PEI when I was a teenager. I realize now what a gift that was. It would be fun to go back one day, and to explore the island as an adult.

For now the book suffices. Check it out!

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Monday, June 4, 2018

The Month of May

The month of May took us from early spring right into full-blown summer. 

Four of the children played spring soccer and here you can see the redbuds in bloom just as April closed its doors.

Cousin Olivia was baptized the first Sunday in May and everyone got to attend!

A visit from my high school friend, Andria, and her family was a highlight of our month! One nice thing about getting older is having "history" with people -- 25 years is a long time for our age.

The woods broke into full green. We've made it back several times since the Art Classes ended to see what's blooming.

Rachel performed in her last high school music concert and amazed us all with her Alexander Hamilton "My Shot" performance.

Laura really enjoyed her soccer season. I still find it unbelievable that this child, who was supposed to never be athletic, it so over-the-top athletic when it comes to soccer. I give thanks to God for this blessing.

Going to the Art Museum gardens whenever possible is a great joy.

I managed to snag some family photos on Mother's Day.

It is a blessing to have my mother alive and in the same city. I try not to take this for granted.

Laura is my little garden helper and checks on our tiny strawberries everyday. Even without much rain the garden is doing well.

When possible I join with a group of local painters for plein air or figure drawing. On this night we combined them!

Indiana can be downright gorgeous. Fields, sky, barns, grass. I love scenery like this.

The Royal Wedding was a highlight of the month for sure!!!!! My neighbor and I, and Rachel and Laura, got up early to have tea and scones and watch.

David and Laura had their annual spring piano recital. I think this was David's last year of piano so only Laura will continue on.

 On the last day of school we checked out the hat exhibit at the Art Museum. This is the hat I would choose -- with that lovely big pink rose and buds on top!

Next year it will be just these two in my homeschool:

James spent his last day of homeschool at Medieval Times with friends. He heads to high school in August!

Rachel had her senior banquet one evening.

Two nights later it was her open house!

She and her friend, Miriam, had their open house together at the building we rent for our church services.

And the last Saturday in May was GRADUATION! Wow! Rachel is now officially done with high school. Well done, Rachel!

It was a busy weekend with the open house, graduation, and friends' open houses. We were thankful for family joining us in celebrating!

 The day after graduation we celebrated Olivia's first birthday! What fun! She brings us all so much joy.

 And then the pool officially opened and we are all on summer break!

Our summer break is only 9 weeks (one of which is already gone!). I'm so thankful to have a break ahead but mindful of the many items on my to-do list. Hoping to enjoy rest as well as productivity. I don't have to travel in June and I am really looking forward to a month of summer!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Nature: Peony Week 2018

Peony week was beautiful, as always. Our HOT weather blew them open so fast and, poof, the week was over. 

This year I did take a friend's advice and pick a bunch of buds to keep in the fridge so I still have peonies blooming and a handful more to come!

Laura is my little gardener-in-training. It's fun to have someone to admire the garden with.

I was pleased with how my bushes performed this year. The bush on the patio produced about a dozen blooms which was quite a bit more than in other years. I think I have 5 new starts from a friend's garden and most of those did not bloom except for one brave bush. Next year maybe they will all bloom, including the new Coral Sunset that I've planted!

 The beauty of these flowers is just breathtaking.

 I can hardly go a few hours without taking a photo of them. The contrast with the blue is just perfect.

Hosta leaves make the perfect backdrop too!

Having peonies makes me feel like a very wealthy person for one week of the year :).

The round shape of these blooms made me want to squish them like big fat marshmallows.

And here is a perfect portrait. I wish I could paint peonies to look just like this. Someday!

Here's a ballerina-looking bloom.

My sister Emily had the great joy of having a daughter born during peony week last year. How special is that?! Actually, my peonies were planted in hopes we could use them for Emily's wedding (I think she didn't get married for 5 or 6 years after we planted them and she married in October so our plan failed -- but giving birth to a girl might just be even better than a wedding for peonies!)

This year I made baby Olivia a doll for her birthday:

These double peonies are amazing!

One of my favorite pictures from peony week:

The peonies change color as they age:

I spent a good bit of time trying to paint the peonies. Every year I hope to improve a little and then one of these years I'll capture them the way I want to!

The June lilies are budding, the blackberries are growing, and the roses are blooming! I'm glad there's still life after peony week!