My summer vacation…

This summer we enjoyed a staycation. We had a blast at the Granary Gallery Show at the end of July… here’s a few pics from that week of fun

Then we returned to this little corner of the world wherein we toil and play…here are just a dozen or so pics out of the hundreds I took this year of the studio garden…note I had a helper this year, Kory, who did most of the heavy lifting…yeah !

There was a wonderful visit from Alex, who is probably banging on some drum at a band concert about now…

Kory and I built a new walkway, and he cleared us a beautiful view of our creek…

Zoe spent a week at Camp Gran and Mima, and was a terrific helper…

We taught her to play Clue…

Then we taught Arthur to play Clue…

We celebrated Andrew Wyeth’s 100th birthday with stamps and a trip to see his retrospective at the Brandywine River Museum…

We took in an O’s game with Doug and Scott…

I pretty much parked myself on the studio porch for weeks, and carved spoon after spoon and then got out the spinning wheel and spun my way through the last of the long locked lincoln fleece…

And we kept up the tradition…of opening and closing the season at Reeser’s…

I did a bit of commission painting somewhere in there, and a lot of wool gathering, in addition to the spinning…

Delayed by a hurricane or two, we have just finished packing the car…Finnegan’s followers will be just about as pleased as she was to know that her bed and bowls have been included… and tomorrow we head back to the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

An extended autumn stay to allow the muses to take me down some new roads, and listen to new stories, and refresh my soul.

So this is just to say,
that we are well,
we are grateful,
and we want you all to stay safe out there.

I catch you on the other side of the leaves…

 


Fiddly Dee

Fiddlehead-Primavera

It’s almost, almost that time of year again…

This morning my favorite mystery writer, Laurie R King had a post on her facebook page about the fiddleheads that she scored at a market in San Francisco and tried for the first time. It reminded me, among other things that I wanted to let readers know that her latest Mary Russell novel,

image

is a fantastic read. I usually save her novels to listen to when I paint especially complicated paintings because she is similarly in love with detail and I get swept away with her thoughtful prose. Makes the time fly at the easel and I always learn something new.

So run to your local bookstore and add this to that pile by your favorite chair. And then go take a walk in this fine spring air and hunt for fiddleheads. Warning, not all ferns are edible so do the research, or trust your local farmers market.

I am working too hard with the brushes to walk amongst the woods, but I am yours…

Dreaming of Fiddleheads


Disappearing Purple

green bean tea

The other day I was talking with my friend Katie and we got to comparing our gardens this year. She was excited to be growing purple beans but disappointed to discover that they turned green after being cooked….hmmmmm ?

At the time, my beans were just beginning to grow…

beans beginning

so I had to wait…and wait…

beans 1

This week they are ready to pick !
And Zoe is here to help,

zoe and beans

funny zoe and beans

So we filled up the blue box,
with purple and green beans,

picked beans

and threw them in the boiling water with the pasta…
(which I forgot to take a picture of …)
and YES, the purple ones DID turn green.
But not to worry, Zoe reports that they both taste the same and she should know because the entire box went into her belly.

It’s been wonderful to have an assistant in the garden and we have lots more to do before she leaves so I’ll sign off now…

Yours in red wagons and gummy bears…

wagon

 

 

 


Fiddle Dee Dee

Ah the rights of Spring !fiddlehead-primavera

And the time honored traditions of the favorite meal of my “salad days” back in Watertown…Mussels and Fiddlehead Ferns…celebrated now in my dotage…

fiddle

I’m still lifting a glass of the bottom shelf chardonnay in toast to the delicacy…
But nowadays I am using my organically home grown onions and garlic from the studio gardens…

Progress


Deep Spring

island-souls-eve

 

It’s this kind of a morning here in the studio yard…although this is a painting of the bluff in Chilmark and those spider webs are over a decade old.

Our spider webs, here in the hollers of Strinestown, are brand new and based on the jungle of gossamer threads that I am pulling out of my face and hair…I have yet to learn this spring’s prime locations.

The experts keep saying our flora are three or more weeks behind this growing season but that is based on the last few years of climate change which has now become the new norm. These long weeks of cool days and cool nights are what I remember as being the springtime of my youth. Slowly warming temperatures and gentle rains gave the gardeners time to ease into the toolshed and let the winter weak muscles wake up gradually.

We did have an early zap of three or four days of 90 degree days and my thriving spinach began to bolt…but almost a month later in which temps stayed 20-30 degrees cooler…it has settled back down and I have been able to test several spinach artichoke dip recipes.

Neighbor Sue and I have noted that this is the craziest grass growing season ever. She can’t keep up with it and she is one who lives to mow.

The peas, radishes, beets and carrots I planted back on St. Patrick’s day are sooooooooo slow to climb up outta the dirt. But the lilacs…oh the lilacs…they are loving this weather and,  when I leave the studio late in the evening, their fragrance fills the valley and soothes my tired soul.

So, while the world outside might be three weeks behind and dragging its arboreal heels…inside the studio this artist is racing the clock and hopping.

The countdown is on for the Granary Gallery show this summer…July 21 is the opening date…and I’ve taken on a major challenge which I’ll be telling you about soon. For now I can tell you that the brushes, mostly the tiny ones, are flying from early morning until late and later… and later… each night.

There’s a very large panel on the easel right now and and it makes a hilarious contrast to the tiny brushes that I am using. The detail is electric and the concentration required keeps me so focused that only the thing which has been able to break it is the nuclear bolt of lightening that lifted me off the chair last night.

So…here’s to a real old fashioned spring…
and a face full of spider webs…
and a rich green carpet of grass…
and a studio full of flying brushes.

Enjoy !


Passages…

It’s a beautiful day for a birthday.

Friends have been checking in and the cake is out of the oven. A nice morning sitting in the sun in the garden looking for signs of spring and catching up with an old pal. Might even get a little painting done before the day is out but mostly I’m just enjoying the peace and love the this stage of life is bringing and the great fortunes of good friends.

Another passage of sorts is being played out on the island and our long loved refuge and retreat, Camp Sunrise, is finally facing the ravages of mother nature.

the-shell-seeker

Here’s a painting of the bluff in front of camp from about 2003… and here is a photo of it now…

camp

We’ve all known this day was coming. And I am forever grateful for the decades of opportunities to sit on this very porch and ponder the sea. As well as the gift of being able to chronicle some of its corners and quirks and patina in the paintings over the years.

But now it is time to say goodbye. As you can read in the article in the MV Gazette, http://www.mvgazette.com/news/2013/04/04/second-stonewall-beach-home-teetering-cliff-must-be-moved
the house is now done. The main Camp house will be demolished…I can barely stand to write that…but the garage,

the-temple-of-my-familiar

and bunkhouse,

Retreat

will be moved in tact out to the back of the property…

Sophie's-Passage

way out to where that stone wall stands.

So I will take the lessons from this sunny spring day and look forward and ahead to many more years of walking this earth, and what’s left of this bluff and be grateful for each one of the flowers along the way.


Winter Watering

Yes, when the winter hibernation is in full swing, production inside the studio soars. But, at least in my case, this is primarily due to the fact that my garden is sleeping. When the sun shines…I would rather be digging in the dirt.

This morning the sun is brilliant. Air cleared out by last nights storm. Creek roaring at full throttle. And my watering buckets are full …

  

So I lifted the flap on my little greenhouse and gave the tenders a drink.

It does an artist’s heart good to see these beautiful greens in the month of January and, with the seed catalogues piling up, the big greenhouse will soon be ready for action… 

 

OK, enough of that garden talk. Time to get back to the easel. But…there will be a tiny salad on my lunch table.


Moving in Day…

Every woman needs a retreat. A place to be where the creative muses can find her while her hands are busy and her soul is at rest. For me, that place is my garden. And now, a sanctuary within that sanctuary…my greenhouse is finished !

 

Three days of hard work to finish the carpentry and then stain and paint and today Pat helped me to carry the books and seeds over to start filling the shelves…

 Now I can cast about the studio and cabin to find some things to make it homey, and make cushions for the wicker chair I found and a few hangers for hats and jackets, and some sort of solar powered lamp. It feels so good to complete something as fanciful as this. My garden folly. Now to find the windex !

 

 

 


Blossom smile some sunshine…

The Granary Gallery show opening is exactly one week from today !

And I seem to be aware of that on a cellular level. My frazzled brain is tingling with firing neurons and my body is leaning into the promise of an ocean breeze. So it didn’t surprise me at all when, after watching a video on the New York Times website about preparing squash blossoms for an appetizer I went out to the yard and took some photos for the blog of the very blossoms I plan to put on a plate this evening…

I am in a bit of garden angst at the thought of leaving my tenders behind for our week on the island…just as the fruits of our labors are…well…blossoming. I have the drip irrigation system up and running and a timer installed yesterday seems to be working just fine…but if you have ever raised a raised bed full of veggies you know the rewards that are reaped from constant vigilance.

Anyway, I thought that stumbling upon that recipe was kismet since I now have lots of blossoms that, if left alone, will grow into fruit that I won’t be here to pick. So…much against my usual judgement, I’m a gonna pluck the best of the lot and nibble on them tonight.

Then I come in to write today’s blog and go to the folder where I keep all the show images to see what is left on the list and… wait for it…

#14 – Blosson  14 x 20

You’re all gonna think I planned this but remember that frazzled state ? There is no extra room for such detail…this is pure garden grace at its finest.

So here we go… into the final countdown. Painter’s Notes must be finished today. Then a host of other computer work and some studio clean up and a whole lot of packing. Oh, I remember the days when a trip to the Vineyard meant throwing some clothes and books in a napsack. Now it’s the station wagon, the dog and the trailer…all packed to the gills.

Here’s a link to Melissa Clark’s recipe for Squash Blossoms…http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/zucchini-flowers-in-the-raw/

I’m going to go with Boursin, since I don’t think Burrata could be found within 50 miles of here on a Sunday, and a basil/garlic tapenadey thing. I’ll let you know how they come out.

Meanwhile, go take a walk in your garden and breathe deeply of the beauty.