A Backwoods Point of View-watercolor on paper

 

      On the eastern side of our house near the woods is a small sunny corner where we have oregano, rosemary, kale and a few pathetic looking pineapple plants. We also grow a very successful patch of Boston Fern,  two immature avocado trees and two unfruitful citrus! Sweet Basil is more of an annual here when we remember to plant it on time. Our garden is fenced in with Home Depot lattice, and somehow functions as a temporary dog enclosure.  I've never sat in this exact spot to paint til now and am happy I did, because I've discovered something once again about ordinary looking places. They are not what you think til you've spent time attempting to recreate them on paper. In a few short hours, I realize that a crack in the cement can be an asset and that a broken down fence makes a wonderful support for wild muscadine grapes! 

A plein air day at Gary Greene's ! !

Shared secrets and the magic brush!

 Our day started out with doubtful weather conditions, and getting there early was a priority since it was predicted we'd have rain by 3 pm. When I arrived around 10, I could see Gary outside smiling and directing everyone to the parking places.    Inside, Pat welcomed us with crackers, cheese, muffins and bottled water! What a nice day it was! The pond was a magnet for wildlife, with egrets, herons, a gator, and a whole slew of noisy birds very busy collecting nesting material and carrying it to the trees. The presence of 7 painters lining the grassy bank with easels and assorted art paraphernalia didn't seem to interfere with their social life one bit!   As we set up, we could hear a wildcat's cry from somewhere across the the deserted golf course! There was also some drama in the pond and we watched with anticipation as an alligator slithered in the rushes along the opposite shore!  His intentions became clear as he moved closer and closer to a little family of Moorhens (river chickens) who seemed oblivious to the danger!
  It was an exciting morning as each of us created our own visual interpretations of this freshwater habitat!
Rita's creates the effect of reflective light with oils!

Early afternoon wind picked up as the temp dropped!

 

Recovering from the Flu didn't keep Mary away! Her watercolor tells the story!  Will Mrs. Moor Hen's family become dinner?

Dale's energetic palms in oil! Just love it!!
 
Gary's experiment with a new shape! Absolutely love those bright colors! 

Audrey's soft muted pallet is truly an inspiration!

Gary sharing his painting secrets with the group! One bit of advice he wanted to give us was to use distilled water in painting with watercolor. He says the chlorine in tap H2O bleaches out the colors and weakens the paper! Never knew that!
Cindy simplifies this complicated scene with gentle pastel colors and shapes!

My take on things with Mr Gator waiting for his dinner!
The source of our inspiration!
Expecting rain any minute, we packed up our masterpieces and skedaddled to our cars..
Thanks to Pat and Gary for your hospitality and shared tidbits of knowledge!

Linear Park Again!

 Pulling off the Greenway into Linear Park's parking lot, I spotted Mary's cool looking T-Bird and Mary, waiting patiently by the curb.  Dale and Jean arrived next. Then, a busy looking man with a clipboard hurried by and asked if we were the 'judges'! Apparently there was a high school science contest of some sort being held in the park, so we told him we'd be happy to do some judging if he wanted!   After a few more minutes, we decided to get started and rolled our assorted paraphernalia past the playground and away from the noisy exercise class to favorite spots around the park, but close enough to each other, to visit for friendly critiquing. We took a walk around, and I visited the Butterfly Garden across the bridge. It was manned by the young gardeners themselves! They politely answered my questions, and explained how they had to carry the heavy coquina stones to the site, and haul water to the garden from across the bridge! After admiring their beautifully painted butterfly and moth picnic table, I decided to go and paint my birdhouse again, this time in oils! Dale set up too, in front of the same pretty water scene she painted last week. I was just positioning my easel when Mary and Jean came over looking very upset. They had gone over the bridge to see the Butterfly Garden and  inadvertently crossed paths with a nasty red fire ant colony! How Awful! These were not the tiny variety we have all over our lawns, but large and ferocious! Thank God for Jean's bug spray (With Deet!)  The rest of the afternoon was peaceful, and we were serenaded by a thousand little voices, singing away in the trees! I finished a small painting of one birdhouse, and decided to try the other with my pallet knife. Unfortunately it slipped later on and smeared all over my arm. Oh well. I'll just have to go back and try again!  Mary sketched and painted seated figures of Dale and Jean, and produced this wonderful watercolor! And Jean's delicate study in watercolor is beautiful even in its unfinished state! Dale started another painting of her tree scene, and it promises to be very energetic too! Oh, I forgot to mention, Marge joined us too, and we all took turns visiting her at the picnic table. She was visited a few times by a strange looking critter that hopped onto my back and, scaring me as it crawled around into view