Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge - April

I found this months challenge the most difficult so far. I love experimenting, taking classes and trying all different kinds of mediums. So I was thinking about what isn't so comfortable and what I tend to avoid so I could I could figure out how to take a "risk" and participate in the April themes of "Branch Out" and "Go out on a Limb". 
In April there were sketch crawls all over the world. The Mystic Art Center planned one for Saturday the 9th. I thought this would be a good way to challenge myself as I haven't participated in one before and I don't draw in public (OMG what if someone were to look over my shoulder to see what I was drawing!)
We had a cool but sunny morning and four of us started out at Bartleby’s for some coffee to get us going and a little sketching. Then onto a few other places around town including Mystic River Park and a playground.
I usually sketch in pencil so I was interested to hear Cathy (the sketch crawl organizer) explain that if she uses a pencil she spends too much time erasing, reworking and trying to perfect each drawing. Another small challenge - I switched to a permanent pen to give it a try. It changed my approach as I noticed I was taking more time to observe before I made a mark on the page.  I definitely need lots of practice but it was a fun morning.

Planter box at Mystic River park

Quick gesture drawings of people
 watching their children in the park

Leaves and debris on the ground and tree in the park

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I’ve wanted to visit Logee’s Tropical Plants ever since I first heard of it while taking UConn’s Master Gardner course back in 2007. On Sunday two friends and I took a trip to Danielson, CT and I finally got to see the greenhouses that have been around since 1892. Unassuming from the outside you enter a whole different world once you go through the front door. Walking up and down the very narrow isles you are surrounded by tropical plants of all kinds. Beautiful large specimen plants that have been growing for many years and bins filled with small potted plants that are for sale. I could feel my hair curling right up but I didn’t mind because the warm, humid air felt wonderful. In a year like this where Spring seems to be taking its sweet time to get here what a great destination to see some exotic plants and to warm up and forget about winter for a few hours. 

What did I come home with?
It wasn’t easy but I was able to control myself to leaving with just one plant - Goji Berry (Lycium barbarous ‘Crimson Star’). They are hardy to zone 5 so it should be able to survive our winters here in zone 6. It’s only a bit more than 2 feet tall but they say it could fruit this first season. Each year I like to try one new plant that I have never grown before. I hope the Goji Berry plant will be happy in my garden.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blue Birds

These little birds that arrived in a package as fired, unglazed pieces were a gift from my friend Pam.  So cute, but I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with them. They got tucked away for a bit and I found them while searching for some framing supplies in my cabinet last week.
I had just seen a photo of some beautiful bottles lined up on a window sill and thought the birds would look nice lined up in a similar manner. I painted them my favorite color of the moment, turquoise, searched for just the right piece of driftwood from my collection and glued them down. I love how they brighten up my plant stand – Thanks Pam!