July 10, 2012 0

Flowers and Trees

By in cats, color, paintings, sketches, watercolour


For a job that’s taking longer than it should (these are the lazy days of summer, after all), I’ve been painting flowers. It’s outside my comfort zone, but that’s why I take these tasks on, to learn new things. The clematis above aren’t perfect (mainly a matter of colour), but I’m working on it today. For me practice makes perfect, or at least better.

Note the half-hidden cats who were lurking in my friend’s garden as I was sketching.


My Mom painted flowers and landscapes all her life. She hated hard edges, and enjoyed the serendipity of the happy accident. Once the cat walked over a painting of hers while it was wet, and all she did was draw little stems from the paw prints, and they became some new type of flower.

She was private, and never really shared the secrets of her craft with me. But I did inherit her paints and brushes after she died in 1979, and maybe a fraction of her talent. At least I’ve got the urge to draw and paint. It’s something I love and it’s saved my life, when I’ve been feeling too dark.

I wish it had saved hers. Ironically, it got less relaxing for her when she started getting more successful, and selling pictures. Wish I had more of those pictures around, but there are a bunch with my sister. Above is a stand of poppies we had in our garden in Calgary, Alberta.


I’m working on the trees and bushes, also. These are matters of light and dark which I am figuring out. Also something of perspective. I’d like to paint the actual tree in front of me, rather than just a symbol for a tree.

This rather disorganised (and at the same time, too detailed) image is my friend’s catalpa tree in her back yard, in bloom. Did you know “catalpa,” which is a beautiful word, is really a misspelling of “catawpa,” which is what the native Americans called the tree?


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