the raven

the raven

  

If you’ve read many of my posts or been to my place, you’ll see that my garden is an extension of my studio, and a huge source of inspiration and reprieve for me.  The studio structure is a converted two-car garage, and when we moved in, there was no garden to speak of. So when we designed the interior space and added a window, the view wasn’t as big of a concern as it should have been.  (Hindsight). Fortunately, the garage also had a screened-in porch attached, and that has become one of my favorite places to think.  

  

 

This weekend, my hubby helped me out by making a little writing desk out of an old wooden palette.  It works perfectly in the space, allowing me to overlook the garden and stay mosquito-free at the same time (a huge task around here).  He lovingly named it “The Raven” a testament to his sense of humor, and a nod to his inner Mad Hatter.  

flashback to Halloween 2010

For some, rainy days and Mondays are big downers, but I happen to love both (However, I currently don’t report to “work” on most Mondays, so that most likely determines my affection). This morning brought spring rains, and I was able to clear my head while enjoying the vibrant beauty of the garden. The birds sang happily.  I even made a quirky little poem to memorialize the moment:

 

   

 

 

   And as I’m wrapping up this post, guess who perched outside my back door?   

The raven’s unglamorous Texas cousin, the grackle (as seen through the screen, from my new desk).

“Forevermore.” 

awesome april (day 30) – i did it my way

awesome april (day 30) – i did it my way

ATC 38  23(Grace)  23 SeriesI set a challenge for myself this month to post on my blog daily, and this, my friends, is the final post for the month of April 2014.   I did it!

There were days that were a lot more inspiring than others, some very exciting with good news to share, and others that I just didn’t feel so motivated about.  But I’ve found that this has been a really good exercise for me — it has kept me focused each day, because I knew I would need to share something interesting each day with you.

Just like my journals, my blog posts are a good resource for me to see what was going on in my life at a particular time.

An overview of this month’s posts:

  • I have gotten to share some of my visual journals with you, which until this month I hadn’t published online. Posting on my blog daily has encouraged me to finish some of those journal pages that I had started but had been dragging my feet on finishing.   See awesome april posts # 18 22, 23, 25 and 27 for new journal entries, and I have a new visual journals page that I’ve been adding to all month.
  • I shared things that inspire me along the way(days # 5, 6, 7, 14 20, 28) and the advice I would give to my artist self 20 years ago (#16).
  • My trip to Europe is officially on the books, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It’s been 10 years since I traveled overseas, so I’m happy to have something fantastic to look forward to next year.  jens studio 3
  • You got a few glimpses into my studio (day # 10, 15, 26, 28),  and the studio of my friend Jennifer Cowley (day #2).  I also shared a few of my art friends (day #11 and # 24), as well as some of my students’ work in progress (day #3).
  • I’ve had a great month getting my work out there.  I revealed the news that I was selected to complete a public art mural for McKinney this spring. ( I’m still waiting on a start date, and I’ll keep you all posted on the latest  developments with that project). Meanwhile, I’ve also sold a few paintings this month, and been selected for a juried show.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading my blog this month, and to my new ‘followers.’  As always, I’d love to have comments from you on any of the posts.

Here’s looking forward to a Maniacal May.

 

awesome april (day 24) – art friends

awesome april (day 24) – art friends

Today I thought I’d share a blog about some of my art friends.  These are all artists that I appreciate not only for the quality of their work, but also their work ethic.  And they happen to be really cool people, too.   Click on any of the images to find out more about that artist.

 

Helen Minkes
Reemergence
T. Scott Stromberg
Olivia Ogren-Hrejsa
Julia Forsyth
Barbara J. Mason
Eilene Houston Carver
Janine Maupin
Tom Freeman
Danna Gann

 

 

Brenda G. Thomas
Brenda G. Thomas
Jennifer Monet Cowley
Jennifer Monet Cowley

 

Jeb Matulich
awesome april (day 23) – o beautiful

awesome april (day 23) – o beautiful

O Beautiful -- altered book visual journal
O Beautiful — altered book visual journal

This is from my first visual journal, which is actually an altered book.  I gessoed out the pages before adding acrylic, collaged photocopied images, collaged wallpaper, watercolor and permanent marker.    See more of my visual journals HERE.

The mother and child image is universal to all cultures, and is always one that is close to my heart.

 

What are some of your favorite topics for your visual journals?  I’d love to hear your comments!

awesome april (day 20) – spring

awesome april (day 20) – spring

I’ve never really considered myself a gardener.  My mom had a nice vegetable garden and pretty plants around the house, but I didn’t ever want to help out with that growing up (teenagers).  On my own, I can’t seem to keep house plants alive.  I tried a vegetable garden a couple of years ago, and was very unsuccessful.  Last year I limited my vegetable gardening to three tomato plants, which yielded two tomatoes total all summer.  Although that was a 100% increase from the prior year  – if I kept it up, I might have enough for a couple of nice salads in a few years —  I think I’ll just stick to the farmer’s market.

Back Yard 2013
The garden (right) last September.

I have a lovely location between my house and my studio that was calling for vegetation, so I decided to try a perennial garden last year.  I tried to plant a lot of things that were hardy for this weird north Texas weather, using my friends at Shades of Green as an expert resource.  The area is shady at high noon, but gets good morning sun, and the north end gets afternoon sun as well.

the garden in october – mostly hardy perennials
turks caps last fall
turks caps last fall

 

After a particularly cold, harsh winter, the garden is growing back!

clematis
clematis

 

oakleaf hydrangea
little buds on my oak leaf hydrangea
elizabeth lawrence phlox
elizabeth lawrence phlox

 

I’ve also added a few new friends.

delphinium
delphinium
tickseed
tickseed
salvia may night and caroline jessamine vine
salvia may night and carolina jessamine vine

Fall used to be my favorite season, with the cool breezes coming after a harsh Texas summer.  But now, I think Spring has taken the top spot.  I love going through the garden each day, seeing what is sprouting or blooming.  It’s usually the first thing I do in the morning.  I also use the garden as a place to reflect, notice the details and colors of nature, listen to the birds, and give my mind a rest if I’ve been working on a difficult project.

I also think it makes a nice entrance to my studio.

welcome to fresh paint studio!
welcome to fresh paint studio!