My Peony Passion

 

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ohhhhhh, I do love peonies, there is no doubt.  I’ve been wanting a peony bed here on our property since the day we moved in….10 years ago!  Where does the time go?! After much discussion, finally,  last summer (year #9) we decided to build a raised bed around our ugly hydro pole that sits obstructing the view in the centre of the yard.  Around this pole has always been a low spot that water tends to pond and after a rain is messy to cut so hubby was happy to see it covered….providing, I not let it become a weed bed.  Done I said!  And off we went!

<normally I would insert a photo of the project here, but for some unknown reason I didn’t take any!!!!?!??  GASP!!!!!  I am not quite sure if they got deleted or if I really didn’t take any, which is completely unlike me, but would be Murphy’s Law because of the thousands of photos I do have I don’t have the one I want! LOL!>

My dear friend Darlene gifted me four beautiful peony plants to get things started. Two heritage style single bloom variety, which have been passed down in her family for nearly 100 years!  Talk about heritage!!  I had never seen a single variety and they certainly didn’t disappoint!  They bloomed earlier than the others which was a welcomed sight!

As well as two gorgeous double whites which are still going strong nearing the end of June, with an intoxicating fragrance out of this world. So strong that walking in our pasture on the east of them I even caught a faint smell!

As well last fall I purchased from a couple bubble gum pink doubles, and they have come and gone in between the ones Darlene gave me so that was perfect blooming choreography.  The pinks were also quite fragrant, although not as strongly scented as the white. Their bright pink buds reminded me of giant gumballs, I’ve nicknamed them my Hubba Bubba peonies. lol

Sounds like this project has now received the Husband Stamp of Approval….as this week we just had a conversation about how this bed is over flowing we need to build another one adjacent to this, or even adding a series of raised beds!?!!  Perhaps my peony collecting obsession can continue to grow!?!  😉

Next on my acquisition list…… some of these big bright deep magentas!  We went for my birthday dinner at Pineridge Hollow this year (…and it was awesome! Might even have to make that an annual occurrence!) then walked through their gardens afterwards. Their peony beds are definitely something to envy!!  So beautiful. ❤

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Botanical Illustration – Back to basics.

 

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Workshop results, pansy illustration with color pencils by Lori Zebiere

 I spent two wonderful afternoons this past weekend, hanging out with a bunch of other creatives; chit-chatting about plants and gardening; and of course, the reason we were all there, drawing flowers during MAWA’s Botanical Illustration Workshop instructed by Linda Fairfield.

Linda Fairfield teaching Botanical Illustration workshop at MAWA, June 2016

Botanical Illustrations by Linda Fairfield

I signed up for this workshop with a goal in mind to do more drawings of the flora and fauna around my studio.  Instead of looking outside for inspiration, I feel the need right now to turn inwards and examine my daily life. I also have a plein-air workshop coming up at Falcon Trails Resort, July 9th for the same purpose, to help me get outside in my own yard and paint or draw.

Having never done botanical illustration work before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought I’d keep an open mind and have fun with it.  I have done technical drafting, so there were some similarities regarding scale, notations, etc. if you really want to be old school and follow the illustration ‘rules’, but I’m not interested in being hardcore about the process at this point, I still want a certain art, not completely illustration to the works. What I was surprised by was how much I enjoyed taking that step back-to-basics by slowing down and drawing from life again. It was quite relaxing, almost meditative work, studying our plants, focusing on their tiniest details. Quite literally, taking time to stop and smell the roses!!

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A pretty table set-up of a couple other participants. Talk about a beautiful workshop!  Flowers, flowers, everywhere!!!

Thanks taking the time to stop by!

Death, grief, love and losing your BFF.

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Reddenblu’s Rhythm on the Range, aka Rhythm. June 17, 2005 – April 17, 2016

Yesterday, June 17th, 2016, was a tough day.  We should have been celebrating our Rhythm girl’s 11th birthday but in January of this year she was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor and sadly, her life was cut short as I had to help her cross the Rainbow Bridge on April 17th. Logically, I know we were lucky to have had her in our lives for a decade and that we were also lucky, as some are not, to get a few really good months cherishing what we knew would inevitably be our last times together. Emotionally, though I wasn’t quite ready, I had hoped to have this summer and one more birthday to spend with her. This post is a memorial to her and the years of happiness, laughs and great joy she brought into our lives. As well, as a way for me to deal with the rawness, pain and guilt that is still in my heart.

Maybe grab a tissue, it could get dusty in here.

Now let me start off by saying, I’m not unexperienced at handling grief. I’ve come to know the wound left by the loss of a loved one does slowly, albeit painfully, heal; eventually turning into a beautiful scar that you carry with you always.  And even though life is never the same, you are able to move forward with memories to hold, reminding you of that loved one’s place in your life. I’ve lost many family and friends, of both the human and animal variety, to this point in my life and if I continue on my life journey the reality is I will lose more.  I recall my first real understanding of the finality of death came with the loss of my pony, Danny Boy, at about the age of 8.  I’ve lost a Great-grandparent; both sets of Grandparents; my Dad to suicide; two co-workers I was quite close to; as well as our beloved dogs Baron and Helix ….all of which had a strong, lasting impact on my life. At times I have felt overwhelming sorrow, pain and emptiness grieving for each and every one of them.

So losing another dog to cancer at the senior age of 10 shouldn’t come as a complete shock.  I mean, come on now,  I understand how life works at this point and I know none of us is getting out of here alive. As well, I am fully aware that our four legged friends typically have a shorter stays on the blue dot than our two legged ones (unless you have a turtle, they will probably out live you and maybe even your children). But then again, I am getting older and having to face my own mortality; so maybe this death just has me thinking more (or maybe it’s menopause and I’m just more emotional?).

Regardless, Rhythm’s death has been a difficult one and even though I’ve come to accept her passing, I am still dealing with feelings of anger and confusion. After all, she was an Australian Cattle Dog, they are supposed to live forever!  Ok, well maybe not forever, but ACD’s are a hardy breed that have even held the oldest dog title in the past. If you don’t believe me check out Bluey, who lived to the ripe old age of 29 years 6 months and 12 days!  Rhythm was active and had no health issues for the past 10 years. Honestly, I thought she’d be with us for at least another 5 years. It was my French Bulldog, Dooley, who I’ve been nursing with an injury that had me thinking for the past 18 months we’d be saying good-bye to him sooner than later. But, I guess the universe thought I needed a reminder to embrace the moment and live every minute fully and completely, as life rarely goes according to your plans or what you think is supposed to happen.

 

OH Rhythm, we miss you!  I miss you.

We miss your how your tail moved like a propeller when you loped out ahead of us on our daily walks; we miss how a Heeler never comes without a gift, and that you always somehow found a toy to bring back for an endless game of fetch.  We miss your intense stare; your head in the dishwasher; I miss stepping on you every time I back up from my easel;  we even miss the tumbleweed balls of hair rolling across the hardwood floors (seriously, you shed…A LOT!);  we miss how you talked in growls & grumbles;  your competitive nature at having to strike like a lightening flash across the room to get to a chew toy that no one else was even remotely interested in; we miss giving you shit for heeling the Frenchies. We miss so many more things too, but most of all we miss your hugs.  You were the best hugger ever.

Until we meet again my Silly Goose, I promise to hold your memories dear and close to my heart. I still feel you at my side and I am sorry we had to say good-bye too soon. The yard is filled with your spirit and I am glad that we were able to bring your earthly body home and lay you to rest here in the place where we loved spending our days together.  The Froglets and I visit your grave often. Did I mention we miss you?!?!???  Hugs my sweet, Pretty Girl. Sleep easy and rest in peace until we meet again on the other side. You were a once in a lifetime dog.  💙💙💙

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Thank you for stopping by and I promise to try and make next post on a little lighter note.

OK, here goes….my photo journal.


So I love the idea of blogging, journaling and diaries, but some how I can never seem to get in the habit of actually doing it. I’m not a good writer and when I sit down to blog or journal I always feel blank and overwhelmed…where I begin?? BUT (enter thing that might make this attemp successfull) I do LOVE to take photos, LOTS of photos, photos of anything and everything. Taking so many to a point where my cell phone and every memory card I own is bursting at full capacity. Yes, its an obsession. That said, I ask myself, what am I ever going to do with all these images!?!?? Sure I use some of them for art reference from time to time, but seriously I’m a digital hoarder. So I have decided to share them with the world (whether the world needs or wants them is a topic for another day….maybe even a blog post of its own?!?😆) by simply creating a photo journal and see where it goes. It’s really just a diary of sorts, and will probably be as interesting as watching paint dry,  but I might as well give it a rip and see if I can, at the very least, do it on a consistent basis.

Here goes…..

Yesterday’s excitement around the yard was the baby squirrels. Fighting, wrestling and chasing each other all around the oaks, bird feeders and the old well.  It was total pandemonium and cuteness overload! There were about five of them all together, but it was hard to count exactly as they were zipping around so fast I wasn’t quite sure if I was seeing them all!! 

 

Thanks for stopping by and hope you have great day!

Back at the easel and WIP to share!

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Work in progress, ‘Phillip’, 12″x16″, mixed media on canvas, 2016

 

What’s that old saying a change is as good as a rest?  Truth be told, I had become a bit bored and disillusioned with painting, so over the last 10 months I decided to take a break and went exploring into the digital and fibre worlds.  Well, I’m happy to say that my painting ‘mojo’ returned this weekend; I picked up the brushes and returned to the easel….it felt good!!!  Like REALLLLY good.

Here are a few more pics of ‘Phillip’, my work in progress. Not finished yet, still a lot more work and light to add on his face, and then to push back his tail and back leg back a bit more…. but over all I’m pleased with the progress and really love the pose.   NOW….just to keep it loose on the finishing touches and not over work things!!

Thanks for stopping by!