Bloom in Spokane, Garden Tour

Spokane in Bloom Garden Tour 2019 is the most recent art show I participated, put on by the Inland Empire Gardeners Club of Spokane. It took place on June 15, 2019 from 10am-5pm and included 9 beautiful gardens on the south side of Spokane. South Hill has historic homes with gorgeous landscaping and gardens guaranteed to amaze you. Being an aspiring gardener myself, helped to make this show seem like a real attractive option to me.

Sam & Jane Joseph's home
Sam & Jane Joseph’s home

I was lucky to be scheduled to exhibit my art at the “Explore Seek Discover Garden” which is the creation of Sam & Jane Joseph at 1910 S Upper Terrace Rd, 99203. They were absolutely fantastic hosts!

 

The greatest part about this was the wonderful group of people who attended the event. They were a relaxed crowd, looking at all the wonderful plants and settings in each of the gardens. This event is well setup allowing attending crowds the freedom to take their time and experience each garden area. People were relaxed as they strolled around the gardens. It was fun to visit with them. We were all busy admiring our surroundings. There were shady areas to setup our booths making it a thoroughly wonderful show to take part in.

Bloom “ing” Sales

Original art pieces that sold along with prints at this show did seem to be garden related.

Spokane in Bloom is a show I highly recommend. The location was so beautiful, and the crowd so very friendly. I look forward to repeat showing at this event as many times as possible in the future.

Cosmos Blossoms

Cosmos bloom providing a great splash of color in our garden. Graceful lavender petals on slim stems. Being a type of wildflower, they are easy to plant and care for, love to be “dead-headed” and producing volumes of blossoms all season long.  More information about these “daisy-like” flowers is abundant on the internet, check it out. I typically look up any new flower or plant on the internet before I sow any seeds, looking for what to do and what not to do. These seeds were given to me by a gardner friend of mine and now I see why she likes them so much. It is almost like a new painting every day I walk down to the garden and see these graceful creatures.

cosmos blossoms 19
cosmos blossoms 19

Soft Lavender Petals

A lavender Cosmos patch borders around the strawberries this year. After seeing the graceful color display this year, I intend to plant a larger variety of colors next year.

cosmos blossoms 20
cosmos blossoms 20

Everyone Loves Them

The bees, butterflies, and dragonflies in our garden are constant visitors to the cosmos flowers. Similarly, the blossoms seem to attract artists too! I hover close, getting a multitude of photographs to paint from. The cosmos are such a delicate and shapely inspiration to me. There will definitely be watercolors of these beauties in the near future on this blog. I made a hand embroidered tablecloth earlier that reflects the attraction felt to these colorful flowers.

Goldfinch Bird Visits Garden

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

A beautiful American Goldfinch yellow bird has been visiting in and around our garden this year. He seems to enjoy the flowers & berries in the garden. I have been unable to get a picture of him, because every time I would notice him I wouldn’t have my camera with me. Darn! That little phone camera is absolutely useless in getting a good enough shot of a faraway flying munchkin, only producing a blurry spec in the sky to see. More detail is needed to be able to identify what a new bird specie for me, but I had my trusty real camera Nikon with a decent lens when he showed up yesterday. I got this and used this picture to find him in our reference book and we do have beautiful birds here.

No Longer a Mystery Bird

Peter and I have, “A Field Guide to the BIRDS of North America” by Michael Vanner. This great reference, lets us discover what we are looking at. Following is the  info on page 252 quoted. Get this book if you like to look at birds.

American Goldfinch
(Cardulelis Tristis)

Common across most of North America with the exception of the far north, the American Goldfinch is a familiar visitor to bird feeders with its striking plumage. It is gregarious and will often mix with other birds in large feeding flocks. It breeds relatively late in the year, building a small tightly woven cup nest of grass and plant fibers high in a bush or tree. This holds 3-6 plain blue-white eggs which are incubated by the female for 2 weeks. The young can fend for themselves 12-17 days later and juvenile birds are brownish with dark wings and tail. It eats mainly seeds, but will also eat berries and insects. It shows a particular fondness for thistles, which it eats and uses to line its nest.

Thistle absolutely loves our place, and we are constantly at-war with those voracious thorns. I am never sure if we are just loosing a battle or if we have already lost the war. Weeds, weeds, weeds. Thistle is a never tiring foe. Now, I fully understand why he loves it here so much.

Broccoli Treats

Garden Treats Are Here

broccoli spears in strainer
broccoli spears in strainer

Broccoli treats greet us from the garden daily now. I just can’t get over how much better home grown vegetables and fruit taste, you would not believe how sweet the flavor is. Now, store bought broccoli is a somewhat bitter second place loser to me. We planted one packet of seed and all of them came up, so our broccoli patch is surprisingly bigger than planned.

 

broccoli patch
broccoli patch

Broccoli treats are not the only vegetable we have. The first vegetable was the asparagus which peeked their heads out while the snow was still melting. It is a crop we started years ago and it finally is producing quite well. We love it and next year I am planning to figure out how it is pickle it. Though we appreciate the treat of asparagus spears, we actually got a little tired of them before it went into seed production.

asparagus going to seed
asparagus going to seed

Nature Treat Shows

Gardens are amazing nature shows. Our garden was planted 2-3 weeks late due to tractor mechanical issues. For awhile we were worried that we would not have much produce this year, but everything is growing real fast in the warm days we have had lately with temperatures of 80-90 degree daytimes with 40-50 nights. Again it seems like a wonderful carousel of delicious garden treats as everything matures at it’s own pace.

I weed and water for my daily (almost) meditation. This physical effort is well worth it, for healthy food that tastes so phenomenally good.

two pea pods
two pea pods

The peas seem ready to begin picking tomorrow, so we will be busy shucking pods while we watch tv at night. Beans and zucchini are almost ready and lets not forget the corn tasseling or grapes forming on the vines. The most candy-like treats are all the berries and fruits which are gearing up to be our next garden treat. There are many more items. Blackberry, blueberry, choke-cherry, raspberry, elderberry, cucumbers, tomatoes…. followed by apple, and pears later.

blackberry hedge, apples
blackberry hedge, apples

 

 

Retirement Woelk Style

RetirementPete06

What does retirement Woelk style, look like? This World’s Best, trophy holding, Woelk just retired…. completing 31 years at Kaiser Aluminum Trentwood, Spokane Washington plant. Friday was his last workday. He has 4 weeks of vacation before his “real” retirement starts. So, he is actually “on vacation” so, this is really his first week of vacation. Doesn’t look like vacation to me, does it look like vacation to you? Hmmmmm.

RetirementPete05 RetirementPete04

In all honesty, I am glad he is getting the tractor fixed because we need it to finish getting the garden in, but honestly, this is NOT how I picture  retirement or vacation. Not even close.

RetirementPete03 RetirementPete02

This Machine Has Needed This

Every nook and cranny of the machine has been inspected, cleaned, greased and put back together and now he is taking apart the front-end to find the noise it made. Hopefully, it will stay fixed all season after this thorough go through. This is a Kubota we bought from Ann and Dan when they moved to Arkansas. I pray for safety and protection for him every morning. We own stock in Band Aid and Tylenol now.

RetirementPete04 RetirementPete02 RetirementPete01

Retiring Woelk Style isn’t Normal

Who Cares? I’ve never really cared much about normal anyhow. I’m Just As Guilty As Pete…I am working in the garden this week. Got the strawberry patch transplanted and spaced so they are not overcrowded. Hoping to be able to replenish the strawberry jam, strawberry syrup and strawberry juice this year. Un Huh! I will put up the before and after pictures of that in later posts.

Will get on the berry bushes and fruit tree bases clearing next so that they stay healthy and should be ready for when the tractor is back together and ready to plow and disc the rest of the garden so we can seed. We already have the other starts in the house waiting to go in.

But, I already had steamed asparagus for breakfast this morning. Yummm.  Our roses are budding, fruit trees are blossoming,  iris are getting ready to do their thing. Love the warm weather and the hummingbirds, life is great in the fast lane here in Elk. Never thought this ski bum would say that, did ya? Neener neener neener!

Hummingbirds video

Pete got a high def camera for his 30 years at Kaiser so we have been fiddling with it filming the hummingbirds. It is so fun! The previous post had a link to the video but when I tested it last night it didn’t see to work so I thought I’d put it up again today with a smaller file so we wouldn’t have to wait so long for it.

You know, old folks fiddling with technology. Please let me know if you have any problems with this. Thanks!

The Hummingbird Kids Are Back

7 Hummingbirds J1516
7 Hummingbirds J1516. 22″w x 30″h watercolor on 300lb. watercolor paper. Seven Hummingbirds surrounding a tree covered with Honeysuckle blossoms.
7 Hummingbirds J1516

Hummingbirds Arrive

The kids are back, noisy and darting around outside making a hummingbird heaven. Hence, witness the bright colored flashes of neon birds everywhere. We have already started to spend inordinate amounts of time outside watching them. Because, our deck is a buzzing hummingbird haven. How could this not be? Honestly, we are surrounded by forest and natural honeysuckle vines everywhere.

Spring is wonderful.

These birds are just amazing fliers, including abilities like; jet propulsion frontwards, backwards, sideways. They are also quite communicative, listen to them chirping, buzzing like in Start Wars, and scolding each other. Flitting in and out in a second. We do this hummingbird event all summer long, every year, check out other posts here. It almost seems like they need anger management sometimes.

Hum Bird YouTube Video

Here are some amazing clips put together already:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/dIgyLDe2CCk” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Okay, three quesses at what subject will be next for this old artist, now that the children are back home. LOL.

Crocus Plein Air

The previous post was photographs of the first crocus buds appearing 4.14.2019, following these are the first plein air paintings in a new sketchbook of these purple & white buds. A new 50 page 7″ x 5″ 130lb watercolor sketchbook inspires sketching to begin. 

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I have not done this kind of on-the-spot painting in a while and the blossoms seem a little rough. Next, here are some shots of the bright blossoms today. Check out the sleepy, little fuzzy guy in the blossom. Bzzzzz said the bee. He really is lethargic in the cool spring air but already covered with pollen. 

Aren’t the colors vibrant?

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crocus blossom with a bee
Crocus with a bee

Happy Easter…. from me to you, with crocus plein air sketches in the yard today.

Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 01
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02
Crocus Blossom sketch paint 02

First sketch seems a bit mushy but the second one is getting to be a style I could really come to love. Let me know what you think….

Purple Blossoms

crocus 11 purple blossomsFirst Purple Blossoms Appear

The first bright purple blossoms peek their heads out for me, as crocus planted last year along the driveway come up. All that work from the previous year rewards us with spring flowers, that I love. They are such welcome splashes of color after a period of cool grays. Pete and I took some pictures to allow me to come back in to the studio and paint them, instead of getting frosty outside. After all, the temperatures are not balmy yet.

crocus 01  purple blossoms crocus 06  purple blossomsI look up the name crocus and find that they are a part of the iris family. Really? Who would have thought that? Thank goodness for the ease of using Wikipedia, soon I will forget how to turn the pages of a dictionary.

Focus

Here is a deep artistic concept, check out these two photographs. They are a perfect example showing how a different “depth-of-field” or “focus” totally changes an image. It almost seems as though these two pictures were taken at different places, but they were not. Only the focal point changed. Clearly, where we choose to focus our attention is really important. Think about that all throughout your life.

Where do you focus your attention?

crocus 10  purple blossoms crocus 09  purple blossoms

The fleeting beauty of the crocus in early spring is a short term glance at the wonder of nature. Finding that crocus is part of the iris family kind of explains why I was drawn to them in the store last year. Since the first time I saw them, iris have been a favorite of mine. Their sturdiness, prolific qualities, combined with their limitless supply of color and combinations never cease to amaze me. If they are one of those bright flowers that give a wonderful perfume, that is even better.

I will do plein air sketches from the blossoms and post them with pictures as things progress, in the next few days. In fact, my focus artistically is leaning heavy to plein air….. I confess.

 

Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above

Plein Air Landscape

This is a view of the Riverfront Clock Tower from a bridge railing in Riverfront park. Looking from above the Washington Street viaduct with a constant flow of cars entering downtown underneath seemed almost surreal. This specific view is a cozy little oasis (off-the-beaten-path) with it’s own cool bench. Virtually, a perfect place to set up water, brushes and paint to your hearts content with minimal interference from foot traffic. Initially, I was worried there would be no interesting views to paint at Riverfront park but I was proven so very wrong. I only had to open my eyes, to see great nature views, or people enjoying the nature views.

clock tower reference photo
above the clock tower

I am a member of the Spokane Watercolor Society, and we have a group of plein air painters meeting once a month on the last Friday of the month at high noon to paint together. If you’d like to join us feel free to contact us and let us know at our Facebook page Plein Air and Urban Sketching – Members of SWS. It is a monthly artist event that I look forward to every month. Fellow artists sharing ideas and methods and challenging each other to continue to improve.

It is simply a lot of fun!

I took some time to sketch the clock tower carefully before heading down to the riverside level. Subsequently, trying another view, nearer where the rest of the group was painting at next.

clock tower above sketch
clock tower sketch

Working from memories and pictures taken at the scene, I finished this painting back at the studio on 4/5/2019.

Riverfront Clock Tower from Above
9″w x 12″h watercolor. Riverfront Park’s Clock Tower from Above D2219