Spring flowers

I returned from a week in San Francisco on Wednesday night to find a foot of snow on the ground in Boston. I can’t say I was sorry to be away for the two snowstorms we’ve had in a week! Bruce kindly stayed home and made sure no more of our trees fell around or on our house.

While I work on a couple of sketches of San Francisco, which I will post next week, here are a few poppies to remind us that spring is really, actually, eventually coming!


The orchids which are sold at supermarkets now are so amazing. They are economical, the blossoms last a month at least, and they bring such cheer to gray winter days. Here’s a spray of orchids I purchased and painted several years ago. I chose the green background to offset the pink flowers.

Paperwhites in Bloom

Last week I posted a painting of paperwhites with the green stems emerging from the bulbs. Here they are in full bloom. I used watercolors, artist’s crayons, pencil and pen for a variety of textures and effects.

To cheer ourselves up, we now have strings of those little white lights on our indoor plants, set on a timer to come on at five when its gets dark.

Cheering Ourselves Up

We will lose daylight savings time next Sunday, always a low point in the year especially for those of us in the eastern part of the time zone. Dark at 5:00 — gah!!!

So it’s important to find little ways to prevent S.A.D.D., like stringing white lights on indoor plants (we put a timer on ours so they are on from 5-10:30), and forcing some bulbs, like these paperwhites. These are 90% watercolor, but I added a little artists’ crayon at the bottom for texture.


The center of interest in a painting — in this case, the watering can — is often painted with crisp edges, and the background (flowers) have a soft focus. This simulates the way human eye sees. In watercolor, hard edges are painted on dry paper and soft edges on wet paper.


People ask me how I find time to paint. I try to make it a priority, but sometimes I don’t have time, or am uninspired, or (as this week) what I do paint isn’t good enough to share with you. Fortunately, I have older paintings I can use when that happens. This one was painted a year ago of the rhododendrons in our front yard.


I am so grateful to share my sketches with you, because it keeps me painting! On Saturday I took a walk to find something to draw. Our neighbors have a wonderful stand of irises so I sat down on their grass and sketched them. The paint was added when I got home.


Here in New England the weather likes to play games with us. Yesterday was a high of 84, and we had Easter dinner on our back porch. Tomorrow, the high will be 52. But the brave tulips are coming up, so we know that spring will finally arrive for good!

Pink Tulips

Tulips grown from bulbs are always cheerful, especially with the cold and gray weather we’ve been having in New England this March. Below you see the painting in process on my art table, which used to be our dining room.

Happy Spring!

This morning at 6:30 a.m. spring officially arrived. Since there’s still snow on the ground in Boston, it’s hard to believe, but the long days are so welcome.

As I made this little sketch, I was thinking about complementary colors and negative shapes. Complementary colors are opposite on the color wheel, like yellow and purple, so a purple background makes these daffodils more dramatic. One trick to drawing accurately is to shift your attention between the positive shapes — the flowers and foliage – and the negative shapes around them.

A Wonderful Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of my double knee replacement. For nine years before my surgery, I had increasing trouble with my knees, including five arthroscopic surgeries, and I was headed toward a cane and a much more sedentary lifestyle. Now I’m 100% pain free, in my 30th year of taking yoga classes, and Bruce says he has to hurry to keep up to me when we walk together.

I am incredibly indebted to my supportive family and friends who got me through the months before and after my surgery. But most of all I am so grateful for my wonderful husband Bruce who dealt with not only my pre-operative limitations and post-operative healing, but also with my “wackiness” as I suffered emotional ups and downs especially pre-surgery.

I am deeply indebted to orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Phillips, New England Baptist Hospital, Lasell Rehab, and Pro Sports Physical Therapy. We are so blessed to have access to modern medicine!

Red Geraniums

I found this in an old sketchbook, which had lots of crap and this one painting worth saving. It takes a lot of failure to produce a little success!
What I really like about this is the slightly messy approach — a little pen mixed in, and overlapping shapes. Notice the pale pink leaves in the upper middle — paint dropped into a previously wetted shape. The magic of watercolor!