Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EDM 183 - Draw something shiny

We were at the zoo a while ago, checking out the new botanical and butterfly gardens. At the zoo, the peacocks are not penned in any way, and have free range of the park.  They are quite tame, and quite large.
I was perched on a bench eating a hot dog.  You know the kind of hot dog you get at these places - the ratio of bun to weiner is way skewed.  Usually I pull off the excess bread and throw it out.  But a young girl was trying to take a photo of this magnificent peacock who was strutting around like he owned the place (which he does).  I suggested to her that I try to lure the peacock nearer with a piece of bun (one without relish and mustard on it).  The bird darted forward and snatched that morsel so quickly that she wasn't able to get a shot.  No problem, there's lots of extras bun bits.  So I threw another, and the peacock obliged nicely, coming forward more slowly.  I threw another piece.  The girl clicked madly, exclaiming in delight.  But... now the peacock has figured out the source of the bits and has the entire hot dog in his sights.  He advanced confidently forward and showed no signs of stopping.  He and I were beak to nose before I finally decided I should stand up and move before he grabbed the whole bun right out of my hand.  He followed me!  I shoved the last bit of hot dog in my mouth and threw the last of the bun his way, as I moved in the opposite direction.  He still followed me, until I threw up my empty hands in surrender.  The young girl photographed the whole episode, and as I left,  I heard her excitedly telling her mom about it.  Glad I could help out a budding photographer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Landscapes of Celebration

Today I went to the museum to see the Painter as Printmaker exhibit.  While downtown, I wanted to visit my favorite park in the city.  It is Olympic Plaza where we presented the medals during the 1988 Winter Olympics.  Now it is an established, beautifully landscaped park with a pool and a fountain.  But not today.  Today it has "temporary gardens designed by local artists"  to create "Landscapes of Celebration".  I had my camera, so I can share these with you. 
This one is titled "We're not gophers".  Yes, those are pink, cement prairie dogs heads sticking out of the planter openings.  The other openings are filled with prairie grass.  What used to be filled with gorgeous flowers spilling down the sides is now filled with pink, cement prairie dogs.

This is the bottom of the pool. Usually, on a hot summer day, the pool is full of children running through the fountain. Today... no children.  It's hosting the garden called "Big Sky".  It's a series of circles in various sizes and shades of blue painted on the bottom of the pool.  And did I mention, there are no children here today?

"The Centennial Garden".  Each of the orange posts has the name of a city park printed on it.  I believe that the height of the post corresponds to the size of the park.  Below the posts are wild prairie grasses.  These are under the magnificent arches that proclaim the Olympic virtues of Citius, Altius and Fortius.

This is "Picnic".  Platforms of wooden slats painted a very loud shade of pink and red have been placed over the flower containers with various cutouts of prairie grasses.  There are slanted risers so you can sit and rest your back against them.  There were many people napping on them.  But no flowers.

"Come Play in my Garden" .  Green wooden pine air fresheners, complete with little holes at the tops so you can hang them from your rearview mirror, nestled there among the real trees.  At least there was no cheap piney woods smell permeating the area.
So what do you think?  I think that I would prefer the beautiful plantings that usually appear in this park.  It's not that I don't like these.  I think they're quite creative and imaginative.  I just wish that they didn't replace so much of the annual plantings.  Our growing season is so short here.  I think this would have been a great fall exhibit.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


We're renovating in our house where we have lived for almost 20 years.  We've pulled out the old carpet and put down new hardwood laminate flooring.  It's been a tad stressful, what with all the dust and moving things from one room to another.  When it gets to be too much, I go outside and look at these poppies, and it all gets put into perspective.  They are spectacular (and the new floor is too), with flower heads the size of a dinner plate.  They are almost too heavy to hold their heads up and the one on the right had the most graceful dip and sweep to its stem.  I love the simple, ruffled shapes of the petals.  Many years ago someone told me that to learn to paint one should paint pears because they have the perfect shape.  Once you can paint a pear, you can paint anything.  I would add poppies to that statement as the perfect flower to start painting.  They are simple but elegant.
Watercolor in Moleskine wc sketchbook.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

EDM 278

Draw something that starts with the first letter of your first name.   Nice!  I love to draw fruits and vegetables so of course I had to do lemons and limes.  I love their colors and shapes and this lemon had an odd shape with a high hump.  And the lovely little key limes that reminded me of Mexico...
We went on the Sierra Madre tour near Puerto Vallarta.  We drove in a Unimogg, which is an open-sided jeep type vehicle with a canvas canopy designed for cross-country travel.  And cross-river travel, too.  We arrived at a working cattle ranch and had a nature walk with our guide who told us all about the flora and fauna of the semi-desert area.  As we walked, we were followed by some gaunt, sad-looking long horn cattle that were the lifeblood of this ranch.  The guide gave a vigorous shake to a small tree, and several bright little limes fell down.  We put them in our pockets, and when we got back to the Unimogg we were greeted with icy cold bottles of Sol beer.  Our guide cut up those limes with his pocket knife and we squeezed them into the beer.  In the hot, dusty shade of the trees it was the most refreshing drink I've ever had.  When we turned to go back to the vehicle, we saw that the cattle had followed us and were now standing in a complete circle around us.  It was a little disconcerting at first, but they were just curious. They were free-range cattle and didn't see many people.  We drew quite a crowd.