Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Last Weekend in July

We are rejoicing over a good week of rain and now the expected overwhelming plant growth can get going.

Our Bee Balm is past its prime but the butterflies and hummingbirds still visit often. This one is right up against the porch so we can watch them feed so close. I plan on putting more Bee Balm all over the yard next Spring, since it is doing so well here.

This monster Stargazer Lily got a late start but is not letting that hold it back. Does it seem to have a few more petals than normal?

Altho we did not plant a 'butterfly garden' on purpose, the word is out and we have tons, really tons of butterflies all the time. This is so great. We loves us some wildlife.

Speaking of which, here are some of the 30 or so frogs and our Gang of Five Goldfish.
Look out Mr. Froggie, here they come again!

In yesterday's comments I promised (someone?) to address why I am painting this way. What way?

Well, back in 2006 I took a break from quilting and for two months was painting abstractly and loving it. I felt loose and free and could just play with design and color and experiment to my heart's content. At the time I may have suggested that I would never go back to realism, or some such foolishness. And now here I am painting realistically. So what gives?

Hmm. To explain this is a long story but suffice it to say that I was afraid if I ever painted realistically I would tighten up and be miserable, as I was when I was in art school. After a career in quilting, making non traditional quilts in non traditional ways, I felt that I had overcome so much of that tightness that it should also make it easier to loosen up my painting.

I suppose that was true to some extent.

So beginning again with painting, I knew I would have to struggle at first to regain my chops and thanks to the painting a day movement, it was clear that this was the way to do it.

OK? So I am painting realistically because I can. But really, I love that I can paint realistically without all that old tightness and fear and that turns out to be the best reason in the world.


  1. Melody, it's lovely to hear about your garden again. I confess I was wondering.
    And I think it's great that you're painting with such joy. It's so wonderful to see someone tackle the scary stuff, and win! I love the color and texture you're exploring and what follows is a mild wish, not a critique. So here goes: I wish the lighting was more varied. Color shifts can be so subtle and varied under different lighting conditions. Thinking of Monet and his explorations here, I guess!

  2. My first stargazer made its appearance yesterday. I think the butterflies are having a good year, too. I am seeing them everywhere... except when the bumblebees chase them away.

    Your garden looks great!

  3. Maybe someday you'll feel compelled to make realistic quilts. How nutty would that be?!

  4. Liz in IN12:00 PM

    I freely admit to being an art philistine. I like recognizing what I'm looking at, and connect far more to landscapes & still lifes than to seemingly-random 'wild abandon' swoops of colour. A chacun son gout.

    Oh, and re: Saturday's post. Tips head quizzically. "'Fair'? What is this 'fair' of which the comments have spoken?" ;)

  5. Dear Melody,

    Exactly! You paint realistically because you can. Unfortunately, the art world today is filled with those who can't.

    Somehow the idea of actually being able to reproduce an image without electronic help has been determined to be unnecessary. My husband has a background in the arts and one of his best friends teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He has gotten increasingly disappointed by the amount of students who cannot create original work, let alone make a fair reproduction of an image.

    It's all about digital media and the manipulation of images created by other people - usually those who can draw or paint as you do.

    I love abstraction and expressionism, but I do not believe you can be successful at either unless you have that "realism" thing down pat.


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