Creating gardens for pollinators and art

Fall is here with so many things to do.

My memories of Summer days spent digging in the dirt, planting seeds and watching my garden come to life are fading.  I loved all the bumblebees, swallowtails, pearl crescents, frittilaries, clearwing hummingbird moths, hummingbirds and wasps in varieties I hadn’t seen before tumble, crawl and fly around the garden.

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

A garden for pollinators, an artist and other wild visitors

Now my days are spent cutting back the Lobelia cardinalis flower stalks, finishing up the art that began in my sketchbook and cleaning up the studio and gardens for the Countryside Artisans Fall Studio Tour visitors.

I am enchanted by the seasonal changes, and love capturing some of it in my sketchbooks and then in that art hanging on the walls.

Hopefully all the many tasks associated with the upcoming Fall Studio Tour will still allow me to watch the Monarch Butterflies and other visitors to my garden.   Right now I am living in the moment, sunsets, fall color, and the good life as an artist in the agricultural reserve.


Winter views of Sugarloaf and life

A reluctant writer, I hardly know when it is appropriate to share what’s going on as a mom, woman and an artist.  So this blog hardly ever gets updated.

Most days I am trying to capture the winter trees out my kitchen window, the changing colors of the mountain, and learning how to live with a son who is an Iraq veteran with PTSD.  Those sketches can take forever to finish, as the weather transforms my winter landscape.

winterTreeSugarloaf72dpiIt feels as if, it is the first time I have drawn this mountain view, every time I put pencil to paper.  Seasonal changes dramatically alter colors and forms, and that forces me to slow down and look.  Someday I will capture that feeling of being in this lively landscape.

Right now I am drawing this view as a meditative experience.  Getting lost in the purples and blue greys in winter trees, has a way of pulling my mind away from worrying about my Iraq Veteran son.  Grateful to have these compositional and drawing problems to solve, and wishing I could as easily help him heal his war wounds.

winter tree sketch72dpi


Monarda didyma and Caterpillars

This doggone art challenge has gone on for too long, caterpillars keep showing up on the plant.

This doggone art challenge has gone on for too long, caterpillars keep showing up on the plant.

I have monitored my patch of Monarda didyma all summer.  Looking for caterpillars of the Hermit Sphinx Moth that I followed last summer, that haven’t shown up in the light of day this summer.  I found a caterpillar hanging on a leaf in July only to have a Preying Mantis eat it the next day.  IT was such a disappointment because I have always gotten a kick out of Preying M. and now I know it is a predator on the caterpillars that I am searching for.  So I relocated a couple to my deep field, and then found a Wheel bug laying in wait, looked up the life history of that insect only to find it also is a predator on caterpillars.  So when they finally show up and I find them chomping away it lights me up.   Now I have this piece of art that has a couple dif. species on it and I want to be done with this piece.

Hoping my art eye can manage to see the art without thinking too much about the specifics of the caterpillars and cocoons hanging on.  Someday I will capture this interaction with all the subtleties that go on during metamorphosis.  IT is a tough world out there for a caterpillar, I have a whole new appreciation every time I see a moth or butterfly, when I think of all the risks they face.