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summer garden

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in homestead, Utah | 7 comments

garden zinnias

I have this fantasy of a lush English cottage garden, overgrown with vines, dripping with blossoms, rich in scent… (There may also be white eyelet and frolicking little girls involved; girls with baskets of harvest and flowers weaved through sunlit tresses.)

garden painting

As it happens, I live in a desert. While I do have little girls (and they do, indeed, frolic), they are more likely to have sand and popsicle in their hair than flowers, and my most consistent crops are puncture-weeds and quackgrass. “Lush” is a luxury.

garden bell peppers

To further inhibit my green thumb, I live against a mountain, where the soil grows boulders and the deer enjoy a harvest banquet as much as I do. So a garden, while inspiring and joyful and immensely satisfying, can also be a lot of work.

garden tomatoes

garden cosmos

garden bean trellis

So it is that, despite a merciless squash bug attack, plenty of bindweed, and an unfortunate mishap with a weed-whacker, I am particularly proud of my garden this year. I won’t get much in the way of butternut, but the tomato vines are taller than I am, the beans are abundant and the herbs — oh, the herbs! — are ambrosial.

garden boxwood basil

garden watermelon paint

There is a tiny sitting area with a comfortable chair and morning shade, where the sun rises like a white-hot muse and sets with a stunning display of salmon and purple ribbons.

garden tomatillos in morning

There is space for a lazy golden or two; a bench that can hold a lemonade pitcher, seat a visitor, or serve as an art table for a two year old; and an endless assortment of blossoms, bees, color, and change all choreographed to inspire.

garden golden puppy

garden color

All in all, it is one of my best resources for creative juice throughout the entire summer.

garden zinnias

(And I don’t even miss the white eyelet; juicy watermelon will more than make up.)

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now playing: oil pastel

Posted by on Aug 9, 2011 in art, drawing, Utah | 1 comment

oil pastel drawing red mountains lavender

A visit to the Park City Arts Festival last weekend left me inspired to play with oil pastel. I haven’t done much with this medium, so we didn’t own a set. I ordered two (yes, two) sticks of Sennelier from Blick last year just to see what they were like, then added a fancy boxed set to my wish list and that was that.

oil pastel pentel box

But yesterday we needed to try them immediately, so I ran to the local art store (which is really a scrapbook store) and picked up this little set of student-grade oil pastels for five bucks because it was the only set they carried.

It was well worth the money. Not having used better quality sticks, I can’t vouch for how great the difference will be, but for the price these provided a lot of experimentation, and I am reasonably pleased with the results. Pleased enough, anyway, to want to move that fancy set up on the wish list…

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