20 March 2014

Celebrating spring with sunshiny yellows


Mimosas play a big part in my photos for this month's ROY G BIV challenge; they were in bloom earlier this month and (as I mentioned a couple of posts ago) sprigs of mimosa are traditionally given to women on 8 March (La Festa della Donna/International Women's Day). I must confess that I don't really care much for mimosas but, as usual, after spending some time considering them through the camera lens I have come to appreciate them more than before. Above & below are some shots of the "story strips" I created with the various elements, and I found I quite enjoyed the tiny spherical blossoms on their own (especially the shadows they cast)...


The packaging of the bunch I bought also emphasized the shape of the little yellow balls (left image on this first pair below).

A fascinating video of the mimosa leaves closing can be seen here.




Here's the design for the top of the sleeve that slips over the box for "M" (seen on the right of the second pair of images above). The rest of my latest letters for the ALaW project can be seen on the A Letter a Week blog.




I finally started a new oil painting a few weeks ago—my first in a long while. I typically/instinctively use a lot of yellow in my oils, and this one appears to be upholding the tradition. I don't have an updated photo of the latest incarnation of the painting, but here are a couple of shots after the initial session...




And, to finish, here are some snapshots I took on my outing to the weekly plant & flower market in Piazza della Repubblica today... Yellow seemed to be everywhere, as if acknowledging spring's arrival this afternoon (17:57 local time). Happy Spring to everyone in the northern hemisphere!


Something strange has been going on with the colors of the photos in both this entry & the one I just posted on ALaW's website; I will try to update the images if I figure out the issue...


For more yellow-themed photos, please visit the blogs of artists 
Jennifer Coyne Qudeen & Julie Booth.

11 March 2014

Thirty bulbs

There have been three batches of paperwhite bulbs this winterI rather greedily took whatever I could find during various visits to the weekly plant market, for a total of thirty bulbs. Only this past weekend has there been the perfect combination of blossoms, sun & time to create some "story strips" with various components. I had some fun dissecting the seedpods with my X-Acto knife, both lengthwise & crosswise (seen in the detail of the right-hand "page" of the story strips below), as well as the flowers, the buds that never did open, etc.




I also thought I'd share some shots of the second "blooming" which, unlike the first one I shared on the blog, aligned itself with a period of sunshine. (I found the roots from the already-bloomed bulbs to be equally fascinating...)




Other than the fragrance of a few last blooms, this is what remains...

...lots of long stems starting to flop over under their own weight (I was inspired to take this photo because of the way the stems mimicked the pens angling out of the jar)...

...& a random bulb whose initial sprouts never took off despite considerable coaxing (but which I have found to be quite lovely just sitting in the patinaed copper tray)...



Observing the paperwhites has certainly been a happy winter diversion during the past two months. On the note of such pleasures, I wanted to mention a book I have been rereading & thoroughly enjoying: The Passionate Observer. My dear friend Andrea gave me this book ten years ago, and it is among my favorites in terms of the high-quality production & content. The text is a collection of writings by nineteenth-century French entomologist Jean Henri Fabre, and is illustrated with watercolors by Marlene McLoughlin (who knows how to visually bring out the beauty of an insect as well as Monsieur Fabre does through his affectionate & attentive observations of the creatures).



Wishing you equally fulfilling & inspiring pastimes in your spare moments too...

08 March 2014


Happy "Festa della Donna" to all of the wonderful, creative women out there!

In Italy, sprigs of mimosa are given to women in honor of International
Women's Day. Inspired by the mimosa, this week's AlaW* letter is "M"; the
yellow designs were created with multiple "M's"...and the green (for a bit of
contrast to all of that yellow) is made of many "G's".


* More details on ALaW in this post...

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