Monday, July 14, 2014

Back to work.......

.. or just back to normal.  My husband has been on holidays the last couple of weeks, so we've taken the opportunity to drive around and take lots of pictures from our favourite spots.  We're lucky enough to live almost across the road from the Beaver Creek Conservation Area, and just down the road from Cranberry Flats, so it's easy to drop in and check out what's blooming - and right now, there's lots blooming! 

Aren't these pretty?  These are Gaillardia and right now, there are several large patches blooming.

This is a mixture happily growing together on a sandy slope. There were also lots of butterflies, but none cooperated for a photo op!  Here you can see wild Bergamot,  Prairie Coneflowers (Ratibida) and wild Flax.

More Bergamot - I love stitching these.

This little guy is Scarlet Gaura, or Gaura coccinea. You can easily miss this charming little plant. The newer flowers are light pink and they turn quite red-scarlet as they mature. The blossoms open a few at a time and are almost white, but within a few hours, they turn this gorgeous red.

 This is my stitched version of Liatris punctata, or Dotted Blazingstar.  It's just starting to appear but soon the fields will be full of it. 

And this is a stitched lily growing in my garden! 

Out at Blackstrap - just down from the Retreat is this "housing development" that really begged to be photographed.  The grass in the ditch was almost taller than I was! 

This is a stitched version of the path down to the lookout at Cranberry Flats.  This is from last autumn. I especially like this piece.

Are these not the cutest little things?? They're Eriogonum flavum, or Yellow Umbrellaplant and are growing happily on the banks of the river.  We hadn't seen these before, so naturally took a dozen or more pictures. Excess is good, especially when it's botanical excess!

My husband Adrian took this one. The riverbank, in one spot, is riddled with enormous rocks that are covered in lichen. They're stunning, as this one clearly shows.

And finally, we hit paydirt when it comes to wild flowers!  We found a large patch of wild Lilies. It was off the regular path and we very nearly missed them, but fortunately Adrian picked up a haze of orange and investigated.  Once we found this patch, we found quite a few more scattered throughout the area. I'm soooo very glad these are in a protected area and not at the mercy of well-meaning gardeners with shovels!  These plants don't like to be disturbed and when they are, they usually don't survive, so PLEASE - leave them where they grow so we can all enjoy their beauty.

Well, that's just a tiny sample of the pictures we took over the past couple of weeks. Most of what you see above will be stitched, so I'll post those when they are completed.  I'm already thinking about my next show/sale, which will be September 20th at Solar Gardens.  If you haven't visited Solar Gardens yet, you really must go and have a look at this place. You won't believe your eyes - I promise!!! It's rather like being in the tropics in the middle of the Canadian prairie! It's run by two very ambitious, not to mention talented guys who grow masses and masses of succulents, have a tasting room for all kinds of yummy goodies, and now have a restaurant called the Firesticks Cafe where you can stuff yourself on the most delicious pizza anywhere. This show/sale promises to be really great - lots of very well known artists will be in attendance, so watch for the poster. It's only one day so you won't want to miss it.  I'm planning on having my new cards there (Art in a Card) and also some rather large stitched pieces.  I've been experimenting with getting out of the 5" x 7" and 8" x 10" rut and going BIG - how big remains to be seen, but so far an looking at around the 24"-30" range.

Ok - back to work.  Enjoy this fabulous weather!!! .............................. donna

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Home from Moose Jaw

....and this is what followed us back to S'toon. From the time we left Moose Jaw to the time we opened our door at home, this was on our tail. That's my husband hurrying back to the car after taking several pictures. This was the sky in all four directions and just when we thought we were driving out of it, it caught up to us again. Driving through the valley by Blackstrap, it rained so hard that the wipers couldn't keep up. Very scary at times-you couldn't see the road at all and didn't dare stop in case the car behind you couldn't see you! I really hope Regina and Davidson are still there!!!

But over and above the storm, I was at Anna Hergert's Open Studio on Friday and Saturday as an invited artist. There were a great many people through her home and studio those two days - I think the final count was around the 200 mark. It was a terrific opportunity for me to get my artwork to that part of the province. And I saw so many people I knew: the women who were in my workshop in Moose Jaw in March, lots and lots from the S'toon Quilt Guild, not to mention that I met so many new people - a special hi to Jennifer (she's Jenny Penny Poppy on her blog - have a peek - she does fabulous work) and Cathy from Davidson (we'll figure something out for the near future). And the food - OMG the cakes were unbelievable and sooooo plentiful. Anna had baked for something like 3 days and the table was piled high with with goodies. I literally ate my way through both days - cream cakes. oh dear.... So thank you so very much for all your wonderful comments about my work. It's great to hear that people like what I do.  And a huge thank you to Anna for inviting me down. I hope you get at least a couple of days to relax before you head off to your next destination.

My set-up at Anna's.

This is a shot of the rest area just off the highway by the Lake - looked like an ocean shot! I can't wait to stitch this one!

Speaking of new work, I've finally developed a card. Most artists these days seem to have some kind of card, be it a postcard or a type of greeting card. So, I've come up with this:

I'm calling these "Art in a Card" and they consist of a blank card with a small artwork inside at about 3" x 5" that could easily be framed.  I took a couple of these to Anna's Open Studio to see what people thought of them and the reaction was totally favourable. So - I'll be producing these for my next show/sale, which will be in September. I would do commissions of these also and could insert whatever picture you'd prefer inside. The ones that I'll make will have lots of flower pictures, birds, wildflowers - that sort of thing. But I could just as easily stitch something that you would like. I'd sell the Iris at left for around the $50 mark-they would likely range from around $30 to $50, depending on the complexity of the picture. I thought these would be a good special-type card that could be purchased for a special person.

The new work I took to Anna's is as follows: (most of my work is in the $200-$350 range for a 5"x7" to 8"x10" framed).

This is Top of the Lake and was taken from basically the same location as the stormy picture above. This is the first time I've ever stitched water and am very pleased with the result.

  This is The Fairy's Foxtails and was taken last year on a photo outing with my pal Judy. We happened on a field off a road and I couldn't begin to tell you how we got there, but the scene was magical, right out of a story book. In this field was dock-not just brown dock, but red, pink, beautiful (you might have gathered that I'm a dock fan). Down the middle of the field was a path that had been used to drive on at one time, but was now completely filled in with these lovely pink foxtails. They were a color that I've never seen - bright pink and green. I've only stitched two of these and this one is the larger at 8"x8" for the artwork, 12"x12" framed.   
And finally, speaking of  Dock, is this one:

 This is called What's Up Rumex occidentalis? Ok - sorry 'bout that! After days and days at the sewing machine, I was finally finished and was struggling with names for my pieces. I enlisted my long-suffering husband to help me decide on names and after many false starts, we decided on the above. I realize this is kinda dumb, but at that point, so were we. You know what I mean.....kind of punchy and glad to be finished, and with a brain of jello. So - there is it. For those of you not versed in botanical Latin, rumex occidentalis is the botanical name for Dock. And this was the REAL color of this plant. I nearly drove into the ditch when I saw it lounging in a slough right beside the road. Must have something to do with all that rain!!! 
One final point.  In my last post I showed a picture of three small shacks on a hill and asked for name suggestions. This piece is now called Sentinels - thank you to Jo Ferguson for the suggestion. It was perfect.

I'm going to take the next couple of weeks off  blogging, stitching, and working in general and will be out with my husband taking pictures of wonderful things to stitch. I should have lots to show you after that time (promise to post, hopefully every Friday). Have a great couple of weeks and I'll see you all later......donna