painting a day -- day 2 and the glories of spring

This has been a wonderful day. There's just something about a warm, sunny day after a string of chilly rainy ones that makes everything seem different. Better. Beautiful and hopeful and full of potential. Especially in spring. I went for a walk with the boys this morning and leaving and entering the garden was so magical. The cotoneaster is blooming and filled with red admiral butterflies. The branches lean over your head as you pass through the archway in or out of the garden.

Not a great picture, but I wanted to give you an idea of how many butterflies there were. I can see two (out of focus, I know) in that shot, but there are many, many more.

They're beautiful.

Even that one with its damaged wing and even the dull undersides of the wings.

I love that little blue circle.

Needless to say, being bombarded by a rabble (or swarm or flight... but rabble's my favorite of the collective nouns for butterflies) of butterflies is enough to make anyone feel just a bit lighter. I noticed many things blooming in the yard when I returned from my walk and had to bring out my camera to capture some of it. The clematis that was just buds the other day has just begun to open:

And the strawberries are flowering:

And the wild columbine:

I have more photos. Actually, when I came inside to download them there were 142. But I'll save them for another day (or I'll never get to the painting part of this post!).

I went back out with some scissors and cut some flowers for an arrangement.

I plan to do some sketching with these as a model. Oh how many models I'll have all spring and summer and fall...

But although I wanted to paint flowers today, I wanted to paint from my imagination. I was inspired by the way that Dana paints flowers. Her flowers are bright and colorful and happy and free. Look here and here to see what I mean. So, in my imagination I pictured a jadeite vase. Hobnail. I don't really know if there is such a thing, but I imagined I found one in a thrift shop, just as I found my favorite milk glass vases. It was fun to mix the paint to make just the right color for the vase. In the interest of speed, I did not paint a background first, just started with the vase and then added the flowers. Next the background and finally the stems. I went and did other things while I let each section dry a bit. Here's where the painting is now:

One of my goals for this month of painting is not to spend forever tinkering with a painting. I may or may not leave this one where it is. Even if I don't love it, I am delighted with the painting I made with some of my extra paint. I grabbed one of my painted background canvases and slapped some paint onto it. I worked quickly and without much thought, just enjoying the flow of the brushes and paint. I was inspired by this page torn from an Anthropologie catalog:

As well as by the abstracts that Dana does so well and by the artist Ashley Goldberg, too.

Makes me happy.

What doesn't make me happy is how messy and dirty my studio is at the moment.

That shows you some of the chaos. But there are umpteen other projects on other parts of the floor and various surfaces. Yeah, I'm not exactly a neat person. The worst part, though, is that I've had my supplies and my sheet/dropcloth set out for so long that there's dust and other little bits and pieces on it (it's the one room I have not been vacuuming). Set a wet brush down on it and when you go to paint... ewww dust or hair or thread in your paint. I know, gross. So, although I might want to keep painting right now, I think I should get out the vacuum.


  1. Love your painting Anne. So sweet and simple. And thanks for sharing the beauty you captured today! oh, and i love that work by Claire Desjardins. Thank you for referencing my work Anne. It means a lot. xo Get ready for day three...oh, and i just discovered you had a follow by email sign up :)

  2. What a great post, Anne!! Oy, that cotoneaster and the butterflies are so beautiful, and I had shivers of delight when I looked at your photos of other flowers. Your painting is bold and modern looking and I enjoy the story you made up about finding the vase, as well as that strong diagonal line of the table edge. And I LOVE the colors you used!
    Thanks for inspiring me to take up painting again! Love Dana's blog, too.

  3. Anne, your photos are absolutely amazing - so vibrant. And you painting is just gorgeous!
    P.s. I've just launched an auction of my own creations on my blog raising funds for the dental surgery of one of my strays. I'd be delighted if you want to stop by or know anyone who might be interested.

  4. I also love your photos, especially the columbine. What a fine eye you have!

  5. I too, should vacuum. Love the pictures you posted.

  6. Thanks so much everyone! It's been fun!


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