Monday, October 27, 2014

you never know what's going to happen next

When the weather started getting cold and frost (and snow) threatened, I raced to bring in my houseplants from their vacation spots outside. There's always a bit of panic as I try to give each plant a space. And then I need to make some decisions. What do I do about this plant or that plant that's ailing? Do I bring it inside and try to nurse it through the winter or do I let it go? (My poor citrus plants ended up in the "let it go" category after I fought with scale and then sooty mildew all summer long and did not win the battle). There's also the question of what to do with the plants that aren't technically houseplants, annuals that could overwinter inside. Do I bring them in and crowd my windows? I loved this year's geraniums but my windows were filling up with plants and I knew that without the sunniest spots the geraniums would get leggy and pale and generally unattractive. I wasn't sure what to do. I had read about overwintering geraniums in a dormant state (this video provides a good overview of one technique), but wasn't sure I wanted to go that route -- and again, once I wake them up I need to find spots for them in sunny windows. I started thinking back to painting one of the geranium plants earlier in the summer. The stem I'd cut as a model had rooted in its vase. Remembering this I ran outside and cut stem after stem to bring inside.


I wanted to paint them and I figured that if they rooted I'd have small plants to overwinter instead of trying to worry about finding spots for my large pots.

watercolor palette, geraniums, geranium painting

Fit between other projects this painting took me much longer to finish than usual. Spending less time painting didn't help with my intention to join in with Dana's October Paint Along, either. I had hoped to do more quick paintings and hand lettering, mixing watercolor and ink, but I hadn't done much. Using the reds I'd mixed for the geranium flowers I did manage to paint this quote earlier this month:

painted quote, watercolor quote

I feel pretty inept when it comes to painting words and I wasn't really comfortable posting this to Instagram, but I posted it anyway. I hadn't done much else for the October Paint Along, but also I think it's important to show not only our perfectly finished work, but to share our journey and struggles along the way as well. It is a little scary at times, but looking back at my early blog posts, I am reminded that I was constantly fighting with that fear as I shared my early attempts at painting. If I could do it then...

Something else that this struggle made me realize is that I need much more practice and I could use some instruction and suggestions on technique. I wrote myself a note on a post-it to do some research. Later that day I got a message from a watercolor artist I've connected with online. She had noticed my attempts at painted lettering and she sent me a link to an online class she had taken that had been very helpful. The class starts in January and I'm not sure if I'm going to take it or not, but I was so touched that Kathleen thought to share her experience. I am constantly amazed and delighted by the kindness and generosity that I have found on the internet. And this is such a good reminder of why we should be brave, take chances and put ourselves and our struggles out there.

Oh, L. Frank Baum, you are so right. We never do know what's going to happen next.

watercolor, plants, geraniums, painted quote

It's funny how something as simple as wondering what to do about my geranium plants led me to so many discoveries.

red geraniums

And I'm still enjoying the geranium cuttings in my studio (at least for a little while*).

watercolor, watercolor palette, geraniums

What about you? Have you experienced any surprises or interesting discoveries lately?



* If you are serious about taking cuttings it's best to choose stems without flowers. Also, rooting in water isn't the most efficient system because the roots that are formed in water are not as robust as the roots that are formed when grown in soil and the theory is that the plants will have to re-grow the right kind of roots for soil once they're planted in pots. For me, I prefer rooting in water because I can see that roots really are forming and I don't have to worry about keeping soil at the optimal moisture level for cuttings. The choice is yours and I say use the method that works best for you.

Also, my new geranium painting is available here.

2 comments:

  1. Your paintings just get lovelier and lovelier.
    Thanks for reminding me of that quote. Definitely needed right now!
    Happy 4-year blog anniversary!

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  2. Beautiful and talented Annie, I love your geranium post. I feel quite scared and not confident about posting my works as well sometimes but as you said Anne, creating is a journey, a process and maybe that is why I love it so much. Every day I pass on my way geraniums outside the flats and I am always tempted to take little cutting home with me...You painted them so beautifully. Sending you big, big hugs from North!

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