Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trying to read...

Last weekend the weather was so perfect that we spent much time out on our back porch reading. And this is what happens every time:
The cats see an available lap and ... well, you can see for yourself!
And of course Winslow has to be part of it all as well.
We wouldn't have it any other way!

Wishing you a beautiful evening!


Monday, May 27, 2013


When you live in a climate like ours where it is warm and humid most of the year and where the winters are mild, bugs of all sorts are a part of daily life. But right now I am fascinated by the variety we are seeing on our plants and flowers and I tried to take some pictures for you (you can click on them to see them bigger, which might help with some of the smaller bugs).
Of course I always love to see ladybugs in our garden taking care of aphids which seem to like certain plants. In the picture below it's hard to see the ladybug as it blends in perfectly with the flowers of the beautiful tropical milkweed.
The reason we planted these plants a couple of years ago was not for the pretty flowers, but to attract the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly. We were so happy to see a few of them chomping down on the leaves this year. As far as we are concerned, they can keep on eating.
Here's a new bug for us (on our fig tree) and I had to do a bit of research, but I found out that they are Kudzu beetles and were first spotted in our area 2009. They eat not only kudzu (which is a good thing as this plant is invading the south), but also legumes, which may be a problem as they multiply. They won't hurt our fig tree or the figs, but will soon fly on to find food elsewhere.
This little guy below I have no idea what it is but I found his colors so pretty, I had to snap a picture.

All the flowers right now are attracting all sorts of bees, wasps and flies. (If you click on the photo above, you can see the bee's perfect yellow and black stripes.)
The yarrow especially is abundant with all kinds of flying creatures.

I love seeing the bees so busy!

I have lots more garden photos which I'll share with you in other posts. Don't want to overwhelm you...

In the meantime, I wish you a beautiful Monday!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Silent is the Night - New Painting

Dear friends, it seems as though life is moving at warp speed right now. It was just Monday and now it's Friday again. How does that happen?!?
My days have been busy and good and I've even spent some time at the easel playing with paint on some canvases that are a little larger than I am used to.
I lost count at how many layers I put on this painting and it just wouldn't come together. I still have this weird notion that after every layer it should look perfect - and that's not the case. Some layers leave it looking rather awful to me, but then - at some point I can't predict - it all comes together.
That's when the painting suddenly feels like it's own entity, separate from me, and I know it's done.
Silent is the Night
16 x 20 inch acrylic painting on canvas
Available here.

I'm submitting this to Paint Party Friday, where you can see lots of fabulous art! 

We are expecting a perfect warm spring weekend and are planning to spend a lot of time outside in our garden. Everything is blooming so beautifully. I'll have to share some more garden photos soon.

Wishing you a wonderfully warm, sunny and relaxed weekend!!


Monday, May 20, 2013

A Day Away

Saturday we spontaneously decided to drive down to St. Augustine to visit the special Picasso exhibit in the Visitors Center.
It was a small but very well done exhibit with many prints and even some ceramics from the collection in Malaga in Spain. Some of the prints I had already seen in the Picasso Museum in my hometown of Münster in Germany, but the ceramics were a total surprise to both Daniel and me. 
Afterwards we took a little walk through the old town of St. Augustine, which is quite pretty.

We ate lunch at a little French bistro, where the chef was from Lyon in France. We both ate eggs benedict with smoked salmon - delicious!

It was a beautiful day!

Back home I've been busy painting and will share new paintings with you soon! I hope you all had a great weekend and wish you a sunny and happy week ahead!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Another Color...

... I can't seem to get enough of is turquoise in all shades and values - as you can see in another long-armed, wide-eyed self-portrait from this morning.
And you can see it in this painting I finished a couple of weeks ago and totally neglected to show you!
It has layers on layers of texture and transparent color washes.
At the very end I splashed some acrylic magenta ink in one spot and that pulled it all together for me. The colors are way more beautiful "in person" than my camera allowed me to capture here.  And the texture - simply yummy!!
Life gets Messy
12 x 24 inch acrylic painting
Available here.
It's a good day today - sunny and warm outside and quite relaxed inside. I'm off to paint some more.

But before that, a big thank you for your visits and comments. That's what I love about blogging - as soon as I start writing about the thoughts swirling around in my head and reading your comments, it all starts to sort itself out and I start feeling better and better. The trick is to keep writing ... and I will!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Color Scheme

As I was getting dressed this morning, something in the sweater I chose seemed familiar. Then it occurred to me - I was wearing the same colors that are showing up in my latest work in progress. It's all happening intuitively. These are the colors I seem to be drawn to at the moment. 
Why? I don't know. Maybe because they are deep and bright at the same time, fresh and sunny? Reminding me of the ocean and nature? Who knows, but I do believe that many things have healing power, even what we wear and the colors we surround ourselves with. So, I'm just going with it...

Sorry for the serious face - it took me many tries to do this self-portrait where my head was actually in the picture. This shot happened by accident and I forgot to smile.
Thanks for all your beautiful comments on my last post. I treasure them all and am still thinking about them. Especially Lorrie struck a chord with her comment on aging. I think that's what I'm experiencing - the acute awareness that time marches on, that we are all getting older, which isn't a bad thing. But it does feel different when you are in your 20s and it seems that most of your life is ahead of you as it does now that I am marching toward 50.
The other thing that is contributing to this, I am sure, is that I am nearing the age my mother was when she passed away. That is having the opposite effect - rather than making me feel old, I see how very young she was. I was barely 20 at the time and from that perspective, she didn't seem that young to me. Now my perspective is very different...
And that brings me to my most recent observation - life is very fluid and how we experience it often depends on the perspective we chose, doesn't it?


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Garden and Thoughts...

Our garden is growing and blooming and giving us much joy right now! This morning I walked around with the camera to snap a few photos for you.
Incredibly fragrant jasmine!
And while we stroll through the garden together, I thought I'd share a little of why I've been so sporadic with my blogging.
The first hydrangea
In the last few months, several people dear to me have become very ill and it has affected me in ways I didn't see coming.
Lots of tomatoes are growing already
And while a couple of them have recovered completely, others are still in the midst of treatments and I still haven't found my equilibrium yet.
A gorgeous begonia we thought would not make it
through the winter is now blooming beautifully!
Luckily, everyone in my family is well and healthy and I am very grateful for that! But still, when dear friends are having trouble, my world feels off.
We started it last year from a single leaf we picked off a plant in town.
Every day I seem to vacillate between wanting to be "out there" and connect with he world or hiding in a cave with a good book, some tea and pastries (of course!) and let the world pass me by for a while.
A few blueberries are growing already.
There are days I have to unplug from it all (e-mail, phone, internet) and just be with myself and my little family here in our nest.
The pomegranate bush is getting ready to flower.
This has reminded me that life is not ever going to stay the same and that everything is changing all the time. I had forgotten how to just go with the flow.
And if you don't go with it and adapt to every day's new normal, you get beat up by life.
And that's what happened to me. And now I am finding back to myself and art and blogging and connecting with my friends and just enjoying my life, which really is very good!
Our fig tree is loaded with hundreds of figs!
I see many good meals in our future...
Throughout this uncertain time I was brought face to face with some things I carry around with me. The need to be in control, for example, when everything is changing around me. And when your friends are experiencing difficult times, you realize really quickly how none of that is in your control.
The huge oleander is stunning!
And that is hard for me. Just "being there" is extremely difficult - I like to know I'm doing something useful. Do you know what I mean?
The other day we were without internet for a couple of days. We thought it was a modem problem, but it turns out Daniel was painting in his office and unplugged the cable, which was in the closet and he thought was a cable to nowhere. It made us laugh when we realized what happened.
Beautiful yarrow!
But it also gave us a couple of days without internet connection which was really good for me. While I was knitting, I started to listen to the audio version of "Practicing the Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, which was exactly what I needed.
Even the mexican petunias are blooming already.
They'll keep flowering into November. 
To come back to the present moment. Into my body. Observing my thoughts and emotions and allowing them to pass through me. When I get off-center, I am everywhere but in the present moment. But I've been practicing and it's been very good for me!
That and cooking and knitting. Cooking is so wonderful to me because it completely engages all of my senses and there is no way not to be fully present. Plus, there's good food at the end, which is definitely pleasant!
And knitting seems to organize and calm my mind. I don't knit creatively, I knit patterns and that's what I need to sort things out in my mind. It works like a charm every time!
This mini-break from the internet did me so much good that I think I am going start doing that occasionally. I see some people signing off for the weekends and I'm beginning to think that might be a good idea. It allows me time to read and paint and just be with Daniel.
My art has suffered as well during this time, but I've found my way back to painting again. And it feels pretty good. I'm not quite fully immersed yet, but I figure that'll come with time.
Gorgeous milkweed flowers.
Patience seems to be required these days - with myself and everything - and I'm not very good at patience, in case you hadn't noticed...
What do you do to find back to yourself after your world has been thrown off-kilter? Does it take you long or are you one of those people who roll up their sleeves and just keep going? I wish I were a little more like that...

In any case, now you know why blogging has been so sporadic for me. I'm hoping it'll be back full-force again as I so enjoyed sharing with you. We'll see...

In the meantime, thank you so much for your visits and your patience!