Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Last week, I took my paint box out into Goochland County where I found this lovely meadow - a study of many colors of green. The light lit up some trees while others, blocked from the sun, appeared almost black. The big tree on the right was more awkardly shaped than I painted it. It's position in the light made the left side very yellow-green and the right side very dark. It's fun to paint en plein air. The air smells so fresh and clean and the sky, the color of cerulean blue paint, doesn't seem real. Because there are no buildings in a scene like this, the sky stretches out before you in a wide sweep and clouds cross your line of sight quickly as the wind blows them along. The challenge is to paint them before they change shape.

Monday, June 12, 2006


My garden is very small but brings me much joy as I can see it from where I sit to watch TV, eat, and read. Here are some pictures of it during various times of the year.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

At a Creek off the Rappahannock

A friend has a cottage overlooking a creek that branches off the Rappahannock River. Here are some pictures I took of the views. Mountain laurel grows along the path leading down to the water. Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


The Virginia Center for Architecture sponsored a walk on Franklin Street in the lower Fan area last Saturday afternoon. Chris Novelli, an architectural historian from the Center shown in the middle picture, walked us up Franklin Street from Monroe Park, westward to the Jeb Stuart statue at Stuart Circle. Here are some pictures of a few of the turn of the century mansions and some architectural elements I photographed. Knowing what to look for as you observe is so helpful. Click on any picture to enlage.

The wrought and cast iron lamps and gates are elegant. Some roofs were tiled and some were mansard style. I particularly like the concrete planter with ivy and violas.

The Art Nouveau stained glass transom is above a door in the Lewis Ginter house. The frieze was especially beautiful. Most houses had capitals and I was surprised to learn that some of them are metal. These pictures give an idea of the size of these mansions previously owned by wealthy tobacco people, stock brokers, and other professionals. Most of them now house offices of VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University.) Some are sandstone, some brick, some brownstone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Painting is the hardest hobby I have ever undertaken. Although I think it is a learnable skill for almost anyone, I find it difficult to control the brush, hard to mix an exact color I am looking for, and at times totally frustrating. Some people come to painting with giftedness; I did not. However, when it all goes right, and the result is visually pleasing, there is no greater reward.

Martin Johnson Heade painted this Magnolia Grandiflora with a blue drape background. I reproduced it with a deep burgundy background for my daughter.

I have begun to paint small 5" x 7" paintings which really look quite nice framed.
One of the very first paintings I ever did was of a MacIntosh apple and it is now hanging in my kitchen. I recently painted a small one similar to it, which I have included in this gallery, though it's not quite finished. It is 5" x 7" as well and looks much better framed.
I found this hidden pond out in Goochland County before I realized I was on private property. It was early spring and the Canadian geese were out of sight except one serenely floating along. I find the cool colors of this picture calming. Size 8 x 10.


I named this picture "Pretty Pansy" because it was!

Friday, May 12, 2006


When I saw in the newspaper the invitation to the West Avenue Improvement Association Garden Tour, I went. The little sunflower plaque, just visible behind the fence in the rose picture, invited walkers into those gardens open for a few hours on a bright and sunny afternoon in late April. One of my favorite gardens showcased a collection of sun faces.

Other walkers and I wandered up and down several cobblestone alleys in the Fan District between Park Avenue and West Franklin, just west of the VCU campus. The 40 open gardens provided a wealth of garden ideas.

From the front, the early 1900's houses are stately brick townhomes with front porches and tall windows. From the rear, the gardens express the individuality of the owners with container gardens, flowers and plants, water features, and pavings. Some of the gardens are formal while others are more casual. They all are places to relax with friends, ice tea, and good food. Actually, some parties were in progress later in the day.

Although the tour is free, the association stationed a representative at the base of one of the alleys with an opportunity for walkers to donate to the association's funding. The lemonade and cookies available to the visitors on this warm afternoon was a nice touch.

My calendar is marked for this tour next year. If you love the Fan, walking, and beautiful gardens, don't miss it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Each year I wait for these peonies to bloom in my neighborhood. Aren't they beautiful? The picture showing the full blown flower, the partially open one, and the bud is my favorite even though it's not great photography. I'll have to try again another day for better pictures.

While we are talking about peonies, how do you say PEONY? According to the online dictionary, it should be said like this: P ah nee. The full accent is on the first syllabyl. Don't put equal emphasis on that last syllabyl as many people in the south tend to do and say P oh NEE.