I wasn’t sure if spring would ever arrive this year. We’ve had weather ranging from sleet and snow and ice, to upper 70s and 80s two days later. Very unpredictable.
But I love the spring greens this time of year. It only lasts a few weeks before the heavy greens roll in, but that bright yellow-green just perks me up. Didn’t we used to have a crayon called “spring green?”
I have been driving around just gathering photos for future reference. One day, I even had my husband drive the little country roads while I took pictures. Have to capture the scenery while it’s here.
However, the beauty just in my own yard has been refreshing also. A cacophony of whites and yellows, blues and purples. The really exciting thing about the spring flowers is that they’re so fugitive. They don’t last for long and I know that I won’t see them for another year. And in most cases, they are pretty much maintenance-free.
Now the real work begins. Planting the garden, preparing flower beds, trimming the lane, picking up winter debris. It’s always something here on the farm. But I love it.
Although spring officially began a little over a week ago, the season has been sneaking up on us for a while. The grass is greening with that lovely shade of spring green. The trees are sporting a haze of pinky-red buds or some with more greenish buds.
The daffodils and crocuses are out. The yard if full of spring beauties, a tiny white flower with a pink stripe. It looks like snow in some areas. And the forsythias in the yard and out by the road where I had my son transplant shoots over fifteen years ago. I think it adds a little colorful surprise for passersby.
I’ve been so busy with other activities but have been able to sneak out to catch a painting or two. These are some of my favorite recent ones. One depicts our house sitting on the little hill with the morning sunlight catching the fronts of the buildings. The middle building behind the big house is my studio.
The second larger painting is of our North field looking west. You can see the farm rows from last year’s crops. The white dogwood, some redbud, and the various spring colors on the big trees. Such a pretty time of year.
My solo show at the Harrison County Arts gallery opened yesterday. This is in downtown Corydon, Indiana, the first state capitol of Indiana. It’s a quaint little town and is about thirty miles west of Louisville, Kentucky. It gets a lot of visitors and many people work in the big city.
Harrison County Arts is a co-op of a group of volunteers who manage and present quality art and crafts of regional artists.
I dropped off my work the week before and the volunteers did the rest. They did a lovely job hanging the exhibit although the space is limited. My show is the last exhibit at this gallery. They’re moving across the street to another space which is several times larger.
This exhibit features a few paintings from my Breaking Bread series. The remainder are mainly focused on Southern Indiana scenes and locations. There are a variety of oils and acrylics with a few prints in a rack.
Despite being a chilly Friday night during a pandemic, the turnout was very decent. Many guests had interesting questions. As an artist, I always have something to spout on about my work. I didn’t see anyone’s eyes glazing over. And everyone wore masks!
The show runs through February 26th and there are pieces in all price ranges. The location is at 121 E Chestnut Street, Corydon IN 47112. Their hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 12 – 4, Friday 12 – 6, and Saturday 10 – 2.
Posted onMay 16, 2021|Comments Off on Cicadas and more, spring 2021
All is not art. Spring on the ninety acres has arrived and so has the work.
The past several weeks have been devoted to getting my big show up and running. Framing and delivering, shipping, some marketing, some public events. Exciting but exhausting.
Now, to tackle my three page list of things to do this spring. Yes, I still make extensive lists for almost everything. It just relieves my brain from having to remember everything.
We’ve had beautiful, rain-free weather this past week. A little on the chilly side but make hay, etc. etc. Weeding the flowerbeds. Seems as if we are beset by bedstraw this year. Or as I like one of its other common names sticky willie. Grrrrrrrrrrr. I hate this stuff.
Bringing out all my pots, mixing large batches of soil – potting soil, manure, peat. Planting about thirty of them for sun, shade, large, small. Oh, my back but I just divide the job up to smaller pieces.
Then a big push on to get the main garden planted. It’s a serious garden of about 25 x 40 feet. The sweet corn was planted a few weeks ago and is making a good showing. The peas finally came up in the spring garden (a whole different garden area), and we have been eating fresh lettuce for several weeks. The asparagus patch is nearly done for the year.
Yesterday meant planting tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant, herbs, more corn, and lots of flowers for cutting. It’s not very interesting at this point but in a few weeks, it should really start growing.
So, let’s talk about cicadas. It’s the widely touted seventeen year emergence. And they’re HERE! At least emerging. They do not have mouths or stingers so they’re harmless to handle. They feel kinda creepy as they crawl on you with their little claws.
I remember the last time they were here, the air was a cacophony of a high pitched sound, like something you might hear on an old sci-fi movie. I guess we’ll deal with it or stay inside. And remember, the birds and especially our chickens love these things and go after them like candy.
We had a little over an inch of snow last night. The sight that greeted us this morning was so pretty. Every branch and plant was covered. Actually, it seems as if we haven’t had a heavy snow of several inches for a few years. Even though winter has been relatively mild – so far, I am already sick of the season. News exhaustion, tired of restrictions, worried about COVID. Missing my family.
The past few weeks since the holiday crush, I have been concentrating on finishing up my Breaking Bread series of paintings. These are middling to large, 24 x 30 paintings expressing my thoughts and observations of people eating together, or not as the case may be. A few are humorous but most are thought-provoking. Scenes we see every day or used to at least. But they are also mentally or emotionally draining.
I decided to take a little respite this week and paint something lighter. Think spring. Back to some small watercolors with pen and ink, even colored pencil added. Some florals and landscapes. Promises of things to come in a few months.
The first one that I tackled was Spring Daffodils. This is a landscape of the naturalized daffodils in my yard. Sometimes they come up as early as mid-February but usually they’re not out in full force until March and April. It’s just such a peaceful scene with spring colors.
Another scene is of some of the purple irises out by the woodshed. I know that I planted these shortly after we moved here many years ago but can’t remember the name. It doesn’t really matter. I have many varieties of irises from light purple to deep purple, peach and white, and some more that I’ve forgotten. It’s always a pleasant surprise to see them explode in color in some out of the way place.
I’ll take another week “off” to paint some of these spring scenes. They have lightened my mood and inspired me during these dismal times. Then I’ll get back to the more serious series. I have four more paintings to complete before the big show in May and June.
I hope you have some activity to inspire you during these difficult times, too. Take care of yourselves.
I’ve been taking a break for the past several weeks from working on my current series of paintings Intimate Spaces: Breaking Bread. Although I tend to be pretty disciplined when I’m working on a big project, sometimes I need a respite. Recently I’ve returned to some old themes, particularly western scenes and my travels. Culling through a couple of decades’ worth of old photos, scenes that I may have skipped previously, now draw me in. It doesn’t always have to be the entire picture, just a small portion of it. And I always feel free to change things around.
Atrium at Longwood Gardens, du Pont estate, Pennsylvania. Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20, impressionistic style, Kit Miracle
Here are a couple of my most recent paintings from my travels. The first one is of the Atrium at Longwood Gardens on the du Pont estate in Pennsylvania. Although I visited in March of that year, it was still beautiful. The gardens under glass were particularly impressive. Touted as the most beautiful garden in America, I couldn’t disagree.
Garden Cherub, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16. Pittsburgh, PA Kit Miracle
The second painting is from a different trip to Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh to be exact. One of our favorite places to visit is The Strip District, a multi-block area of food shops and restaurants, fish markets and collectibles. This particular shop had some very enticing items in the front of the shop, but as I walked through the store to the back, they had a garden shop with rusty gates and ironwork, birdbaths and outdoor trellises. I loved this little garden cherub. Now I wish I had purchased him but at least I could capture him in paint.
Both of these paintings are painted on red-toned canvases which peeks through, adding another layer of liveliness to the scenes.
In case you are interested, these are both available in my Etsy shop KitMiracleArt. AND….I’m having a 20% off Labor Day sale through Monday. Free shipping, too.
Bridge over the Blue River. We crossed the river several times and followed it quite a way.
We opted for a change of scenery this week and went for a drive in the country, mostly in our own county. I love the spring greens, you know, that yellow-green color in your box of Crayolas. It doesn’t last for long so you have to catch it while you can. The redbuds were out adding a bright touch of color but the dogwoods were a little behind. It was an in and out spring day with sun and clouds. Towards the end of the afternoon, rain showers moved in.
If you’re not familiar with Southern Indiana, I should tell you that it’s quite hilly and beautiful. Our county borders the Ohio River and has several other rivers. Especially notable are the Blue River and the Little Blue River. They get their names from the color of the water which is a bluey-green. They’re also very popular with kayakers and canoeists in warmer weather. It was a perfect spring day for a picnic beside the river.
So taking 62 west out of Corydon, we just followed our noses. This is what we saw. It was refreshing to get out of the house and turn our thoughts to more pleasant things. I’m sure I’ll be back soon for some painting adventures.
The road follows along the river for many miles. It is lined with redbuds this time of year. The dogwoods were just coming out.
Blue River with bluebells. The hole in that sycamore goes all the way through.
Looking north from the canoe ramp. I love the overhanging sycamores. They’re just as striking in the autumn with the fall colors.
Blue River looking south from the canoe ramp.
Blue River Chapel right on the Blue River.
This is Artists’ Point overlooking the Ohio River. Not exactly on the way to anywhere, it’s worth the trip to find it. I have actually seen eagles riding the thermals up from the river right in front of me. That is Kentucky across the river.
One of my favorite views is of the front yard and the old woodshed. The white patches are swaths of spring beauties, a delicate tiny white flower with faint pink stripes. The forsythia are past but the lilies of the valley are coming in as are the day lilies.
After an unseasonably warm early spring with temperatures in the 70s and even up to 80, the flowers and other signs of spring are nearly overwhelming. I love spring!
This old house had an abundance of established trees and flowers when we moved here but we have added many ourselves over the years. Plus, I’m a great one for digging things up and moving them. I’ve also shared many plants over the years with friends and family. Did I mention how much I love spring?
Come take a little walk around the yard with me to see what is happening.
The east field is a study in various shades of green. The yellow flowers are actually weeds but they’re pretty this time of year.
Crabapple from a start from another tree in the yard. Before is a white magnolia (not in bloom yet) with shiny leaves.
Columbine. No work at all except that they spread everywhere. Such a beautiful, delicate flower.
These bluebells are so easy to grow and require no maintenance at all. They totally die back to come up again next year. I love the way they start out as pink and then the blossoms turn a beautiful sky blue. I’ve moved them all over the yard. The little white flowers are spring beauties, along with grape hyacinths, and some spent daffodils.
The lilacs were here when we bought the place. You can smell their perfume all across the yard.
Not a flower but the martin nest built on the porch of my studio. Yes, we have a martin house but the bluebirds live there. The martins usually build on top of their previous nest but it finally fell down last year. It took them about two weeks of bringing mud, weeds and moss to make this new home.
Narcissus take over after the daffodils are done.
Violets are wildflowers that some people think are weeds. But I love their beauty and variety of colors from blues to deep purples to variegated to cream.
The redbud is a delicate under-story tree which grows from central Indiana and south, throughout the Midwest and southern mountains. The flowers are directly on the branches. The heart-shaped leaves don’t come out until later. They pair well with dogwoods which are just starting to come out and the woods are loaded with them.
I love tulips but they’re difficult to grow around here. The deer think they’re candy and they often don’t make it to bloom.
We call this a tulip tree around here but it really is a variety of magnolia. It’s a new addition to the yard so we were surprised to see it bloom this year.
Azaleas. This color pairs great with the orangey/peach azalea next to it.
Snake River, Idaho, II, watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle
Tomorrow (Veteran’s Day) is the final day of my landscape painting class. We have been using watercolor with pen and ink added for details. It’s been a great class but a little challenging for me. I usually like to include something man-made in a landscape painting to give it that human touch, as well as to provide scale.
Most of the paintings we’ve done this class have been pure landscapes without any notion of a human in sight.
Tomorrow’s painting will involve a subject with a water feature. Looking through some of my thousand of photographs, I decided to add a water feature since this is pretty common to landscape paintings.
Here are two simple compositions of the Snake River in the southeast area of Idaho. The paintings are created with about five or six colors, but certainly less than eight.
Palisades Reservoir, Snake River, Idaho. Watercolor, pen and ink, Kit Miracle
One shows the reservoir lake as the viewer is looking into the sun. The other shows the Snake River with the sun at the back of the artist. Both are relatively simple landscapes but should be challenging for a class of beginners to try.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!