Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Color of Spring

I'm back to drawing leaves.....a photo of Fall leaves touched with frost inspired the sketch to the left, but the soft colors are also reflected in the new leaves of Spring. Our typical fickle Spring has brought on a chorus of fresh leaves. It's amazing how many different shades of green exist, but leaves can add more than one color to our outdoor world. Flowers aren't the only vehicles that add additional hues to the Spring palette. Our walnut trees are usually the last to leaf out and the orchard develops a hazy, rusty, burnt umber canopy as the new coppery leaves emerge. Then there's the Tri-Color Beech with its bronze red leaves fringed with white hairs! And the wonderful Cornus Hedgerow Gold bringing flecks of golden yellow, white and green leaves into the picture. Rosa rubrifolia is one of my favorite foliage plants and seems to sprout up in the best places around the garden, showing off blue-grey leaves, followed by tiny pink flowers in June. We can't forget the new leaves of Spiraea Goldflame or Limemound, and the rich reds of Berberis.
I haven't posted in over a month, partly because the garden and classes occupied more time than I realized! We also traveled North, spending a few days in Seattle and then participating in the 'Tour de Lopez' bike event on Lopez Island in the San Juans. I took it easy....only doing 21 miles! Sunny weather but only 52 degrees made for an invigorating ride. Back home I started my Colored Pencil Workshop here at Cloudrest that continues every Wednesday this month. After some warm up exercises with the pencils, my students started out by doing a leaf study.....selecting from a collection of dried Fall leaves that exhibit interesting colors and veining patterns. We'll be moving on to sky studies and more complex scenes over the next few weeks.
Hints of Spring have also brought out interest in renewal.... leading to three new garden design clients. Deb, Izzy, and Adriana are all in various stages of getting plans drawn up. It's always exciting to cooperatively work on design solutions. I'm also hoping to plant out my seedlings in the vegetable garden soon, but the cool nights and frequent downpours have slowed things up a bit. The fountain has been cleaned ( and for some reason, our resident frogs survived the ordeal!)...the grass has been cut.....it's time for Summer!