Sunday, May 22, 2011

Portland's Japanese Garden

Last week I finally had a sunny, relatively warm day, so I visited Portland's wonderful Japanese Garden to try my hand at sketching. I think the garden is at it's best in Spring when the fresh new foliage emerges....with the various shades of green and bronze accenting the forms and textures of the plants. There is almost a glow radiating out from the landscape! Peaceful wanderings.....

Around the pond
Dancing branches play in the breeze....

Flower petals litter the moss covered ground .....
Nature's confetti!

Waterfalls create floating bubbles....
The pond is happy again with new Koi!

A smooth wooden bench beckens
to sit and gaze...
Perhaps another sketch is needed?

Mind and soul are at rest
Now that Spring is FINALLY here....
Bring on Summer!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A reluctant Spring

Spring is arriving one day at a time here in Oregon. It has been slow coming....definitely green and lush, but also wet and cool! When Mt Hood appears it is shimmering under a deep white blanket from another freshly laid snowfall. Unfortunately our grapevines have yet to break bud, but at least the newly installed deer fencing has kept them outside of our 12 far.

It's been a busy time with quite a few new landscape clients wanting extended consults that include a site visit and then two sketches...a concept plan and a perspective drawing. I really enjoy both the immediacy of the process and the fact that the client is more involved. One of my clients who I referred to in a January entry finally had a window for the 7 large screening trees to be installed. There is more work to be done but at least they have a bit of privacy now from the huge new house that was built just feet from their property line. The people at 'Big Trees Today' did a great job of installing these 20 ft. tall Leylandi Cypress! A new pergola still needs to be built in the narrower section directly behind the house to give them the privacy they deserve.

A few of the other sketches I've done have yet to be implemented...mainly due to the weather! It's interesting to see if the drawings will actually match the final result....something I obviously hope to achieve.

I've also been teaching my Landscape Illustration course this term, and trying to get started on the garden cleanup. The blossoms and Spring flowers, although often damp from drizzle, have seemed brighter than usual this year. Daffodils, usually spent by May, are still lighting up the beds, and the Hellebores are in their glory.

Forget-Me-Nots dot the beds and bloom in the lower garden, which will soon be joined by two dozen tomato plants, and rows of newly emerging lettuce, kale, and beans. At our elevation most of the active growing doesn't start until June, when the soil finally starts to warm up. For now, fresh new tree leaves are starting to unfurl, often competing with the numerous types of lichen and moss that attach themselves to many of the branches.

When a sunny, dry day does appear we try to get out on our bikes to view the fabulous countryside extending below our hill. Our area is doted with farms and wineries so the visual rewards are many.

So here's to SPRING.... I pray that it will bring much needed hope and new life to so many people who have suffered this year due to the extremes of Mother Nature and our recent volatile weather. I hope it arrives soon, so that Summer can bath us in warm, dry days!