Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Fleeting Joy

I have gotten so much joy from my flower garden this year. I put in quite a few new plants, and have spent many hours weeding, deadheading, and appreciating the glory of nature.

For this post, I'm sharing some close-ups of individual plants, beginning with several stages of an allium. I think I have two types planted, Allium 'Gigantium' and Allium 'Globemaster,' although I'm not certain  which is which. 
Here you can see the globes beginning to open in the front, and in their glory in the back.

Opening a little more

This is an in-between stage. There must be about a hundred little starry flowers on each globe.
I still find them fascinating when they go to seed.
A closer look.
Here they are in both stages, with yarrow, roses, and catmint.
Here are a few more flowers from the garden.

This is a spiderwort that seeded itself. I think it's pretty cool... white, violet center, and stunning purple stems for each flower. It's a droopy, messy plant, but those stems are worth it!
Tradescantia
I'm not usually crazy for daisy-like flowers, and echinacea (coneflower) doesn't usually curl my toes. But check out the color on this one, "Pow-Wow Berry."
 My poor little "endless summer" hydrangea doesn't like it's spot. It's tiny, and after 3 years, this is the first time I've had blooms. But I adore blue hydrangeas, so I will keep coaxing this one on.
 This is an heirloom hydrangea. My dad dug some up from his mom's yard in Philadelphia, and moved it from house to house as he moved to Delaware, Maryland and PA. I dug some of dad's up, and now it's in RI reminding me of sitting on the back steps catching fireflies in my grandmother's tiny city yard.
with self-seeded Feverfew
Below is Coreopsis 'moonbeam', with snapdragons and Gaura lindheimeri 'Whirling Butterflies.' It's my first year for the gaura, and it hasn't stopped blooming yet. It totally lives up to the name, with flowers flitting in the breeze. I love, love, love it.
 I've enjoyed the garden so much, I just wanted to share. Make sure you take some time to stop and smell the flowers. They are a fleeting joy.

Post about Watercolor Intensive Workshop on my website

Marcia did a great job with wet-on-wet trees.
I have two blogs... one associated with my website, and one here on blogger. It's a mish-mash of work/fun/family/travel/garden stuff, and I've been trying to figure out how to organize it in a way that makes sense.

So... I'm trying to put work related posts on my website blog, and more personal posts here.

In the meantime, I'll try to offer links from one blog to the other.

In June I posted about a watercolor workshop that I taught at RISD ce. To see it, click here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Spring Joy

'Daydream' tulips are yellow on May 1
It's spring at last. Oh, I do love spring.

I've been enthralled with the new bulbs I put in last fall. Check out this one... tulipa 'daydream' in front, an old favorite 'ballerina' behind. On May 1, 'daydream' is yellow. Now, on the 7th, it's orange. It opens in the sunlight and folds up each night. I can't believe how much pleasure I get from a couple of tulips!


They open to the sun. Groundcovers are vinca, ajuga, grape hyacinths and dianthus 'firewitch'


Dwarf Japanese maple on left, dwarf pieris japonica on right


Soon they're tinged with orange

A shade lighter than the ballerina's in the back makes me happy
 I have a little path on the side of the house for my "woodland garden" (lol) Here are some woodland phlox and new ferns.

I spent quite awhile trying to photograph a bee drawn to the muscari.  Not great... but this was the best one. I got to lounge around in the grass on a beautiful day. Who could ask for anything more? 

ENJOY!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mandala making with Ms. Moffatt

Judith tries two versions of her
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day with my friend and fellow artist, Judith Moffatt. During the relaxing and enjoyable afternoon, we colored some of her "meditative mandalas."

Coloring books have been in the news recently. Both The Atlantic and Christian Science magazine had articles this month touting coloring as having the ability to lower stress, aid relaxation, and improve sleep and attention spans.

Mandala is the word for circle in Sanskrit, and this form of art has been around for thousands of years. Tibetan Buddhists create them with colored sand. Carl Jung used coloring mandalas as a calming exercise in his practice.

They have also been shown to be great for older folks.  They are great way to stay engaged and active, with or without company, even if you have mobility issues.

Of course, we know that kids have always loved coloring books.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Whisper Farewell to a Weekend at Whispering Pines KidLit Writer's Retreat


URI's Alton Jones campus is rustic and lovely.
Just home from a weekend at kid lit writer's retreat extraordinaire, Whispering Pines. From the first glimpse of the pines (can you hear them whisper?) to the last view of fog rising off the melting ice, it was a weekend filled with networking, critiques, writing exercises, and inspiration.
     It was the 20th anniversary of the retreat, so it was a special event. There were three editors: Kendra Levin, Sylvie Frank, and Mallory Kass, three agents: John Cusick, Erin Murphy, and Ammi-Joan Paquette, and a surprise panel with kid-lit luminaries like Brian Lies,  Kelly Murphy, Carlyn Beccia, Liz Dubois and Jennifer Thermes. And those were only the illustrators.
top row, L-R: WP co-director and author Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author Kimberly Newton Fusco, author Leslie Connor, author-illustrator Jennifer Thermes, illustrator Kelly Murphy, author Erin Dionne, agent Ammi-Joan Paquette. bottom row, L-R: author illustrator Carlyn Cerniglia Beccia, author-illustrator Liz Goulet Dubois, author Barbara O'Conner, author-illustrator Brian Lies, photo by Pam Vaughan
Add to that amazing food, fun games (KidLit Jeopardy), a crackling fire in the comfy living room...
it was a knock- your-socks-off event.

Me and my roomie, Linda.
Always makes me think of Narnia.
I even got to room with Whispering Pines co-founder, Linda Crotta Brennan.

As always I sketched during the panels and talks, one of the things that has kept me sane all my life.
I'm not that great at likenesses, but sketching keeps me focused.
 Mary Pierce, co-director for the past 4 years.

Jennifer Thermes designed this fantastic logo for the event!

Good-bye to Whispering Pines. (sad) Goodbye to snow. (not a moment too soon)
Thanks to everyone for making it such a memorable event.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

RISD Winter Weekend Watercolor Intensive, 2015


This past weekend, I enjoyed the beautiful views of Narragansett Bay from RISD's Tillinghast Farm in Barrington, RI, while working with students eager to learn more about watercolor.

We spent all day Saturday doing exercises to explore materials, mark- making, color combinations, properties such as staining and granulating, and the interaction of wetness, paper and pigment. 

Bethany worked on a dog portrait.
Michael did several paintings using a big brush technique.
Kate worked on the subtle gradations of color to create this beaded jewelry.

Priyankar took a step away from his usual work as a chemical engineer.
We laid washes, used salt and resists, and went through step by step procedures that watercolor artist's use.

On Sunday, each student came prepared to work on a personal project or two to put their new skills into practice, and we shared and critiqued the days work before heading home.


A big thanks to each and every student for sharing your talents and enthusiasm... teaching this class was a pleasure!
Stephen had a great view as he worked on painting puffins.
Barbara used washes, salt, and resist to complete her paintings
Fred did 3 paintings, including a monochromatic landscape that had great impact.
Richard worked to improve his watercolor skills for the natural science illustration certificate.
Amanda used blues, violets and roses to create wet on wet skies.
Rayne used resit to create wheat colored grasses against a dark blue sky.
Mandy underpainted layered washes to create space, and planned to glaze colors next.
Here is is after Mandy finished glazing the colors on at home.
 
Gloria used Derwent Inktense pencils to add texture to her abstract painting.

Donna dropped colors into her background wash to add interest.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Catching up with 2014!

©illustration by Cheryl Kirk Noll
Book Dummy 2014

2014 is gone! How did that happen?
It was a great year, and here are just a few of the highlights since my last post.

My Book Dummy class was small this past fall, but the creative energy from the stellar students lit up the room.

As the holiday season neared, I was honored to receive printed books from students I've had in other book dummy classes.  What a thrill!

My Mom, Uncle Bud (the birthday boy @ 90) and Aunt Dot


I missed my Uncle Bud's 90th birthday party celebration, but I celebrated with him from afar. Here he is flanked by his two sisters, my mom on the left and Aunt Dot on the right.
Dave and I began the holiday season with a rousing concert at Beneficent Congregational Church with RPM Concert.

Judith Moffatt adding a festive air to the RISD party
Lori, Cheryl and Judith
Among many holiday festivities, I especially enjoyed a party for RISD folks at Wood-Gerry in Providence, where I met fellow instructors Judith Moffatt, Lori Surdat Weinberg and Sandy Valpey Cordts.

Story Spinners and friends (and Willow)
Another holiday highlight was a dinner party with my writer's group, Story Spinners, and an extended group of talented writers that have connections to the group. This year's get-together, complete with goal-setting for the coming year, was particularly meaningful.

I took the train to spend a week visiting my mom for Christmas. (a loooooong ride) Unfortunately, she came down with pneumonia! We celebrated anyway, and the family was very understanding about me preparing Christmas dinner... the first one I've ever done!!!

I got to visit with old friends Lydia and Merrie, went shopping with my sister-in-law, Steph, and tried to take care of my mom with a fraction of the TLC she's shown me over the years. I'm happy to report that the doctor declared her lungs to be clear, and she is feeling much better.

Family gathering at my Mom's with brother, hubby, sister-in-law and nieces.
I feel very blessed that 2014 was filled with loving family, caring friends, talented and hard-working students, gratifying work and much more.

Warm wishes to each of you for a happy, healthy, creative and satisfying year in 2015.