A Life of Varied Endeavors

Tag Archives: Colors

Thank you authors, and the King County Library

Click on images to enlarge

A goal of mine in 2013 has been to begin an art education that I think has been sorely lacking all my life.  I went to a “college preparatory” high school (I don’t know if they still call things that), my father was a banker, and I became a CPA.  “Art” in all it’s forms has not been a large part of my life, except as wishful thinking.  Yes, I’ve dabbled in things and been creative.  I’m not discounting all the wonderful things I’ve made.

But I want to understand concepts, rules, contexts, techniques, materials.  It’s like going back to the start. This year I’ve begun to understand what “visual language” means; I now can tell ultramarine blue from cobalt blue, and sap green from perylene green; I know what “value” means to an artist, rather than a politician; and I have a new use for the concept of “tone” other than “tone of voice”.  I’m sure I’ve learned a thousand new things, and I have a long ways to go.  My art education involves study and practice, with a self-designed meandering, immersive approach. And it’s a little choosy: so far I haven’t caused myself a lot of pain and heartache!

A tremendous amount of help has come from books.  I’ve borrowed dozens from the library.  The pictures above include books I currently have on loan.  I’ve been able to download some electronically (borrow from the library, read in Kindle and other apps).  A few of the above I’ve owned for quite a while; a couple of them are now permanently here, since they were so meaningful I ended up buying them.  Honestly, I try not to buy any of them, for the money and the space, but almost all of the ones I borrow would be worth owning.

I think that writing and publishing books is often a thankless and unprofitable task in the end (or so I’ve sometimes heard from authors), but I want to THANK all the people who do write these books and share their knowledge and expertise.  What you do is invaluable!

And thanks to the King County Library, one of the best in the country.  I paid our property taxes recently, and using the pie chart included with the bill, I estimated that we pay about $99 a year for the library.  That seems to be a tremendous “value” ( :) ) compared to, say, the size of a monthly cell phone bill!

Korean Dogwood colors the grey morning

Korean dogwood in November

Korean dogwood in November


Ah, another favorite tree. This Korean Dogwood (cornus kousa – plain vanilla version) is really enchanting in June with it’s massive coat of large white flowers. By late summer and early fall, those blossoms have turned to very large, gorgeous red berries that provide a feast for the birds, squirrels, and other not so wonderful creatures. And now, in November, the leaves are both brilliant and subtle with all their colors. Love them! A couple of these are iPhone photos again; easy and better than nothing!




Nandina photo, Acrylic Ink, and Peridot – September Little Altars

Embelished Nandina Leaves

Catching up on the Little Altars spots.  For September’s Full Moon this was my contribution:

September. Oh, what another meandering installment!

I was first inspired more than a month ago with Kathy’s prompt of Spot H – what does H mean?  I settled on Harvest.  Started to think of fruits, vegetables, and the recipes I was using for plums, pears, apples, tomatoes. I almost posted in spot H a great recipe for a Rustic Plum Cake, but you wouldn’t have been able to read it, and only Beth would get it anyway!

I thought of an illuminated letter H, but realized that my flourishing skills (as well as picturing skills) would not be adequate.  I was also inspired by a teeny, tiny piece of flotsam on the living room floor.  It was riding on a small, dried, brown maple seed that had been tracked in, and it was a little piece of very shiny, coppery-red tinsel.  It took me SEVERAL days to realize it was from a cat toy!  But in the meantime, I had decided that the color and the shine needed to be part of the (as it turned out, not-to-be) illuminated letter, so I purchased some copper acrylic ink.

Then, with the colors of the tinsel and Harvest in mind, I headed for my photographs.  I found a picture that I took last Fall of nandina leaves on our deck –in my mind a perfect fit.  I fussed over whether it should be a soft, fuzzy print on watercolor paper, or a high quality print.  I settled for high quality on my favorite paper:  Canon Matte Photo Paper.  Then I decided to make it pop a little with the copper acrylic ink that I KNEW I was going to use somehow.  Then I had to buy a couple more colors and use them!.  In the end, the whole thing needed a bit of softening, gussying-up, and dimension, so I added a strand of peridot chips on the bottom.

This is for the gardener, Beth: an embellished photo of nandinas in the Fall!

In process (1 of 1) P1050254

Color out the Grey – Fall 2013

Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (1 of 3)We’ve had a TON of fog this fall.  Grey, windless days, and DRY!  But some of the colors have been amazing.  I have certain plants in my garden that were selected specifically for their fall colors.  My favorite is a disanthus cercidifolius that gets more sun than is usually recommended (it’s normally a shade-loving shrub).  In the middle of the day in high summer, it gets pretty strong sun but late afternoon shade. It’s been arborized to be a single trunk, and its 10 or 12 feet tall.  It grows near the side of a deck, so we see the top very close up.  With large planters built-in to the deck, there are certain times when we get a showcase picture.  This year, grass and a savoy cabbage get this amazing backdrop.
Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (2 of 3)



Just to the right of this display is a nandina (with pretty blossoms at the moment) that wants to take over some space. Looks nice now, but it will get pruned….

If you like fall color, disanthus cercidifolius is a plant you might love!  It blooms (discretely) early in spring, and colors up early in the fall. Thanks, Miller Garden, for the Fall Color class that introduced me to it several years ago!Deck Color and Edibles Fall 2013 (3 of 3)

Beauty in Decline – Part 4


Succulents in early winter - color in a rosette of dead petals

Succulents in early winter – color in rosettes of dead petals

Succulents in winter, Pacific Northwest wet

Succulents in winter, Pacific Northwest wet

A little work in Lightroom helped set the colors off against the background in this first photo.

I’m totally new to Lightroom in the last few months.  It’s terrific! So different from my days with a 35mm camera, a 4×5 view camera, a dark room, storing film in the refrigerator and loading it in black bags to individual canisters, selinium toning, etc. Those were great days, but this is great too. It’s great to get back to something beyond a point-and-shoot-and-you’re-done capability.