Monday, August 26, 2013

touch me not, forget me not

In an earlier post I identified this as birdsfoot trefoil, but after spending time with my wildflower guides I realize it is a Touch-me-not a/k/a/ Jewelweed, Wild Balsam, Lady's Eardrops, Wild Lady's Slipper. (Which is wild--the lady or the slipper?)

It has an orange sister plant that shares the same nicknames. Their seedpods pop at the lightest touch, hence the name touch-me-not, but they are also used as a remedy for skin rashes, such as poison ivy (which perhaps should be named touch-me-not).

Forget-me-nots have been blooming all summer. According to my 1926 Nature Library wildflower guide they are also known as Mouse-ear, Scorpion Grass and Love Me. "...popular legend tells how a lover, when trying to gather some of these blossoms for his sweetheart, fell into a deep pool, and threw a bunch on the bank, calling out as he sank forever from her sight, 'Forget me not.'"

I also mis-identified this flower in earlier posts, calling it a wild raspberry.

Apparently blackberries look like raspberries before they turn into blackberries.

Birds (and maybe bears, and occasionally me) eat the berries, bees nestle in the flowers and spiders travel on their leaves.

For the while (?) I will be working/living/traveling away from the internet as much as possible. I'll check in when I can. Enjoy the late summer days and evenings.

xo, Jen

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Catskill wildflowers

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
                      - Tennessee Williams

Sunday, August 18, 2013

more greens

I thought that after two green paintings I'd move on, but
I feel this urgency, like I must discover every shade of green through my paints.

Corn field green. Dappled sunlight green. Haiku green.
The changing of green to another color--
dying grass, autumn leaves.

 Edges and spaces--
 the light between pine needles, a smudge of wild rose.

Next I will focus yellows and blues--maybe that will help me understand green.

butter, buttercream, buttercup yellow, sunflower yellow, delphinium blue...

My studio is in a warehouse with about 200 other studios. One of the artists (a cartoonist) stopped by, and seeing the paintings across the room asked if I was making color charts. I had to laugh. Maybe I am. Charting all the greens of nature. Trying to, anyway.

Friday, August 16, 2013

around here

Aji gets actively involved when new flowers come into the house.

She's always happy to pose with them.

Masa can take them or leave them,

but she does enjoy the catnip.

It's been mild and pleasant the last couple days. 
I'd like to skip right to autumn.
Except then I'd miss out on late-summer flowers.
    I'm re-reading Consider This, Senora and thinking about Mexico. I've never really been to Mexico--a week at a resort in Puerto Vallerta barely counts. Anyway, Calvin Trillin, here: makes me want to eat my way through Oaxaca. Have you ever been there?
Enjoy your weekend! I'm going out for Mexican food tonight.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

all the greens

 I've been painting here and there for a few months now. Flowers, seascapes, a few are okay, nothing I love. Then I decided to paint green (you know how much I love that color) and finally, a painting that feels right. Though I don't think I'll ever capture all the greens.

Friday, August 9, 2013

roadside, queen anne's lace

Yes, I was smitten with wildflowers last weekend. I think I've told this before, but when I was 4 or 5 I brought home a handful of Queen Anne's Lace I'd gathered by the side of our lane, only to be told they were weeds. It took me a long time to get past that, but now I bask in their gentle beauty. What I didn't realize, until recently, is how crazy interesting they are pre and post flower. And how beautiful an abundance of them growing wild looks, all that lacy white framed in green.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Out walking last weekend, 

I reminded myself to stop and look, really look.

I saw lichen that reminded me of coral,

 small cave-like openings in slabs of bluestone 
(who lives in there?)

so many shapes and shades of green

patterns in the water
(and a frog--can you see her?)

I was delirious with wildflowers

and then I read crazy-wonderful memoir
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness by Alexandra Fuller 

my mind wandering (in great company)
 through Kenya, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, and Zambia...

More about it here and here.