End of the Summer Season in Averill

Grey skies, wind and rain, and cool temperatures greeted us as we arrived to take out the docks for the winter and pull the lake water lines (so that the pipes don’t freeze over the winter).  Last week the trees were just beginning to exhibit some color and the water was still warm enough that it wasn’t too unpleasant swimming out to drag in the foot valve for the water line.  We were glad to have this job accomplished as the weather this week continued to turn even colder.

Grey skies anticipate winter

I’m trying to keep the warmth of summer in my mind this week as I paint summer blooms along the driveway.  I’m hoping for some nice indian summer weather!!!

“Summer Blooms” Oil palette knife on canvas 16×20

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Wildflower from the past

I volunteer at the herbarium associated with two local scientific organizations, so I’m always focused on the interesting plants that I see on my walks, thinking about plants that might be worth collecting for the herbarium.  Last week I was asked by the herbarium to make a collection from a population of sunflowers growing along the road north of where I live.

I collected them, pressed them, and keyed them out using the keys from the Flora of North America, the standard now for plant id in the US.  Then I checked the id against the local town flora listing.  What I found was that the plant had been collected from the very same location back in the 1970’s; even more interesting, it was collected by a biologist/botanist who was on my thesis committee when I studied for my masters degree.  That was really special to be collecting from the same population he collected from some 40 years later!  And I had keyed it out to the same species!  Kind of a special thing to happen….

Neighbors on the beach

I had fun this weekend doing a painting of two of our neighbors relaxing on the beach.  Oil/palette knife is always a challenge (especially when using figures in the landscape), so I was pleased that the scene and the figures were pretty representative of what I saw.  I sent an email photo to the friends; they were ecstatic about the painting, so much so that I promised them a print of the painting.

“Neighbors on the Beach” oil palette knife on board – 12×16

I don’t often do prints of my paintings, although I do often photograph them for making greeting cards; however, those photos are hand held and only printed in small sizes.  So I tried my hand at photographing the painting with my camera on a tripod, working for good detail and good color representation.  What I didn’t count on was that these detailed closeups were affected by lens aberrations. The horizon line, straight in the painting, was curved in the photograph.  So, I now have learned how to straighten out lens distortion using Photoshop Elements. You never can predict what you are going to have it learn when you try doing something new!  Lots of effort doing this, but now I’m beginning to see what I need to do as I photograph my paintings (something I want to continue to do to keep a record of what I have been doing).