How to get blue/purple hydrangea blooms!

Spring Hydrangeas!

Hydrangeas. We have them planted everywhere, and this time of year they are absolutely stunning! We don’t have the newer types that bloom all summer. Ours have a “season” of gorgeous, stunning blooms. They seem to be especially beautiful at dusk, it’s almost as if they light up!

Continue reading “How to get blue/purple hydrangea blooms!”

The Bud Stop… San Francisco… GORGEOUS flowers!


Aren’t these flowers just gorgeous? This photo was taken years ago while Fred and I were in San Francisco, CA. This is THE BUD STOP… wildly beautiful flowers! They’re located on Union Street right near Fillmore… Speaking of Fillmore Street… best place that we ate lunch… THE GROVE FILLMORE, I had done a previous post on this place, but it’s worth mentioning again!

Catch you back here tomorrow!


O N E   Y E A R   A G O…  Majestic Crape Myrtle’s in Charleston, SC

T W O   Y E A R S   A G O… Foods that should never cross your lips – Part II

A “bouquet” of flowers in the most unexpected place… that’s Monhegan for ya!

Monhegan, Maine
Monhegan, Maine

Walking around Monhegan you run across the most unexpected beautiful sights… butterflies everywhere, gorgeous sunsets, happy flowers, the sea and a bouquet every now and then appearing in a spot you just wouldn’t think to see one. It puts a smile on my face every single time.

Catch you back here tomorrow!

My post from one year ago…  Featured Artist… Stuart Fullerton!

My post from two years ago…  I accept this award… hee hee… and I pass it on!

Dogwood tree’s and Easter… Happy Easter!



I thought this photo was fitting for today… it’s the dogwood tree in our front yard, here’s a little blip I found interesting (from a past post):

Many Christians consider the flowering dogwood’s showy cross-like inflorescences (“flowers”) to be religious symbols, due to their four white petal-like bracts bearing red dots on their tips; these trees are often in flower during the springtime Easter season in the Northern Hemisphere. Christian tradition claims the dogwood as the tree used to make the cross on which Jesus was crucified, and further, that dogwoods grew taller and broader until the 1st Century AD, making them suitable for use as crosses. In response to Jesus’s death on one, God permanently stunted the growth of the dogwood species to prevent them ever again being used for the same purpose. Today, very few dogwood specimens would provide sufficient wood to manufacture a cross by the primitive means of the 1st Century AD.

single dogwood

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Head on down to the Ferry Building!

Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA

I took this photo years ago at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, CA. Have you been there? If you’re in San Fran, I highly suggest it. It’s a feast for your eyes! I’m not kidding, so many wonderful things, fresh food, drink, you name it! Here is a list of VENDORS. I’m not sure if the flower place is still there or not, it was magical! I could picture us living there, going to the Ferry Building each weekend for fresh flowers and produce… well, except for the $$PRICE$$ of living in San Francisco… oh well, I’m happy with my life here in Charleston, and the fact that Trader Joe’s, EarthFare and Whole Foods are close by!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Shirley Novak!

ShirleyNovak PurePaletteZinnias SG

NOTE: Yep, it’s me again, making changes to the way this blog looks…  

Well now that we’ve had a tease of warm weather I’m loving all these bright happy flower paintings! Not that we go lacking for sunshine in the winter, but these are just so happy! I love Shirley’s use of color, how each compliments the next so nicely. Bright, happy and they feel as if they’re moving… dancing perhaps!

Shirley shows her work here in Charleston, SC at the Sylvan Gallery, so if you’re in the area be sure to stop by and check it out, otherwise her website is fantastic!

Read a blip about Shirley from her website, (I LOVE the Calvin Coolidge quote below, ha ha), what a fabulous write up… I love this!

Dscn0350.jpg (726764 bytes)Sometimes I think of myself as Shirley Poppy Seed.  I love to harvest poppy seed, their seed pods are like a salt shaker and one of my childhood joys was shaking poppy seed out of their pods.  I am still a child in this way, last year I harvested about three pounds of Shirley Poppy seeds, that is approximately three million seeds.  I love to share my seeds with fellow gardeners.  As I am writing this it is late May and my first Shirley Poppies are bursting into bloom.  The Iceland Poppies start their bloom in mid April and bloom best in cooler weather, but will bloom from April thru November.  Deadheading is the necessary element in continuing their bloom for so many months.I guess I have always been “garden mad” as the British say.  As a child I loved to go to the nursery to buy plants and then bring them home, and create a flower bed and then water it to death.  So painting flowers is just natural to my being.  Color, intense and delicate color harmony, has always moved me emotionally.  My love of flowers and love of color are the passions that drove me to be come a painter.  Like Claude Monet said  ” I  perhaps owe it to flowers for having become a painter”.  Since childhood the voice has been loud and clear telling me I must paint.a flock of poppies.jpg (109074 bytes)I painted regularly thru most of my youth and young adulthood, and less often during my daughter Natalie’s childhood.  In the early 1990’s I could finally focus on my need to paint.  I took several painting workshops and knew that I could become a professional if I worked persistently and patiently.  This quote from Calvin Coolidge speaks to this…”Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.  Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.  The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”alley_hollyhocks-ouray.jpg (73335 bytes)By the mid 1990’s I was ready to risk everything in order to make painting my life.  In 1996 I left my life in California and headed to Colorado to study with one of my workshop teachers, Len Chmiel.  I sold a terrific house in a pastoral setting with ponds, creek, 100 yr old trees and views of the White Mountains.  I lightened my load of material objects by 2/3, shed my old skin, stepped outside of myself, let go of the outcome and let the universe handle the details of my future.    This was January of ’96, I arrived in Denver in a snow storm.  I moved into an apartment and enrolled in classes at the Art Students League with a firm belief I would be OK.  I must have taken this quote from Thoreau to heart; “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams… live the life you’ve imagined”.  Joseph Campbell’s words also gave me confidence during this transitional period of my life.  Especially these; “Follow your bliss and doors will open for you”.  During these years many doors were opened to me, many opportunities and amazing people came into my life.During the next year I studied with Len Chmiel on a private basis, and also took classes at the Art Students League with Mark Daily.  Mark Daily taught his classes to “paint what you love, and let your work become known for this”.  For me it was easy to know what I should paint, loving flowers and color all my life.  I’ve always been drawn to country gardens and the old fashioned flowers, and decided I had to learn to paint them.In August of ’96 I took an outdoor painting workshop in Aspen, Colorado.  This is where I met my husband Ralph Oberg.  Ralph is a very successful landscape and wildlife artist.  We had so much in common, we discovered very quickly spending lots of time together was easy, comfortable and natural.  Ralph has spent his life hiking and painting the Rocky  Mountains west and has a deep love of the wilderness.  During the first two years of our time together we made numerous painting trips to most of his favorite mountain ranges.  I loved getting to know his world and seeing so much of the western United States, and getting to paint my way through it.  We were married in December of 1997 and the next year in May we bought property in southwestern Colorado and built a house and studio.  I have been double digging flower beds at every opportunity since.  The last three years have been spent building our garden.  Ralph has constructed rose arbors, and laid our rock walks and terraces out of Blue Stone, while I have been building the soil structure in our numerous flower beds and filling them with perennials.  I have really worked hard and this year it is starting to feel like an established garden.We had a garden cottage built for me to paint in and use as a potting shed.  We designed her after some of the adorable New England cottages we saw on a recent trip through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine,  We named her ‘Poppy Cottage’,  she makes a great garden studio.I love reading about the passion Claude Monet had for his garden.  Pissarro and Van Gogh were also avid gardeners.  My garden gives me great joy and countless ideas for paintings.  Each year I let nature have her way and let seedlings sprout in new places and in combinations I wouldn’t have thought of.  There are always delightful surprises in every corner of my garden.What I try to do with paint is recreate the joy I experience in my subjects; the flowers that I grow, and the wildflowers in mountain meadows.  This quote from Joseph Campbell, “The function of art is to reveal the radiance running through all things”, suggests why I have such strong emotional responses to our natural world.I took plenty of time to develop my process and my way with paint so that I could ‘sing my own song’.  I wanted to honor these quotes I happened across “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are” and” What I do is me, for that I came”.  This was frightening much of the way and still is at times.  Something inside of me keeps telling me to stay on this path.  When I am at the easel I try to let the experience happen without forcing anything, and without judgment or negativity.  Painting is a huge gift to my life.  I love to encourage friends to give it a try, I believe we are all creative at our core.  I love helping friends reconnect with their inner child and helping them experience the gift that painting is to me. Click HERE to read more!Catch you back here tomorrow!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Have A Beautiful Day!

I swear spring has sprung! We’re supposed to have mid to upper 70 degree temps today, crazy for JANUARY! Did I say January!? Get out and enjoy the beauty, it’s all around you!

This photo was taken last May… a peony… my absolute all time FAVORITE flower! Their simply elegant beauty is stunning! We can’t grow them here in Charleston, SC, but Harris Teeter carries them, thank goodness!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured Artist… Cynthia Reid!

Cynthia Reid FlowerMosaic AddisonArt

Flower Mosaic by Cynthia Reid / Image:

How’s this to brighten up a dreary day? I love these nice bright colors, it’s so happy! We can’t complain here in Charleston, SC about gloomy weather… we had a day of rain, which was so nice… an all day gentle rain. I happen to love those kinds of days, but from what I can gather I’m some sort of anomaly when it comes to weather… I hear others say WHERE IS THE SUN after a day or two of clouds… I say WHERE ARE THE CLOUDS, hee hee… Fall, Winter and the beginning of spring are what we live for here in Charleston…

Here’s a blip about Cynthia from the Addison Art Gallery website:

Cynthia Reid left a successful career as a physician to pursue a passion for painting that had consistently increased while she was practicing medicine. Her interest in art began when she was young and painted with her paternal grandparents, both of whom were oil painters. 

An avid gardener, Cynthia finds inspiration in gardens and in travels throughout the U.S. and Canada. Some of her paintings, especially those featuring poppy fields and lily ponds, reflect scenes from recent trips to France.

In working with oil paints, Cynthia uses a palette knife technique to juxtapose complementary, vibrant colors to recreate the joy, beauty, and textures of the natural world. She believes that painting is about trusting her intuition and the process, while being open to the unpredictable. Her contemporary impressionist style keeps mystery in the painting.

A member of the American Impressionist Society and Oil Painters of America, she has studied with Kevin Macpherson and abstract expressionist, Josh Goldberg.
Artist’s Statement
I paint because I have a passion for expressing the beauty of the natural world. Using a palette knife and oil paints allows me to capture that beauty by recreating nature’s varying textures, color, and movement. These three elements are seen in my recent works — bold sunflowers, vibrant poppies, dancing irises, and waterscapes.

My intention is that each painting allows the viewer to enjoy a sense of being in a particular place. I believe that the viewer completes every work of art and want my paintings to start a conversation.

Now THAT is a love of art! Stop by the Addison Art Gallery website to view more of Cynthia’s work, or stop by Cynthia’s website to see more great work!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

A Walk Downtown… (Charleston, SC)

How stately is this? Magnificent. Prestigious. Oh, Charleston is full of the most beautiful architecture dating back hundreds of years. Whenever I’m downtown I think what a wonderful city this would be to visit while on vacation… summer could prove a little humid for me, but it’s beautiful nonetheless! Everywhere you look there is a photo to be taken. So if you live here, grab your camera and head out! If you visit Charleston, bring extra batteries and a big memory card!

Catch you back here tomorrow!