Photo: Azalea’s in Charleston… Happy Spring!

H A P P Y  S P R I N G ! Can you believe it’s SPRING already?? Time flies… I mean it’s whizzing by at such a pace I can barely believe it… Maybe because it’s been like spring in Charleston most of the winter. It still comes as a shock that today is the first day of spring, or should I say… one season closer to summer, ahhh! Like those of you in cool climates dread winter, I dread summer… here’s hoping that this will be an unusually cool summer (woohoo! That hasn’t happened since 1989 when I moved here, but winter has never been so mild either, so… there’s hope)!

It’s a beautiful time here in Charleston, everything is blooming. It seems that everyone has azaleas, and the street is lined in pink blooms. Very pretty indeed!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

From me to you… Happy Valentine’s Day!

A little something from me to you… H A P P Y V A L E N T I N E S D A Y !! What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Ahhh, the dreaded question for many? Fred and I typically stay in… we save going out to a nice restaurant when we can savor it and not be rushed through it… Flowers… Crazy prices for Valentine’s Day… we usually have something on our table (beautiful “winter” tulips from Whole Foods right now, gorgeous!) – and trust me… I need candy like I need a hole in my head (ok, another really creepy saying…)… so we’ll undoubtedly whip up some fantastic dinner… (last year it was filet mignon, mushrooms, baked potato, hmmm, that’s what I’m remembering anyhow),and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day… but then again, we always manage to have a great time no matter where we go or what we do. Life is what you make it! Or as a card says that my mom sent to me a while back… LIFE’S SHORT… PICK THE FLOWERS!

Enjoy your day!

Did you realize that Valentine’s Day has been celebrated since at least the 1600’s? Get out! Interesting about the history… read HERE

And a quick I L O V E Y O U F R E D ! I am a very lucky Valentine!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Featured artist… Sandra Baggette!

Image: SandraBaggette.com
Sandra Baggette is a wonderful artist, friend and such an interesting person! Over the years we have collected many paintings, but Sandra’s was our very first “original”. I remember it like it was yesterday but it was over 20 years ago… it was an art show in Mt. Pleasant where channel 2 is located. The painting was a  fabulous watercolor of all these gorgeous flowers, it was AMAZING! We went on to collect several more of Sandra’s and during that time she became a good friend. Sandra truly is the neatest person. She has a fabulous studio located in Port Royal, SC. If you’re in the area you must check it out… info is on her website which is also very nice… Her use of color is stunning. No drab paintings from Sandra! The painting above is entitled SPARKLING SUNLIT BOUQUET
Here’s a blip about Sandra from her website:
A “painterly colorist” working in oils, Sandra blends what she sees and feels to share a lifelong enthusiasm for color and flowers Her passion for nature and vibrant colors is clearly demonstrated in her first book,
Sandra Baggette: Painting What I Love , a collection of recent works published in 2011.

 In 1988, Sandra established the Garden Studio Gallery in Port Royal, SC to pursue her passions for painting and gardening. This peaceful environment, rich with colorful patterns created by flowers and sunshine, is a constant source of inspiration for her paintings. 

Studies throughout the United States and abroad have played an important role in Sandra’s artistic development. Her travels in Italy and France, where she enjoyed the privilege of painting in Monet’s gardens and studied a variety of Impressionist masters, and the stirring sights of Hong Kong, Bermuda, Hawaii, and other locales have helped her grow as an artist and fueled her desire to move in new directions. Sandra continues to paint primarily in oils and to learn from nationally recognized instructors at the Scottsdale Artist School in Arizona and workshops throughout the United States. In 2010, she had the rare opportunity to take an oil painting class with acclaimed artist and instructor, Charles Reid. S. Burkett Kaiser, Ovanes Beberian, and Gay Faulkenberry, all students of Sergei Bongart, a Russian Impressionist whom Sandra admires, have also been some of her favorite instructors. 

Recent participation in the Clemson University Master Gardeners and Lowcountry Institute at Spring Island programs has deepened Sandra’s knowledge and appreciation of nature and gardening in ways that will enhance her work. Membership in the Lowcountry Plein Air Society affords her excellent opportunities to paint and learn with fellow artists in picturesque outdoor locations. She has also benefitted from participating in the Plein Air Painters of America Paint Outs in Bennington, VT and Old Lyme, CT. 

An award-winning artist, Sandra has exhibited in over 100 juried shows in the United States.Juan Logan awarded a Merit award to Sandra’s Seasonal Inspirations Series at Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival 2011. .Zinnias and Melonswas accepted into the Hilton Head Art League 2009 National Juried Show, judged by Craig Srebnik. Among the Flowers won First Place in the Lowcountry Plein Air Society Competition judged by Jack Morris. Roses and Sweetgrass Baskets and The Arrangement were chosen for the 2009 South Carolina State Fair Fine Art Exhibit. In 2008, her oil paintings received two awards from Tom Lynch at the 48th Annual Beaufort Art Association’s Spring Exhibit and an Award of Merit from Jonathan Green at the Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival.
Affiliations 
Lowcountry Plein Air Society; South Carolina Watermedia Society; Beaufort Art Association; Arts Council of Northern Beaufort County; and Oil Painters of America Associate. 

If you’re in Charleston, SC you will see Sandra at Marion Square each year during the Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival! Catch you back here tomorrow!

The magnificent homes on the West Bluff, Mackinac Island, MI

Magnificent homes on the West Bluff, Mackinac Island, MI

I know I said the East Bluff was my favorite… but… the West Bluff is also my favorite. These homes are impeccable and pristinely maintained, and that can’t be an easy (or cheap) job. It takes a lot of love to keep them looking like they do. The flowers are breathtaking. These are homes to be proud of for sure (as are many on Mackinac Island!). Ironically one of my favorite homes is the second from the left in the photo, the smaller one (which truly isn’t a small house, the others are just very large). It’s the sweetest home I’ve ever seen with a view that’s to die for. I would love to live in this house year round…. Ah, a nice dream for sure! On my Mac I can double click on the image to enlarge… hopefully PC users have that same capability… its nice to be able to see it a little closer! If you ever get a chance to visit Mackinac Island, MI I highly suggest it, it will be unlike anywhere you’ve ever visited in your life!

Catch you back here tomorrow!

Happy May Day!

Image: skiptomylou.wordpress.com

HAPPY MAY DAY! If you’re one of the lucky people you will open your door this morning and there will be a pretty cone of flowers tied with ribbon around your door knob. What a neat thing to do for someone… hey, if you’re up early, run out and pick a few flowers, wrap the stems in foil or something with a wet paper towel to keep them fresh, and tie it with a ribbon on your neighbors door… boy, will they ever be surprised!

Catch you back here tomorrow! If you get a chance check out my photo blog at http://almostdailypic.wordpress.com !