Raven's Nest Studio

Raven's Nest Studio
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Color Combinations

Once upon a time, I was a gardener who researched, planned and schemed to get my garden vistas coordinated in color and blooming season and height and texture and leaf shape, and....All for naught.

The hardy plants died in an unusual winter, the short plants grew tall and the colors of the bulbs were wildly different than what I expected. There is a solution for this and it is not in my garden. It is in my head. Now I just look for the happy accidents that occur in my garden as every year is different. I try to take photos to remind me of these views later, because they cannot be recreated. But if the photos don't work, there is always next year's surprises to look forward to.

 Lavender Blue and Yellow Orange

 Cream and Ruby

Red, White and Blue

 My favorite flower vendor once told me that there were no color clashes in nature. I believe him.

Enjoy the flowers of spring,

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Beauty

Finally, I have been able to access my blog again. It has been quite a battle to figure out how to get here, and I am not sure I will be able to do it again, so while I am here, I had to run out and take a photo and post it.

Now my question to you is, "Do the telephone poles in front of the mountain ruin this image?" Well, if I thought they did, I would have cropped the image to show only the tulips, but to me the snow on The Brothers Mountain says spring just as much as the tulips do, so I present it here, poles and all.

It takes optimism to go out in the cold autumn rains and plant bulbs, but what a glory of color for the spring. I encourage you to invest in the future by adding to your garden this year, whether it be food or flowers, or better yet, food and flowers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

For the Birds

Who does not enjoy birdsong in the garden? In my area, there are already so many who are feeding the birds that they really do not need more food. What they really need is shelter.

After I took an old fence down, I bought some inexpensive bird houses at a craft store and rubbed a little oil paint into them for color. I then affixed them to the top of the old fence posts and let the branches of raspberries, fennel and purple smoke tree grow around them. Even though they are not really good bird houses, chickadees have nested in them for several years.

I clean them out in the fall, so they are ready for the next spring house hunters.

The houses add color to the garden in winter and expand the variety of surfaces and textures year round.

I especially love the lichen on the roof and the contrasting flower and foliage colors.

What is your favorite garden addition?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Using Foliage for Color Contrast

I asked my neighbor if I could take photos of her deck containers to illustrate a concept. We so often think of arranging colors of flowers for impact, but how much more powerful it is to use foliage masses as well. Especially when it has been chilly and the flowers are blooming shyly. Just be sure that you do not use the same proportion of each color or tone that you are arranging. The arrangement will be more interesting if you use proportions like 50%-30%-20% of each of three colors or tones.

This example has some wonderful color in the flowers, as the green yellow petunias echo the green yellow pattern in the dark burgundy petunias. The yellow green of the moss is attractive as well. The very dark flowers are the accent color while the largest amount of any color in the container is green with white being the medium amount in the container now. Watching the proportions of color and value change as the flowers grow adds interest.

In the next examples, the dark foliage presents the largest mass with the gray green foliage being the next largest mass. The pink color is the accent color now. As the flowers grow, the pink may become more prominent. These changes are fun to watch as the weather changes.

Remember that if you do not have the opportunity to enjoy such displays in your own yard, you can always enjoy the flowers in your neighborhood or at the nurseries in the area. Get ready for summer beauty and take time to smell the roses.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Emphasis on Color

I love it when synchronicity strikes and I have 2 objects with the same colors. The card and the rose cache pot not only have the same colors but the flowers on the card echo the shapes of the roses. If I had the time, I would make a painting of this. Alas, I only have the time to play with photography today. I am still hard at work on a large painting of a landscape.

I am also painting a sandwich board to publicize the open studios that BallardWorks has every second Saturday of the month, 6:00-9:00 pm on June 12. The extremes of painting, but sign painters have often been artists as well, historically.

For the next composition, I changed the look of the arrangement by going Asian. Again, I chose an object which repeated the colors of the roses.
 I simply love the shape and color of this tiny ladle. It is so practical as well. I could play for hours, rearranging this, but who has the time. We can't let perfection get in the way of good enough.

My last photo is a more traditional arrangement. Again, I selected an object that replicates a color in the roses. I had to think a little about this one, but I am pleased with the result.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dress for Rain and Walk in Beauty

Two weeks of rain nurtures lupine forests. Growing so fast that you can almost see them, the steady moisture really gives the lupine a boost. The overcast skies and/or rain allow the colors to show in full saturation. I love the rain and don't really mind the gray skies. I guess that is why I love Seattle.

This is the time to get out and walk the neighborhoods. The climate here is such that you can grow almost anything and Seattle gardeners love the challenge. There are lots of Windmill Palms now and olive trees and I have even seen a banana tree in the Magnolia neighborhood. The water nearby moderates the temperatures such that figs are becoming commonplace.

Roses are glorious as long as you plant varieties that are not prone to black spot and mildew. As the summer warms up, the herbs come into full fragrant flower. Lavender, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Bay grow like weeds. Tomatoes and Basil can be more of a challenge until the heat of July.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Indulging in Flowers

Flowers are an inexpensive luxury to add to your surroundings. If you have a garden, you can pick a stem of flower or leaf that interests you and put it where you can enjoy it more closely than in the garden. I urge you to support your local flower vendors, as they support the growers who make it possible for us to enjoy blossoms more often or out of season. If you establish a relationship with a flower shop that sells by the stem, it is easy to have a fresh flower on your desk.

If you have friends who love flowers, you can take turns buying a grocery store bunch and splitting it with each other to all have fresh flowers to enjoy more often. Think creatively about ways to have more flowers in your life. (Besides, they are an indulgence that doesn't add pounds!)

The style you prefer is very personal. The same few flowers appear very different depending on the container. Of course, you can add another element or two to the vase of flowers, but it is not necessary. These examples all used the same 3 stems of Siberian Iris from my garden. The first example is in a fancy vinegar bottle, embellished with a ribbon. The second example is an inexpensive vase from a chain store. The third was made by a ceramic artist and has a pin frog in the water well which makes arranging the flowers much easier, though I find that they do not last as long this way.

I have always grown flowers and have often painted them so I have a very eclectic collection of containers to display blossoms. Others, knowing my passion for flowers' beauty, have given me flowers in interesting containers that I add to the collection. I have a shelf that has most of the containers on it so that I can easily see them and select one that fits the mood of the flower.

Of course, over the years, I have accumulated a lot of vases, jars, bottles and pitchers. Now I must take the advice of my friend Carol. She is keeping only what she truly loves and passing on the rest to friends or charity.

This is my new criteria. Do I truly love this, or has my taste changed or my decor changed such that I can send it on to a new caretaker with no regrets?

Those pieces I truly love, I vow to store where they are easily retrieved for use and rotated for appreciation.