Springtime Observations

These are two simple sketches I made in my sketchbook while sitting on the back porch.  We have a sweet gum tree right outside the door, and with this year’s weather being so mild I was able to observe more of the springtime growing.

Note:  My sketchbook is not meant to be filled with masterpieces but rather more of visual diary of experiences, sometimes hastily sketched and colored.  Although I like this style of this Moleskine sketchbook and the paper within can handle a lot of water, it does not act like true watercolor paper in that the flow is just not there. If you have any suggestions on a better sketchbook, I’m all ears.   Maybe I will have to just make my own, as per Teri’s and Jill’s recommendations in the past.

Sweet Gum

Sweet Gum

This branch held tightly closed male flowers that will eventually blossom and spread pollen.  The brown, spikey ball is actually a dried female flower of the tree leftover from last year.  They have taught me not to walk in the back yard in my bare feet!  No leaves were on the tree at the time of this drawing.

Sweet Gum - two weeks later

Sweet Gum – two weeks later

This sketch was drawn nearly two weeks later, and the male flowers have already blossomed and most have fallen to the ground.  Fresh growth of bright green female flowers can be seen dangling from the tree.  These catch the pollen from the male flowers and there we have a simple biology lesson 🙂  I was also amazed at how many leaves had emerged and the tree was already starting to provide shade.  By autumn the female flowers will start becoming dried and prickly.

Note 2: I’ve seen ideas on Pinterest of these spikey pods covered in glitter and hung on a Christmas tree.  Hmmmm, maybe a little tacky but they sure would be eye-catching!

 

 

Bumpy – Corn

We are fortunate to live close to the Indiana border where some of the sweetest, crispest corn is grown.  We buy it directly from a local farm – a dozen at a time – and freeze any leftovers to put into soups and stews.

Corn on the Cob

I’ll never forget the first time I ate just-picked corn.  Our friend Barb’s parents grew fresh corn on their property.  We picked the corn, prepared it, and moments later it was piping hot on our plates.  No salt or butter was necessary because it tasted “a-maizing” on its own!

Metallic #WorldWatercolorGroup

Hershey’s Kisses debuted in 1907 and originally were hand wrapped in crinkly, silver aluminum foil wrappers.  In 1921 the chocolates were machine wrapped and the little paper plume was added. The plume actually has a purpose: When pulled down toward the flat bottom of the candy, the paper plume tears the foil and the chocolate pops right out.

Hershey's Kiss

Hershey’s Kiss

It wasn’t until the 1960s that red and green metallic wrappers were introduced at Christmastime. Next came pastel-colored metallic wrappers for Easter, and on and on and on. Chocolate Kisses can now be found in a myriad of varieties, flavors, and wrapper colors and the plumes can even be personalized for your special occasion. I am partial to the original plain chocolate variety wrapped in any color metallic foil. Do you have a favorite variety of Hershey’s Kisses?

Fuzzy

Today’s prompt of fuzzy brings you little Coco, a shih tzu that belongs to a friend.  Coco is extremely sweet and is honestly the most laid-back, content pet I have ever met.

Coco

Coco

Coco’s tongue almost always sticks out like this and her eyes are so big and round, making her quite a fun muse for a painting.  Such a cutie!

Shiny

Generally you want to see a shine on the tender surface of an onion, just below the crackly paper-thin skin.   Vidalia onions are my favorite and they are especially good this time of year, so mild and sweet.  However, I happened to have a lot of purple mixed on my palette, so I opted to paint these purple onions.  While they look pretty on a salad or sandwich, purple onions tend to be too strong for my taste buds.

Purple Onion

Purple Onion

Did you know that putting a fresh onion in the freezer 15 minutes before cutting into it will reduce eye tearing/crying?  This is one of my favorite kitchen hacks.

Smooth

Produce cannot get much smoother than the glossy eggplant.  Often mistaken as a vegetable, it is indeed a fruit, a member of the nightshade family along with tomatoes and peppers.  Eggplants also come in green and white varieties but purple is most common in our grocery store.

Eggplant

Eggplant

It is advised to buy the smallest, freshest eggplant you can find because it will have the sweetest flavor and be more tender.  The flavor tends to become more bitter as the fruit grows in size.

Feathery, Draw-A-Bird Day, May 2017 #WorldWatercolorGroup

These pretty tree swallows were captured in photograph by my talented, artistic brother-in-law, Rob, at one of our local parks.  I took a little liberty with the background, which really doesn’t show up very well in the scan, but the birds are the stars of the show anyway.  These beautiful birds have iridescent dark blue head and back feathers and stark white fronts.  Tree Swallows feed on small flying insects that they catch in their mouths during acrobatic flight.  I bet that’s a grand sight to see!

Tree Swallows

Tree Swallows

Thanks to Charlie from Doolewash for appropriately assigning the prompt of feathery today, and again thanks to Rob for the great reference photo!