Blue locoweed is one of several small wildflowers that bloom in April here in New Mexico.
Blue locoweed is easy to find on the greenspace trails in my neighborhood. I went out and photographed several specimens using my macro lens, then discreetly snipped a few flower heads to take back to the studio for sketching. The leaves of the locoweed are similar to the sensitive plant or mimosa—they fold up in cloudy or cold weather—or when moved to an artist’s studio!
You can see how small the flower heads are in relation to the sketchbook, which has pages roughly 10″ x 5.5″.
Blossom cycles wait for no artist! Will I be able to brave the uncertain weather to get my sketching done?
Spring is returning to the mountains of New Mexico. Unlike spring on the Gulf Coast, the native plants here revive slowly, casting a suspicious eye at the changeable and often-threatening weather. Location is everything. First to bloom are the plants sheltered from the wind by piñon and juniper trees, herbs on a south-facing slope, flowers that are fortunate enough to sprout in small pockets and hollows that catch a few drops of extra moisture. To see spring in the desert, you need to look closely at the ground for tiny wildflowers, like the blue locoweed above.
These small wildflowers fascinate and inspire me. I want to paint and sketch them.
But sudden snow showers and forty-degree days affect outdoor artists, too. Gathering wild plants on public lands is liable to get you arrested, while picking them on private land is liable to get you shot. It’s hard to discern the most important botanical details to photograph when you’re shooting on the run with dogs in tow. Getting lost in a sketching reverie is risky in coyote country, as the curious canines are likely to approach to see what the pink monkey is up to, and whether she might make a good meal.
Common sense would dictate that I stay indoors and sketch supermarket tulips. But the wild and free blossoms outside my door are calling. Will I be able to overcome my reluctance to leave the warmth and safety of my studio to answer?
Time and wildflowers wait for no artist!
Setbacks on the road to your goal can reveal new alternatives!
I was just about to jump in the pool at the gym yesterday, when my goggle strap broke as I was putting them on. Attempting to improvise a knotted repair of the strap, I accidentally ripped the gasket on one lens. My swim was forcibly cancelled for the day. What a disappointment!
I pouted while taking a shower in the grotty locker room, but was determined to make something of the day anyhow. So I got 2 hems made on the curtain liners for a home decoration project I’ve got going, and mopped the entryway floor so I can lay out large sheets of curtain fabric for pinning today.
This last month has been challenging for me physically. My fitness routine has been disrupted by a shoulder and a knee injury that make swimming and hiking difficult. It’s been hard work to adjust mentally to this, and to accept that my body needs to recuperate.
The best way to combat the frustration that comes from being stymied in one area is to direct that time and energy to another important goal. For me, taking time off from swimming has opened up more time in the studio.
How do you deal with setbacks towards your goals? Do you focus on another commitment? Or do you adapt the goal to your new circumstances?