This fabulous butterfly is (probably) a two-tailed swallowtail that I discovered wafting about the greenhouse at Payne’s Nursery on Friday afternoon. I was searching for some container plants for our portal, but quickly forgot about my errand when this beauty floated by.
This weekend I started reading Lilla Roger’s I Just Like to Make Things, a book of career information and creative exercises for artists who would like to find a market for their art, illustration and design. The first exercise in the book is to record everything the reader finds inspirational for one week. I thought I might list my inspirations this week here on the blog.
- The butterfly!
- The arrival of the book, I Just Like to Make Things
- Painting a picture of a pear using only red, yellow and blue
- Watching Slaying the Badger, an ESPN documentary about the rivalry between Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault, culminating in Lemond’s victory over Hinault in the 1986 Tour de France. Even though I saw original broadcasts of Lemond’s races and wins on TV in the ’80s, this movie offered a lot of interesting detail about the two men’s relationship and characters.
- Walking the dogs in the early morning.
Did you bump into anything inspiring this weekend?
A tiny spring leaf from an aspen in my yard and a sprig of apple blossoms in an espresso cup were my sketchbook inspiration.
Tuesday I plucked a brand new leaf from an aspen tree in my yard and a twig from an apple tree (I think! It didn’t bloom or fruit last year, so I don’t know for sure) and took them to my studio for some sketch time.
It was difficult to get into the focus and concentration mode that day. All the normal little distractions plus the inner disturbances–“I’m chilly. How about some tea?” “Time for a bathroom break, don’t you think?” “Perhaps a dried apricot or two?” “The dryer just went ping.”
Like an apprentice Zen monk, the artist has to keep re-directing the wandering attention to the meditation at hand.
It gets better with practice. Or so I’m told.
Some days are easier than others.
Beer may have been involved: This dead piñon tree was flipped upside down by off-road cyclists in a public-use area near Santa Fe, NM. Pine-boring beetles are decimating the pine tree populations of the US Rocky Mountains, resulting in dead trees throughout the West.
I would like to welcome The Arbor Day Foundation to the list of affiliated merchants on this site.
This international movement to plant trees and conserve nature has the motto, “We inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.” The organization was founded in 1972, the centennial year of the first Arbor Day, the grassroots tree-planting and conservation movement founded by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska. Growing up in Nebraska, I remember many Arbor Day tree-planting ceremonies and frequently visited the J. Sterling Morton house museum, dedicated to the legacy of this visionary man.
As a native Nebraskan and nature-loving artist, I think the mission of The Arbor Day Foundation is well worth supporting. If you would like to buy trees or other products that will support The Arbor Day Foundation and its conservation and outreach programs, please click the link at the bottom of this post or in my sidebar to do your shopping. For every purchase you make through this site, I will receive a small commission that will help me to pay for the expense of running an independent website.