Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Botanical Paintings

Sometimes you have an odd little spot in your house that needs a certain something, but you're just not sure what. That's the way it was with the narrow landing at the top of our stairs. That area haunted me for years. Every time I walked up the stairs I'd see that big blank wall and think, "What can I put there?!?!" Then one day I got lucky at a local shop and came across a narrow bench that was crafted from an antique bed frame. It was just shallow enough to fit nicely on my landing, and I loved the look of it, with its distressed woodwork and funky, rusty iron frame.

I made some cute pillows to cozy it up a little, and the landing was looking much better, but it still needed something on the wall above the bench.

Finally, one day, I had an idea - I'd do a series of botanical paintings! Two rows with four paintings in each row. Eight paintings of flowers that bloom around our home in the summertime. I would fill the wall with flowers! 

Well, I dove right in and got started by painting the Japanese iris that bloom each spring by my front porch. Since I love quotes so much, I decided to include a quote about summertime or flowers in each painting.

For the second piece in the series, I couldn't resist painting the balloon flowers that grow next to our stone patio. They're so pretty, and that beautiful periwinkle blue color is one of my favorites.  I brought these flowers from our old house when we moved to Summerhill in 2000, and they keep multiplying every year.

Number three in the series is this painting of the cheery yellow coreopsis that come up every spring by my back steps. This quote by John Zabat-Zinn is one of my all-time favorites.

The last painting I finished that summer was this one of the crown vetch that covers the roadsides here in Pennsylvania and has invaded some of our hay fields. It's not the best thing to have growing in the fields, but as long as it's there, I'm enjoying the pretty pink blossoms.

Don't you love the line in this quote about the "dreamy and magical light" of summer? That's the way it is some summer mornings - so dreamy and perfect that you just want to hold onto it and remember that moment when the temperature, the light, the birdsong, the grass, the flowers, and the puffy white clouds in the deep blue sky all come together to say "It's here! Summer is here!"

Now you may be wondering where the other four paintings are that I planned to use to "fill my wall with flowers." Well, I kind of petered out at the end of that summer, and the other four paintings haven't even been started yet. I hung the four finished ones above my cute bench and, ever the optimist, left room above them for the others which have yet to be painted.

Maybe I'll get to it this summer, maybe not, but I promise that eventually I'll fill that wall, because there are morning glories, roses, hydrangeas, and daisies right outside my door, just begging to be painted.


  1. Leslie, I love that! So beautiful!

  2. beautiful paintings! love the balloon flower - don't know that one at all!


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