Swimming Hole Photo Shoot

This was a fun day.

A friend and I went to a swimming hole in Bristol, Vermont to shoot photos.

We weren’t there long before we met the guys who make the Gooner Longboards videos like this one.


Lots of jumping, splashing and hooting. The director Chris Magoon was shooting images of his buddies jumping off the cliffs using a series of devices he created to extend the camera’s reach and slide along with the action.

He is a young engineer, very creative and serious about capturing the action in a cinema-graphic way. Nice work.

Want to go and take a leap? All you have to do is grab that rope you see in the image below, swing out over the water and let go…._DSC0704_1433

I was told that once you hit the water, you need to get to the sides quickly as the underwater current pulls you towards the waterfall. Not what you might expect. Beware.

Oil Painting

I took plenty of photographs that will be studies for a future oil painting. I took images of leapers, kids standing there waiting to jump, splashers, screamers, swimmers and everyone having fun on the boulders. And one day soon, I will draw these images on a canvas and compose a painting. I will keep you posted.

Today was a very good day.

The King’s Garden

1KGI think I may have found the perfect day trip for gardeners and their history-buff, or scenic beauty loving or camera happy spouses.

It’s a trip to Fort Ticonderoga, where in addition to the fort, the Pell family gardens, a garrison garden and a medicinal herb garden are open to the public. (Admission to the entire property is $17.50 for adults)

7kg2KGA brick wall encloses the family garden adjacent to the Pell home. It was designed by trailblazing landscape architect Marian Coffin in 1921 and still holds up today as a beautiful space with architecturally charming alcoves and hide-away rooms to retreat from the sun. Earl, one of the gardeners, told me that the ladies of the time would have afternoon tea in one of the alcoves-like structures and later in the evening, the men would go there to smoke their cigars. You can imagine it and probably wouldn’t mind having a space like this for yourself.

9kg8kg Earl was planting the vegetable garden while we were there and took a moment to answer questions, point out the resident osprey and explain the construction of a wattle fence which is made by weaving the trunks of saplings around posts hammered into the ground. It has a rustic appeal that would be appropriate in an English cottage garden or at an Adirondack retreat.

I’m sure you will come away from this outing with ideas for your own beds and borders. I saw lovely plant combinations, attractive stonework, a reflecting pool and nice use of Goat’s Beard, a native plant, that was in full plume yesterday. It is great as a back of the border planting as it stands tall – up to six feet – and dramatic with creamy white flowers that are big and bold (see bottom photo). Goat’s beard is a perennial and many people think it resembles an oversized astilbe. If you decide you would like to grow goatsbeard, choose a moist location for best results. 5kg4kggoat'sbeard

Oh…and when you’ve spent enough time wandering the gardens, there’s a terrific fort with massive cannons, informative exhibits, an art gallery including an oil painting by Thomas Cole, and breathtaking vistas to take in.

There is also a cafe and gift shop. In the cafe, produce grown in the garden is served.

There is so much to say about this wonderful attraction. I suggest you visit the website for more information: http://www.fortticonderoga.org Note that garden workshops and classes are held occasionally.

It is a fabulous day trip. When you go, bring your camera. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and slather on the sunscreen.

Eastern Painted Turtle, two

I just finished this painting of an Eastern Painted Turtle. I saw this fellow this Spring basking in the sun on Lake George in upstate New York. I was out in my kayak and he was back in the marsh off Huddle Bay. Most of the other turtles splashed into the water as I approached but this handsome fellow was brave enough to just watch as I shot photo after photo. The painting measures 9 by 12 and is for sale.

Turtle Paintings

I worked on both of the turtle paintings yesterday. One is still in progress but – drum roll please – the other is finished.

Reminder: I took a photo of this turtle while kayaking on Huddle Bay in Lake George earlier this year. He was a brave turtle and the only one that didn’t dive into the water when he saw my boat approach. Instead, he posed on a bed of moss and let me take photo after photo of him basking in the sun.

If you are interested in purchasing this 11×14 oil painting. Contact me.

My next painting will be of old garden tools.

I like having something I’m thinking about painting while I’m still finishing up a current painting. Friends of mine have loaned/given me some old tools to use. I also have some images of contents inside garden sheds that I took on road trips.  And, I’m certainly including my favorite trowel.

In my imagination, the painting has a few watering cans (I have my Grandmother’s), terra-cotta pots with patina, a worn green cultivator (Thanks, Judy B.) and my Johnson Brothers trowel. I’d love to include a glass bell-shaped cloche should anyone have one I can borrow.

I’ll start by setting up the still life and tweaking it until I’m satisfied with the composition. I like when the eye travels from a main focal point to another point and another inside the painting. I’ll show you the photo I will work from once it is done. Meanwhile, enjoy Mr. Turtle.

Monet’s Garden at the New York Botanical Garden


 I  went to see the Monet exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden yesterday. It was wonderful. This photo gives you a long view of the borders in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. There is a lot to see. As you look at these photos notice the heights of plants, the foliage color and texture and the flower color and form. The entire space was created with an artist’s eye.                                                                

In this image you see different flower shapes and complimentary colors. Irises were one of Monet’s favorite flowers. Van Gogh’s, too.

To read more, click Road Trips in the menu bar.

Old Garden Tools

If you are a gardener, it is likely you have a favorite tool. Mine is a little trowel made by the  Johnson Company in Newark New Jersey. It is narrow, fits in my back pocket when I’m working and in my hand like it was made for me.

I was looking at it recently and thought it would be nice to do a painting of old garden tools alongside some terra cotta pots, etc. I did something similar with Native American artifacts.  A collector invited me to come, take photos of the baskets and artifacts he had. I set up a still life at his home. Took photos. And worked from those photos to do the painting.

I asked some fellow gardeners today if they had old garden tools that I could photograph. I’m hoping someone does.

I think there’s beauty in well-made tools like this…and a wonderful patina that only age brings.

This trowel has Wm. Johnson stamped on it. I think it has to date to at least the 1950s. What do you think?

Turtle Painting – Week 2

Today, I worked on accurately drawing the turtle, getting the darkest colors on the canvas, applying color to the shell and adding more color to the background.

The shell color  is a mix of  ivory black, zinc white, and burnt umber mixed together to make a warm gray. To this base, the colors magnesium, thalo blue and a touch of ultramarine blue were added. It still isn’t exactly as I want it, but it’s not done, yet.

One of the things I like about oil painting is that there is always time to make changes.

turtle painting

Progress was made today on the turtle painting.

Van Gogh Sunflowers

Van Gogh sunflower seeds inspire a garden party for August.

I planted two dozen Van Gogh sunflowers seeds from Renee’s Garden today. The flowers are very reminiscent of the type of sunflowers Vincent Van Gogh painted. Particularly if you look at the painting “Twelve Sunflowers” that he did. And that got me thinking.

Why not throw a garden party for my artist friends in August when the flowers are blooming?

We can have lunch and afterwards everyone can set up their easels in the garden and paint the sunflowers.  A tribute to Van Gogh.

First Day of the Turtle Painting

I started two different turtle paintings yesterday.  As you remember, I took photos a few weeks ago. Today, I began the painting process by deciding where on the canvas to place the image, putting in the background colors and making sure none of the background pieces (in this case weed sticks) take away from the overall enjoyment of the painting.