Friday, April 27, 2012

New Medium for artandcolour

Recently, Lisa Mikulski's über cool son, Kyler, gave me this set of vintage oil pastels. I'm really happy to have a set of these again. I grew up using oil pastels, but haven't had any in the past 20 years, lol. These aren't the chalky pastels most often seen, but are oil-based and have deep, rich colors. They can be mixed on the base paper or wood with paint thinners or varnishes, and I look forward to incorporating them into my works! Besides sketching with them and using them in a traditional manner, I'm going to try grating small pieces of them and using them as "flecks" of 100% color mixed in with my polyurethanes. Thank you, Kyler!

I know Kyler wasn't completely thrilled with this recent portrait of him I shot, but I like it, lol. It captures a Kyler he doesn't always present to the world.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PrettyColours: Time Marches On

 Lilacs are just beginning to bloom at Pink Gardens. I love the smell of lilacs. In the past I've had dark purple, magenta and white lilacs in my yards, but this yard only has this medium purple variety. From what I can tell, the bush is more than 100 years old though, so it's sturdy old-stock.

My mini-Iris are flowering now. They're no more than 4-inches tall! I have to work hard to keep all of my more invasive, taller perennials from overtaking these little gems.

Pink Lily-of-the-Valley has been part of my family since the 1950s. I moved these to Pink Gardens from my mother's home and she had taken some from her family's home. They're smaller and daintier with less of an aroma than the white ones, but I really enjoy the nod to my past.

I'm not sure what this plant is called. It's a ground cover that Mary gave me a few years ago. Besides the pretty silvery-green foliage, it has these buttery yellow flowers in the spring.

My Jank-in-the-Pulpits are doing really well. I've naturalized more than fifty of these woodland wildflowers in this yard in the past few years.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Through Another's Eyes

My friend, and fellow artist, Lisa Mikulski, visited recently, and shot several photos inside chéz casey. It's so interesting to see my life through another person's eyes. These are my 1950s German Christmas bells, which hang from my ceiling fan. The crystal is a product tie-in from some haute couture designer's newest women's perfume, ca 1992, perhaps LaCroix or Versace. And the ever-present dust. I feel like Miss Havisham sitting here. Or Little Edie of Grey Gardens,the inspiration for "Pink Gardens." Click on the image to enlarge, as always here at casey/artandcolour, lol!

I did one of Christian LaCroix's first pages back in 1987, in WWD, Women's Wear Daily, the "bible" of the fashion industry as it's known in the biz. This crystal necklace would have come from Macy's, though, a gift to my mother. I always brought her the printed WWDs to read, and she was fascinated by the world I found myself ensconced in. I made sure to get her a fragrance or gift of some sort from every designer she read about. She even planted a "LaCroix Rose Garden" one year, with pure magenta, bright red and flame orange roses, his first year's couture signature colors, lol.

Lisa is an awesome photographer. She is a good friend and has lovely, and brilliant, adult offspring, lol. She came to my first art showings when she had no reason to—forever in her debt : )
  • Check out her website, here!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Artandcolour 1967-68 Style. Stoned Again.

Painted rocks—I created these when I was 10-11 years old. They vary from florals, to a winter scene, a flag motif, and even a 1960s Pontiac "arrowhead," lol. My aunt Hoohoo was very instrumental in suggesting to me that anything at all can become art if you think about it and spend some time on it. These have been visible in the backgrounds of many photos I've shot, but I don't think I've gathered them together and scanned the en masse before. If I have, enjoy 'em again, lol : )

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

According to Tinky Winky

Weighing in on the current manufactured political kerfuffle, "Mommygate," my Teletubbies Tinky Winky lets everyone know where he stands. Or hangs, as the case may be, lol.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Checkerberry Memories

This piece was done in 2007, but I just took this photo yesterday. I didn't really have a decent photo of it. Checkerberry Memories, refers to an old Guilford, Connecticut tradition of "Checkerberry Sodas" which were sold at Douden's Pharmacy on the Green. Apparently it was mostly a wintergreen solution with some red food coloring, but was a town favorite for generations. Though the pharmacy is long-gone, I believe the syrup is still available in its original "prescription bottle"-like container, complete with medicinal-looking label.

This piece is 23 x 19 inches on two pine boards. The colors and patterns remind me of my New England home town, a mesmerizing mix of bright and muted, straight-and-narrow with touches of buttoned-down wild abandon, lol.

Hanging Out with the Pretty Girls

Hanging in the attic, vintage dolls, in a basket I made in the 1980s. A second basket of mine is in the background. My mother and I took basket weaving classes together one summer, with Nancy Evan Wolff teaching us, my friend that writes the On the Homefront Blog, for Prudent Living. The red hat was "store bought," lol.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Little Color on a Drab Day

A clump of miniature tulips growing along the beach road. They're a lovely peach color and only about six inches tall.

The "lowly" dandelion, elevated figuratively and literally, growing right on top of this stone wall three feet off the ground.

One of my favorite flowering shrubs, this quince bush is all abloom in town. 

A Bradford Pear tree reaching for the sky. These flowering trees grow quickly, and were quite popular with developers in the '70s and '80s until everyone realized how weak-branched they were. They require almost constant pruning and only live about 25-40 years. They are banned by many towns now for use in public spaces.

Yes. My dented aluminum "pot" is planted with pansies again this year. I just love this backyard "find." 

This eight-foot tall azalea was so covered in vines when I first moved here, it only had about 5 flowers the first spring. I cut them all back and it has been grateful ever since, flowering profusely first thing in the spring. My Infiniti can be seen "resting" in the background, wondering if it will ever see the road again.

Promising a bountiful summer, my Foxgloves are multiplying like crazy and starting to shoot up. These flowers will be dazzling! I'm not sure which variety they are though. In the past, I've had white ones with burgundy spots and pink ones with burgundy and white spots. They are biennials, which means they grow one year and flower the next. They also self-sow. I never planted this clump here and I haven't had a flowering Foxglove in two years now. Can't wait to see which one it is!

My little Grape Hyacinths are really proving to be long-lasting. Love their shape and color.

I really don't know what this tiny flowering plant it. I found it in the grass on the side of the road during one of my walks. These pretty little flowers are only about 1/2-inch each!

My larger tree stump might be degrading more each year, but as it does, it just mulches the surrounding garden, exactly the reason I created this "Tree Garden" in the first place. The Myrtle (Vinca or Perriwinkle, too) is native, and from the woods nearby. I love the way it is naturalizing around this stump, filling the nooks and crannies around the base. It's timed well, too. Myrtle has flowers early in the spring, as the rest of the plants around it are still low, enabling its little purple flowers to be seen. Later in the season, you won't be able to see this native vine, and by late summer you won't even see the stump anymore as the day lilies and goldenrod and other foliage plants take over.

This is the large patch of Vinca in the woods around Pink Gardens. It's like a carpet and only about 20 feet away from the Amtrack tracks!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Daffies: Plain and Fancy*

Top and above, Pink Gardens' last daffodils to bloom are these very pretty, and large, Jonquils, with a reddish-orange edge to the central trumpet. Beautiful!

This "fancy" bicolor double Daffodil variety was spotted in front of a beautiful home near the beach.  Next to them were the peach variety I grew up with at my family's home. The photos of them all came out blurry though. Perhaps best savored as memories?

A striking row of Daffies growing near the beach. They were almost as tall as the stately stonewall behind them.
Not often seen, a triple Daffodil. The center trumpet is really a flurry of petals, almost mimicking a Parrot Tulip in its petal  shapes and arrangement.

 Daffodils always look great with other spring flowers, Grape Hyacinths and tulips.

The same mix of spring flowers growing right next to a beach marsh. The reddish stems just visible next to the tulips in the back of this flower bed are peonies, just beginning their seasonal journey.

* I can't use the term "Plain & Fancy" without thinking about the great family-style restaurant in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, right in the heart of Amish country. I've eaten there a few times in my life, and love their food. They make the area's famed "ShooFly Pie" and even mail out boxed mixes so you can make the pies at home. Read about it, here.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Carrot Confetti Rice: Just Created!

Yes. Artandcolour may be extended to creative food dishes!
Inspired by Stan Santos' excellent food blog, The Spamwise Chronicles, which emphasizes fresh, seasonal foods, I created a rice dish today. I'm calling it Carrot Confetti Rice, for obvious reasons! Basically, I grated fresh raw carrots and cooked them in with the Jasmine rice, about 10 minutes. They kept their nice orange color and still taste really fresh. I squeezed the juice of one lemon into the rice towards the end of the cooking time. When the rice and carrot mixture was finished cooking, I stirred in about a cup of teeny-tiny diced raw red Bell pepper and the green tops of a bunch of scallions. I finished it off with the zest of the lemon. It all tastes really bright and looks great on my 1930s pink Depression glass plates, the set I always ate from at my aunt Hoohoo's house.
  • Stan's food blog, The Spamwise Chronicles, here. It has also been added to my permanent blogroll, on the right of this blog. I hope all of my loyal readers check out Stan's blog. He updates it daily and has a real flair with the subject matter. All foodies will love it!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beauteous Blossoms All Abloom

A "Saucer Magnolia" in the center of town is in full bloom. It was quite windy today, and it was mesmerizing standing beneath its blossoming canopy of swaying petals and limbs.

Pink Gardens' own forsythia is very sparse this year. The landscapers trim it back every fall even though every year I tell them not to. I'm going to hang a sign on it later in the summer "reminding" them to let it grow out this fall in case I'm, once again, out on a walk when they come. 

A "lawn's eye view" of a brightly colored daffodil at Pink Gardens. The Royal blue garden globe really enhances the sky on days like this. I love the juxtaposition of colors in this photo, and the way the daffy seems to be trying to escape from the image, lol.

A shadowy view of a gorgeous Andromeda bush in town, Pieris japonica. When picked these creamy flower branches can be dried and used in year-round arrangements. 

Another low view of one of my Daffodil varieties. When I was a child we had so many daffodils I could lie on my back in beds of them, soaking up their aroma and watching the clouds drift by. Later, at Vassar, there was an entire hillside of daffies under flowering fruit trees, and I could do the same thing.

This is the way a forsythia should look—long flowing branches of bright yellow flowers, unkempt and wild, bursting with color and shape. Ours has been trimmed into a tight "ball" for several years now and has very few flowers in the spring.

A close-up shot of the Andromeda bush shown earlier in this post. I captured this really large honey bee enjoying the flowers as much as I was!

Lavender, purple and white Hyacinths blooming in front of an assisted living facility in town.

Tiny lawn violets sprucing up the grass of the condominums that border Pink Gardens' property. These have always been one of my favorite spring flowers. They're so early this year though. When I was in grade school, I made little bouquets using spring violets for May Day (May 1st), hanging them on friends' front doorknobs and running away after I rang their doorbells, lol.

Two more shots of the magnolia in town. These shots remind me of antique Asian prints or ceramics.


"Mama Mallard" may not sport her hubby's bright green head and neck feathers, but she has a beautiful blue stripe on her flanks. She stands, deep in thought, lol, in this spot of very shallow water on our property almost every day while her mate swims nearby in deeper water. I think they must be nesting in some way. Or she's just smart and lets him forage for food and bring it to her, lol.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Popsicles For All!

A somewhat worse-for-the-wear Kodachrome slide from 1950. My father was stationed in Virginia before the Korean Conflict, and before my parents moved to Tokyo. Knowing my parents, I'm positive they had just brought a box of Popsicles to this young mother and her three children. I don't recognize her or any of the kids, or the somewhat rundown home, but I bet they were neighbors to the Army base. I love the way the kids have scattered their tricycle and little wagons on the porch, probably as soon as the popsicles were revealed. The little girl hiding her face in her mother's lap is so universal, too. This is one of the vintage images I'll use on a one of my "cardboard quilt" wall pieces. Yes, the slide is a bit blurry, the colors have muted, and were perhaps too saturated to begin with, but the emotions of this fun moment in time are as clear as the day my father shot this photo. Who doesn't stop everything for a great frozen twin-stick Popsicle on a hot summer day?