Painting from Home

Often I choose to paint out in a new location, but with the quarantine in place, I have stayed home, choosing my subjects as the spring comes on. I planted a magnolia tree several years ago. It is the first large tree to bloom on our property in Soquel each year. When I lived in Berkeley, I shared a home with several like-minded adults and kids. I had a room on the second floor with a balcony that looked over the back yard of a neighbor. They had a large pink magnolia that would bloom every February, when all else was bare and gloomy. The bright pink blossoms are a real promise that spring is near. I planted one of these trees here in our Soquel garden and sure enough, it blooms every February to March.

Magnolia painting in progress
Magnolia painting in progress

In March this year, the blossoms stayed long enough for me to paint the tree. The blooms come before the green leaves sprout and before the surrounding trees have developed much growth.  I have been planning to paint this tree for several years, so this year, without running off to paint some distant scene, I focused in on this tree at home. Here is a photo of the painting as it developed.

While home, I am noticing more of the changes happening here. I have a hillside of gold calendulas. I’m not sure where it came from, perhaps the birds are helping me plant. So one of my current projects is to paint this hillside with the daffodils, I was late getting in the ground. The graceful Calla Lilies intrigue me again and again with their long stems and fan shaped leaves, the brilliant white against the new greens. The birds are back and building their nests, filling the morning air with their songs. The red headed male house finch, the orange chested towie, the juncos, and chickadees may become my future subjects. They do not stay still  for long, and I am snapping photos when I can catch them at rest.

Magnolia Spring, 18x18
Magnolia Spring completed, 18×18


I am finding much to keep my brushes active here on the “Shire” (as our daughter has named our home.) I hope you too can find new outlets for your creative impulses, while we all stay at home and care for each other.

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