Sunday, May 10, 2009

Permissive Gardening and Wind

If you check the back of my figure drawing ticket with the ideas written on it, one of the ideas just says "The Wind."

This is what I started with, after a lot of drawing, erasing, and redrawing (click for larger image). The hard part was getting the figures placed and drawn enough, but not too much, and it took me the longest time to get the central tree's branches the way I wanted them. I'm still not sure I won't change them further.

Then I laid in some light washes, not being as finicky as usual. I expect this to end up in acrylics, so I can go back and touch things up as needed, and that means I can be loose now that I have the contour drawing to contain any chaos. I'll probably put down a lot more color, experimenting with values, foreground and background, and then move to acrylics. I think I'll push it too far, and then bring it back under control with the acrylics. That's the idea right now, anyway.

Yesterday we gardened (Dearest and I did too much, and we've been paying for it today with soreness and a little dehydration). But it was a beautiful afternoon today, and I put out Debbie (she's a spitting hippo) and added some company from the garden animals we haven't set out yet: the frog, and the toad Globose.

And the chicken. The chicken that talks to them all continuously. The chicken that Grenouille watched one entire afternoon to see if she ever stopped and took a breath. He said he couldn't be certain. This photo of the same four fountain friends, is from last year.

The title of this post mentions permissive gardening. That's my name for letting plants act out. Plants show up where they will, and while we move some, usually to prevent conflicts, others we leave be. One example is the way I mow around plants that have escaped from the flower beds - like these ox-eye daisies. The stone wall on the left is the edge of the bed; so the daisies are a good two to three feet out into the front lawn, heading for the street. I'll mow them later, when they stop blooming. Next year they will have traveled a few more feet.

I'm encouraging their road trip dreams.

11 comments:

Mathman6293 said...

You are a lot Lisa. She loves to let the garden play out. Volunteers ended up all over our garden and it will be one of the aspects I will miss from the old place. One year we had cantaloupe grow on it's own and they were the best fruit. We salvaged many of our daisies.

Steve Emery said...

MathMan - We had a volunteer pumpkin one year, and we've had so many volunteer flowers... I'm glad you brought along some of your plants - it helps with a move. We brought dozens from our first house to this one, and some small bushes that Dearest's father had started from cuttings. We'd never be able to move some of those now!

linda said...

steve, this painting has the potential to be one of your best, in my not very humble opinion ;) I love how you have worked all those women in there, including the tree,which I didn't see at first and was briefly almost startled she was right in front of me....as always, stunning...

I have such a mess of stuff growing "out back" or "in the back 40", I was fighting with dh tonight about whether to just cut it all down or leave it alone and, ,according to him, have a nice crop of foxtails in the year to come...oh crap, it's just impossible sometimes...

I love your daisies and they look so well-behaved to me...maybe I'm losing perspective with my garden miseries of late :(

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! What a great sketch! I love what you're doing with it, I love it already! SUPER!!!!! I can't wait to see more. Splendid!

June Saville said...

You are so democratic Steve. I like that ...
Also I look forward to the progress of 'Wind'. I love the way you have the human figures wafting.

Genie Sea said...

I love it! Road trip dreams for flowers and permissive gardening. I think I am a Master of that! :)

I love the painting already! It's so fluid and filled with lovely color ideas and light. I am excited to see its progress :)

Lisa said...

MathMan is giving away my secrets in the garden. I'm feeling the itch to go battle knee high weeds in the old overgrown garden to go fetch more plants before they aren't ours to fetch any more.

Lambs ear, more daisies, a young Rose of Sharon, more hostas, some daylilies.....

I look forward to the progress on Wind.

Steve Emery said...

Linda - that's the point (the hidden figures) - some are obvious, some less so until... there they are. So I'm glad that worked. There are eight figures so far. One is by far the least obvious.

I know our little third of an acre, dense as it is with species and packed with garden plants, is pretty tame compared to your place - that's one of the reasons I love your photos - someplace quite different! I can see how it would seem like an overgrown jungle sometimes, and you might want to take a blow torch to it all. No comment on the fox tails... I like foxes, as you know, but I haven't had to fight with them to make my living. I daresay I'd have different sentiments if I had.

Mary Stebbins Taitt - Thanks for the encouraging comments, here and elsewhere!

June - good to see you here! I must confess, though, that while we are democratic with the daisies, we exiled a large goldsturm black-eyed susan Sunday, to a good home... But it still feels like we autocratically decree who gets to stay and who gets to go. But that's what gardening IS, when you get past the basics and things start to grow by leaps and bounds - deciding who goes where (and who does NOT).

Genie Sea - Thanks! I have not had enough time lately to do much on-line besides post - I have to do more visiting! And I downloaded your lovely wallpaper gift to me, but by the time it was finally all here (slow Internet that day) I hadn't energy or time enough to properly react to the poem, so I still haven't opened it. It's like those books, CDs and dunnies I hoard, waiting until I will wriggle with delight inside when I open it... I promise to let you know how it makes me feel.

Lisa - I hope you do get back there and rescue more of your plants. The next owners are more likely to ignore them - I've watched gardens for the last 30 years in every place we've lived. Only about a quarter of the time do the next residents "get it" and continue the garden.

Even your choice of plants contains some of the champion wanderers. You like the sprawling vagrant types - so do we. Though we've had to remove some because we don't have room for their style. And others are carefully contained, like God's command to the sea in the Book of Job, "Thus far shall you come, and no further, and here your proud waves shall cease." Like pink primroses (Oenothera), or goldsturm black-eyed susans.

susan said...

That's a great beginning to a painting I look forward to seeing in its developing iterations. The drawing is superb.

I love your garden and sometimes wish I had one of my own. Maybe one day and meanwhile I'll enjoy the pictures my friends show of theirs.

Pagan Sphinx said...

The sketch is very Steve Emery. I think it's going to be gorgeous!

I'm a permissive gardener. I don't fret too much over the garden. I do what I can but let it have its own personality and will. Like my children... :-)

Odd Chick said...

It is so great for me to see the process of writing down the idea, to drawing it, to begin painting it. Sharing that process, and then the painting makes it so rich, and helpful. I got your CD cover as you call them, but I call it FINE ART!! Heavy on the fine. I can't believe I own a Steve Emery. You were so gracious to give them away. Like letting your plants act out - and calling it permissive gardening. I just like your heart and your art.