Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Blue Gates - the painting and ours at Sweetside

I made a trip over to the Berkshires to my mother's for her 88th birthday last week. It was really fun to be able to take her out to lunch at Panera, where she had never been, and to share pictures and information about the lives of her grandchildren via their blogs and websites etc.

While there I also undertook a project she has wanted to do for some time, namely to re-paint the frames on two of her oil pantings, changing them from the yellowed-white to her favorite color - blue. One of these paintings was the Blue Gate painting done by my paternal grandmother, Margaret Brunjes, many years ago. As I mentioned in a previous post, this painting, of a scene in Rockport, Mass, was the inspiration for us painting our new gate, here at Sweetside, blue. I took a picture of the painting, sans the frame as it was still drying

Here's the painting....and here's our Sweetside blue gate.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Seek Your Course!

Ever thought it would be fun to take an art course but can't find anything at your level or anything interesting and/or affordable near where you live? Well, let me tell you about an awesome way to do it.


I recently took an art eCourse and it was great fun. The instructor, an artist in England in this case, provided regular input via the her website, including a weekly video clip. The people taking the course did their work and then we shared our efforts with each other via a Flickr photo sharing group. We were able to see each others efforts, comment on them and encourage each other..... as did the instructor. It was great!!

And now there's a way to FIND all kind sof opportunities like this, from photography, to wirtintg and painting or sculpture or fiber arts...the list goes on. There are tons of things available for you to discover by browsing Seek Your Course

If you decide to take one of these art eCourses....please tell me about it!!
And let others know about Seek Your Course.

Friday, July 15, 2011

No Time to be Squeemish - Pine Sawfly

It has been unusually hot this summer and I've spent little time in my sunny main garden, preferring instead to work in the back shade area where I am planning some new projects.

It's still hot but far less humid so today after work I ventured into the sun to do a little deadheading. One of the shrubs in the sunny garden is my lovely little mungo pine which is tucked into a section by the small pond, just to the left of the image above, in the blog header.

Lately I had noticed some browning on Mr Mungo but assumed it was from the extremely hot weather we've been haivnng.


As I wandered over there for a closer look...horrors... I saw that dozens (I mean many dozens) of Pine Sawfly larvae were munching en masse on several different clusters of needles. Many needles had two larvae attached, face to face, enveloping the entire needle. AGH! Looking even closer I saw that many branches were devoid of needles and several sections were brown and dead looking.

Well most all of the larvae have now been sunk in a bucket of soapy water, along with a few Japanese beetles from the nearby roses.

What a nasty job.

I'm sure I did not get them all so I'll have to keep a close watch on Mr My Mungo who now has many bare and brown sections.

Hopefully his needles will come back. Does anyone know if they will??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blue Gate of Amherst

It's been a while coming -- but -- it's DONE!

It took us 3 weekends to build, paint, hang and attach the latch -- to be exact.

But, Amherst now has it's own
Blue Gate

Take that Rockport!

Seriously, we built our fence, slat by slat, 3 years ago but now, it needed a gate so I will not have to worry about my little dog Mia running across the street to the park to play with her puppy friends. She thinks it is her job to be by my side when I am gardening because we all know I might get lost out there (!) but, she also loves other dogs (and chasing squirrels) hence my caution and -- the gate.

Back to the Rockport reference.

In Rockport Massachusetts there is a house with a view of the harbor and the white picket fence has had a blue gate for many years. It has become a well known spot for painters, including my own grandparents, Henry and Margaret Brunjes, over 50 years ago. Next time I go to my mother's house in the Berkshires I will take a picture of the oil painting of Blue Gate that my grandmother did many years ago.

As we were building our gate I had the idea to paint ours blue (the same blue as our house...with just a hint of purple in it) so Amherst would have her own Blue Gate. In this case, just down the street from Emily Dickinson's house.