Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Who are These People

These People on cardboard by Sharon Tomlinson
Who are these people?

That Sunday back in October when I initiated the Attic Studio and documented the event on Instagram with the above photo was a beginning.

It was a beginning of a huge attic studio project; the details of which I will save for another post.

Not until I posted it on Instagram did I see the haunting white face right there near the middle.
Do you see him? 

I got pretty excited but this is when we were having big rain and wind storms and I didn't go back over for a few days. 
All the time, I would pull up the photo and wonder about who he was and how I would paint him.
I really did get myself worked up about the process.

At last we had a clear day and I rushed over to look at the face in-real-life to see how in the world I had overlooked him.

At first glance, Oh No!
He's gone!

In shock, I remembered the quick documentary photo shot was just a moment in time. 
I had totally forgotten that in the zone and flow of the day in the attic studio, I kept pushing cheap pastel craft paint around with a cheap foam brush on this big piece of cardboard.
And he was gone!  

I was back to no inspiration with this piece which was my starting place when I first sat down at the easel in the attic back in October. 

I left it be.

As stupid as it sounds, I grieved about the loss of this phantom (a physical manifestation of the soul or spirit of a deceased person) face.

Time passed and I finally was ready to face the project again. 
Due to the cold, I decided to fetch the cardboard and paint here in my warm home studio. 
 I propped it up in front of me while in the cozy chair zone just thinking about what I would do next. 

He was sure enough gone. 
So I flipped it over with the up side down
lo and behold!
There are people on it!
I would probably never have looked for them were it not for him. 
 Here they are after I lightly penciled around the shapes that clearly were people. 
 Sometimes it's not about pretty faces. 
My technique is to capture what I see with minimum paint.
 This is not the first time A Group Of Strangers has shown up while I'm painting. 

I don't know who These People are but I'm pretty sure these people know my people.
I'm also pretty sure they have lots of stories to tell.

On that Sunday back in October when I started this project, I prepped and pushed paint around on several more cardboards. 
Yep, more people.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Evolution of my Attic

Remember this?  
This is the back wall view of the attic before I pronounced last fall that I would reclaim The Garden Palace from the furry beast and flying creatures.

 Here is the "after" with a few word to document the evolution of my Garden Palace attic. 

"before" front wall
 Dear sweet son came in early June.
He and I installed the floor. 
The truth is, I never really really thought this would happen. 
 Nearly done.
Taking a break.

 When the floor was finished, I started closing in the end walls. 
After a few days, I enlisted the help of D.J. who uses a bigger hammer than me.
Pipe Hand Rail
 On July 1st, we installed the hand rail. 
What a glorious day!
Maybe you can see how steep the stairs are.
You can't imagine how excited I was about this project. 
It couldn't be done until the wall was closed in.

 The thing to notice here is how little shelves were created in a "make it work" design moment.
 I placed jars on the shelves so they would show in the photo. 

By this time is was well into July and the Texas heat was not bearable in this tin roofed attic.

 Late September, I started back at it and finished installing the front wall. 
Now is when I should tell you that the wall material was any and every kind of board you can imagine. 
I used hundred year old floor boards, new floor boards, old garage door facing boards, old shelving boards, old bead board, new and old lumber bits and pieces.
Some had been painted, some had not, some was obviously new wood and some had an aged patina. 
The width nor the thickness mattered not to me. 
The point was first, to clear out a couple of hoards of such material and secondly, cheap.

 The first layer was a whitewash effect with just watered down white paint. 
 Then, I went back in with some paint colors on random places.
I really wanted to love this but when I realized the huge job I had created for myself in order to get the final finish that I wanted, I just knew that no matter what, I wasn't going to love it. 
 I also realized or rather remembered that my intention is to cover the walls with framed art and photos. 
That fact cinched it.
I had to paint the walls white. 

When I got the left side painted white, the conflict was over.
I loved it!
 On October 9th, the first painting was hung. 
It just felt like I needed to have this here while I continued the work. 

 Then the back wall. 

The Bridge

 To reach the wall and rafters above the stairwell, a bridge and ladder is used. 
It's a little scary up there.

The Floor
 Even though I knew, I'm not crazy about gray paint, I still started out with it because it is a ready-mix color easy and quick to get. 
The color was light gray.
That is the light gray on the left.
It seemed too dark.
So I mixed it with a white to see if I might be happier.

Not really. 

 I went back to the store and had this light color mixed.
After using it, I saw that I could go a little darker without making the room dark, so I got another gallon mixed for the second coat. 

Stay tuned for more projects.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm Nesting

Did you ever watch a nest being built? 
I have.
In June 2009, I watched a red bird, another name for a Northern Cardinal, build a nest at my back door.
I documented it here on my blog as it was in progress in several post. 

That is why I'm positive these two nest were built by red birds. 
I just discovered these nest recently near the Garden Palace in side by side Oleanders. 

Made me wonder if they were setting there eggs at the same time. 
It must get pretty lonely on the nest. 
So, I chose to think they planned this. 

The interesting thing is they build in layers.
The first layer is large coarse material which shows nicely in the first picture. 
I recognize this as dead branches of a vine which is hanging in a nearby cedar tree. 
That big green leaf in the forefront is of the same kind of vine. 
Then, as each layer is added, the material gets smaller and smaller. 
A layer of dead leaves is added before the final very fine material is added and smoothed into a perfect cup like home for nesting.

Just thought you'd like to know.
PS:    I don't know if redbirds clean up and refurbish to reuse a nest but I'm leaving these in place and will be watching....come spring. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Last post on Texas Native Plant week

This will be my last post recognizing and celebrating Texas Native Plant Week, October 19 - 25. 
Today, it is all about the unknown.
The unidentified.
I will give some of my observations about these native plants that I have yet to identify.

This one has beautiful gray-green soft color which I really like.
It is pubescent, meaning covered with hairs and is nice to touch. 
I fear it is a very prolific and probably on the farmers' dreaded noxious weed list.
Nevertheless, I will add one to my near-the-house gardens.

This unknown looks a lot like a Heuchera.
I see it growing low to the ground but that could be because the ones that I have observed are in areas that are mowed. 
I really like the leaf shape and coloration and plan to use it as a ground cover in shady areas.
Although, I have seen it in full sun as well. 
I don't remember seeing it bloom; however, it may bloom in spring.
I will be watching.

This one again.
I love this plant.
It grows as tall and taller than me.
At daylight, I'm going out to see if any of these seed heads remain. 
I have been seeing the birds working this area.
It is a beautiful plant that has rust color during it's peak and then as it begins to die, it all turns rust as you can see in the background of this photo. 

If left to grow, in other words, not in the mower's path, this unknown has a very desirable branching habit.
I think it could be grown as a small hedge. 
I do remember seeing it in bloom and I think it is a violet-purplish color.
I will have to wait until spring for the blooms and then I should be able to identify it.

This unknown with a small yellow flower is a bogsy type plant. 
It pops up near the edge of the water each year. 
It is growing in an area that is under water when the tank is full. 

This is a nice little shade loving shrubby plant.
It grows from runners underground. 
Sometimes I love it and sometimes I don't 
I think I'm back to the lovin it stage.

 I forgot that it made this little berry-fruit-seeds.
Because not all of them have these. 
This might be clue to identifying this native.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes another native plant

In 2009, the Texas legislature designated the third week in October as Texas Native Plant Week.

Today I celebrate Inland Sea Oats growing in the wild here on my property.

Inland Sea Oats (08/29/2014)
 This native plant is not about the flowers. 
It is all about the beautiful seed heads dangling from the long arching branches. 
Inland Sea Oats (10/21/2014)
 I have lots of them and have plans to bring some up into the gardens near the house. 
Inland Sea Oats in the wild

The following is from the Native Plant Database at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center:

Chasmanthium latifolium

Chasmanthium latifolium (Michx.) Yates

Inland sea oats, Indian wood oats, Wild oats, River oats, Flathead oats, Upland Oats, Upland Sea Oats

Poaceae (Grass Family)

Synonym(s): Uniola latifolia

USDA Symbol: CHLA5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is a 2-4 ft., clump-forming, perennial grass bearing large, drooping, oat-like flower spikelets from slender, arching branches. The blue-green, bamboo-like leaves often turn a bright yellow-gold, especially in sunnier sites, in fall.
Very popular as a low-maintenance shade grass, Inland sea oats is notable for its large, graceful seedheads. Sending up blue-green basal leaves in earliest spring, it can be 2 feet tall and a vivid green by May, with translucent green seedheads swaying in the breeze. By mid-summer, the seeds will have turned an attractive ivory and will turn brown in a few months before dropping off. It passes through most of winter a soft brown, but becomes tattered and gray by February, a good time to cut it back to the basal rosette. It reseeds easily and can expand aggressively within a couple of years, making a solid mat in moist loams. It has been used to prevent soil erosion along streams. The seed stalks are attractive inflower arrangements.
Inland Sea Oats Flower Spikelets

Inland Sea Oats Flower Spikelets

Inland Sea Oats Flower Spikelets

Inland Sea Oats Flower Spikelets and seeds
One of the things about this native plant that I really do love is the bamboo like leaves and the drooping arching branches.
Oh, that's two things. 
But most of all I love the seed heads.
I had to investigate.
One seed can be found wrapped inside each little paper-like husk.
So you know, the grid is ¼ inch.
I will probably transplant some and try planting seeds too.