Friday, 30 October 2009

Trees and More Trees

Well, I cannot hide from it any longer -- I have the flu. I don't know which kind of flu, but I have the usual symptoms. I have actually had it since the beginning of the week, but just kept telling myself that it was a simple, old-fashioned cold, but I could only pretend for so long.

Actually, considering all the symptoms I have, I am not feeling all that bad at the moment -- unless I try to stand up and walk around that is! No, seriously, I am feeling well enough to post this blog.

As you can see from the title, this posting is all about trees. Those of you who have been reading my blog for the past couple of years know how I feel about trees. I am literally a tree-hugger. I even talk to trees. I have drawn many trees over the years -- some good and some terrible, but the one above is a recent re-drawing of an Acacia tree which I am very fond of. It isn't great, but it pleases the artist in me. You may remember seeing this tree some months ago with a man sitting under it. I have since removed the man and re-drawn the whole scene.

The remainder of this posting consists of a few of the hundreds of photos of trees that I have collected. You do know that I collect photographs of trees, don't you? I am sure no one is surprised at that!

This first photo is of a tree in early morning. Trees and light create some of the most soul-satisfying images we humans can gaze upon. I praise God each time I see such a scene as this.

Here is an old tree in all its Autumn glory. Imagine sitting underneath this tree, leaning against the trunk and looking up. I would have to sing a hymn of praise.

Finally we have these ancient trees, part of some roadway (you can see the road at the left edge of the photo). Who knows what these trees saw when they were young. Yet, in comparison to the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, several of which are 2000 years old, these trees aren't old at all.

I have lots more photos of trees I thought about posting, but I wanted to keep this short so I can get back to resting and recovering. Hopefully, I will still feel like posting on Sunday. I think I will.

Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


The first drawing tonight is of a cactus plant. That much I know.

I also know that its name is Cactaceae Ortegocactus macdougallii. I am calling it "Mac" for short.

By searching online I was able to discover that the plant is found growing wild in only one location:
Oaxaca, Mexico. I checked a number of plant websites where I can usually get a lot of information, but there was almost nothing there. It seems this is the only "Ortegocactus" known to us.

So, I remain uncertain about any other information.

I am in even worse shape when it comes to this drawing.

I have no definite information about this plant at all. The photo that I worked from was taken in Cape Breton so that is what I am calling the drawing: "Cape Breton Flowers".

I have tried and tried to find an exact match for this plant, but so far I have been unsuccessful. If you know what it is, please let me know.

I figured that it must be either a Coreopsis or Gaillardia of the Asteraceae family. Gaillardia is where we find all the Blanket Flowers. The problem is the centre of these flowers in the drawing. None of the Blanket flowers have a raised, dark brown centre like the ones in my drawing.

There are over 30 different species of Gaillardia and that many or more of Coreopsis. So, I am very uncertain about what kind of flowers I have drawn.

So there are all my uncertainties as noted in the title of this posting.

I did receive a copy of the 7 x 7 paperback edition of the Rosary book. It is a lovely little book which could easily be carried in a purse or backpack, but I really don't like the paperback cover. It doesn't lay quite flat. You know how some paperback covers curl back at the corners just a little -- well, that is what this one does and I really dislike that. I am tempted to publish it with a hard cover, but that would take the price up and defeat the purpose of having it small and with a paper back.

If you are interested in buying a copy of this small version, the price is $27.50.

By the way, I seem to have a cold. I don't think it is the flu as I don't feel bad -- I just have a runny nose. Anyway, should I miss posting on Friday, it will mean that I am feeling worse. Not to worry, I will be back soon.

Peace be with you all.

Monday, 26 October 2009

One New; One Second Edition

There are two drawings I want to show you tonight. The first one is a new drawing while the second one is a revision of a previous drawing. I called it a "second edition" in the title, but it is really a revision.

The first drawing is of the same Genus as a drawing I posted on Monday, October 12: Lewisia. Both plants come from the
Family of Portulacaceae and the Genus, Lewisia. The fancy (or common) name of the hybrid I posted on the 12th was "Little Plum". This one, however, is not a hybrid and I don't have a fancy name for it. Many of the Lewisia plants are commonly called "Bitterroot" and so I guess I will assign that name to this one as well.

I did a thorough search to see if I could discover its "cultivar", but after searching until all the plants begin to look alike, I gave up. If anyone reading this has an idea of what this one might be called, please let me know.

As for this second drawing, the "first edition" was posted back on Thursday, October 8. The original has a dark, green background. As you may recall, this "spooned" flower is named Osteospermum Nasinga Purple.

After working with the drawing a bit more post-posting, I decided to try redoing it with a light background. Then, I couldn't decide when one I preferred. I have asked a couple of people since then for their opinions and so far the votes have been 2 - 0 in favour of the bright light finish as above. What do you think?

You may have noticed that I have a tendency to like bursts of light in the background on many drawings. I had an art instructor tell me once that I should investigate why I was drawn to orgasmic depictions in my art. I wanted to tell him that they were not orgasmic, but, rather, they were "Alleluia" depictions. That I was expressing praise to God with my art work. And, besides, was not Christ the Light of the world? I don't think he would have been too impressed by my reasoning, but I stand by it even now.

May peace be with you all.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Another Flower and Horse

This the last Plumeria. I promise.

I just couldn't resist drawing this one, though, because instead of having white petals, it has slightly pink petals -- and I am very fond of pink flowers. I am sure it smells quite pleasant and must look very beautiful in real life.

Once again, the Family is Apocynaceae. The Genus is Plumeria. The species is rubra. The cultivar (or particular variety) is again unknown. So, just like the one I posted on Thursday therefore, I am calling this drawing "Plumeria rubra Unknown 2". I tried to find another photo of this one that might have the name attached, but was not successful. Oh, well...

This second drawing was inspired by a photograph I saw on Facebook. Not only did it contain a horse for me to draw, but there was also a lovely, young girl. Somehow the two go very well together.

Although I have never been particularly fond of the way white horses look, I am fond of all horses. I have found another photo of two horses which I am looking forward to drawing.

Speaking of being fond of animals, I imagine that many of you have seen the photos of "Pink the Pig". No? Well, here is one of them.

Evidently, the piggy needed a wet nurse and mama Dachshund was chosen. The mother dog accepted Pink right into her litter. Pink is now one of the cleanest of pigs as her doggy mama licks her clean just like the rest of her pups.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened."

It is difficult for me to believe that a week from today will be All Hallows Eve and then it will be November 1st. I love the fact that November starts off with two special holy days: All Saints Day on the 1st and All Souls Day on the 2nd. November is the month where the Church remembers the dead. As I get older, I have more and more family and friends to remember!

Peace be with you all.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Another Plumeria

Here is another Plumeria -- the famous flowers used to make the Hawaiian leis.

Their Family is Apocynaceae. Their Genus is Plumeria. The species shown above is rubra. The cultivar (or particular variety) is unknown. So I am calling this drawing "Plumeria rubra Unknown". I think it may be "Heidi" which is one of the varieties I have shown previously, but I am not sure. I was attracted to the photo that I worked from because I liked the look of all those buds.

Just so you know, I have one more Plumeria that I am working on which should be ready by Saturday -- so prepare yourself for another one, but that should be the last of them.

Next I want to show the head of a horse that I drew recently.

I don't know if I captured the beauty of the horse -- not just the physical details but also the "sweetness" of the face. As you know, I am extremely fond of horses. I have even been considering getting involved in this program that we have in Toronto for disabled people to go horseback riding! It would be so great to be back on a horse again. I know I won't be able to let the horse gallop as I used to do with my "Skipper", but it would still be wonderful just to ride.

Here is a photo of my grandnephew, Daniel. He is learning to ride horses. He is in a group of children who have various physical disabilities and he is doing just fine. Here he is being taught how to brush the horse's tail. How I wish I could be there in Tennessee to ride with him. His older sister is also riding these days and like she does with most things, she has quickly mastered all the basic skills in just a couple of lessons.

Peace be with you all.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Happenstance and Harlequin

Let's begin tonight with a bit of happenstance! That happens to be the name of the flower posted above -- "Happenstance".

Actually, its full name is Penstemon gloxinoides Happenstance. This plant is of the Family or tribe called Scrophulaniaceae. How about that for a moniker?

These deep-throated flowers (I am not making any oblique references to Watergate here) are pollinated by the usual culprits from bees to butterflies to hummingbirds. They are found all over North America.

I tried a different kind of background with this drawing and I am unsure whether it worked or not. What do you think?

This next flower is another Hydrangea. Its name is "Harlequin" and it is a rather unusual looking Hydrangea as far as I am concerned.

Its proper name is Hydrangea macrophylla Harlequin and it is another member of the "big leaf" family of Hydrangeas.

I found this flower very difficult to draw because it has all these flower petals jammed up against each other. Plus, the petals are large and rimmed deeply with white. To me they ended up looking too much like a cartoon drawing. Maybe it is because there is so little detail -- just leaves and petals. Oh, well, they do look beautiful in real life but should probably be painted in watercolour instead of drawn on a computer.

I almost was not able to post this tonight as I could not get my drawings to download properly. I thought about what the problem could be. I knew that the only thing that had changed since the last time I posted was my being "tagged" by the search engine. I had also added some Html commands so their logo would show up. So, I decided to remove all their stuff and then everything worked fine. Strange about that.
Well, all is well that ends well, so it is said.

Peace be with you all.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Nightingale and Inukshuk

Tonight's flower drawing comes from a genus that I have posted several times previously. I even posted a similar drawing of a lacecap Hydrangea in pink. I am very fond of Hydrangeas and always enjoy seeing them in peoples gardens -- no matter which type they are: lacecap, mophead or panicle. Now for some details on this one.

This lovely flower comes from the Family of Hydrangeaceae, the Genus is Hydrangea and the Species macrophylla. It comes originally from Switzerland so its proper name is Hydrangea macrophylla Nachtigall (German for Nightingale). These big leaf Hydrangeas like Nachtigall, grow into large shrubs.

This second drawing is a recent sketch of an Inukshuk. The background is a photograph I came across of the Northern Lights. So what we have is a simple drawing of a "rock man" illuminated by the Lights of the northern sky.

I love photos of the Northern Lights as I have mentioned before. Even better were the summer I spent way up north in Ontario where we could watch the Northern Lights almost every night during the summer.

By the way, just in case there are any of my U.S. readers who don't know what an Inukshuk is, it is a large stone marker in the rough shape of a man. The Inuit people (Americans call them Eskimos) have used them for centuries to tell travellers that this is a good place to stay for the night especially since the Inukshuk often indicates that there is a food cache nearby. It can also mean that an igloo or other shelter is close by. Simply stated, it means that man has been here and it is good. The Inukshuk is being used as the symbol for the Winter 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

By the way, in case anyone is interested, I have ordered a first copy of my Rosary book in the new format. It is 7 x 7 in size and paperback. The cost will be $25. So if the hardcover 8 x 10 version was too expensive for you, you might be interested in getting a copy of this one. It should be available for purchase in about two weeks from now.

May Peace be with you all.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Plumeria with Sunflowers

Well, here is another Plumeria. By now you are probably thinking -- when will she stop drawing these Plumeria flowers? Well, I'll tell you -- not yet!

Anyway, this one is called Plumeria rubra "Heidi" so I will just refer to it as "Heidi" for short.

Heidi, like all Plumerias, is native to warm tropical areas. It is used in Hawaii for the making of leis. The trees may reach a height of 30 to 40 feet. They have long, fleshy leaves in clusters near the branch tips.

Now you have been introduced to Heidi, Celadine and Nosegay -- all members of the Plumeria rubra "family". Which lovely lady will be next?!

Next, I want to talk briefly about sunflowers.

Above is a recent drawing I did of sunflowers, called "Ron's Sunflowers". I posted this drawing some weeks ago. It is truly just a simple drawing of sunflowers -- nothing special about it at all.

Now, I want to show you some beautiful sunflowers in a painting done by a dear friend.

This, in my opinion, is a beautiful painting of sunflowers. As I mentioned, it was painted by a dear friend of mine by the name of Rose Marie.

She is a true professional when it comes to art as is evident from the work above. I have actually shown you one of her earlier paintings in a previous posting -- an Arbutus tree -- which some of you may recall.

Anyway, Rose Marie sent me a picture of her painting recently and I just wanted to share it with all of you.

I hope all my Ontario readers are enjoying our too early winter weather. At least the sun is shining!

Peace be with you all.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

More Plumeria and Saints

Just as I promised, here is another Plumeria. Remember what I said a couple of postings ago? Well, in case you have forgotten, I said: I am not finished with my efforts to draw a more life-like depiction" or something like that! Anyway, I will just repeat what I said about the plant's origin below.

Plumerias (Frangipani) are also known as the Lei flower and is native to warm, tropical areas of the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and some southernmost parts of Florida. They grow into large shrubs or even small trees."

Their Family is Apocynaceae. Their Genus is Plumeria. The species shown above is rubra. The cultivar (or particular variety) is Celadine. So I am calling this drawing "Plumeria rubra Celadine".

I really like these flowers and their big leaves, so expect to see more of drawings of them. This is my third attempt to capture their elegant nature.

I also want to show you a drawing I did a week or two ago of St. (Padre) Pio. I put "Padre" in parantheses because technically it is no longer part of his name. He was known for many years simply as Padre Pio, but when he was canonized, his name officially became St. Pio of Pietrelcina.

Over the past month, I have grown exceedingly fond of St. Pio of Pietrelcina. For years I was a bit uncomfortable with him because of such things as the stigmata, fore- knowledge, being in two places at one time, fights with demons, etc. All this seemed just a bit too much for me. I mean, after all, I have a nice, reserved background where faith doesn't have all these extraordinary excesses!

Then I started reading and watching DVD's about Padre Pio and now my opinion has changed completely. I have also decided to try not to be such a snob about people's expression of their faith.

All of this leads me to the point of posting this drawing -- I am considering whether to try to do an icon of the saint. I consider this drawing to be almost like a sketch which I would use for developing a real icon. If you have an opinion on this matter, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

I will close my posting tonight with St. Padre Pio's famous saying: "Pray, hope and don't worry."

Monday, 12 October 2009

Breeches or Britches

Let me introduce you to Dicentra cucullaria, better known as "Dutchman's Breeches". Although as you can see from the title, there has been some controversy among Americans as to whether it should be "breeches" or "britches" -- some felt that "breeches" was much too British! However, for the sake of this posting, I will stay with the more popular "breeches".

The name "Dutchman's Breeches" seems a bit strange to me so I tried to discover the origin. "Breeches" was easy enough as the flowers do look a bit like pants hanging upside down, but why "Dutchman's"? I never found a satisfactory answer -- I suppose that maybe the men who immigrated from Holland in the early days of the settlement of North American wore loose fitting white trousers. If any of you know the real answer, please let me know and I will pass it along.

One of the more interesting things about this plant is that it is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants! The seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants take the seeds to their nest where they eat the elaisomes and put the seeds in their nest debris where they are protected until they germinate. Fascinating.

Native peoples used the plant for skin conditions and as a blood purifier. Early Europeans considered this plant useful for syphilis. No comment.

This next plant has a very long name: Lewisia longipetala x cotyledon "Little Plum"! I think I will just stick with L. longipetala.

This plant has an interesting history. In 1875 the first wild species of L. longipetala was collected by an American amateur botanist who had gone out west to the Pacific coast. However, the species was confined to such a small area that it was "lost" and not rediscovered until 1967! Unfortunately, the wild population is now in steady decline due to the ongoing development of recreation trails and ski resorts.

The flowers I have drawn above were discovered in a garden in Scotland as a random garden hybrid and named "Little Plum". How they got to Scotland is a mystery. When the seeds were released to the public in the year 2000, they became a instant hit with gardeners. I think they are lovely flowers but, sadly, I cannot show the true nature of the petals which have a rather fragile look about them with all those pink "veins" running through them. The limitations of my software is evident once again.

I hope all the Canadians reading this had a Happy Thanksgiving today. Now the poor turkeys can breathe a bit more easily for a while!

May peace be with you all.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Frangipani Lei on Horseback

I decided to do some more drawings of Plumerias flowers, more commonly known as Frangipani. These are such beautiful flowers and almost impossible for me to draw properly on the computer -- although I am stubborn enough to keep trying!

Plumerias (Frangipani) are also known as the Lei flower (hence my title) and is native to warm, tropical areas of the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, South America, Mexico and some southermost parts of Florida. They grow into large shrubs or even small trees.

Their Family is Apocynaceae. Their Genus is Plumeria. The species shown above is rubra. The cultivar (or particular variety) is Nosegay. So I am calling this drawing "Plumeria rubra Nosegay".

I am not finished with my efforts to draw a more life-like version so expect to see more Plumerias in the future!

You may recall my mentioning a week or so ago that I had come across some new photographs of horses. Well, I warned you that I would be doing some more horse drawings and here is the first of several.

I am calling this one "Horses -- Old and Young". As usual, I am not really satisfied with my horse drawing technique, but I have just about decided that I may never be! Regardless of my skill, I love to draw them (as you know) since I always pretend I am there with them while I am doing the drawing. After cats, horses are my favourite domesticated animal.

I am almost finished with my book on the Stations of the Cross and I have my Rosary book ready to print in the smaller, paperback format. So I am making progress. Next comes the text for the novena icon book. I am also working with friends to get a web site set up where I can sell my books and art work online. Maybe by the new year I will be ready to open my online store. God is so good to me in supplying me with so many wonderful friends.

Peace be with you all.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Flower Spoons

Tonight's drawing is of one blossom of a plant called Osteospermum. Its full name is Osteospermum Nasinga Purple. It is one of a number of varieties of Osteospermum -- this variety is referred to as "spooned" for obvious reasons!

The genus Osteospermum belongs to the plant family Compositae/Asteraceae or the Daisy family. Does the blossom above look like a daisy blossom to you? Asteraceae, by the way, is one of the smaller tribes of the sunflower family.

These plants originate in South Africa where they are known under the common names of "African Daisy", "South African Daisy", "Cape Daisy" and "Blue-eyed Daisy".

The genus name of Osteospermum is derived from the Greek osteon (meaning bone) and Latin spermum (meaning seed) which equals "bone seed". Don't ask me why it was given the name of "bone seed" -- I can't figure it out either.

Below is a photograph of all the different varieties of this South African daisy.

The "spooned" variety is, to me, the most fascinating of them all.

All those tiny blue flowerlets in the centre surrounded by a ring of tiny yellow flowerlets are found in the spooned variety and a couple of other varieties as well -- sort of like a flower garden for tiny fairies.

I wish I had more understanding of how a variety could be developed in which normal petals can be turned into "spoon" petals. If I had time, I would really like to go back to university and study botany this go-around just so I could understand all the marvellous things about the plants and trees our Creator has so lavishly poured out upon the earth. (I pray we don't destroy them all.)

May peace be with you.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Camellia x Williamsii with Schizostylis

Isn't that a great title?!

It sounds like someone named Camellia has a terrible disease!

Actually, Schizostylis is the name of a plant -- the plant in the drawing above. The more common names are Kaffir Lily and Crimson Flag (a slightly different version). Actually, I don't like the name Kaffir Lily because Kaffir is the same as the name given to black people by the whites of the old South Africa -- and it was not a term of respect. So I call it Schizostylis.

The proper name is Schizostylis coccinea -- or at least that was the proper name for a long time. Recently, however, there has been some controversy over the name and so many are now calling it Hesperantha coccinea. Hesperantha means "evening flower" and coccinea means "scarlet" since the early varieties had scarlet flowers. The plant originated in South Africa although it is now found in gardens throughout many parts of the world with the proper growing season.

Doing research on this plant, I discovered that the flowers in South Africa are pollinated by a large butterfly by the name of Aerpetes and "long proboscid flies". I would love to see this large butterfly but I would just as soon not see those flies! By the way, the South Africans called this plant the "river lily" these days.

This second drawing is called Camellia x Williamsii and is another Camellia hybrid.

This is a hybrid between Camellia japonica (which I have shown you previously) and a wild camellia from western China. The hybrid is named for John Charles Williams who first planted the seeds in England in the early 1900's. Since that time many varieties have been developed. I am not exactly sure which variety this is, but it may be the "Donation".

I have been getting a lot of help recently from several friends regarding my books and now have some new plans for getting them distributed. I will give you more details as things unfold.

Peace be with you all.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Weigela and Quince Jelly

The first drawing I want to show you tonight is a well-known garden shrub by the name of Weigela. This plant is known popularly by its genus and the genus is named after the German scientist, Christian von Weigel -- he lived from 1748 to 1831. He did not discover the plant, rather he was the first one to write its botanical description.

Anyway, the rest of the name denoting this variety is "Weigela florida" -- probably the most common form of Weigela in North America.

This plant originated in Asia and exhibits trumpet-shaped blossoms with a yellowish throat which is attractive to hummingbirds. I am attracted to it as well, especially the purple-green foliage which I find very appealing.

This second drawing is of a branch of the "Red Flowering Quince" tree.

The genus is Chaenomeles in the family of Rosaceae (the rose family). This is another plant that originated in Asia. The flowers that appear in early spring are quite striking.

Later, a green, apple-like fruit is produced which can be used in preserves or jellies. The fruit is too bitter to eat right off the tree.

As you can see, I have both flowers and fruit on my drawing -- I think that is called artistic license! However, in my defence I must say that this is very young fruit as it is closer to the size of a small apple when it is mature.

I am posting this rather late tonight as I had company today so everything is a bit behind schedule. Now I think I will go and get ready to call it an early night.

Hope you all had a happy feast of St. Francis.
Peace be with you all

Friday, 2 October 2009

Vireya Hybrids

In the past when I thought about Rhododendron, I thought about a blossom like the mauve one illustrated here.

Then, as I begin to seek out more flowers to use in my drawings, I discovered that a Rhododendron hybrid had been developed -- and that there were lots of very different looking flowers under the general heading of Rhododendron, Vireya Hybrids.

The one with white flowers at the beginning of this post is one such example. Its name is "Mendumiae". Actually, its proper name is Rhododendron mendumiae vireya hybrid, but I call it Mendumiae for short!

You may recall the first vireya hybrid I showed you a few posting ago by the name of "Pink Veitch" -- proper name, Rhododendron pink veitch vireya hybrid.

Then for something that looks totally different from anything I have shown you previously but is still a member of the same family, we have the drawing below.

This recent drawing is known as "Dutartrei" or more properly Rhododendron dutartrei vireya hybrid.

The background came from my file of background images. This file contains some backgrounds drawn by me and others collected from various databases. This one was one I found somewhere else but I felt it went well with the flowers.

I came across some new photos of horses that I like so you will probably be seeing some drawings of them soon. Remember, I am always on the lookout for images to work from so if you see anything you think would be of interest, please forward it to me.

Happy feast of the Guardian Angels!
May peace be with you all.