The Unflappable Molly

A close friend commissioned me to make a drawing of every member of our dog walking group.

I’ve been stuck on Molly. I have many great photos from her Mom and friends, and I started a very different piece back in June (or was it July) of 2021.

That piece just wasn’t speaking to me. I’d started it in the style of another of the drawings I’d done, but it just didn’t suit Molly as well. So I dragged my feet…there was no joy in Whoville.

In the last month I decided to walk away from that drawing entirely, which was a first for me. It came with consequences in the form of self-doubt. Had I lost my mojo?

In the lead-up to walking away from that drawing I was also busy with my business, and I had not been sketching or collaging or doing anything creative outside of work. I felt a creative constipation of sorts.

The holiday break was good for me because I just started playing again. The value of play can not be overstated. As a creative, sometimes you need to make something really bad, or good, or somewhere in between with nothing riding on it. There’s no pressure, just “pure” creation. I use quotes because pure isn’t really the right word. It’s more about letting go of any preconception or intentional design and just seeing what happens.

All of Molly’s pictures are in an album and I would flip through them every now and then. Molly is very much her own dog. She was a stray that adopted her family, and she has ideas about when things should happen. She’s a private dog…preferring to go off trail a bit to take care of business. She doesn’t waste time with too much jumping around and wiggly butt greeting. She tolerates her pack mates and she is sometimes protective of the group. But she is an anchor to the group. She is a founding member, and she is solid and reliable Molly. Ever present but not overly affectionate to the group.

This means the photo I eventually picked is probably not her most flattering, but I does match my experience of her. Aware of me, comfortable with me, but ultimately not impressed by me. I’m also making progress on it, and this morning, the sunlight coming through my front door threw a rainbow on the endeavor. I must be on to something.

Art Supply Test – Blick Illustrator Markers

On the trip to Chicago last week to sketch with the Urban Sketchers, I made a side trip to Blick and got a great deal on a set of illustrator markers.

Did a few tests in various notebooks and these babies bleed…even on 98 lb Canson mixed media paper.

The do put down a satisfying amount of color per stroke, and each pen has two nibs…brush and chisel.

The test: A ModriNan (ha!) on a false-start page.

And the flip side.

Special thanks to Smithers the cat for lending her behind as a specialty easel for photography. Smithers is currently putting in community service in an effort to make Santa’s “nice” list.

Thanks for stopping by!

Garden Time

This drawing was posted in 2019. The post has been updated for the 2022 Annual Four Season’s Garden Club Plant Sale. You’ve reached the page with more information about your Epimedium!

Part Sun/Shade
Well-Drained Soil
Low Maintenance
Pink Flowers – Early Spring
Bees Love Them for Early Pollin

Original 2019 post: Spent a couple of days separating and transplanting garden plants. After a bike ride this morning, I spent downtime in the garden…

Bishops Cap (Epimedium) 2019 drawing of an early spring single stem. Pencil and watercolor.

I believe mine is the “Sweetheart” Epimedium varietal. There are many varieties with different colored flowers. Other common names include Barrenwort or Fairy Wings.

These are part sun/shade lovers, and they do well in a well-drained yet moist and fertile soil. They do well in my garden with leaf litter winter mulching.

Bishops Cap in bloom (early spring – late April – early May).

The foliage of this Epimedium is green with red edges, and in the fall the leaves turn slightly rusty red but still green for a beautiful late season display.

In a sea of Hosta plants, Epimedium makes a nice break for the eye in a shade garden. They also green up before the Hosta do making the empty spring garden bed a little less empty if you don’t prune them back.

They are low maintenance plants that keep their shape into the winter, and the leaves lay down in the spring as the new leaf and flower stems uncurl from their center and open in a canopy above the old growth.

Some gardeners like to prune back their plants, but I favor leaving them all alone. They only get a little shaggy in the very early spring, but there is new growth shortly thereafter, and then all traces of the old growth vanish.

The slow-spreading clump can be propagated most easily in the spring by simple root division using a spade. Give the plant a chance to send up its new growth so you can see how it has spread (which it does via rhizome), but divide the plant before the canopy is solid so you can get your spade into the mass more easily.

Here’s a longer article by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden extolling the virtues of the Epimedium: https://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/elegant_epimedium

Thanks for stopping by!