Tag Archives: garden

Watercolor Painting: Peony, Lily, and Cosmos Arrangement & updates on some oil paintings

Peony Lily Cosmos watercolor by Betsyness Studio
Peony Lily Cosmos watercolor by Betsyness Studio

Here is another floral watercolor painting in my favorite blush pink and brown color combination! I concentrated the pigment on the center of the peony and the base of the upside down lily.

Some oil painting updates

Minty cloud abstract oil painting by Betsyness Studio
Minty cloud abstract oil painting by Betsyness Studio

I don’t think I blogged about this painting before. This is an oil painting on a reworked acrylic painting from years ago. I was playing with Gamblin’s Torrit Grey borrowed from a fellow Portland painter, Bruce Reed. I have been to Dick Blick and they no longer have the sample paint ūüôĀ but apparently Gamblin gives this color out every year. I think I had in my mind to paint this amazing view of the Columbia Gorge from Lyle Washington, but at some point the painting felt done to me. My favorite part is the fleck of bright mint green, hence the name of the painting ‘Minty Cloud Abstract.’

I am also reworking an oil painting that I started last year of a crocosmia blossom against a patterned bath towel. I did not like how the colors were working together so I am making this more monochromatic. We’ll see if this comes together.

Crocosmia oil painting in progress
Crocosmia oil painting in progress

Studio Kitty Photo Break

Kitty with daisy ikebana
Kitty with daisy ikebana

Here’s Matisse the orange kitty with my Christmas present, a ceramic ikebana vase from a local Portland ceramic artist.

Watercolor Painting: Pink Cosmos with Magenta and Purple Blazes

Watercolor Painting: Pink Cosmos with Magenta and Purple BlazesPink¬†Cosmos with Magenta and Purple Blazes, 2017, 12×16

Cosmos¬†are the last flowers standing in my garden, I think I had them even until late November. In this¬†painting, I wanted to push the watercolor washes to see how saturated I could get the colors. I mixed the purple from magenta and blue and let the two colors mix wet-in-wet on the paper. It’s impossible to predict how the final painting will turn out!

Orange kitty with shiny ribbon
Matisse likes Shiny
orange kitty with shiny ribbon
Matisse the studio kitty

Here’s a picture of my orange kitty who likes to look at the shiny piece of foil! Unfortunately this dude’s tummy wasn’t feeling good last night and woke me up crying at 3 am. Ignoring him, thinking he was begging for more food, he rewarded me with a wonderfully fragrant gift to pick up in the morning.

Cosmos, Gladiolus, and Amaranth Bouquet Paintings

I grew cosmos flowers and amaranth (for filler, although it is also technically an ancient grain that you can eat) from seed. It was pretty easy,  I literally through the seeds on the ground earlier in the year. The gladiolus was also cut from my garden grown from a bulb from a lady in Bethany.

Here’s a painting I did. Still trying as always to balance finished vs overworked:

Cosmos and Amaranth Still Life, 2017, Watermedia on Paper, 12 x 16

This second painting was a bit of a bear. I wanted to explore mixing the pink and green which looked cool in the vase part but the rest of the painting felt like a mess. But I kept going and eventually had fun painting the dots of the amaranth grain seeds. Might be fun to go over with oil pastels.

Cosmos and Amaranth Bouquet, 2017, Acrylic on Paper, 12 x 16

Kitty is ‘advising’ me on my drawing.

I love ikebana. There’s randomly an ikebana shop in Wheeler, Oregon in one of the vintage stores.

Here’s an amaranth and scabiosa flowers¬†ikebana:

Art I Like: Word Art and some more of my watercolors

It’s flower season here in Portland. I have been doing a lot of fun watercolors.

Here’s one of some geraniums:
Geranium, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Geranium, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

Foxgloves are biennials, which apparently means they bloom every two years. I thought this was a yet another weed in my front yard and recently I got surprised by these lovely blossoms.
Foxgloves, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Foxgloves, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

I also grew a bunch of wonderful tulips this year. Here’s a view of the tulips when they get all floppy and flattened right before the petals are going to drop.

Spent tulips, 2017x watercolor on paper, 12x16

Spent tulips, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

And I could take pictures of peonies ¬†forever. I have peonies in my garden! Hot pink ones and these¬†pink frilly ones (I think they’re Sarah Bernhardts?) I want to grow¬†tree peonies but they’re like $80 a pot.

Peony bouquet, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12x16

Peony bouquet, 2017, watercolor on paper, 12×16

Last time I mentioned I painted a canvas with a lavender background. I wrote out that dream quote in yellow paint and then smeared it out. Not sure where this is going. I could see this one being used for a landscape eventually or maybe I’ll make it an abstract. This canvas is larger than the ones I’ve been working on.
Work in progress
The canvas is sitting on an unstretched piece of canvas that I found rolled up (my mother had dutifully saved everything of mine). I’m going to paint over it as well with oil. We’ll see how the shapes in the background play out.

I was reminded of an artist¬†¬†that I like on Pinterest …Jenny Holzer. She writes memorable quotes and they are embedded in all sorts of places: billboards, movie theater signs, etched in marble, projected on a building, etc etc. I¬†love¬†this quote:

This piece is so fitting¬†for today’s politics:

Abuse of Power Comes As No Surprise from the series Truisms T-shirts (1980-)

Untitled Bench, Jenny Holzer, Missing Peace Exhibit

I had a drawing teacher tell me a long time ago, in a place far far away that my charcoal drawings reminded him of Cy Twombly. I was fortunate¬†to see Cy Twombly at a retrospective I think at the Whitney Museum several years ago.¬†He’s amazing. He embeds words in scribbles and gestural marks in a very beautiful and effortless way

Apollo by Cy Twombly

Here’s a recent watercolor of a peony with the word daydream scribbled on top. Nowhere near¬†¬†as masterful as ¬†Twombly but we’ll see where adding words in my art leads me. Don’t quit your daydream!

Daydream pink peony

Daydream pink peony

Garden vignettes

Winter is coming and as Portland gears towards its rainy, gloomy season…I thought I’d inspire myself with these vignettes from my garden.

The trusty grape leaf will hang on usually until around Thanksgiving to early December. It’s cool to see the frost and icicles form on the fading leaves.


Camellias are one of my favorite trees and bloom around February



Later, the garden comes alive with all of the Fruit trees in blossom. It’s so pretty, and deceptively so (all that beauty brings so, so many apples to pick up).


I planted this dwarf quince because I loved the delicate pink flowers. But what can I make with quince?



Design I Like: Piet Oudulf

I realized that my favorite thing that I saw during my trip to NYC (other than my friends) was the Highline, a public garden built upon an abandoned railroad.


The fact that the gardens were the most inspiring thing made me realize that I do in fact belong in Portland!

Alison told me that the Highline was designed by garden designer, Piet Oudulf.


His work is amazing. He uses lots of native plants, perennials, and grasses and he creates these beautiful landscapes that have amazing color in all seasons.


He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter.

http://www.igpoty.com/ via Pinterest


Someday I would like to visit the Netherlands and view his private garden. There are so many more beautiful, inspiring garden examples in this pdf I found on the Harvard School of Design course he taught about designing for Mood in the garden:

“Mysticism totally depends on circumstances that are out of your control. Fog, dusk. It makes you feel on your self in a different world.”

“Emotion and mood are vital to the success of a garden…They are qualities, however, that are very difficult to define in hard-and-fast terms. It is always difficult to describe why certain gardens are attractive and not others. It is even more difficult to write prescriptions for creating different moods, for mood is only something that can be planned into a garden to a limited extent.”

Sounds like painting too ūüėČ


Imbrie Hall

Hillsboro near Intel is growing like crazy. I¬†heard that Cornelius Pass used to be this quiet little rural road and now they are doing massive construction on it to handle all of the traffic. Near the powerplants and electrical lines and all of the big box surburban sprawl is a real gem brought to you by McMenamin’s: Imbrie Hall.

The grounds and landscaping are stellar. It would be a great place for an event or wedding.

Super cute wooden sheds.

Look at all of the cool windows inside this rustic barn. I would love a cabin/tiny home like this:

I love this garden, I’m not sure if it’s fennel or Queen Anne’s lace

I want for the garden

Gross bugs have attacked my kale. Maybe this variety will turn out better:

"Cascade Glaze" collards in full blooming glory. This great variety has been absent from our catalog for a couple years due to consecutive crop failures…a week of single digit temps one winter, a herd of elk another… Very cold hardy and with exceptional flavor, it also has a gene that makes the leaves extremely glossy, more akin to chard leaves than the usual matte texture of the oleraceas. We've heard anecdotal reports that the glossy film makes it less attractive to insects, but haven't observed it in any empirical way to be able to make that claim. We get a lot of requests for this one. Not coincidentally, it has not been available at all in the seed trade for several years as we were the only seed producer supplying the couple other catalogs that sold it. Whenever things like that happen, it really highlights for us the fact that we need more farmers learning the skills of seed work and helping to steward these great varieties. Based on how it looks now, we are optimistic about bringing in a really good crop!

A photo posted by Uprising Seeds (@uprising.seeds) on

Look at the color on this amaranth: