A Bug's Life

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! Several conference attendees were in the spirit of the season and dressed for Halloween. This happens to be my roommate, believe it or not. She's the President of our local chapter of botanical artists and came appropriately dressed. The "glasses" are actually tea strainers that someone had used with a lot of creativity. Her lady bug hat is a small version of a WW1 helmet. Needless to say, she got a lot of comments today.

"A Bug's Life" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Pagoda of the Three Friends

Today I taught a class in the beautiful Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA. We spent most of the day at the boat pavilion and had a spectacular view of the pond and the wonderful landscaping on the other side. This is the Pagoda of the Three Friends - the Bamboo, Pine and Plum. The plum because because it's the first to bloom, the bamboo because it's flexible and bends and the pine because is survives tough surroundings. The Chinese put much thought, feeling and meaning into the design of their gardens. This one is a spectacular place to meditate and be one with nature.

"Pagoda of the Three Friends" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Halloween Bug

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm in Pasadena preparing for the annual conference of the American Society of Botanical Artists. We have artists from all over the world joining us for our three day event. This little critter, "Oncopeltus", is dressed out for Halloween. I found him at the Huntington Library earlier this year on his favorite plant "Scarlet Milkweed". I'll be teaching a journaling class later this week at the Huntington so you'll be seeing lots of pictures from the gardens.

"Halloween Bug" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Patty's Garden

Monday, October 27, 2008

My friend Patty is a Master Desert Gardener and for the past two years she's been working to create a beautiful desert garden at her house. She only incorporates desert adaptive plants and those whose flowers attract birds and butterflies. This year it has really taken off and every time I visit I enjoy the uniqueness of her garden and all the "critters" it attracts. And of course, there's lots of bees and their relatives.

"Patty's Garden" © Kathy Dunham 2008

The Fountain

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Having a delightful French breakfast in Paris is always a pleasure when you can sit at an outdoor bistro. There's always something interesting to look at. This wonderful fountain was part of a huge monument at Place St. Michel on the Left Bank.

"The Fountain - Place St. Michel" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tulip Tree

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I spotted these unique blossoms at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena last year. I had never seen anything quite like them. So vibrantly colorful they didn't look real. Although they're an Eastern tree, they were growing quite prolifically in the museum's inner garden.

"Tulip Tree" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Pink Lily

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm a sucker for flowers. I guess that's why I love to paint them. But this is one I haven't attempted to paint yet. So after finding this gem hidden amongst my Canadian garden photos, I think I have my inspiration.

"Pink Lily" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Calla Liliy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

An elegant flower, the calla lily became one of the symbols and favorite motifs used during the Art Nouveau movement. It's simplicity and curved structure was a natural for the designs used during this period. A favorite of mine to paint, I'm always on the lookout for unusual angles and lighting to capture this beauty at it's best.

"Calla Lily" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Bath Tyme

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm always attracted to birds taking baths and these pigeons were no exception. But these are Spanish pigeons. They were enjoying their afternoon dip at Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain. Created by Antonio Gaudi in the 1910s, it is his most colorful creation. Known for his extensive use of mosaic, this park is spectacular and a must see when visiting the city.

"Bath Tyme" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Texas Mountain Laurel

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Today I painted in the beautiful desert garden of my friends Clonard and Bruce Thomas. Known as The Aerie Art Garden, they have lovingly planted and cultivated this garden for over 20 years to make it a truly "desert garden". You can check it out at http://www.aerieartgarden.com/ . The tree I was sitting under was rich with foliage and when I looked up through the leaves, I was taken with the lushness of the growth and the striking patterns of light and shadow. This is a Texas Mountain Laurel, or for you botanical folks, a Sophora secundiflora.

Joshua Tree Blossoms

Monday, October 20, 2008

We had an exceptionally good year for wild flowers this spring and when that happens I head up to Joshua Tree National Park. Known primarily for it's unique rock formations that climbers love to traverse, it's a virtual paradise of blossoms when we have sufficient rain. These blossoms on the Joshua Tree exemplify the beauty in this otherwise desolate area of Southern California.

"Joshua Tree Blossoms" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Chinese Magnolia

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'll be teaching a workshop at the Huntington Library and Gardens in a few weeks and decided to review my photos to help plan my class. We'll be in the new Chinese Garden which is absolutely stunning so I wanted to check out the possibilities for sketching when I came across this beautiful Chinese Magnolia. I remember this was a favorite of my Mom's. She planted one in the front yard of our house and since it was outside my bedroom window I always had the pleasure of watching it bloom.

"Chinese Magnolia" © Kathy Dunham 2008

River of Ice

It was a bit warm today, so to cool off I decided to enjoy my photos of Alaska. Nothing like a river of ice to drop the temperature a bit, even if it is only psychological. I always enjoy cruising the Inside Passage of our 49th state. It's a great way to see the unspoiled beauty of the wild.

"River of Ice" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Tired of Shopping

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gibraltar is a melting pot of cultures. It is only four miles across the Mediterranean Sea to Africa and is surrounded by Spain on the land side. This gentleman was obviously waiting. But was that his purchase at his feet or someone else's?

"Tired of Shopping" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Street Sweeper

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You hear a lot about going "Green" these days so when I spotted this street sweeper in Paris I thought it was the epitome of the phrase. The best part was the green broom. Talk about being color coordinated!

"Street Sweeper" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Yes, Cows Can Wink

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I live in an area known as the date capital of America, but seeing cattle in a date grove doesn't strike me as a spot that has a lot of good feed for these four legged critters. Coming across this brazen bossy brought me to a quick halt as I grabbed my camera from the back seat to snap a few shots. Compared to the other shots I got of her, this one certainly looks like she's winking at me.

"Yes, Cows Can Wink" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Victoria Sunset

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My friend Susan came to dinner tonight and we started reminiscing about our cruises to Alaska. I had heard so much about the beautiful garden city of Victoria, B.C. that we decided to go early and spend a few days enjoying the flowers before our ship departed from Vancouver. Susan's a photographer who specializes in flowers so this was a no brainer for the two of us. Butchart Gardens and the beautiful downtown area of Victoria are a flower lover's delight. This shot was taken at sunset just as the lights that outline the Parliament building were coming on.

"Victoria Sunset" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Pink 'n Green

Monday, October 13, 2008

I am always amazed at the wonderful creations Mother Nature provides for us. Unique shapes, unusual colors, vibrant patterns. I guess that's one of the reasons I'm an artist. I enjoy replicating nature's palette. These coleus were sitting at the nursery in Home Depot today. Like I've said before. Always have your camera handy, you never know when a great shot is going to pop up. And yes, they're slightly out of focus. But beautiful none the less.

"Pink 'n Green" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Ebony & Ivory

Sunday, October 12, 2008

As an artist, I am constantly creating. My primary medium is watercolor but lately I've taken up jewelry making and while recuperating from my cancer I learned to mosaic with three great friends. We meet weekly to work on our projects and share what's happening in our lives. I just finished this piece, a nude, that I've titled "Ebony & Ivory". It's the third piece in a series. The first was "Green Goddess" and the second was "Lady in Red". I'm sure you can figure from the titles what their colors are. I use mirrored and Italian glass, smalti and millfiori to create my beauties.

"Ebony & Ivory" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Soon to be Pie

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I went back to the pumpkin patch today with the hopes of getting some better pictures since the sun was out. Last week it was drizzly and not a great day to take photos. I was amazed at the crowds searching for the perfect pumpkin. All ages, all sizes, just like the pumpkins. It was almost sunset when I stopped on my way back from a meeting in L.A. but it was worth the effort. I found this beauty just waiting for someone to take it home. Can you imagine how many pies you could make from a big one like this!

"Soon to be Pie" © Kathy Dunham 2008

The Blue Gate

Friday, October 10, 2008

Taking the road less traveled often provides big rewards. The last time I was in Santa Barbara my friend Joanne and I decided to take a back road on the outskirts of the city to see where it would take us. Making decisions at forks in the road is fun and surprises can pop up around the next bend. I stopped to take pictures of Our Lady of Mount Carmel church on the outskirts of Montecito and when I walked into the courtyard found this beautiful gate with hibiscus growing around it.

"The Blue Gate" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Robert's Garden

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tonight I had dinner with friends Clonard and Bruce Thomas and Ann Cooper and had the wonderful opportunity to see a unique movie entitled "The Cool School". A documentary about the art movement in L.A. during the 60s, it was memorable seeing who and what transpired during that time in the art world. One of the artists was Robert Irwin who turned to a different medium 40 years later when he designed the sunken garden at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It's stunning in any season.

"Robert's Garden" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Look, We're Both Flying!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pretty soon it'll be polo season here in the desert so I dusted off a image from last year. I don't know how I managed to capture both horses without having their hooves touching the ground. And who said horses couldn't fly?

"Look, We're Both Flying" © Kathy Dunham 2008

de Chelly Sandstone

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What looks like wind blown sand dunes at the bottom of Canyon de Chelly, these rock formations were actually just that. Created over a 100 million of years ago when this region became a Sahara-like desert, these massive dunes were once hundreds of feet deep. Compressed and held together by a "binding agent", this particular type of rock is known as "de Chelly sandstone" for the canyon it is found in.

"de Chelly Sandstone" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Lunch Time

Monday, October 6, 2008

Thanks to telephoto lenses it's possible to get up close and personal with woodland creatures. This guy was way too busy trying to crack this acorn to notice me skulking around looking for a good angle. And check out those nails. Now I know why they can climb up trees so easily.

"Lunch Time" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Spider Rock

Sunday, October 5, 2008

I spent today preparing for a lecture I'll be giving this Wednesday at the Palm Desert Library entitled "Canyon de Chelly Through the Eyes of an Artist". The canyon holds a mystique for me and each time I've been there I am overwhelmed by it's beauty. This is Spider Rock, located a long drive into far reaches of the canyon, it is a frequently painted and photographed subject. For those of you who have a free moment, the talk is at 2 p.m. and I'd love to have you join me.

"Spider Rock" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Pink Popcorn

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's fall and the local pumpkin patches are doing a land office business. Feeling the need to capture some of these bright orange lovelies with my camera, I stopped at one going concern in the small town of Yuciapa just off the 10 freeway in San Bernardino County. They had a wide selection, all shapes, sizes and as it turns out, some mighty strange colors. These mutants were beautiful pinks, corals and turquoise with funny bumps all over them. I asked the gentleman what they were and he said "just pumpkins". They plant a wide variety of seeds and when the bees do their pollinating a lot of the pollen gets mixed up and something like this happens. He said they are identical inside as regular pumpkins. But they decided to call them "pink popcorn".

"Pink Popcorn" © Kathy Dunham 2008

San Diego Orchids

Friday, October 3, 2008

Orchids are a flower so diverse that you can find them in almost any color and in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Most orchids are grown in filtered light and it's always a challenge for me to find any in full sun so I can capture the way the light plays hide and seek across the petals. While in San Diego a few weeks ago I came upon a number of these beauties in the Conservatory at Balboa Park.

"San Diego Orchids" © Kathy Dunham 2008

Bird of Paradise

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I've done several paintings of birds of paradise, each a dramatic statement of contrasting colors. And elegant flower of rich orange and a deep blue violet, I'm always looking for a new perspective. This beauty was calling to me as it reached to the sun at the Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge, CA.

"Bird of Paradise" © Kathy Dunham 2008