I try to get out and paint plein-aire from the Yoshino cherries during their brief and glorious blooming. It’s always unpredictable! This year it seemed imminent, then a cold front delayed their progress, then BAM! an explosion of flowers.
When I first came to Washington, I expected something gaudier. I was amazed by the subtle beauty of these earliest blooming trees. They are a ruddy color before their buds open, then a soft pink when they’re newly opened. Finally they create a soft glow of white with but a memory of pink, as if a cloud were caught in the dark and twisted branches of the old trees.
Saturday I spent the day with easel and paints under the pale clouds, enjoying the color and all the other folks who came there to do the same. Lily got lots of petting and I got one small and one large canvas started. It was a perfect day.
If you’d like to join me, leave a comment. I plan on heading down again on Saturday April 2 from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm. Visit me on Facebook for daily updates and spontaneous painting trips!
Last weekend I took photos of the magnolia seed pods and sent them to a friend, who exclaimed: “what an awesome praying mantis!”
I hadn’t even noticed the creature when I clicked the shutter. So, I thought, how many photos do I have with accidental critters in them? A few. But if I expand the concept, I have a great many images of life among the flowers.
Most, but not all, of these images have animals among the blossoms. Human animals included. In a few, like the first, the wildlife is invisible. It’s been a colorful year!
Fairy house on Capitol Hill
Poodles Lily & Laika in Congressional Cemetery
Compulsive Gardener Glee
Jose visits from the Left Coast
Lynn and her lovely daughters, plus Hunter
Laurels blooming on NoName Road
Pollinators at work
Blogger in Bliss
Silver-bordered Fritellary on Echinacia
Boats & Day Lilies
Zebra Swallowtail on Buttonbush
Lotus in the Mattawoman, flood tide. Who swims below?
This Sunday April 13th if you’re in the DC area you can come and join me and other plein aire painters while we paint cherry blossom landscapes at the foot of North Capitol Street. Click on the map for directions.
Bring your sketchbook, easel and brushes, camera or phone, picnic or dog, or just your eyeballs. These are some of the prettiest trees in the city, complete with Capitol view and reflecting pool, andthere’s parking on the weekends. (Please don’t tell anybody! It’s my big secret, just you & me.)
Last year we went to Fort Washington Park and there were just a few lovely old Yoshino trees, but no water for them to reflect in, which really makes them extra pretty.
You can tweet me at @PatriseArt for realtime info, in case I just can’t take the beauty of the day and end up there sooner, which seems very likely.
DC is rightfully famous for our very special flowering cherry trees, “as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan.” The world renowned collection bordering the Tidal Basin is packed with tourists every year in early spring. Check out the live webcam here.
And for me, it’s often the first plein aire painting session of the year. This year I was eager and organized by March 15, about the earliest we ever see them bloom. And, since I have an enthusiastic student who loves painting from the landscape, I was really ready to get out there. But the trees were not cooperating!
That’s what they’re supposed to do, but for weeks the have clung to their tight little buds, shivering in the long cold spring.
But FINALLY! We achieved blossoms and the pink clouds opened up, and the people and the bees were overjoyed.