Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sportin' a new haircut - Post "Bob Ruff"

via Instagram
Still a pup, Marly was fairly patient when getting the rest of his body buzzed, but not so with his face. My sister finally abandoned the process when she realized that the furball had enough. We're hoping to snip a few stray hairs here and there when Marly is in a chillin' mood. Anyone up for the challenge?
Marly prior to his haircut
He was getting to look like a famous artist. Bob Ruff, anyone?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sunshine at the Sunflower Farm

A friend and I were eager to visit the sunflowers at the Pope Conservancy Farm, located just a short distance from Madison. Upon entering the parking area, I was already impressed; the large swath of grassed land was trimmed and had white lines painted to show denote parking spaces. A traffic attendant directed people to available parking spots. Signs indicated where we were to proceed. A few sprinkles on the windshield, we grabbed our rain jackets – just in case. As we walked up the slight incline to the sunflower field, I noticed a weak patch of blue amidst the very overcast skies. Perhaps things will change, I thought....
Neatly clipped paths led us along the outer perimeter of the sunflower fields. Every so often, some short sections of the field were cleared so visitors could walk into the field just a bit and take photos. Some took photos of their family; others selfies, and still others focused on the sunflowers. The nearly 500,000 plants were just waiting to be photographed, their heads proudly facing the sun. As we were putzing around taking photos (it's nice to be along with a fellow artist; both are eager to explore and take photos, rather than being bored after a minute or two), I noticed that the sky became increasingly more blue.  

Soon, the clouds had dissipated, and the sun was free to cast its glow on the yellow petals. The nine acres of sunflowers made such a beautiful sight. What a great place for sneaking in a photo of myself!

Bees were busy flitting from sunflower to sunflower, whose heads were heavily laden with pollen and ripe with nectar. Zooming in gave opportunities for capturing other views.

The clipped paths led visitors along fields of corn, soybeans, and prairie. 

A few monarchs were spotted fluttering about, landing on various wildflowers.

What a great place to spend the morning with a friend!

When talking with some volunteers at the site, I learned that the Conservancy is a popular place for school trips. Students (grade 4 is a popular year, as this grade focuses on Wisconsin history) have many opportunities to learn about how Native Americans and early settlers used the land and the types of crops they raised. Some thematic gardens had informative signs and some artifacts were also present. I learned that the seeds from the dried plants are harvested in late November or early December. 
The Friends of Pope Farm Conservancy help the farmer (see farm in the distance) through the sale of sunflower seeds to the public. Interestingly, nearly a third of the crop will have already been eaten by birds prior to harvest – nearly 4,000 pounds of snitching! 

There still are a few more days left to Sunflower Days (Aug 12-20). If you're in the area, come and visit! Great for the whole family!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Reflected Pavilion, Olbrich

via Instagram
My newest artwork: Reflected Pavilion, Olbrich
Oil Pastel. Madison, WI

Instead of painting the pavilion itself, I focused on the imagery within the adjoining pool. If you haven't visited the Olbrich Gardens with its Thai pavilion (the only one in North America), you're missing out on a scenic, free botanical garden.