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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Flowers, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Geometric Grid Sketches and Typography

Still working on sketches for my e-course, The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design Module 4 ... I did some doodles and sketches with geometric, floral, and typography themes in mind.

I'm not sure if the final results below would be considered strictly geometric but hey, I drew grids and shapes and then got carried away filling them up. There are florals there too, so perhaps I managed to work on two of the themes at one go. Oh, and some typography too ...


Grid sketches 1 by Floating Lemons

Grid sketches 2 by Floating Lemons


The second one is still unfinished. I 'work' on it whenever I have time, i.e. when I'm uploading designs onto stores. I used to have a dodopad in high school, and used to colour it in with magic markers, does anyone remember those? These grid doodles reminded me of that, and the whole exercise is teaching me tons about colour, and is fun to boot.

I did some typographical sketches with a holiday theme:



I love playing with text design. And some of you may know that this year I've decided to do a monthly design based on "I Choose ..." as a positive affirmation, that I make available as a free printable to the subscribers of the Floating Lemons Newsletter. It's a hugely wonderful experiment in typography for myself, and these are the ones I've come up with so far, for January till April:


I Choose poster typography by Floating Lemons


They count as typographical exercises, wouldn't you say? Next month I'll be doing "I Choose Courage", as I'm going through huge changes in my life that require a large amount of deep breathing, and I'll be plunging into a different life and lifestyle. Scary, but also very exciting. I'm thoroughly enjoying the text designs and the affirmations that are emerging, and hope to do a calendar with them at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, I'll be away for two weeks as of next week. I shall try to blog as much as possible, but as it's my dad's 80th birthday that we're celebrating, I may not be able to do that, so forgive me in advance. I'll be posting up at the facebook page, so follow me there if you want a peek at my updates, and to see photographs of whatever inspiring bits I pick up from the United Kingdom and Istanbul (yay).

Meanwhile, have a fantastic week and don't forget to experiment joyfully. Cheers.


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2. Freebie Friday!

New addition to the blog!


I’ve been obsessing over creating cute little clip arts lately. Mostly ’cause I never have any handy when someone asks me to make invitations, birthday cards, etc. In doing so I thought I’d share a free downloadable file to you every friday. Here’s this weeks download:


click here to download


I thought this would also be the perfect time to announce
I have a new store on Etsy!

Beautifique Digital is where you can find all sorts of digital downloadable goodies.
It’s a little bare right now, but come visit me often. More updates on the way!



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3. More Wibbly Wobbly Jelly

Am I getting sick of jelly yet? Not at all! Have had a huge amount of fun sketching it, colouring it, changing it around, watching it wibble and wobble away ... it hasn't been easy deciding what to do with it, but I do love a challenge - you can see a few of my prep sketches here and here.

The assignment for my MATS class was to create a jelly illustration or pattern to go onto fabric, and as I'm still polishing up my pattern design skills, I decided to turn my hand to that. It's now done and submitted, and here's the final piece as well as, under that, the pattern that I produced from it.





Can you see it on aprons and tea towels? I can! I've enjoyed this so much that my next step will be to wish up a couple of patterns that will nicely coordinate with it. Meanwhile, however, my own home is in chaos as the main rooms are being painted, so I'm camping out in one of the guest rooms and ignoring the mess till I can get back in there to sort it all out. Another week or so I'd say. All part of the huge changes that are coming up, which I shall share with you as soon as everything is confirmed and completed.

Until then, there may be a few quirks and trip-ups where blogging is concerned, so thank you for your patience (in advance). Have a delightful week. Cheers.


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4. Bumblebees in English gardens

By Michael Hanley

Urban gardens are increasingly recognised for their potential to maintain or even enhance biodiversity. In particular the presence of large densities and varieties of flowering plants is thought to support a number of pollinating insects whose range and abundance has declined as a consequence of agricultural intensification and habitat loss. However, many of our garden plants are not native to Britain or even Europe, and the value of non-native flowers to local pollinators is widely disputed.

We tested the hypothesis that bumblebees foraging in urban gardens preferentially visited plants species with which they share a common biogeography (i.e. the plants evolved in the same regions as the bees that visit them). We did this by conducting summer-long surveys of bumblebee visitation to flowers seen in front gardens along a typical Plymouth street, dividing plants into species that naturally co-occur with British bees (a range extending across Europe, north Africa, and northern Asia – collectively called the Palaearctic by biologists), those that co-occur with bumblebees in other regions such as southern Asia, and North and South America (Sympatric), and plants from regions (Southern Africa and Australasia) where bumblebees are not naturally found (Allopatric).

AppleBee2008 by VictorLLee

Rather than discriminating between Palaearctic-native and non-native garden plants when taken together, bees simply visited in proportion to flower availability. Indeed, of the six most commonly visited garden plants, only one Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea – 6% of all bee visits) was a British native and only three garden plants were of Palaearctic origin (including the most frequently visited species Campanula poscharskyana (20.6% of visits) which comes from the Balkans). The remaining ‘most visited’ garden plants were from North America (Ceanothus 11% of visits) and Asia (Deutzia Spp 7% of visits), while the second most visited plant, Hebe × francisciana (18% of visits) is a hybrid variety with parents from New Zealand (H. speciosa) and South America (H. elliptica).

However a slightly different pattern emerges when we consider the behaviour of individual bumblebee species. This is important because we know from work done in natural grassland ecosystems that different bumblebees vary greatly in their preference for native plant species. Some bumblebees visit almost any flower, while others seem to have strict preferences for certain plants. The latter group (‘dietary specialists’) include bees with long tongues that allow them to access the deep flowers of plants belonging to the pea and mint families that short-tongued bees cannot. One of these dietary specialists, the aptly named ‘garden bumblebee’ (Bombus hortorum), showed a strong preference for Palaearctic-origin garden plant species (78% of flower visits by this species); although we also saw this species feeding on the New Zealand-native, Cordyline australis. Even more interesting was the fact that our most common species the ‘buff-tailed bumblebee’ (B. terrestris) appeared to favour non-Palaearctic garden plants (70% of all visits) over garden plants with which it shares a common evolutionary heritage (i.e. Palaearctic plants). So it seems that any preference for plants from ‘home turf’ varies between different bumblebees; just like in natural grasslands, some bees are fussy about where they forage, and others not.

So what should gardeners do to encourage pollinators? Our results suggest that it is not simply a question of growing native species even if this is desirable for other reasons, but that any ‘showily-flowered’ plant is likely to offer some forage reward. There are caveats, however. Garden plants that have been subject to modification to produce ‘double’ flowers that replace or obscure the anthers and carpels that yield pollen and nectar (e.g. Petunias, Begonias, and Hybrid Tea roses) are known to offer little or no pollinator reward. A spring to autumn supply of flowers of different corolla lengths is important to provide both long- and short-tongued bumblebees with nectar. A reliable pollen supply is particularly important during nest founding through to the release of queen and male bees at the end of the nest cycle. Roses and poppies are obvious choices, but early season willows also offer pollen for nest-founding queens. Potentially most crucial of all however, are the pea family as they offer higher quality pollen vital for the success of the short-nest cycle, specialist bumblebees such as B. hortorum. It is also important that access to what gardeners refer to as ‘weeds’ is available. Where possible gardeners can set aside a small area to allow native brambles, vetches, dead nettles, and clovers to grow, but as long as some native weed species are available in nearby allotments, parks, or other green spaces, we suggest that a combination of commonly-grown garden plants will help support our urban bumblebees for future generations.

Dr Michael Hanley is Lecturer in Terrestrial Ecology at the University of Plymouth. He is co-author of the article ‘Going native? Flower use by bumblebees in English urban gardens’, which is published in the Annals of Botany.

Annals of Botany is an international plant science journal that publishes novel and substantial research papers in all areas of plant science, along with reviews and shorter Botanical Briefings about topical issues. Each issue also features a round-up of plant-based items from the world’s media – ‘Plant Cuttings’.

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Image credit: Bumblebee on apple tree. By Victorllee [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The post Bumblebees in English gardens appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Bumblebees in English gardens as of 3/20/2014 6:07:00 AM
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5. Sketches: Positive Energy, More Jelly, and Tulips

I'm working on a few different projects at the moment, all in progress, all squeezed in whenever I have a few minutes free. Here's where I was at the beginning of the week:




I'm glad to say that I'm pretty much done with the "I Choose to Fill Myself with Positive Energy" text design for the April free printable (for subscribers to the Floating Lemons monthly newsletter of course!), and I'll reveal all when the time comes. Meanwhile ...




I went a completely different direction with my Jelly assignment for MATS Bootcamp, and have managed to totally confuse myself. Should I go with something more along the lines of last weeks sketches, here, or stick to a slightly more geometric rendering of jelly moulds, as above? argh. We shall see. I may have to sketch a lot more jelly before deciding.

Meanwhile, here's the progress on a sketch I'm doing that will, perhaps, end up as a Thinking of You card up at the Two Smiles for HP (Hewlett-Packard) site.




I drew it, scanned it in and decided to experiment with some brand new digital pastel brushes that I purchased from Kyle T Webster. Oh my, I love them. Now that I've been deprived of Corel Painter (it just will not work since the last OS update and I don't want to invest and buy the upgrade only to discover that doesn't work either. I was, needless to say, hugely disappointed) these, along with his real watercolour brushes, are making digital painting a delight once more.

Here's a quick peek at what I've done so far ...




I'm using them exactly as I would my pencils on paper and there are layers and layers of colour being built up. Still have a way to go as yet, but I'm quite pleased with the way it's turning out so far.

Back to work! Wishing you a wonderful day loving what you do and doing what you love. Cheers.


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6. Curse this Dreaded Black Thumb

Spring seems to have found us here in Georgia this weekend. While it is a simple fact that God smiles on The South sooner than the northern regions, I hold no illusions that spring is here for good. But yesterday found me in shorts cleaning up the yard. We live on a couple of wooded acres and green is beginning to peek through the gloomy brown – in my neighbor’s yard. I however was cursed with a dreaded black thumb. I follow some photography blogs displaying the most beautiful flowers from tropical locations, so I thought I would give you my best effort.

imageThese are my gardenias. Are implies a current state of being, so I suppose I should say these were my gardenias. I don’t know what happened to them, they just shriveled up and turned brown like everything else I put in the ground. Our once vibrant hydrangeas look more like flaking twigs than actual plants. My grass – brown in every season unless you include moss and weeds. Every time I go to the orange store, I tell my friend Lou the dilemma and he recommends a plant that can’t be killed. I used to take them back with their return policy, but I’ve become embarrassed to do so anymore.

You know how God builds a perfect union from two dissimilar parts? One member of the marriage might be outgoing and the other shy, or one might be cognitive while the other is emotional. Then they join together like pieces of a puzzle and complete each other perfectly (sorry for the cheesy Jerry Maguire reference, but while I’m at it, enjoy…)

In a cruel twist of fate for botanists everywhere, my lovely bride has a matching black thumb. Potted plants seem to be a popular thank you gift here and she’s received a number of them over the years. All we have left is a bunch of pots filled with what I call soil of death. She kills indoor plants while I slay the jungle outside. Nothing is safe in our homestead. Thank you, God that we have a supermarket and don’t rely on subsistence farming. We’d all starve for sure.

So while my friends up north are mired in snow, we are seeing the sun in our little slice of heaven. Maybe it likes us because we don’t need it for photosynthesis. I don’t know, I just like wearing shorts again.

5 Comments on Curse this Dreaded Black Thumb, last added: 3/9/2014
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7. coloring

Hi little blog!
 I'm very happy to be doing black and white illustrations for a chapter book - one of my favorite things. (more on that later, of course) So almost everything on my desk lately has been black and white; pencil drawings, pen and ink, and some silhouettes and papercuts. I'm also learning about patterns and drawing a lot.
As early spring flowers pop up around us though (I know, the perks of a southern life...), I've been experimenting with my watercolors and it's been a lot of fun.

I'm even on Instagram now, check it out!

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8. Digital Art: Marigolds from the Garden

Marigolds digital floating lemons

Snapped photos of some marigolds from the garden, erased the background on Photoshop and then popped them into Corel Painter and used oil brushes to repaint them. Back into Photoshop for a cleanup, and here they are.

Then played around a bit with filters to see if enhancing them further would give me extra-ordinary results. Came up with the result below and I do like it, though I think I prefer the colours and contrasts of the original above. Still, there's something slightly crazy about the version below that appeals to the 'need-to-experiment-more' side of my nature that's demanding my attention at present.


Marigolds digital 2 floating lemons


Wishing you a bright, extraordinary day. Cheers.


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9. Watercolour: Orchid Blossom

Orchid blossom watercolour

This one is for my mother. Please keep in mind the fact that I'm a beginner and still experimenting, and excuse all the mistakes that you more proficient watercolourists (is there such a word?) will probably be pointing out, as I'm playing without training or rules (Tons of fun!). Still my mother likes it and that's what counts, right?

Here's a few progress shots:


Orchid blossom sketch


Orchid blossom progress


Orchid blossom progress


I used watercolour pencils at the end just to clean up and add some detail. Now, off to think of something else to paint ...

Have a wonderful day. Cheers.


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10. Flower Girl

5 Comments on Flower Girl, last added: 8/26/2013
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11. Gardening in the Jungle!

Gardening is what I have been doing! Trying to win over the jungle that is growing in place of an organized garden. That and working full time. Painting is a joy that sometimes gets squeezed out in the summer :)

1 Comments on Gardening in the Jungle!, last added: 7/31/2013
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12. Spring! Cometh!




Winter is on the way OUT!  I say this as a huge storm is coming into Colorado right NOW!!  No, I did not go to the grocery store in freak out mode stocking my cupboards. Instead, I spent a bit of time today digging in my garden resisting the urge to acknowledge the storm at all!  ha!

Alas, tonight I will hunker down with my pens and paper and continue to work towards deadlines for up and coming trade shows. That is the good thing about storms!  They keep me focused.  I wonder how many artists are like me?

I have one problem.  I can’t seem to go out to my studio to work.  It’s covered with papers, receipts, file folders etc.  It is my new book-keeping system in progress. Eeeeek!  My friend is helping me set up my Quick Books program.  She entered all my checks, deposits etc, and sent me the disk. I bought the program, installed it, imported my files… … then I went to reconcile the two bank statements that my friend did not add and suddenly I am thirty dollars off!  What on earth?  What could I have done?

So, I did what I do best,  I locked the studio door and went in the house. ha!  My right brain is not in the mood for numbers!  Happy Spring everyone!


6 Comments on Spring! Cometh!, last added: 4/9/2013
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13. salutations

Happy first day of spring!

playing around with type and collage this morning....
I love Charlotte.

1 Comments on salutations, last added: 3/21/2013
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14. well, i guess it's official....

mr. winter, you've let me down once again....but my love remains true. i will always be faithful to you and your pristine beauty and frosty temps :)

until next year....

btw, PRINTS of this painting are SOLD HERE:

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15. Spring into Multicultural Children’s Books!

While it may not feel like it, today is the first day of spring! We’re very excited for our forthcoming spring titles, which you can check out here. To kick off the spring season, here’s an image and poem from Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/Jitomates Risueños y otros poemas de primavera, written by Francisco X. Alarcón, and illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez, published by Children’s Book Press, an imprint of LEE & LOW.


the hills

are starting

to crack

a green smile

once again



las colinas


a sonreír

muy verdes

otra vez

Filed under: Art, Celebrations, Holidays, Musings & Ponderings Tagged: Children's Book Press, flowers, green, growth, poetry, seasons, spring

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16. More Clivia Haibun

Last week I posted a Haibun focused on my Clivia plants. Haibun is a Japanese haiku form made famous by Basho's 17c. book A Narrow Road to Deep North, a travel journal filled with haiku. Haibun combined prose writing with poetry; it is haiku wrapped in story. I'd like to continue the story of our Clivia plants in another haibun this week and share what happened at the Longwood Gardens Clivia show

6 Comments on More Clivia Haibun, last added: 3/17/2013
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17. Easter Bunny, Icons, & Pattern

Thought I'd put up some Easter-related items here, since we are into March. This is part of a licensing package I've been working on.

0 Comments on Easter Bunny, Icons, & Pattern as of 3/14/2013 5:03:00 PM
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18. Desperately Seeking Spring


Every day I go out my back door, down the walkway to my studio.

It is still winter around these parts, even though severe cold appears to be behind us.  In Colorado we KNOW that we could still get 3 feet of snow! .. all the way into April.

Still, in my mind I have been planting flowers now. This flower bed that looks so bare, will be full of plants in around 12 weeks!  The grass will be green even before that!  I am so excited!  I love Spring!  I love when the birds get back from their vacation down south!  The woodpecker is already pounding on our chimney and I just smile!  Its all signs of Spring!   Soon I will be working in my studio with my door and windows open.  I am READY!!!

Filed under: The Great Outdoors!

1 Comments on Desperately Seeking Spring, last added: 2/18/2013
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19. All around the World - Work in progress

10 Comments on All around the World - Work in progress, last added: 10/26/2012
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20. Thumbelina

Thumbelina by Susan Jeffers

Once upon a time there was a woman who was sad because she had no children. One day she planted a magic seed and from the seed grew a flower. Inside the flower was a tiny, exquisite girl no bigger than the woman's thumb. Her name was Thumbelina. The two lived happily together until an ugly old toad snuck in and snatched Thumbelina away. So began Thumbelina's adventures...A beautiful version of a classic tale with illustrations by Susan Jeffers...

If you liked this, try:
The Princess and the Pea
Pretty Salma
The Three Pigs
The Tale of the Firebird

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21. Doodle Day: Flowers Squared


Just another quick, messy, doodle ... flowers in a square-ish sized box. A bit too rigid in style to be made into patterns, perhaps. Will just leave it be as it is, in the Moleskine journal.


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22. Doodle Day: Heart Flowers

Still in the spirit of hearts, love, and Valentine's Day, I decided to doodle some flowers with heart petals, inspired by Provençal motif designs. Whipped out my large Moleskine journal and my marker pens and here are the results:




There's something I quite liked about those top flowers, though I can't pinpoint exactly what it is. So I scanned it in and cleaned it up a bit, just to see how it would look. Here's the scanned original:




And here's the cleaned up version:




Is there something odd but cute about it? I'm really unsure whether to work on it further and place it onto products, or create a pattern design from it or not. Perhaps I'll just put it in the To Do queue and look at it again sometime in the future and decide then. What do you think? Cheers.


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23. On the bright side....

we got flowers...... and time off from school and other obligations.
But, after a week of sequential family flu yuckiness, I'm about ready for things to get back to normal.

I'll check back with illustration friday soon, happy 100th day of school.
 (so many sketch ideas, so little time :)

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24. a thought

I think valentines day should be about celebrating the people and things that make you happy.

Happy day to you, actually, take the weekend! We are off of school for 4 days.

0 Comments on a thought as of 2/14/2013 11:23:00 PM
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25. On Deck...

I've tucked away the porcelain creamer, little orange flowers and cascading drapery, replacing the objects with photo references for a project I'm really excited about doing.  The inspiration was a photograph of my oldest daughter taken about a year ago at El Capitan State Beach.  However, I'm changing the location from a rocky beach to a rocky riverbed with some trees in the background.

I'm looking forward to playing with some colors that have not been on the palette for other projects - mainly Phthalo blue and green.  I'm also excited about exploring colors and patterns of stones in water - I've always been drawn to that in nature.  But, most of all, I'm delighted to be working with a specific concept - trying to capture the moment of quiet contemplation or listening in prayer.

I have flashes of what I think the end product might look like, but I've learned not to get hung up in those fleeting visions.  They give me a direction, but the journey will likely take me down any number of possible paths.  But, this is merely a study for the sake of exploration.  Ultimately, I see this as a fairly large painting - large for my space, anyway, requiring more than a little tabletop.  By the time I'm ready to move on to canvas, the weather should be comfortable enough to work in the garage again.

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