Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Good things…

Back before I went to Barcelona, I mentioned that I had been helping some parents at an elementary school in the district I used to teach in construct a ceramic mosaic. When I left, after many months of making clay tiles, glazing clay tiles, creating images of the life skills the kids at the school are taught, and cutting tiles and mirror for the background, they had begun the installation.

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By the time I got back they had completed the installation with every kid in the school getting to make an addition of some type. They had even completed the grouting and the entire mural was absolutely fabulous! (I was kind of sorry I missed the grouting because I do love to grout. Oh, well, the next project!)

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These are Shweta and Tammy, mothers, artists, volunteers, organizers and Renaissance women who are really fun to hang around with because they do cool projects. I would follow them into an art project anywhere. Kudos on a job well-done! Just goes to prove the universal goodness brought to you by art.

In addition, on the universal goodness of nature:

I have mentioned my Dutchman’s Pipevine on my gate many times over the years. It is great because it is a California native plant so takes little water, the deer don’t like to eat it so it can hang to the outside of the garden gate, and it has possibly the greatest flower ever seen…

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We planted ours probably six years ago for the above qualities and one more. There is a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly that only likes it. So we have waited and waited for ours to come…which it finally did a few weeks ago.

I could not get a picture of it because it was really flittering…

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but Terry succeeded…

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but then it was gone. Today I passed by the vine and into the house, glancing over to see if it was time for me to take fast growing tendrils and weave them back into the trellis and I noticed that many ends had been chewed off.

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After my first thought that we had somehow grown a super-large example of deer that was taller than the gate and wrecking havoc despite the poisonous nature of the plant (which is why they are not supposed to like to eat it), I looked closer and found that we now have a colony of caterpillars…

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The caterpillars are not poisonous at first, but the more leaves they eat the more poisonous they become. This is why the birds do not like them even though black with red spikes makes them kind of obvious. The caterpillars leave the Pipevine for a different plant when they make their chrysalis. I feel like a grandmother to thousands! I am so proud…


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An ode to a Dutchman’s Pipe…

Ahh, the pipevine (Aristolochia californica) is blooming and I have not commemorated it yet. A California native plant, deer won’t eat it and it grows rampantly. That makes it good on a fence where deer could get at it on one side. It also is supposed to have a blue butterfly, but you could not prove that by our plant because we have never seen one here. We do get the uniquely shaped flowers and pods (left from last season). As luck would have it, the bloom coincided with my seeing the Georgia O’Keeffe show at the deYoung Museum. I came home from the show and knew I had to photographically deal with the blooms keeping abstraction in mind and muttering crop, crop, crop…what would Georgia do? These are not scientific renderings…just some play with some new apps with serendipitous results.
The work flow in general:
All were originally taken in the iPhone native camera, then, imported into and saved from the following apps. The saved version was then imported into the next app.
Snapseed (cropping and touch up of saturation, brightness and contrast)
TouchreTouch (I had placed a sheet of paper behind each flower for a plain background and sometimes when I cropped square I had corners I needed to touch up)
Waterlogue or Glaze (for a painted look) I often did this multiple times for various degrees of the paint-look
Blender (I used the saved image from TouchreTouch as the bottom layer with each painterly image on top flattening in between)
When I liked it the saved image went into DistressedFX for some aging. Some also went into PicGrunger for creases or cracks.
Please do not think reality…just form and shape!

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This flower is one of my garden’s highlights.