Monday, May 30, 2011

On The Easel - A New Painting Featuring Apple Blossoms

"All day in the green sunny orchard , when May was a marvel of bloom, I followed the busy bee-lovers, down paths that were sweet with perfume." 
     - Margaret E. Sangster

Step 1

©Laura Leeder, Watercolor In Progress, May 2011

Step 2

©Laura Leeder, Watercolor In Progress
I have been wanting to include apple blossoms in my paintings for a long time.  This year, the timing was right, the weather co-operated and I was finally able to photograph several "set up's". 
I have tried to take photo's indoors, adjusting the lighting... shooting in front of a window... and while some of them have turned out fine, there is no comparison to the strong light and shadows you get when taking photo's outdoors. 
More importanly, I get great pleasure from the experience of being outdoors while shooting my set up's. 
I enjoy the activity that goes on around me....robins hopping about searching for worms, hummingbirds shooting back and forth to the sugar feeders, the sound of their battle cries as they charge across the sky defending their territories. 

The scent of blossoms in the air, the sound of  tractors in the distance, a horse neighing....just to name a few.  The sights, sounds, scents and activities I experence, are an important part of my painting process, they connect me to nature in a profound and satisfying way.   
It is that simplicity and joy of everyday life that perhaps I am trying to share in my still life and floral paintings.  Something I can't quite express with words....
Wishing you a "Creative" day,
Laura Leeder,
Watercolor Artist,
Creston, BC

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Apple Blossom's In All Their Glory-The Inspiration For My Next Painting

"Inspiration comes from nature itself. I am enamored of nature, and that admiration has only increased as I age."   (Benjamin Eisenstat)

©Apple Blossoms, Laura Leeder, May 2011

As a Still-Life and Floral Artist, living in a rich agricultural area, my inspiration for a painting often comes from the surrounding landscape.   And right now....the valley is at it's very best.  The orchard's are bursting with color as the blossom's on the fruit tree's celebrate another season of growth.

I shot this photo yesterday in the orchard adjacent to my property.  As I was taking some photo's several ideas for paintings came to mind.  Excitedly,  I drove out to a friends property, who has several apple tree's and who didn't mind my cutting off a few branches ripe with blossom's to take home for photo's. 

A few hours later, I had taken several photographs with various items and of course these beautiful "apple blossoms."   I've selected a few photos and will start working on the sketch for a painting today.

Artfully Yours,
Laura Leeder
Watercolor Artist, Creston, BC

Did You Know.....
Apple blossoms on a tree are not necessarily a positive indicator of forthcoming apples. If blossoms are not adequately pollinated, a flowering tree will not bear fruit.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Teacup Series, Prints and Gift Cards, On Display At The Creston Museum

"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea."   -Bernard-Paul Heroux



On Friday, May 20th, I delivered a selection of Prints and Gift Cards featuring 
the "Teacup Series" to the Creston Museum.  They are now available for purchase 
through the Museum Gift Shop.  

The original watercolor paintings will be on exhibit during the Museum's
 "Old Fashioned Tea", August 13th, 2011.

*Attend the Creston Museum's Old Fashioned Tea, this summer,
 and you could be the winner of one of my "Teacup" paintings!

If you are traveling through the area this summer, please put the "Old Fashioned Tea"
on your list of things to do and see!

Artfully Yours,
Laura Leeder
Watercolor Artist,
Creston, BC

Monday, May 16, 2011

Teacup Painting, "Lord Aynsley"

"In an age when everyone is constantly busy and short of time, what could be more enjoyable than taking time to indulge in what was once part of everyday life, but has now become a luxury  -- afternoon tea."       -LESLEY MACKLEY, The Book of Afternoon Tea

A Creston Museum Teacup

©Lord Aynsley, Watercolor, Size: 5"x7"
   Laura Leeder

After a very busy week, working outdoors, I finally managed to carve out some time in the studio and get this teacup painting finished!  This is another cup by Aynsley China.  I titled the earlier painting "Lady Aynsley" and therefore, it seemed only fitting that I name this one "Lord Aynsley" in honor of the founder. 

(See blog entry dated Thursday, April 14, 2011, "Teacup Painting, "Lady Aynsley", And Her Ancient Lineage...for some interesting facts about Aynsley China.)

In searching the web for this pattern, (to no avail), I came across a lot of interesting facts about the "staffordshire potteries" where most of english china originated, with many companies still producing there today.

-The staffordshire potteries is actually the city of  Stoke-on-Trent, located in the north of the county of Staffordshire, England.
-Stoke-on-Trent is made up of 6 districts: Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke,Fenton and Longton (where Aynsley China was made). 
-The production of pottery dates back to at least the 17th century, and was founded on the area’s abundant supplies of clay; of salt and lead for glazing; and of coal, used to fire the kilns.
-In 1769 JosiahWedgwood built one of Britain’s first large factories, in Etruria, the village he established on the outskirts of Burslem, his birthplace.
-John Aynsley the 2nd, grandson of the founder, John Aynsley,  built the company into a leader of fine bone china with the building of a special factory in 1861.
-Of the older pottery firms like Turner or Hilditch, only one, Aynsley survives. But many china firms still dominate the town of Longton, such as Paragon and Royal Albert.

-The industry’s growth was also aided by the opening, in 1777, of the Grand Trunk Canal (now the Trent and Mersey Canal), which provided an outlet to the ports at Hull and Liverpool in order to transport raw materials into the city and for the export of the finished ware.

©Bottle Kilns,

"Nothing set the Potteries sky-line apart more than the weird bottle shaped brick buildings that looked for all the world like they had been borrowed from a fairytale scene.

Experts calculate that in the heyday there were up to 4,000 bottle kilns with as many as 2,000 still standing in the 1950's. The Clean Air Act sounded the death-knell for the smoky, coal fired oven. There are 46 still standing today - most are listed buildings."  -the  

Must be quite a site indeed!  Stoke-on-Trent, sounds like a fascinating place to visit. 

To see more in this series of paintings, click on the page at the top of the blog -"Teacup Series".
All PAINTINGS will be available for purchase in August 2011.

*Attend the Creston Museum's Old Fashioned Tea, this summer, and you could be the winner of one of my "Teacup" paintings!   REGISTER HERE

Artfully Yours,
Laura Leeder
Watercolor Artist, Creston, BC 

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Spring Performance - Watercolor Painting By Laura Leeder

"If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom."   ~Terri Guillemets

© A Spring Performance, Watercolor, Size:  17.25"x 22.25"
    Laura Leeder

It has been an unusually cool & wet spring here in the Creston Valley.  The bulbs poppped their heads up several weeks ago and have sat waiting for the warmth of the sun before fully emerging. 
We've finally had a few days with sun and with a bit of coaxing, my bulbs are slowly starting to bloom.  The daffodils are open, the hyacinth with their sweet, heady scent and lastly my colorful queens, opening with a smile and nodding their heads in approval.

Enjoy your day,
Laura Leeder
Watercolor Artist, Creston, BC

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring is here, finally!

"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."   ~Mark Twain

On Saturday, a friend and I, drove to Castelgar to deliver new artwork to the Kootenay Museum & Gallery.  We stopped at the summit of the Creston-Salmo pass to take these pictures.

@At the top of Salmo Pass, April 30, 2011
    Laura Leeder

@Summit Lake (hidden by the mounds of snow), Top of Salmo Pass, April 30, 2011
    Laura Leeder

Driving through the pass at this time of year is a unique experience.  I enjoy seeing and experiencing the change in weather as we climb higher up the mountian.  In a matter of minutes we go from spring to winter.
The scenery and the view is alway spectacular!  And the best part, after enjoying the beauty of the snow topped pass, in a matter of minutes we head back into spring.
With an elevation of 1,775 m (5,823 ft), the  Kootenay Pass is one of the highest highway-served passes in Canada that is open year-round, although it is frequently closed in bad weather.   

©Highway 3 to Trail, April 30, 2011
   Laura Leeder

©Bombi Pass to Castelgar, April 30, 2011
   Laura Leeder

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." ~Hal Borland


© "Miss Lucy", Creston, BC, May 1, 2011
What a difference a day makes!  Sunday was a warm, sunny, spring day, and out on a morning walk through the countryside, we are greeted by Lucy the goose.  If you look closley, you can see the she is indeed speaking to us!  
And just one more photo from our walk in the countryside.......Donkey! 
A new friend who is yet to be named! 
©Donkey, Creston, BC, May 1, 2011
   Laura Leeder

It is Monday, May 2, 2011.  The sun is shining, and dare I say it?  Spring is definately here!  

I say this because....yesterday afternoon, as Ivor & I sat outside enjoying the late afternoon sun, we had our first Hummingbird visit.  It was a male can hear them long before you see them.....he made a brief visit to our feeder and disappeared into our spruce tree.   Like spring....this visitor is a few weeks late. 

Male Rufous Hummingbird in flight.  Photo by Vic Shuman.  Click to see a larger image.  
   Photo by Vic Shuman of Ramona, CA.

Every year, we put our feeders out in early April.  The Rufus seem to be the earliest vacationers, although, many of them do not stay, they travel on ....further far as Alaska.  The majority of hummingbirds will arrive mid-to late May.   We like to believe that by putting our feeders out so early, we are providing nourishment to some of these early migrators.  

And now, back to the studio and painting.  There is a blue teacup painting that needs to be completed and a new sketch that needs to be started.  

Have a good one,
Laura Leeder,
Watercolor Artist, Creston, BC    

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