Creative Adventures Beyond the Garden: Painting Trees and Roadrunners
I must admit that I don’t spend much time outside in my garden in August. Very quickly I become a sweaty mess and the heat sucks out all my energy. So, I turn to other pursuits to occupy my time. This month I’ve painted trees, had a chance encounter with a roadrunner and welcomed a new princess.
Discovering the Artist Within: Painting Trees on Canvas
While I usually indulge my creativity out in the garden with design, I had an opportunity to channel it onto canvas. It was during a team-building event for my husband’s work.
The event was held at an art studio that hosts group art painting sessions. As I approached the blank canvas, paint brushes and paint, I felt a combination of excitement and apprehension. I’ve never painted on canvas before and the last time I’ve put brush to an easel was in kindergarten.
The instructor stood in front of the class, and we were to replicate a particular painting. There was an example of the finished piece of art, and the instructor guided us step by step. She began painting her blank canvas and showed us how easy it is to create a design.
It was enjoyable, and I’m living proof that you don’t have to be an artist to enjoy the experience. However, as a certified arborist, I did feel a little bit of pressure when painting in my trees. I reminded myself that this was more impressionistic art.
A Close Encounter with the Southwest’s Speedy Icon: The Roadrunner
A couple of days later, I was visiting my niece at our local hospital. I was lucky enough to spot a roadrunner walking toward the front door. We don’t see them very often where I live in suburbia, so I stood and watched what it was doing.
Because I just recently taught a class on gardening for birds at the Desert Botanical Garden. I was full of facts about this type of bird, which is a member of the Cuckoo family and I started reciting them to my husband who was watching the roadrunner with me.
For those of us who grew up watching the cartoon feature Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner, the coyote never seemed to catch the roadrunner. However, in reality, coyotes can reach a top speed of over 30 mph while roadrunners can only run up to 15 mph.
Roadrunners are found throughout the entire Southwest and are spreading as far to Louisiana – so now you have two fun facts to share with your friends.
Here is a photo of another roadrunner that I spotted several years in front of a hospice facility, coincidentally across the street from the same hospital. You’ll notice the red and blue coloring on the side of its head, which is visible during mating season.
I’ve watched these large birds run and catch lizards and snakes in the desert, and it’s always a treat when I get to see them up close.
Celebrating a New Arrival: Welcoming a Little Princess
Hospital visits aren’t typically fun outings, but the exception is when you are visiting new parents. My nephew and his wife just welcomed a precious little girl into the world, and I am now a great aunt. We have had eight boys born into the family, yet only one girl in the past 25 years, so we are so excited to have another “princess” to love and dote on. Bring on the pink!
In a few short weeks, my focus will once again be in the garden, but for now, I’m enjoying the cool indoors.
How about you? Have you ever gone to an art studio for a painting class or seen a roadrunner up close?consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."