Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Nancy Herman
8" x 6"
oil on canvas board

The first rays of the morning sun, no matter where they land, seem to say, "it's a new day and anything is possible".  When they hit a treasured part of the garden it is especially lovely and, because the flowers are so ephemeral, a little poignant at the same time.


Monday, June 27, 2011


You can't beat the beautiful Larkspur for color in June.  I have a bed of these lovely delicate flowers that reseed on their own, crowd out competitors and in general are a reliable joy.  If you live in the area and want seeds from them let me know.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life's Weeds

Since I have been dealing with the weeds in my garden I have been thinking about the "weeds" that are an inexorable part of life.  I would define them as the forces that are always trying to take over our existence.  These are the forces we keep at bay but never really get rid of.  

I suppose the gradual deterioration of our body has to top the list ending as it must in death.  I think we have to fight the fear of death before we can actually take what steps are necessary to keep it at bay as long as possible.  We have to take the measure of it in some rational way and do battle. 
Our main tool is our will to act, which we have to carry around at the ready like the garden fork.  It is so easy to sink back in the chair and say, "I'll exercise tomorrow" or  "I'll get that checkup next year".   If we don't exercise regularly gravity will pull us down, our muscles will wither and we will be feeble before we have to be.  If we don't find out the cause of what is going wrong with our bodies we will give them over to whatever weed /disease is on the attack without finding the root of it and digging it out or using the bag of weed killers at our disposal to kill it or simply changing our planting patterns to optimize our survival.  We have to use the love we have for ourselves and others to cover us very much like the mulch we put on our gardens to keep in the moisture and keep out the weeds. 

So I guess I feel if we want as much order and beauty in our life as we can get, we must treat it as a garden, keeping our will at the ready to help us fight the natural disorder that is constantly pushing at the borders.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


While waiting for paintings to dry, check out my post on the Ardmore/Merion/Wynnewood Patch to find how I came to blows with the Green Dragon or Pinellia weed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I have no paintings for a while as I have been busy weeding.  If you are interested in my experiences fighting Gout Weed.  Check out my blog on the Ardmore/Merion/ Wynnewood Patch.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Folly is a word we don't use much anymore except to describe these structures with no other purpose than to decorate the landscape or as in this case define the vista and make elegant shadows.   Perhaps it is because so much of what we do is 'foolish and lacking in good sense' that the word has lost its defining power.  This Folly at Chanticleer provides a welcome oasis of shade in the midst of the lovely gardens, so in the real sense of the word it is not "folly" at all.

See auction at DailyPaintworks for purchase

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This meadow at Chanticleer filled with Allium and this unusual yellow orange Spirea that positively glows, is an unusual combination of colors that really knocks my socks off.   It required a larger canvas than usual. This one is 9" x 12".

Where does the expression "knock your socks off" come from?  It originally meant to hit someone so hard that not only their shoes but their socks were knocked off.  Now of course it simply means to be suddenly amazed.
To quote the Word Detective where I found this info, " if it seems surprising that a very violent metaphor should end up as an expression of critical acclaim, keep in mind that the term "blown away," now routinely found in book and movie rave reviews, originally meant "to be killed by gunfire."

Framed or not

Monday, June 13, 2011

Poppies and Lettuce Garden

The delightful, delicate dance of Poppies through the saucy salad of lively lettuce is just one of the eye pleasers at Chanticleer.  (If you think I went overboard with the alliteration please appreciate that I did show some restraint by not making it "pretty" poppies).
Seriously all the many gardens at Chanticleer are filled with surprising color and unusual combinations of plants.  There is a living art work everywhere you look. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chanticleer Lettuce Garden #1

The next few days will be devoted to the beautiful gardens at Chanticleer.  Here is the area imediately behind the entrance where several varieties of lettuce create lovely patterns in May and June. Chanticleer has a tantalizing combination of textures and colors everywhere you wander.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


This is the last painting from this particular fog series, though I'm sure I will find myself in a fog again.   Before the fog lifts and the sun comes out, here is the lovely little poem by Carl Sandburg.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Formal Garden in the Fog

The formal garden is just beginning to come to its second flowering.  The tulips, daffodils and iris are over, or almost over.  You can just see a few in the middle distance.  The peonies are just starting to open up in the foreground.

Continuing the fog metaphor, Joseph Conrad said,  "It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world. Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed, warm fog." 

This is an interesting quote.  It is certainly true that the clear sighted are often not the ones in control of ruling the world, and it may also be true that some great decisions are made in a blessed warm fog, but when people who are not clear sighted rule, the fog of their decision making does not appear to be "blessed".  

The leaders of the Middle East for the past 20 or 30 years certainly have not been making decisions in a "blessed" warm fog.  Short sighted rulers seem to be governed by a hot fog of self serving megalomania. They remain in power because those governed are in the midst of a fog of fear and resignation.  The internet has proved, in this case, to be the sun that broke through that fog and gave courage to those oppressed.  Suddenly they saw the long view and the fog lifted.  What happens as a result of this sudden break with their past reality is bound to be very chaotic, as we don't adjust easily to such great rents in our sense of what is real.

Monday, June 6, 2011


All colors have their own place on the continuum from dark to light and purple is the most pure at the dark end of that continuum, making these Allium  glow in the dark.

Since I began painting this group of work centered around fog, I have been thinking of all the ways perception, influenced by one parameter only can be altered.  Fog is a good metaphor as it diminishes the distance you can see radically and yet keeps the immediate surroundings recognizable.  You see just beyond your own nose.  You don't get the big picture.  Those around you see the same things you do, so you agree about what reality is.

Our perceptions are always colored by one fog or another.  Some large examples are the fog of prejudice, ignorance, envy, greed or fear.  But we  all have our own set of convictions that keep us in a fog.  Whatever the fog  that puts a veil over our eyes, it keeps us from enjoying the long view, but may be very satisfying in its limited way.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Fog creates a uniform pattern over what we see.  It changes everything very slightly.  That allows us to perceive things as if they were new without causing too much anxiety.  We like things to be in there usual place but also like a fresh look at them.  Fog does just that.

Here are the ever perceptive Benjamin Franklin's thoughts about fog:

"Like a man traveling in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, though in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them."