I have been gardening in this place for so long, it amazes me that I come up with ways to do things differently every year. It is NEVER the same-old, same-old.
I run five fountains which the birds and I all love, and three of them are terra cotta clay – consisting of a hollow base and bowl top.
They are HEAVY!
Birds are DIRTY!
I found myself having to empty and clean the fountain bowl every couple days and lifting that thing full of water is killer.
I was at my garden center and saw an assortment of plastic pot saucers and the largest were rather deep and LARGE. Light bulbs went off. But I hate plastic in my garden (and most other places too). Surely, even the most neutral, cream colored version would look hideous on that terra cotta base, right?
But my achin’ back said to try it, and I was surprised by the result. From across the courtyard where I sit on my swing, it looks like they match – and you can’t tell it’s plastic at all.
That is the original terra cotta bowl on the ground at the left.
There are now some white Cosmos planted at the front of that flower bed. When I did the art journal sketch above, there was just the flowering mound of Candytuft which is the green behind the Cosmos now flowerless.
Here’s another view of the birdbath fountain. . .
That bare earth in the back corner will be filled with Hummingbird mint as the Summer moves along.
In this birdbath, I have a Waterfall Rock. This is a resin rock sculpture which looks like a stack of slate and encloses a recirculating pump which I have found to be very reliable and resilient. We sell them at my gallery ($40), and of course, I use them at home. I run them in heated bird baths in the winter, and twice, the power went out in the middle of the night and froze the birdbath solid. As soon as things melted, this pump went right on running.
So, the long and short of it is that you can create a great birdbath for the price of a large plastic pot saucer ($15) and anything to set it on. A wrought iron plant stand would do fine. You can make your birdbath a fountain by adding some rocks and a small recirculating pump.
White Flowers on a Green Background . . .
One of the challenges of garden art journaling with watercolor is that most flowers are lighter than the green foliage around and behind them. Since watercolor is transparent, you can’t paint a light color over a dark.
So, masking fluid is the watercolorist’s best friend.
Let’s be honest . . . using masking fluid is usually a pain in the neck. It’s gooey and gummy and sticks in your brush if you don’t fill your brush with soap suds first. And once you have your brush filled with soap suds, it is not easy to mask small details.
I do know there are lots of alternatives – like white ink markers etc. but painting over those inks is not like painting on the paper.
So, masking fluid remains the best answer, and I have just recently found a brand that has become my favorite for many reasons, and of course, it comes from a watercolor company – Daniel Smith.
It comes in a squeeze bottle that has a fine tip. But it also comes with 5 extra fine tips which you stick on the bottle tip, and which result in you being able to “draw” very fine lines.
From a distance, a Candytuft blossom does not have much detail, so I didn’t want to mess with a soapy brush. I just wanted to scribble some little white flowers . . .
The tiny squeeze tip worked great.
But, here’s the thing – you have to clean that tip. And the finest wire will not pass through. The manufacturer says to use up your first bottle of fluid, and then keep it for filling with water to clean the tips. You switch the tip from the active masking fluid bottle to the water bottle and squeeze a stream of water through the tip.
Cleaning MUST be done immediately after use.
You are never going to get that first bottle actually cleaned out, and you don’t want this gunk going down your sink (it’s latex rubber).
So, here’s my best advice:
Buy two bottles. Empty one right away into a small jar or something where you will be able to use it with a brush when masking larger areas. Make sure the jar seals tightly and use the smallest you can find so little air is in contact with the masking fluid.
Let the bottle you just emptied sit without its top on until the coating of fluid still inside hardens.
After that, you should be able to use it with water without any pieces of dried fluid clogging things up.
What would be easier?? Why the heck doesn’t Daniel Smith sell an empty bottle and extra tips for this product? I think I have to go ask them.
Monkey-Mind-fullness . . .
This, by the way is the opposite of mindfulness, and I am working on making the switch before I really do drive myself crazy.
Meanwhile, for as long as I have been blogging, I have been hindered by monkey-mind. I am interested in so many things and I keep thinking they should all be divided into different blogs, etc. – which only results in no blogging because I can’t decide where what and when.
So, starting with this post, my blog will be much more true to its name – Whatever.
Whatever my current dalliance, I am going to share it right here in this place.
Hopefully, that will result in more posting.
We shall see . . .
New Mailing List . . .
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