Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Pretty Petunias

I was lucky enough to receive a selection of Wave petunias on May 18th via Fedex as a member of this year's Wave Research Team.  The varieties I am testing will not be available in stores till next spring.  I am to try them out and then critique their performance.  I am quite pumped about the whole process.  They plants looked rather bedraggled when I took them out of the box but that was hardly surprising.   I am new to the blogging world and unfortunately I  didn't take a photo that day so you will have to trust me that they looked a bit sad.  I watered them and set them in a sunny spot and by May 26 they had really bounced back as you can see below.

May was rather a busy month for me and I didn't actually get around to replanting them till June 2. Do you think they will believe it was for testing purposes?  My dog ate the planting instructions?

I chose a new planting mix that I haven't used before so this is an interesting experience for me all round.  It is Scotts Miracle Gro - ExpandnGro.  It really is compact when you buy it and then bulks up 3 times when you add water. Here is a link to info about it  and a coupon.


Please note they have not asked me to review their product or paid me in any way.  It just seemed appealing when I went to by potting soil.  It is a 100% natural lightweight material made from coconut husk. The idea that it retains water better than other materials really appeals to me as I find that my pots sometimes dry out in the summer heat.  I intend to water regularly but sometimes I forget and I am hoping this potting mix will keep my flowers looking good even if I slip up. I will keep you posted on how the potting mix performs as well as giving follow up on the petunias.

I am testing the following varieties that will not be in stores until 2013.

           Petunia Shock Wave Rose Improved 
           Petunia Shock Wave Deep Purple Improved
           Angelonia Serenita Lavender Pink 

Transplanting Finally


I followed the instructions and planted them directly without removing the wrapping.  I found it a bit weird but it does keep the roots together. 

Here is a link to more info on the plant wrap.  An idea that should have happened long ago.  Think of how many pots this is saving from landfills.  I am not sure if I really liked planting them but you could also compost the wrappers if you choose.  I do like the idea that they are biodegradable. 

Well here they are all planted up. Stay tuned to see how they develop.


Wave Gardening Tips Included in box

Give your Wave petunias full sun - at least 6+ hours per day.

Regularly water and fertilize your petunias once a week with liquid feed, or with slow release fertilizer.  Petunias are hungry plants.

If possible, water your plants in the morning so the foliage dries before evening.

When planting, maintain the same plant depth as the original pot or pack.

For lush, full container displays, place 3 plants in a 10-12" (25-30 cm) container.

Visit  http://www.wave-rave.com for more planting advice and frequently asked questions or to join the club and maybe you can be chosen as a tester next year.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

My Other attempts at Art

Well, thanks for all the great feedback on my beach painting.  My friend suggested that I post my earlier painting attempts with instructions.  Here is my first stab at the Liquitex Pouring Medium.

                          check it out here http://www.liquitex.com/pouringmedium/

I was lucky enough to get a batch of free canvases on Craigslist.  This allowed the frugal Scot in me to come out to play. I also picked up some marked down acrylics but paid full price for the medium.  I won't post the first attempt as it was just a small trial to get a feel for how the medium worked. I didn't read the directions closely enough, so the test was a good idea. You should mix your paints to the shade you want and then add the medium.  The medium changes your paint to a milkier colour but this becomes a very glossy version of your shade once it dries.  So I mixed my colours with the medium on the first one and they didn't turn out quite how I wanted them.  Make sure you have lots of protective plastic underneath as the paint will flow off the canvases.  I had let mine sit on cat food tins on top of the plastic so the paint could drip off and not have the canvas stick to the plastic.

I was much happier with my second attempt below colour wise.  I also played with it more and squirted glops of pure white in after using the blues.  This created the clouds and then I added squits of beige and taupe to get the lumpy sand which I really like.

After I applied the sand/ground paint and let them drip a bit, I went back and did thin lines of black straight acrylic. I like that effect too.  Once I had the paint/medium on, I slanted the canvas just a bit and let gravity do the creation.  I really like the sand/ground....what do you think?

I also wanted to try to do a version of  Lisa Ochowycz's work with the pouring medium added as a top coat to an acrylic painting.  I discovered Lisa's work at the 2011 Timeraiser event.  Not sure if you are aware of the Timeraiser concept.  Have a look here to read about it.


Basically, it is a win-win-win situation.  You pay to get in (I think it was $20) and pledge to do 20 hours volunteer work over the next year.  The artists are paid a decent amount by the Timeraiser organizers so they win by selling one of their creations and getting exposure to a new audience.  A group of not-for-profits have representatives there with details on volunteer positions available in their organization.  You get a chance to look at the art and talk to the different agencies to find a volunteer position that fits you. Some of the artists are there to talk to as well.

Then the silent auction begins but instead of money, you bid volunteer hours.  The winner of each creation will get their work of art after they have completed their volunteer hours.  So if you have more time than money, like me, then this is a way of getting some fantastic art for your walls.  I haven't been lucky enough to win one but it has introduced me to some great new artists.  I really wanted to win a painting done by Lisa but wasn't lucky enough. You can see more of her work here.


She is a frequent participant in the Culture Crawl each November when artists open their studio doors. Mark it in your calendar if you are in Vancouver this November.  You will love it.


I went to Lisa's studio and she explained her techniques and was really wonderful to me.  I did purchase a couple of her smaller pieces and she threw in 2 of the blank wood panels that she uses and encouraged me to give it a whirl myself.  Such a generous artist. She really is supportive.

Well it took a while to work up the courage, not sure why......visit this blog if you are stuck and need a push like I did.


Then I did my version of her technique.  I painted each of the panels in one colour (uncut cobalt and copper though they look different in pictures)  I let that dry  for a day and then did some drippy black stems with pouring medium added to the black so it flowed.  I let those dry for a day in an upright position to get the drips.  Then I took the tubes of copper and blue and just did fat squiggles straight from the tube to get a really 3D effect.  Once that dried (left it for 3 days as they were big blobs of paint), I added a coat of straight pouring medium to the top.  Not sure what happened as I had them level but the copper background one developed a great crackle.  The blue one has ripples that I think are interesting as well.  Not sure if you can see it in the pictures.  It is quite hard to photograph the paintings to get the true colour and effect.  I am a work in progress.  What do you think?  Have you tried painting with pouring medium?

2nd attempt at photographing them:


I just can't get the colours to show true due to the light reflection but hopefully you get the idea. The colours are totally uncut from the tube for these, so they are much deeper and richer in person than in the photos.

Tell me what you think.  Not sure what I will do next, but I found it very liberating once I let myself go and just try it.

Monday, 21 May 2012

First post is my new painting

Well, I have a big bucket list.  Starting a blog and creating a beach painting in acrylic are two items.  I finally stopped trolling Pinterest long enough to actual create a painting this weekend.  It will go in the basement play area where all my grandchildren's toys are.  It really needed something on the walls and I am pleased with how it turned out.  Not perfect but not bad.  I know my technique needs work but I am vowing to stop thinking about things and start doing them.