Thursday, July 30, 2015

Wildflower Bounty in the Woods

Summers in Montana may be brief but they are beyond compare!  My love of this place began while I was in high school.  Our church youth group would work hard fundraising all year to pay for a week in Montana at the Clydehurst Christian Ranch.  I remember washing windows in homes, painting homes, carrying firewood, and serving many church meals for donations.  We'd load up that school bus at midnight and drive for hours.  When evening arrived, we'd sleep on the floor of a church in Billings.  One year we slept on the floor of an implement dealer.  That was a hard floor.  That next day, we'd drive to the camp and the surroundings felt like heaven.  My dream to live somewhere in a mountain state became specifically a dream of moving to Montana.  It's still just amazing that this did come true and I've been here for over twenty years.  There's no swimming pool in my backyard.  Horseback riding is not my regular free time activity.  I could, with so many friends that own horses.  That young girl had no idea what life in Montana would look like.  There have been several memorable blizzards and I'm lightning fast at grabbing the radio and flashlights...but that's more Nebraska tornado response than blizzard response, huh.  Blizzard response is charging electronic devices...right?  What would we do if we couldn't play angry birds?!  

Sarcasm here, because I hate to say I'm a pro!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Painting the Crocus

The Crocus trio of paintings were completed yesterday.  This marks six weeks of my adventures in painting on a regular basis.  I am treating this as a real job.  Funny, huh.  That's not sad and depressing at all.  I've spent years putting my artistic ventures last because I love my husband and children.  That's what we women do...we set our interest aside to focus on our family.  It's easy to resist saying no to someone else while saying no to myself.  In the past, when attending art show exhibits, I'd sheepishly say, "I paint watercolors."  Not, "I'm an artist on hiatus while I raise a family."  It was like this, because I was not actively busy with watercolors or any other kind of art, I felt like I wasn't really an artist anymore.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Painting the Shooting Stars

Spring is finally here!  The shooting stars said so.

Shooting stars blooming abundantly with a few Indian paintbrush

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

The color and size of the shooting stars vary.

"Oh, look!  I see them!  Quick, stop, I'll be right back."  

These words are followed by me grabbing my camera and jumping out of the car.  I wander the roadside ditch for the next 15 minutes, searching for the best and brightest blooms.  Aware that my family is patiently waiting for me during a pause in our drive to wherever we are heading today.  This has been our habit for so long that no one complains; there's no impatience because this is our normal.  I can pass up boutiques and coffee shops but I brake for wildflowers.  For me, nature sends delightful little messengers of spring in the grassy wet areas.  I glance around for the amount of standing water, hoping to keep my feet dry.  It may sound crazy but I'm like a child at a parade, watching for candy to be tossed my way.  That's how it is for me while I'm anticipating the growing season for each wildflower.  This vivid fuchsia flower on slender stem has a lovely scent, as gentle and pleasing as lilacs or roses but still distinctly different.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Weekend Escape to Two Medicine, Glacier National Park

Mariposa Lily

Glacier National Park is an amazing place to visit.  If you've been there, you know what I mean.  The views are majestic and tell why Montana is known as Big Sky County.  God's creation is so inspiring with the massive mountain peaks rising up from vividly green meadows.  Intricately designed wildflowers springing up along the trails like confetti beg to have their photos taken.  We spent one Sunday afternoon and another weekend at Two Medicine.  

It's such a treat to pack a simple picnic lunch in the cooler and head out on the road, knowing that these vistas are waiting at the other end.  A few sandwiches, a pasta salad, potato chips, cookies and sodas...refillable water bottles are a must if there's any hiking in our plans.