Best of Summer 2016

So much about summer to enjoy…so little time to take it all in. I’ve been a little absent from my various social media outlets the past few months & with good reason. My son started kindergarten this fall and I didn’t want to waste one second of my last summer as a ‘stay at home home mom’ with him. We truly had a blast and he is now loving school. As emotional as it was for me to send him off on this next big step in his little life, I have to admit it’s quite nice to have a little extra time to myself these days and as the cooler weather compels us all to spend more time indoors, I’m sure I will be reconnecting with my online community a lot more…instead of spending most of my time outside in my garden. Not that I regret it one little bit. It’s truly a labor of love and flowers like these make the hours of dirty, sweaty, scratchy work so worth it!

First Flowers of the Year

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I celebrated finally finishing my taxes by spending Sunday afternoon, bundled up against the drizzle, clearing dead leaves and stalks out of my flower garden and I couldn’t have been happier. Few things are more satisfying than uncovering new growth after a long and dreary winter. I’m looking forward to many more hours of getting dirt under my fingernails! 🙂

Tropical Paradise in Winter

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There was snow on the ground last week when I took this pic of the appropriately-named ‘Pink Powder Puff’ flower hanging over the koi pond at the Quad City Botanical Center. My son played in their sand pit while I drank in all the prettiness and pretended it was summer.

Sunflowers in Winter

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I looked out my window this morning at the snow flying wildly all around (now 6 inches+ deep) and decided I would stay home and paint flowers all day. I’m revisiting some mixed media techniques I haven’t used in many years (watercolor+colored pencil+graphite pencil on bristol board) and I want to make sure I’m happy with the finished effect before I start in on my new farmers market illustration. My overall goal with my artwork, since I took up painting again last year, has been to ‘loosen up’ and be more spontaneous – drawing and painting directly onto the art paper (without using tracing paper) and not worrying so much about ‘mistakes’ or relying on my computer for ‘touch ups’ later. Don’t get me wrong, as a freelance graphic designer, I do LOVE my computer, but with my hands-on artwork, I’m aiming for a more whimsical look (which I have not yet been able to achieve – the control freak in me, always cringing at what I deem to be ‘imperfections’ – but I feel like I’m getting a little closer with each new painting). I have to say…working with these yellow hues really warmed me up today. 🙂

The Last Days of Summer

Red and Gold Sunflower Bloom by Shalom Schultz Designs

I’m enjoying a particularly gorgeous crop of sunflowers in my front yard right now – the kind that just keep producing bloom after bloom after bloom. Hard to believe that by the end of this month gardening season will be over and I’ll be choosing pumpkins to top my flower pots…

Garden Jewels

Spring pink and purple Fuchsia flower blossoms by Shalom Schultz Designs. Flower gardening. Garden love.

These fuchsia flowers in my garden are almost too gorgeous to be real. When I was a child, they were always my favorite blossoms to see when my mother would take me to visit a local greenhouse because they reminded me of ballerinas with their bright, poofy ‘tutus’. Now I love them for being easy to grow and adding vibrant color to the shady spot next to my front porch.