If you are in Canada, like me, or anywhere where we get really harsh and long winters, you’ll understand the frustration of wanting to grow things you love, but you absolutely know that come winter, not only will they be dead, but once that snow is here, nothing will grow til spring.
Not only that, but if you lived where I am, you’d know that even when you plant something, there is a very good chance that the large population of squirrels will decimate anything remotely looking tasty within hours of it popping it’s head up through the soil.
When we first moved in here a few years ago, there was a fairly over-run vegetable bed – not a huge amount growing, but there were cucumbers, tomatoes, green peppers, and other things that were hard to identify as they never lasted. Raspberry bushes were huge, but as soon as the fruit looked good enough to eat and pick, it would soon disappear! Of course you can squirrel proof everything with cages/nets etc – or you could grow so much the squirrels would never be able to eat it all 😉
Anyway, this year I have decided to give a few things a try – not a lot – so I’m almost ready (with the weather finally cooperating) to get some tomato plants, perhaps some peppers and a few other things. I had a huge success with tomatoes some years back in our old place – so much so that I got to make a ton of tomato/pasta type sauce. So much nicer than the tinned stuff.
The thing that has led to me giving it a go again is that in 2013, I started watching Sean Cameron’s “Horticultural Channel” – I’ve now watched the entire 2014 series, and anything else that was there. This year I’ve expanded my viewing and I am always amazed at how lovely all the allotments look – especially those who grow flowers as well. Nothing says beauty more so than mother natures own productions! So in that way, our ‘gardeners’ are somewhat artists, in that they use plants and flowers to create their own unique canvas! (Well, that’s what I think).
I will put in some links to the channels I’ve been following – and even though none of them are here in Canada, it’s always nice to watch them as we’re a bit behind, temp wise, so by the time it warms up enough here, you know exactly what to do and expect. (yay!)
These are the links to the Youtube Channels, but you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, their own blogs etc..
The Hort Channel – Sean and the Gang (Vivi has some lovely recipes too!)
Lavenders and Leeks – Katies small but perfect allotment
Titli’s Busy Garden – Titli’s no nonsense approach to gardening with a great sense of humour!
and one I just subscribed to recently –
Ulster Allotment Diary – Bill has had his allotment since October 2014 – so a great way to see ‘how it’s done’.
So if you like gardening, or are even just an armchair gardener, check them all out – they are all lovely people – very friendly and happy to help out with advice should you need it. (Time permitting of course – we’re all busy these days, eh?)
So what does this have to do with my art I hear you say?
Well, I noticed I hadn’t done any digital art since last year when I left for NZ – when I got back, I didn’t really feel like it, so in the last week or so I thought it was time to get back into it, especially as I have been doing a bit of ‘traditional’ art. I guess ‘digital’ is what I can do when my art table is an absolute bomb zone from what I am working on. Today for example I have flitted between the two – very handy indeed!
I also wanted to try out some new (well, new to me) brushes – digital that is. So in need of a
victim, subject, I could think of nothing better than “Rusty the Allotment Cat” – he features in nearly all the Hort Channel videos, and he’s just lovely!
As with my usual oil painting I tend to (still) paint that way digitally – and it IS something I really want to leave behind for the most part. There are so many brush options in my software and I always seem to use the same few. NOT this time – although I put my hand up and say I DID use my oil detail brush for little bits. But – I would say 90% of this was done using brushes I really hadn’t used before, and it was so much fun, I’ve started another painting.
May I present my version of Rusty the Cat – photo reference from Rusty’s own Facebook page. I tweaked the background a little – artistic licence and all that. So, I hope you like it, and well – happy painting, and happy gardening!
Oh PS – he’s not blind – he’s just doing what he does best…… sleeping!
As always, thanks for taking a look, and thanks to Sean Cameron from the Hort Channel for the reference pic of “Rusty”.