Spring Will Come, but Until Then, I Am Painting My Garden Inside

February is nearing its end, and I live on the New Jersey Shore, which is in the northeastern part of the United States. Two years ago, it snowed on April 9, and that date is about five weeks away. I know that my winter is far from over, but we had a brief warm spell and this past week, I saw a forsythia bush in full bloom. That gives me hope.

Spring – Forsythia and Pussy Willow
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

After one or two snows, winter becomes poisonous for me. Because gardening is my only form of exercise, my recent winters have been times that I simply lounge around and become lethargic and subsequently, I get fatter. By the time winter arrives, I always feel that I deserve a short vacation from any physical effort, and I enjoy being a couch potato until about Christmas time. But after that, I know that I am sliding down a slippery slope, and seasonal depression begins barking at my heels.

In previous years, February was the time that I devoured all of my seed catalogs and began to plan exactly what I would grow where and why.   On both paper and my computer, I would begin designing and redesigning my garden, and I would pore over nursery websites, loading my online cart with thousands of dollars of new plants that I knew that I would never buy.  After I had exhausted all of the seed catalogs, I would simply drag myself through the grinding process of waiting for spring.

Sunflower with Blues
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

This year, however, the winter has not been as dreadful for me as it normally is. During January, I began painting again and during the months of January and February, I have painted a garden inside.

Old Blush Pink Rose
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

There is a wonderful flower market where I live. Yesterday, I bought 18 long-stemmed roses for $6.00. They were packaged in groups of 3 of the same color, and I bought 6 colors of roses. Merely removing the roses from the plastic and placing them in vases was thrilling. I literally felt a burst of energy flood through me, and I could feel my spirit lifting. Because I am able to buy flowers inexpensively, I keep my house filled with blooms, and then, I begin to paint them.

The Last Rose of Summer
Jacki Kellum Watercolor – Original Sold – Prinsts Available

I believe that my spontaneity and my looseness are the most exciting things about my art, and people say that they enjoy the way that I allow my colors and my marks to flow and to juxtapose themselves throughout my images. When something can be enjoyed simply because of its color and its markings–and not dependent upon the subject matter–the image takes on a rather abstract and almost philosophical nature for me, and I believe that is what comes across in my best floral paintings.

Close Up of Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting The Last Rose of Summer

When I work with fresh flowers–and not with photographs of flowers or silk flowers, these jewel-like color fusions seem to paint themselves.

Consider the Lily
Jacki Kellum Watercolorl

I must admit, however, that gardening does things for me that painting cannot. Through gardening, I expose myself to the healing benefits of the sunshine and the soil, and through gardening, I reap the healing benefits of exercise. Painting does not provide me with every benefit that being in my garden does, but painting has its own therapeutic value, too.

Forest Daffodil
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

I am already buying pots of daffodils and painting them in my studio, but  I have a large perennial garden and soon, my garden’s crocuses and daffodils and irises will begin to wave.

First Hydrangea
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

Soon afterward, my hydrangeas will pop, and my waterfall will flow. When my garden is in full capacity, it becomes my retreat–my place to simply sit and listen and feel.

ZenGarden Quote2

I am thankful that until that time, I can paint. I am painting while I wait for the season to change. That is when I’ll sing my song of spring:

seeds dance in the wind
the earth is warm and ready
the bashful sun winks

©Jacki Kellum May 15, 2016


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