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  • Writer's pictureSusan Haigh

In Awe of Nature's Brilliance - April Advances

Updated: Apr 4, 2021

April 1st, a still grey day – waiting in the morning light to decide what it will be. I feel I should hold my breath. But no, the days starts to breathe a little, a little breeze ruffles the treetops and then works its way down through the yard. A vulture takes flight and kites across my sky scape. In the distance a seagull, etched in white against the forested mountain side, flies high above the canal, off in search of breakfast.

Looking out across the orchard my world is still predominantly green but in the foreground the pink peach blossoms are starting to open. The pears blossoms are fattening up, decorating the tree with fat little golden orbs. It won’t be long before there is an explosion of white petals.

Further down the yard I see the yellow glow of the forsythia, a stand-

in for the reluctant spring sunshine. Another spirit lifter is the flowering quince. This is a treasure I transplanted to my mother’s garden in 1976 from a garden at a very old house where I was living. I remember the carpenter ants were big and bold, spewing forth from the doorframes in the spring. I liked that old house and garden so before it was torn down I was happy to be able to move some of my favourite plants. Ten years later the quince was doing so well at my mother's, I was able to transplant a piece of it to where I live now. It has had to put up with a lot of neglect over the years but it survives and continues to bring cheer each spring. I must admit though, it is smaller now than when I painted it in 2002.

Out in other gardens and roadsides, flowering trees have been awakening us from our doldrums. First came the white wild plums and now the pink flowering plums are in full swing soon to be followed by the flowering cherries. My big 2016 painting features cherry blossoms although I named it ‘Oh to be an Apple’, thinking at the time that I was paintings apple blossoms. I doubt it makes any difference to Doug who purchased the painting but I thought it was pretty funny when I realized my mistake. I think now of the poor disappointed cherry wistfully dreaming of a different life, "Oh, to be an apple, if only it could be"

Oh to be an Apple acrylic on canvas 36" x 48"

In another garden, perched by the sea, the pink Camelia is in full bloom, a massive riot of voluptuousness. It featured in my 2011 painting Camelia Islands. I am sure I will have to do another pink camelia painting one day as I can never resist taking more pictures of it.

The red camelia, laden with fat buds, is just opening its first flowers, bright against a blue sky. This I painted stylistically in 1994 so I would say it is due for a comeback too!

Camelia oil on canvas 16" x 20" sold

In my studio this month while all these spring happenings were gearing up, I was inspired to do a small (30” x 15”) vertical landscape featuring the early tulips and daffodils of March. The flowers perch on a deck, peeking through barren maples and mature firs to Cusheon Lake and the land beyond.

I have also been working on setting up an Etsy shop for my prints, cards and originals. I had started to do this in 2010 but never quite got it off the ground. Although computer 'stuff' is challenging for me, I am getting there and hope to have it up and running soon. You can check it anytime to see my progress.

Out in the wild places, the indian plum is in full scented bloom and the maple buds are fattening up and starting to dangle their blossoms down. The humming birds are delighting in the flowering red currant and bumble bees are enjoying the yellow oregon grape flowers.

The delicate Erythronium or Fawn Lilies are a joy to come across on a forest or seaside trail. My mother called them Easter lilies so that is the name that sticks in my mind. There were so many of them when I was a child, we thought nothing of picking a few, putting the flowers in different colours of water and watching their white petals change to pink, yellow, blue and green. Now I believe they are a protected species and picking them is forbidden.

It is excellent news that some of our precious wild plants are being recognised as worthy of protection.

Perhaps, as it is Easter weekend, I will go off in search of easter lilies!

Perhaps I will see skunk cabbage flowering.

Perhaps I will find a trillium, an early indian paintbrush, sea blush or blue eyed Mary. One thing is for sure, I need to get out there, breathe deep and appreciate whatever comes my way, even slugs!

For the love of our delicious planet, get outside and celebrate all that nature has to teach us about the importance of each and every little thing, all contributing to the incredible web of life. Be not separate from this diversity. Instead, recognize the value of each person and the importance of their lives and how our different needs and outlook create a wealth of ideas and possibilities and ultimately, solutions to the problems we face.

Happy Spring! and thank you for reading my blog.

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