My plan was to spend the day at the local Blues Festival sponsored by Bourbon Street Liquors.  I have missed it every year and it’s only a shout away from me.  I opted to do yardwork and paperwork instead, hoping to catch a few notes that might find their way across the valley to my ears.  As the sun began to set, a few notes of the music found its way to my backyard.

I am struggling with priorities.

Autumn Clematis or Poison Ivy?

After pruning way way through three overgrown wild honeysuckle bushes I uncovered my Jackmanii Clematis and what I think is my Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata, c. terniflora).  At one point, after diving into the wall of vines, I realized that I might be surrounded by poison ivy rather than autumn clematis ….. three leaf clusters,  shiny leaves, some of the leaves shaped like a mitten …….. I had wiped my eyes and my face multiple times while pruning the overgrown garden.  Knowing it was too late to uncontaminate myself, I hoped that I was still as immune to poison ivy as I was in childhood when my two older sisters delighted in making a bed of it and forcing me to lie down in it.  They weren’t pleased when I awoke the next morning without even a hint of a rash.  (We’ve resolved our differences over the last five decades).

My thoughts throughout the day have been focused on two of my online influences, Carol Marine and Qiang Huang.  I have watched as Carol barely skipped a beat after her home in Texas was burned to the ground.  It did not surprise me when Carol recently announced that she had stopped painting.  Ouch!  Fortunately, she laced up her boots and is painting again, just not so many apples (which I think is a good thing.) I have watched as Qiang Huang is carving out a new life for himself as a full-time artist, struggling with the balance of business and creativity.

I hope that one day I meet both of these artists in person.  I want to thank them, face to face, for the inspiration they provide while I, once again, re-invent myself.

Sketchbook drawing: drawn first with Noodler’s Neponset Fountain pen (awesome pen! … more reliable than the Konrad) filled with ‘Rome Burning’ Ink, followed by watercolor.  It turns out that the vines are Autumn Clematis, not Poison Ivy.  Autumn Clematis has opposite branching, not alternate branching ….. whew!