Imagination Landscape Watercolor

watercolor landscape from imagination
Imagination landscape by Leora Wenger, watercolor on paper, 2014

This is my response to exercise 13 from One Watercolor a Day: “This is a memory painting. In your mind’s eye, think of a scene in nature that left an impression of strong color with you.” I had just been looking at fall trees in Highland Park, New Jersey, but I got my mind to travel back to autumn in Newton, Massachusetts, where I spent my childhood years. I also thought of a winding road in Vermont or New Hampshire. This imaginary landscape takes place on an autumn day in New England – I see colorful foliage on a windy, uphill road.

I am quite pleased with this watercolor. It reminds me a bit of a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci of a copse of birches. And that drawing I remembered in my subconscious mind from years ago from a book called The Art of Drawing by Bernard Chaet. The influence is the composition – note the placement of the birch copse. There is plenty of so-called “white space” on the drawing. One doesn’t have to stick the subject front and center with little room on the edges.

Do you have any artists, drawings or paintings, authors or books who enter your subconscious while you are creating?

Hurricane Sandy: Tree Before, No Tree After

Before Hurricane Sandy storm hit hard

Hurricane Sandy - street as the storm began to blow

Here is my street last Monday, as Hurricane Sandy had begun to blow its winds but still hadn’t damaged Highland Park, NJ. Note the tall maple tree on the left. Little did I know that this series would be the last time I would record that tree in an upright position. You can see photos of the maple tree on past blog posts.

sandy street
You can see the skies are gray, and all is wet, but unless you listened to the news you would have no inkling this was the beginning of a devastating storm. And behind the car on the left you can see the full grace of the tree that would soon be no more.

I like taking photos of the foliage each fall. This one of the block before the storm will have to do. See, at this point we were hoping that the storm wouldn’t be a big deal after all. Well, you can’t be right all the time.

neighbor during Hurricane Sandy
I wasn’t the only one outside at this point. You can see one of my neighbors crossing the street in the far left of this shot.

live wires
At the other end of my block, all looks peaceful, right? Currently, four days later, there are still down live wires in front of the house with the white fence. It is difficult to enter our block by car, because we have live wires at both ends. Hope they fix it soon. The PSE&G truck just sat there in front of the live wires today.

During the Storm

backyard tree falls
The night of the storm, Monday night from about 4 pm to 11 pm, was really, really scary. If you weren’t scared, then you were a master of denial, which can be quite helpful at times like these. I was watching this tree in my neighbor’s backyard (see the tree above in photo day after storm that is now broken off and leaning) sway back and forth, back and forth. I decided it was less scary to watch the swaying tree than to look at pictures of the devastated Jersey Shore on my computer. We still had power at that point, but we lost it a bit before 9 pm.

After Hurricane Sandy storm hit hard – the morning after – Hurricane Sandy Trees

storm tree down
I woke up the morning after the storm and went to explore. Uh, oh, the big tree a few doors down was no longer up. Luckily, it had hit only a lamppost and had injured no person nor any house.

fallen tree in the storm

storm journalist
Many were taking photos, including this young reporter who has just started her journalism career with her school newspaper. She is unsure whether she wants to focus on photography, drawing or writing for the newspaper. This photographing of the down tree is a good start.

Crews have finally begun to remove parts of the down tree – it is now cut into pieces, and one can pass through on one side of the road with a car.

tree fell on house
We were lucky on our block about where the big tree fell. These homeowners were not so fortunate. This giant old tree hit wires and their house. I saw another house in Edison that had a corner of the house chopped off by a fallen tree.
big tree on N. 8th
Not to feel left out, North 8th had its own adventure with this giant tree. Looks like the tree barely missed the house (but I could be wrong about that).

north fifth damage
Finally, here is why North Fifth still does not have power. The library, where many in our community would go when power goes down, is still closed. And my friends on North Fifth are cold, as are North Tenth, Dennison and a good part of the South side by South Adelaide. We had our power restored on Wednesday evening at about 6 pm – wow, was that a happy time for us.

Lessons Learned: Count Your Blessings

Thankful for my family. Thankful for no damage to our property. Thankful for fabulous, helpful, friendly neighbors. Thankful for smart phones existing and for car radios. And for heat in cars. And the fact that our stove burners worked even if our crockpots, rice cooker, warming tray, toaster, oven, dishwasher, washing machine, computers, lamps, coffee grinder and pencil sharpener did not (daughter asked, after we lost power: how will we sharpen pencils? I replied: we have some artsy pencil sharpeners upstairs that will work. We never did do any art work during the lack of power period).

The Jersey Shore communities are not so fortunate. More on this topic in a later post.

I plan to include this post in next week’s Nature Notes.

UPDATE: Part Two: Many Problems Post Hurricane Sandy (please read and share)

Nature Notes: Foliage 2011

Foliage in Highland Park in early November
My daughter and I went for a walk to the library today, and we enjoyed looking at the brightly colored trees. She was off from school because of some teacher enhancement enrichment something-or-another day.

oak leaves
The oak leaves are certainly multi-colored.

blueberry bush with foliage
I really enjoyed the colors of my neighbor’s blueberry bush.

high school with red foliage
The local high school looked pretty with the adorning red maple in front.

snow on the ground with red foliage
Hard to believe a week ago we had snow on the ground – this has been a varied fall for foliage 2011.

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

Nature Notes: Foliage and Flora

One would think, the closer you get to a tree the more sharply one can see the beautiful foliage. Last week I discovered that when I got close to a beautifully red, yellow and orange leafed maple, the leaves that were against the blue sky already looked damaged and faded, while the ones closer to the trunk were still vibrant, colorful and youthful.

maple tree trunk
Close to the tree trunk, the colors range from yellow to bright red.

sky maple leaves
Further from the base of the tree, the leaves are darker and browned at the edges.

Since Michelle invited the animals to her Thanksgiving feast, I am inviting the few flowers left in my yard: the chrysanthemum, the marigolds, white alyssum, rudbeckia and petunias.
rudbeckia and marigolds
I am happy the marigolds have been able to withstand some of the frosty nights we have experienced. A few rudbeckia are trying to bloom in late November.

chrysanthemum bud - little flower among brown leaves
Most of my mum flowers have browned, but a few stragglers bloomed late and decorate my yard.

kale in front of marigolds
My kale experiment is going well. The kale I planted in August from seed is gracefully adorning my front yard. The kale in the back, however, seems to be a Thanksgiving feast for some animals, as it is nibbled away.

For more Nature Notes, visit:
Nature Notes

Red Foliage of New Jersey

Most all the leaves are now brown. Above is a multi-colored branch from East Jersey Olde Towne in Piscataway, taken two weeks ago.

My oak hydrangea (photographed last week) is even redder than it was a few weeks ago. What color.

For more photos with red, visit Ruby Tuesday:

Leaves of Autumn 2009

More October 2009 leaves. Now you see them, outside you don’t, except on a few late-turning trees. Do I like taking fall foliage more than photographing flowers? Hard to say, but the time does flee quickly for the foliage. Flowers generally last longer, except for my climbing roses which are only bursting in bloom for two weeks of June.

Review with Autumn Leaves

Yellow and Orange Maple Leaves in Edison, New Jersey
Yellow and Orange Maple Leaves in Edison, New Jersey

On My Blog

red_painter witch_autograph Pink and Rose Volunteer Chrysanthemum near White Alyssum

Famous Journeys – Thanks to all who participated.

Elsewhere in the Blogosphere

  • Some fall foliage favorites: Ellie Vellie, EG Wow!, Rambling Woods, Carletta
  • Can someone remind me to put this “sukkah decoration” in JPIX, the Jewish Photobloggers Blog Carnival?
  • And I’ve started to put up some posts on my new tech blog, such as this one on 6 Ways to Learn jQuery. Please send your technically-oriented or small business minded friends (or yourself, if you wish to be) to my posts. In general, I’m looking for topic ideas for that blog. I tend to be a perfectionist about what I post, so you may not see me posting often in the beginning, but I’m hoping inspiration will allow me to post at least once a week.

More Foliage

bit of red house
My neighbors had their house painted red recently, an appealing color next to the foliage in their backyard. The blue garage, white umbrella and deck belong to the neighbors further down.

dogwood red
The leaves of their dogwood tree, that I photographed last spring, looks so pretty with its red autumn hues.

dogwood leaves

Wednesday seems like a good day to put up a post for Ruby Tuesday!

ruby tuesday

Fall Foliage In Highland Park

window with foliage
It’s been a beautiful autumn here in Central New Jersey. The color is everywhere; I think the weather has been cooler and damper than previous autumns, and the trees are loving it.

yellow and red foliage
These top two photos were both taken on my block. The one with the window is directly across the street, and the other, with the reds to each side and yellow in center, is looking down the block.

These last two photos were taken outside my kids’ school, which is in Edison, New Jersey, just over the border from Highland Park.

autumn leaves
How does it look where you live?

 More links to beautiful autumn photos on Carmi’s Thematic Photographic: Autumn post