Tag Archives: hydrangeas


sketch of hydrangea blossoms

"Hydrangea Burst", mixed media copyright Kerry McFall

July 4th takes on a slightly different meaning when you’ve been out of the country for part of the year, and when one of your children is on the other end of the globe.  Her friends in Peru were apparently a bit puzzled by our quiet observation of the holiday, just a hike up Mary’s Peak and watching Ben paint a bus bound for Cuba, a bit of sketching, lunch at the Dairy Queen in Philomath.  Given the lavish spectacle that Corey reports from Cusco’s celebrations of various holidays, it must seem tame.  It wouldn’t be possible to watch your son paint a bus, bound for an embargoed destination, in front of the Courthouse in every country of the world.  The politics interest him, but his passion is for the art, and the communication:  “Si Se Puede”, “yes we can.” It might not always be possible here (thinking about the McCarthy era…), but for now we feel lucky for such freedoms.  And it was actually far from quiet by the time darkness fell – explosives that must have come from some nearby reservation thundered all over town.  We went outside to appreciate the full moon and the riverfront fireworks at about 10:00 p.m., joining neighbors in the street – for most Americans, that’s really what the Fourth is about when you get down to it – quiet sunny days and Street parties at night!

With the sunny day, the hydrangeas literally burst into balls of color, lavender, blue, and pink all on one confused bush.  (Usually, one plant is one color, depending on the acidity or alkilinity of the soil.)  I love the creamy pale green petticoat of the newer blossoms.  And with this sketch, I think I’m finding my “style” for sketching finally… I like doing an inky loose frame outline,  sometimes with objects sneaking over the edge.  It gives the sketchbook a kind of consistency, ties the different subjects and approaches together a bit.  I also like the “stamp” that includes the date and the weather, maybe sometimes even the temperature for outdoorsy things if at least started plein air.  Given the Oregon inclination to dampness at short notice, plein air isn’t always possible, but even when sketching inside from photos, the weather has a huge impact on the finished sketch.