In late December, I received my Neil Sperry gardening calendar. Neil is a local gardening guru, and his calendar is filled with information about what I should be doing in my garden right now. I promptly sat down with a highlighter and a red marker, highlighting any of Neil’s information that pertains to what I’m growing, and writing in red marker when I should be planting what. Gardening in Texas is something that takes this kind of organization, because if you don’t get things planted at the right moment, they either die from freezing, or fry in the heat.

My kitchen/dining room, which faces south, and overlooks the ever-expanding vegetable and herb gardens, is now a plant nursery. I’m growing some things from seeds this year, and others from cuttings I took in the fall. In addition to growing things to eat, I’m hoping to raise enough plants from seed to begin a large butterfly garden I have planned, which will finally divide my front yard from my neighbor’s.

Anyway, in my quest to be a better art journaler, and to use my own photos in my work, I did this piece for this week’s Strathmore journal class lesson. I woke up and discovered that the tiny green dots of the previous day had turned into little green zinnia seedlings, so I photographed them, printed off the photos, along with some of full-grown zinnias, and combined them with some empty seed packages. Charcoal, oil pastels, acrylic paints, rubber stamps, and markers were layered over the photos, along with a little Chinese newspaper. Holy cow, these pages are taking a ton of supplies! I did the progression photos at left, to share with the other students in the workshop.

I switched to larger paper this week, so this page, and also the other one I uploaded this week, which you’ll find over here, are done on 11×15 instead of 9×12 sheets of watercolor paper. I’m happier working on larger paper. I don’t feel so cramped for space.

I like working like this, photographing something, and then doing something with the photo. I’m looking forward to this spring, when my garden starts to bloom, and I have little gardening successes to document. Now, all those photos I take will have a purpose—and that’s a good thing.