Narcissa ‘Ice Follies’ in foreground, Napa, California
Rainfall has been plentiful in the Napa Valley this year and my daffodils have been very happy. Even the most recently planted group is starting to bloom.
My late fall plantings are normally the last to bloom because I have to wait until the weather is cool enough to plant. Every year since the late 1980’s I have planted daffodils. I used to plant 500, then 350 a year. This year I only managed 150 partly because all the easy spots are taken and partly because the heavy clay soil is too tough for me now.
I carefully select my Narcissi from all the major types including Trumpet, Large Cupped, Trianadrus, Poeticus, Small Cupped, Tazetta, Jonquilla, Double, Split Cupped and Cyclaminineus. The latter are my favorite due to their swept back petals. The blooming season ranges from January to April.
Recently, I’ve decided I should focus on smaller cups and earlier bloom. The large cups can become too heavy with rain and tend to end up face-down in the grass. The late-blooming varieties often include beautiful salmon and pink colors, but they can get overwhelmed by the fast growing weeds.
Art Gallery Napa Valley Reception
- March 21, 6 to 8pm
- 1307 First Street, Downtown Napa
Our artists in the gallery have stepped up their marketing game. They did some research into our Mustard theme and came up with some interesting info.
Mustard is known as a spice, a condiment (What’s a hotdog without mustard?) and was even used as a “plaster” to promote healing. Historically, French monks who mixed the ground seeds with “must” or unfermented wine, inspired the word “mustard,” which stems from the Latin Museum ardens -roughly meaning “burning wine.”
In Napa Valley during February and March, the mustard you see is a breathtaking display of masses of delicate flowers used as a cover crop between the rows of pruned vines.
For my part, mustard brings to mind culinary pursuits. The the famous Mustards restaurant in Yountville is one of my favorites. At the same time, this is Year of the Pig, so I couldn’t resist this whimsical addition to my display in the gallery.
It’s time to mix up more of that “Birgit Grey”!
#Birgit O’Connor Watercolor is starting another session of Atmospheric Landscapes online starting December 15th. I highly recommend this class!
(at the Napa Town & Country Fair)
This leads me to believe that maybe the pre-filled pans are the way to go after all. They are certainly the least messy alternative for painting on a boat. My third palette is the new QOR set of pans, and I think you can agree that it’s a very good range of colors. I look forward to trying it during our current cruise through the Canadian Northwest.
The New QOR Watercolor Pan Set
My troubles began with my new smaller empty Meeden palette. These can be purchased on Amazon in many different configurations; I chose 6 full pans, and added 5 half and 1 full pan of my own. It would probably have been just fine if I had filled it and let it dry for several days, but I always wait until the last minute to pack my art supplies. Still, I thought I was ahead of the game filling it a whole day before leaving. But when I opened it, it was quite a mess as you can see.
I was especially disappointed but not totally surprised that the magnets didn’t work. I used thin magnetic disks with adhesive on one side to stick the pans to the palette. I was hoping this would keep the pans in place. The magnets were sufficiently strong, but the adhesive was really weak. I could tell that the pan was separating from the magnet as the magnet practically flew onto the palette when it got close. When I opened the palette after carrying it around for several days, one of the pans had completely flipped out and upside down.
Disk magnet should be attached to a pan
A popular practice of watercolor artists is to fill an empty watercolor travel palette with their own tube colors. This allows the artist to work with their own palette rather than carry around pre-filled colors that they don’t normally use.
I’ve recently learned that there may be a problem with this approach. I’ve seen some information on the internet that suggests tube paints are not the same as pan paints, and that pan paints are formulated differently for the wetting and re-wetting that a travel palette undergoes.
I’ve not been able to find enough information to confirm or deny that claim- yet. For now, I’m still mostly filling empty palettes with my own tube paints. I brought 3 different travel palettes with me this trip with some issues of note.
I’ve been very happy with my American Journey travel palette filled with colors from the Michael Reardon palette, but I have had a problem with the pans popping out from under the metal retaining edge at times. This palette has become easier to handle since the paints have mostly dried. I’ve also stuck each pan down with a wad of Museum putty which was time consuming to do, but seems to work well.
American Journey travel palette