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Newsletter October 2010

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Newsletter October 2010

NEWSLETTER October 2010

Greetings from the mountains of western Maine!

October is falling behind us, and November is coming up on us now, with its shortening days and promises of snow. This morning the light of the rising sun on the mountains was a fiery, smoky, purplish-orange color. There is something special about autumn sunrises. It seems like that as the landscape grows duller and duller, the skies become more and more colorful. Maybe it’s just the lack of competition from the foliage, and the fact that I can see more of the sky when the leaves are down.

The Saga of the Mystery Flower

One day this past September when I was out walking the loop trail around our property, I spotted a charming flower that I had never seen before. It was only about six inches high, and the petals on its two blooms were like tiny white ribbons curling down from deep magenta florets. I headed home to find it in my wildflower field guides only to come up empty.

I started searching online databases and still came up empty. I found a wildflower identification forum at and posted a photo of it, asking for help, and I emailed other experts. Nothing. I asked a friend who teaches biology at the local college. Still no leads. I searched on and off for a full month. Because of the shape of its leaves and its central florets, and the fact that it was blooming in September, I guessed that it was an aster of some sort. Finally one of my contacts connected me with the Maine Natural Areas Program, and their staff botanist identified it as a “whorled wood aster” (Oclemena acuminata).

This answers some questions, but not all. The whorled wood aster is in my field guides, but the pictures of it don’t show petals as curly as these, and the height is listed as one to three feet. Where my little wood aster got its perm, I don’t know, but I love it. I took a few of the seeds and buried them nearby, and saved a few more seeds in an envelope to start in the spring. I am eager to find out if its seeds produce a plant so diminutive or petals so graceful. In the meantime I have it well-documented in photos and drawing. Asters are perennials, so I am hoping to see it again next summer.


The studio sale rolls on! I have posted photos of all the rest of the stephanograms, my little round paintings, on my website at There are only a handful of them in the whole collection that got out of my hands before I had photographed them. This means that if you want to buy a print of one that is already sold, it is available now. (If you would like to know why I call them stephanograms, I have put an explanation in my blog at

I have them posted as comprehensive collections so you can choose whichever ones you want to have printed. Email me with descriptions of them and I can post them singly for you for purchase. I have also posted some made-for-print themed collections—woodlands, veggies and fruits, seashore, geometric, and monochromatic—which could be printed and framed as a whole. The originals that I have left are still for sale at $25 each, or buy four and get one free while they last.

Between now and the end of the year I will be posting more work from recent years on my website. You can be watching for a variety of still lifes, landscapes, pencil drawings, paintings from the Exploration of Natural Design collection, and some printmaking excursions. The originals will be for sale as well as prints, and they will be priced to sell. I really want to get my studio cleared out to make room for new work!

For more information on my artmaking process, or recent work, or to check out my blog, see my website at Here you can order prints of my work, and have them matted and framed if you choose, courtesy of Fine Art America’s great print-on-demand service. They also offer greeting cards, either single or in packages.

My gift to you this month is a postcard-size file of the whorled wood aster drawing. (It will be five inches wide if printed at 200 dpi).

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. (Edwin Way Teale, my favorite naturalist/writer)

Thanks for joining me in the journey. I hope that you enjoy looking at the art as much as I have enjoyed making it! I would love to hear from you, too, so please do reply with comments.