Monday, November 21, 2016

First Snow!

Tiny yellow crabapples covered with first snow. Photo by Kathleen Maunder

We woke up to this season's first snow and it was extraordinarily beautiful. These are crabapples on a row of small trees in our backyard. This variety is called Sir Lancelot. The tiny yellow fruit remind me of jewels. It is particularly nice at this time of year to be left with bits of colour after the leaves have fallen from the trees and shrubs.

Meeko was very excited to see the snow and did two crazy fast loops of the backyard in celebration. I was able to convince ChloΓ© to accompany us to the forest for a morning walk before she headed downtown for her classes.

I'm so glad we went as it was absolutely enchanting. All of the trunks and branches of the trees were covered with snow. These photos were taken in colour (you can see a bit of colour in the leaves at the top) but they look like they were taken in black and white. The marshy areas border parts of the pathway through the forest.

As ChloΓ© and I drank the beauty of the morning in with our eyes, Meeko dipped his nose in it. To each, their own form of celebration!

Wheaten terrier with nose covered with snow. Photo ©Kathleen Maunder

❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️ ❄️

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lovely Autumn Days

Autumn colour of serviceberry (Amelanchier)

Autumn days are truly here. The weather is cool and crisp. It's perfect for long, lovely walks. Many leaves have fallen and are providing that wonderful 'crunch crunch crunch' underfoot but there are still lots of leaves on the trees giving beautiful colour. We must be at the magical midway point.

The leaves above are on one of my serviceberry bushes. I have a few of them around the yard, both in shrub and small tree form. Their fall colour is hard to beat. Below is my viburnum trilobum which is on the brink of turning red-orange. Those berries won't last long once the birds figure out they are there.

Viburnum trilobum leaves and berries

Our town is edged by rural roads and fields. It's one of my favourite places to walk with Meeko. The cloud formations are often beautiful and there is a feeling of openness that you don't find even just a few streets away. It's a thinking and breathing place for me. I'm pretty sure that Meeko mostly thinks about the horses we see along the way.

Golden field and blue sky

I also often talk about the tiny forest where I walk during the colder months of the year. It's been cool enough the past few weeks that I've started walking with Meeko there again. During the summer, it's too swampy and buggy. I took this photo of Meeko on our walk there this afternoon. Do you remember when people used to get their 'colours done'? Do people still do that? You would be told if you were a winter, spring, summer or autumn according to your coloration. Meeko is definitely an autumn. (He also needs a haircut.)

Soft coated wheaten terrier with autumn leaves

A few weeks ago, I told you about my 2017 calendar. I'm so proud of it. It is truly a labour of love. Many, many weeks went into the creation of the paintings and the calendar is printed page by page by me in my studio. One challenge I've found is that it's hard to take a photo that gives a really good sense of a 12-month calendar. This morning I worked on Photoshop (actually until my eyes felt cross-eyed) making this poster of my calendar. I hope it gives you a full idea of how pretty it is. 

I originally only offered my calendar unbound which can be displayed leaning on a bookshelf, on a fridge with a magnet, or on a wall with washi tape, a clip or push pin. Some people said they would like it bound so I now also offer a version with holes punched in the centre and a loop of twine. Something for everyone! You can order the version you prefer here.

πŸ‚  πŸ‚  πŸ‚  πŸ‚  πŸ‚

Monday, September 26, 2016

Edible Flower Print Series

Print of chives watercolor painting

I am happy to announce that my edible flower watercolor series is now available as prints in my shop. I really enjoyed painting this collection of flowers. I have printed them in my studio on beautiful paper. I mean paper so nice that you will want to sit there holding it instead of putting it in a frame. Or at least I would. Because I love paper that much.

A little while ago, I wrote about how I am trying to paint more series. I did it! These six edible flower prints are compatible with my herb series. I hope by having related images available that it will be easy for people to mix and match to create a collection of prints that is just right for their wall. 

Botanical watercolor prints by Kathleen Maunder: viola + pansy, crabapple and borage
Viola + Pansy - The flowers of these charming plants are edible. They can be added to salads or crystallized and used to decorate cakes.

Crabapple - The petals of crabapple blossoms are edible (apple blossoms too). I was delighted to learn this! They can be used in small quantities to garnish a salad or try floating them in a drink.

Borage - I grow borage from seed every year. It's such a pretty addition to the garden. I love all blue flowers! The flowers are edible and can be used to garnish salads and cold soups. You can float them in beverages or freeze them in ice cubes. The young leaves are also edible but I don't really enjoy how prickly they feel so I leave them on the plants.
Botanical watercolor prints by Kathleen Maunder: chives, nasturtium and violet
Chives - The stems of chives are a great, mild substitute for onion in foods. They are nice with egg and cheese dishes and are lovely baked into biscuits. I never used to think of eating the blossoms until I saw a photo on my friend Sonia's beautiful Instagram feed a couple of years ago. She was preparing toast topped with soft cheese and chive florets. I tried it and not only is it delicious but also beautiful! 

Nasturtium - This is another beautiful flower that I grow each year from seed in my garden. I line the sides of my square-foot garden with nasturtiums. The flowers have a peppery taste and are great in salads or as a garnish. The young leaves are edible too.

Violet - Wild violets are edible. I'm lucky to have some growing wild in our back lawn. Many people like to crystallize them and use them to decorate cakes and cookies. 

I really hope that like my new edible flower series. You can also find smaller versions of these images in my 2017 calendar.

I should mention that it's important to be sure that your flowers and herbs are pesticide-free. Eat in small quantities and always consult with a health professional if you have particular health issues or are serving to small children. The basic rule is, if in doubt about a plant, don't eat it. If you want to learn more about edible flowers, there are some good guides online. You can find two here and here.

🌸  πŸŒΈ  πŸŒΈ  πŸŒΈ  πŸŒΈ

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A 2017 Calendar!

Calendar with watercolor images of herbs and edible flowers by Kathleen Maunder (

I am happy and proud to introduce my first Trowel and Paintbrush calendar!

It's twelve months of herbs and edible flowers featuring my botanical watercolour paintings.

I started working on this project a year ago. I was encouraged by an artist friend (thank you for the nudge, Brenda of @cattailswordwork) to think about doing a calendar. I quickly figured out my theme: herbs and edible flowers. I already had six herb paintings finished. I started to work on six edible flower paintings hoping to have it ready for 2016 but I underestimated the time it was going to take me. Rather than introducing a rushed effort late in the season, I decided to make it a 2017 calendar.

Hand lettering of months and days for 2017 Trowel and Paintbrush calendar

I did some finessing of the edible flower paintings early this year. In the past few weeks, I hand lettered the months and days in watercolour. Some of lettering was done with a fine paintbrush, some with a pen nib dipped in watercolor paint.

February watercolor calendar image of violets by Kathleen Maunder of Trowel and Paintbrush
Images from 2017 Herbs and Edible Flowers calendar by Trowel and Paintbrush

I chose 'Mint' for the January page as it seemed to fit with a fresh start. The sweet violet bouquet seemed to be perfect for February, aptly so I found out later as the violet is February's birth flower. I chose 'Thyme' for March because time marches on. (Sorry to be corny but it's true! Sometimes I need to amuse myself.) I placed my viola and pansy painting as the July image since that's when my birthday is and violas and pansies have lots of family associations for me. Sage is on the December page as it is so often used in holiday meals.

I've printed the calendar in my studio on beautiful paper with the same care and attention I give to everything that I produce. As a bonus, I also created an accompanying page which describes some common uses of the herbs and flowers featured in my calendar.

The calendar would be a lovely gift for a gardener, cook or nature lover. Or you may want to buy it for yourself! It would brighten up a kitchen nook or an office space. I sell it without a hole at the top centre which is perfect if you want to display it with a clip, clothespin or washi tape. Or I can punch a centre hole for you so you can loop a piece of twine or ribbon through it.

It was so much work but I am thrilled with how it turned out. I really hope you like it too!

🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿 🌿

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