"Mourning Cloak on Crab Apple Blossoms"
Oil on canvas panel 16"x20"
Shortly after our family home was built in 1949, my mother, Ruthilda, planted a flowering Crab Apple tree on the East side of the house spaced between the living room and kitchen windows. Nearly every year of its life it has put on a spectacular display of pinkness each May. In recent years it blooms only every other year. Last year, not one bloom. While that was nice in the autumn (walking in crab apple wine pulp is not pleasant...), I did miss the spring show. I was determined to make three images of the blossoms this year. Timing is everything for this to happen. Many years the tree flowers glorious pink one day, fades to a pale pink in the sun the next day, and has its blossoms blown away in the wind the third day.
I was concerned that would happen while I went to Salt Lake City on May 2nd.
Miracles happen! When I returned to Burley, cool temperatures and rain had kept the blossoms tightly shut. They opened the day after I returned and cool weather kept them beautiful for nearly two weeks!
I was able to use them as the source for the three paintings I wished!
One year I suffered a springtime cold and was sitting in the living room gazing at the tree when I noticed a Mourning Cloak butterfly flittering among the blossoms. I have used that image in watercolor several times. This is the first venture in oil. If the tree and I both live to Spring 2011, I will give it another go.