A doe with three of the four fawns. The most beautiful deer is at the top right.
I Spy Deer
by Annette Bartlett-Golden
Often when I look out my studio window I spy a deer or two, sometimes accompanied by a fawn, visiting the flower garden. They come to drink from the tiny frog pond and nibble on the flowers. One of the fawns, a particularly beautiful one, was born in the woods just steps beyond our back gate. My husband spotted her there and gingerly stroked her silken back. The mother, munching delicacies in our back garden, dashed away with alarm, only to return again a short while later.
Newborn fawn in the woods next to our garden gate.
Another time at the same spot, I saw the gorgeous fawn and her sibling nursing from their mother. After dining on the hostas in the fenced back garden, the mother doe leapt over the back gate into the woods. Immediately, two small forms raced joyfully to her side and began eagerly nuzzling for milk. Amazed, I grabbed binoculars and watched entranced, delighted to witness this moment.
Looking out my studio window recently, I was startled to see six tawny creatures materialize at the edge of the flower garden. There were two does with four speckled children, one of them the gorgeous fawn. As the does paused here and there to graze, their fawns explored nearby, until a car pulled into the driveway and parked. Abruptly, with the young ones hugging their mother’s sides, the deer hurried away to the neighboring yard. I had never seen these deer all together before and it was only then that I realized there are at least two deer families with young children in the neighborhood.
The deer families, two does and four fawns, leaving for the neighboring yard..
For years I have dreamed of cultivating a glorious flower garden teeming with colorful blossoms, a diversity of foliage, and not a weed in sight. Some years ago, I set about putting in the beginnings of what I hoped would be such a garden on the little hillside just beyond my studio window. Sadly, the current state of the garden is a much wilder and humbler version of my original vision. There have been many difficulties and the appetite of deer has taken a toll on the roses and nearly every other plant. Still, as much as I enjoy the flowers, I also love watching the deer, especially the young ones and the gorgeous fawn. What an unexpected pleasure! And so I have come to terms with the flower garden and the deer.
A doe with two fawn in the flower garden outside my studio window.
@Annette Bartlett-Golden, Refreshment. Oil on canvas, 20 by 16 inches.
Why I Paint Butterflies
by Annette Bartlett-Golden
Listening to the latest news of tragedy on the radio as I was driving home from an afternoon meeting, I felt deeply saddened and concerned for the country. In the midst of such serious issues, I wondered what I could do to make a difference. Some artists make provocative art to raise awareness of difficult issues; I paint pastoral landscapes and butterflies lingering on flowers. So I took pause to consider why I paint these simple tranquil subjects. The answer came quickly: it’s how I stay sane amidst the craziness. It’s how I find solace from the sea of discordant voices.
Surrounded by paintings of mountain vistas, views of the flower garden, and vignettes of children at play, my studio is my private sanctuary. It is a haven for contemplation and imagination. Inoffensive oil paint tubes in an open tool cart drawer, brightly colored collage papers on a table, a multicolored skirt draped over the sewing machine all greet my pensive glance; materials full of possibility.
Here in the studio, with the door closed, I can think and ponder and come to terms in some measure with the world beyond. It is here that I create order out of seeming disorder, I examine the ordinary and find it is exquisite, and it is also here that I find clarity and healing. Making art and writing are an essential part of that process for me. And so, after the painting is finished, the collage complete, the poem polished, I share them with the hope that for someone else they may also soothe the frazzled spirit, provide respite from the stresses of the day, and evoke happiness.
@Annette Bartlett-Golden, Geraniums. Watercolor, 16 x 14 inches.
For me, nothing declares the beginning of warm summer weather here in North Carolina quite like a pot of cheerful red geraniums. For the past few years, I’ve planted geraniums in a couple large blue pots at the base of my front porch stairs. While common geraniums or Pelargonium x hortorum can be used as bedding plants or even ground covers in some situations, I think they look great in containers with their combination of attractive leaves and large clusters of bright stunning blossoms. This year I chose a locally grown variety with deep fuchsia flowers. Other flower colors include rose, salmon, orange, lavender, purple, or white.
Here, geraniums are easy to care for annuals that require little maintenance. They are also deer resistant which is important if you have lots of deer around, as we do. Plant geraniums in moist, well drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Water the plants when their soil is slightly dry. Morning sun with light afternoon shade is ideal for geraniums in hot climates such as the Southern Unites States and will keep them flowering longer.
I hope you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy geraniums this summer!
Annette Bartlett-Golden paints a wide range of subjects from landscapes to animals and makes abstract works with paper. Using vibrant colors, she imparts a sense of immediacy, vivacity and optimism to her paintings and paper collages.