I miss color in this monchromatic landscape

Outside, all is grey, white, and brown. For a very brief time yesterday the new snow found a contrast in blue sky and sunshine, which reminded even winter-hating me that the season has its charms. But today we're back to grey sky, white ground, dull tree trunks.

All this is a stark contrast to last week, when we flew to Southern California for my mom's 80th birthday celebration. The first morning we were there I took a walk down to the beach, about a mile from my parents' house. I used to take that landscape for granted, but I've now lived in the Midwest long enough to be awestruck at the plants that were growing in mid-January; the people wearing down coats, gloves, and Ugg boots because it was in the high-40s that early morning; and the contrast of color: the azure ocean, the red hot poker plants bold against the pelican- and guano-covered rocks.

I think so much of one's color sense comes from the place from whence you come. Mary Merkel-Hess is a friend of mine and a native Iowan (and one of my very first artist profile subjects) and her early work, in particular, was very neutral and strongly influenced by the colors and shapes of the midwestern landscape. Mary visited her Iowa daughter who was in graduate school in S. California and upon her return said to me, "Now I understand where Linzee-blue comes from," a reference to my fondness for ocean colors. It made me realize how strongly (and perhaps permanently) my early environment influenced my visual preferences. For example, here's the bay where I kayaked every morning of my senior year in high school:

After my walk and my musings, we got down to business on the party. My sister, Carolyn, and I went downtown to a lovely little florist and ordered a corsage for my mom.

The bouquets and arrangements were stunning and I couldn't resist taking a few shots.

In particular, this bouquet reminded me of a quilt, My Garden by Japanese quilter Masako Tanabe, I'd seen in Houston at Market. Although the quilt obviously wasn't inspired by this particular bouquet of flowers, it did make me think again about drawing inspiration from one's surroundings.

This blog entry wouldn't be complete without a shot of the birthday girl herself, along with her nearly three-year-older sister. So here are my mom, Sally, on the right, along with her sister, my Aunt Marcia, on their way to my mom's 80th birthday bash. The corsage turned out just fine and I think they look pretty fine, too.
Linzeefamily, flowers, inspiration