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Ferns in Fall

Fern Frieze

I find ferns to be so beautiful, even now when they are beginning to turn brown. I love how they are patterns within a pattern, but always with a bit of variation.

Fall is beautiful in Illinois, but it still makes me feel sad. At least now that I’m older the seasons fly by faster and faster, even winter.

For fun I thought I’d also share with you an image my good friend made from one of my drawings:


Doesn’t that look cool?! Now, if only I could get her to do that with all of my drawings, I’d have a book! I’m sure this was her gentle way of nudging me into action. I still have several species of plants to draw, and then what? It would be an enormous book. Should I only include some of them? How should I divide them? I’ve been working alphabetically by genus, and currently have close to 200 drawn. Do you have any suggestions? I’d welcome any thoughts.

Also, I’ve been working to create a website here and I think it is coming along although there are definitely still bugs. Feel free to look around and let me know what you think. Β One of the bugs is I’m not logged on, for some reason. So when I ready your posts, WP won’t let me make comments! πŸ™ I’ll sort that out, and get caught up.

29 thoughts on “Ferns in Fall

  1. Oh, lovely colours! I love the pinks and greens.

    1. Thank you Emma! At first that was just some color I splashed on as an undercoat, but as the painting developed I decided I really liked them and worked to keep them visible.

      1. Yes, its worked really well, Melissa.

  2. Love the ferns and the gradient of colors in there! Perhaps you should do a book!

    1. Thank you Mark! I do want to do a book at some point but seem to be frozen. How to begin?! πŸ™‚

      1. Begin with an outline πŸ™‚πŸ™‚

      2. Oh, an outline! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ That ‘s a thought…. I’m so disorganized, I probably wouldn’t have thought to do that. Thanks!

  3. My ferns have given up for the year. They are transplanted native ones from another part of the woods out back.

    1. Has it been dry where you are? We are unusually soggy this fall, and the ferns are happy. By now they are usually gone.

      1. Not dry. Much too wet.

  4. Really nice! I love ferns, even when they’ve turned brown. And then sometimes, they’ll be poking out of the snow, still perfectly green in February.
    Wow, that’s exciting that you’ve done two hundred illustrations already! This one is great.
    How to organize them? If you’re starting with Jack-in-the-Pulpit, maybe have a religious section – -Jerusalem artichoke, Christmas Fern, Moses-in-a-boat, etc. and then Devil’s Darning Needle, Witch Hazel, etc.. (Hmm, I don’t think this is a very useful suggestion!)

    1. Hahahaha, but one that is uniquely you! I love it.

  5. Lovey patterns and colors – graceful and flowing, looks great. In my area, some ferns stay green through the winter, though not a bright green.
    Best of luck with your drawings and the book project!

    1. Thank you so much, Tom!

  6. I love ferns, and their curly bits the best. I always try to photograph them, but fail. Your painting is just lovely. I love the soft pastel background, and sunny fern in the middle.

    I’ve been wanting to make a book of photographs for years, but haven’t ever done it…the printer’s templates intimidate me. I thought I’d like a landscape book, macro book, night sky book, and a bird book… perhaps one day I’ll figure out how to do it.

    Alphabetically works and wouldn’t be so thick if you had two or three flowers per page.

    Or by Pedal type? By color? By the place it grows; like meadow, forest, marsh? 200 drawings! I love botanical drawings and wish I had the patience and skill to do that. I hope you find your way to do the book. I’d love to see it in print.

    1. Oh Deborah I’d love it if you produced a book! I don’t have enough wall space for all of the photos of yours that I love.
      You’re right~putting a few flowers together on the same page would work. And that way I could show different morphologies side by side. Cool idea! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  7. Ferns seem to be the theme for the month. I encountered so many of them while we were in the rain forest. You would have been as enthralled as I was! It’s such a magical place I wonder that I didn’t go there sooner.

    That image of your drawing is luscious. Hope to see more of your project someday.

    1. Thank you Gunta πŸ™‚ Linda is a botanist that I have mentioned before. She is so gifted. I love what she did too.

  8. Wow, Melissa, you have surpassed yourself! I think this might be my most favourite painting of yours so far, and that is saying something! x

    1. Oh Liz, thank you!

  9. What a pleasant ferny panorama you began with. Nice going.

    Speaking of glitches: I’ve tried to subscribe to your blog several times but it has never worked.

    1. Thanks Steve. That is high praise.

      As for the glitches~aaarrrgggh! I have spoken with them about that, and they found a problem with my account that they fixed. Evidently that isn’t the end of it, though. Some days, I cannot log on at all, other days I just am logged on. Baffling. Still, overall I’m pleased with it.

  10. Beautiful painting, Melissa. Ferns have such an interesting character, from their curled-up beginnings, to their fully-extended selves.
    Good luck with the book. An outline sounds helpful, and maybe you could start with your favorite representative of each plant family, and then add, as needed.

    1. That is a really good suggestion, Tanja. I can wrap my mind around that! Thank you.

  11. I can’t tell you how much I like the painting, Melissa. It captures the process of fading perfectly, and feels quite dynamic — something I wouldn’t have expected from ferns. I made a quick trip into east Texas last week, and found many more ferns than I’ve ever seen in the forests there. It was quite an experience — I was back to ground zero, surrounded by trees and plants that were completely unfamiliar. Great fun!

    As for the book, I smiled at your comment about feeling frozen. For at least three years, I’ve had the germ of two books in my mind: both with titles, and a general structure in my head. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I can’t seem to move on either of them. It’s very strange. I need to think about that, and maybe use the winter to finally get one in process. If I’m going to do it, I’d better get moving. I don’t have that many years left!

    1. If only we lived near each other, we could get together for book work! I’ve heard that is what other successful authors do, get together to support each other’s effort. I suppose it is similar to other creative projects~we need to simply begin putting something together however terrible, so that we have something to work with.

    2. And thank you so much for your comments about my painting. I have it hanging in my living room now and I’m not sure I’ll be able to sell it! I’m so glad you like it too.
      It is delightful to find yourself in an entirely unfamiliar grouping of plants, isn’t it?

  12. Beautiful ferns! I love how the little leaflets catch the light, both in your painting and in a forest. I don’t think ferns grow in the Edmonton River Valley but I do see lots and lots of them when I hike in the woods near Vancouver. Beautiful ink drawing too! 200 of your botanical drawings would make a wonderful book! Maybe you could split them up into different volumes?

    1. Thanks!
      i confess I’m pretty attached to this one. I like that too, how the little leaflets catch light. Ferns can be so beguiling. I’m glad you get to see them when you go hiking. they don’t grow in that many places here because our conditions can be pretty harsh.

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