May buckeye

May is the glorious month for the red buckeye in our yard. It is in full bloom, spectacular colors that pull off the red/green thing without looking the least bit Christmas-y. There are blooms on the end of every branch, big panicles of deep red tubular flowers. At the same time, the five lobed leaves have gotten almost full size, draping the branches and hiding the irregular shape of the tree.

At the same time the hummingbirds have returned, and the red buckeye is perfectly tailored to attract them. I frequently see one feeding on one of the flowers--always too far away and too skittish to photograph, of course.

This piece started with a close up of one of the flower clusters. I fiddled with it in photoshop to abstract it, but capture the essence of looking at it--the red/green vibrations, the touches of other colors. The ripple effect proved best, maybe hinting at the blossom from the bird's point of view as he zeroes in on his target. The touch of yellow on the rim serves as a good highlight.

The bird is stenciled (hand cut stencil out of freezer paper) using shiva paintsticks, including some irridescent ones. The stitching mimics the feel of the long flower stalks, the freeness with which they sway in the May breezes.

Both the background and the printed piece are silk, which adds to the luster of the piece. Side by side with previous pieces, this one is noticably cheerier, brighter, greener. But so is the yard--gone are the neutrals of winter and early spring, the dominant color is now green, lush green, life reestablishing itself. May, one of the best months in the midwest.


Julaine said...


mary nelson said...


Ann Miller Titus said...


You captured what must be the bird's eye view. Traditionally we see the hummingbird as a whirl. From the bird's vantage point, the world is swirling!

kathy said...

this is just beautiful...makes me want to get better with photoshop..

anne stupavsky said...

Barb, I like the May Buckeye with the hummingbird the best. Although, the January Buckeye Tree is just too good also.