Yarrow Tea

Painting rendered on mixed media paper with watercolor and gouache. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I have a lot of paintings to share along with some stories.

Sand dunes, dune grass, white flowered yarrow, and the smell of salt and seaweed are my memories of the Oregon Coast. When I was a child there were certain plants that I would stare at as if hypnotized. Yarrow was one of them. The plant grows from the coastal mountains to the alpine meadows of the Cascade Range. The delicate white flowers and lace like leaves were a work of art I could stare at forever. I had no idea the ancient myths or healing recipes that surround this plant When I was a child, I just thought it was beautiful.

Yarrow helps with nausea during flu season and also help the restless mind relax and sleep. Take a teaspoon or fresh stem with leaves and flowers of the yarrow with a teaspoon or couple fresh leaves of mint add to cup of boiling water, turn off heat and let sit for twenty minutes.

FanArt — Bombur — The Hobbot by J.R.R. Tolkien

The reason I picked Bombur for my first drawing out of a series of (I don’t know yet, maybe 5 or 10 drawings), is because he does not have a big role in the Hobbit Story, he is clumsy, likes food, cleans dishes so fast it seems like magic, can play some wicked drums and falls asleep at the most inappropriate times. He sounds like me, minus the drum playing.

Bombur is one out of 12 dwarfs that visit Bilbo at Bag Ends his cozy Hobbit home in the Shire. Bilbo had no idea a company of twelve dwarfs was going to show up at his home and Gandalf didn’t say a word about the any adventure with the Dwarfs because he knew Bilbo would show them all the door and ask politely to be left alone. Hobbits don’t go on adventures!

Bombur was supposed to be the last dwarf to arrive, as Gandalf asked the company of 12 Dwarfs to show up one at a time and be polite, do not overwhelm the Hobbit with too many demands or too much information. Each Dwarf arrived was shown in as the poor hobbit became more bewildered and confused. Gandalf was trying to tell the anxious hobbit a story to calm him down when another knock came at the door, that would be 11 knocks so far and Bilbo was losing it. He opened the door and there stood the mighty Thorin, King of the Dwarfs of Moria, so dignified in his kingly manner, so strong and proud and up behind him rushed Bombur. He was afraid he would miss out on the food having been the last one to arrive and having to wait for hours to knock on Bilbo’s door. Bombur rushed up the path so fast he tripped and bumped into Thorin from behind. With his great girth Bombur knocked Thorin to the floor and promptly fell on top of him, knocking all the air out of him.

As you might imagine any conservative Hobbit would have been alarmed. Bilbo was rightly alarmed, Dwarfs, wizards, magic, and he was running out of food and drink, plus all his dishes were dirty and he still had no clue what was going on.

If you want to find out what happened after this, you must read the Hobbit.imageimageimageimageimageBombur’s story line

The next drawing I do will be on paper made especially for pencil. The mixed media paper I used was too soft and shows too many lines from my heavy handed use of hard pencil lead.


Stinging Nettle Tea and Tea Set Art

I’ve written out a recipe for nettle tea and some data on how to go foraging for stinging nettles with links. If you don’t feel like going for a hike you can buy stinging nettle tea at just about any store that carries herb teas. I like the tea because it helps with inflammation from fibromyalgia and I am interested in learning how to live off the land. I like to think I have an alternative to the grocery store because I really hate shopping. It’s so much fun taking a walk in the woods and gathering my food rather than driving to a store and seeing the same old veggies. Here is a small article about Nettle tea benefits.
 This painting didn’t turn out as good as I imagined it. I’ve never drawn or painted such a complicated teacup or pot and I have done very little still-life artwork. If I were to paint this again, I would fix the teacup saucer. It’s all out of kilter and the shadows suck. But I finished it and that is what matters most right now, practice, practice, practice!

Watercolor and Gouache on mixed media paper.  

If you are going to make stinging nettle tea from scratch it’s best to start looking for a patch in early spring, it is easier to find because it’s one of the first plants to sprout. Remember to bring gloves and garden shears if you are going foraging for this plant later in the year, the older plants will sting you. The stems toughen up and the plant packs a powerful sting. If you live in America, Stinging Nettle grows just about anywhere near water or marshes. If your backyard is wet, it may be growing in your backyard and you don’t even know it! Make sure the area is clean and isn’t getting sprayed with herbicide or pesticide. You have to be careful with all the dumping and pesticide spraying going on. 

How to identify, Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle, Urtica Dioica, is very easy plant to spot with distinctive saw-tooth edged leaves and hairy stems that will sting you if you grab them incorrectly. The plant grows from 3ft up to 7ft tall and has an abundance of bright green leaves. The tiny hairs that cover the stems act as a hypodermic needle injecting a mixture of chemicals that can cause a painful reaction that feels like burning if grasped incorrectly.    

I only had to be burned once as a kid and learned to spot the plant when hiking near wet areas, I haven’t grabbed the plant with bare hands since then. I was climbing up out of Eagle Creek near Estacada Oregon and grabbed onto some plants to pull myself up. I think I was around 8 years old, it was late in the year and the salmon still ran in our creek. We hiked down to see if you could find any of the giant fish that usually were so beat up they looked like zombie fish, bits and parts of scales, blackened flesh, fins, and tails would be falling off after they mated. Sadly the salmon no longer run in little Oregon creeks because of the dams and logging. 

You can live off the plant, cooking, drying, or crushing will dislodge the spiny hairs easily. I like to eat the young spring plants, they haven’t developed their sting yet and are the first plants to come up besides Skunk Cabbage.

 Stinging Nettle spreads through it’s root like system called rhizomes. That’s why you will usually find large patches of nettles. if you find one plant there is going to more! Don’t pull the plants out by their roots, so next year they will come up again. You can cut as many plants as you want because these particular plants spread through their root system.

I wear a long sleeved shirt and gloves, I fill up my garbage bag with a bunch of plants and head home. it’s that easy, cut and run! I spray the plants down with my garden hose, washing away all the dirt, tie several stems together and hanging the bundles on my clothes line until dry. I have a large laundry room I use to dry my herbs in. 

Once you’ve dried your stinging nettles you can store them in glass canning jars. I make my tea using 6 dried or fresh leaves, about a tablespoon, let sit in water that is boiling hot for about five minutes. I like to drink my tea straight, just like my whiskey, but you can add what ever flavoring you like or even mix with other teas and herbs. You can eat your left over leaves after you drain the water into your teacup! I like to add a little butter and salt to mine. 

Fanart — Goldberry — The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien 

imageI don’t like charcoal but it’s my first try, so I’m going to try and develop my skill set and let go of my negative opinions. The picture didn’t turn out good enough for me to like it, I’d give it a 2 out 5 rating because I had trouble with layout and design, catching the flow and details I saw in my minds eye when I see Goldberry and her lily pads by the her river Withywindle.

Picture rendered on charcoal paper with white and black charcoal pencils. There are few women who have an active role in the Hobbit story by J.R.R Tolkien. Goldberry has a minor role, she was a kind, wise, and a beautiful woman, many likened her to an elvish women but with a strong connection to the earth, especially water. Her voice in song sounds like a lively creek running over rocks.

Her husband rescued the hobbits and it was Goldberry who gave shelter to the hobbits at the beginning of their journey. Without these two characters there would be no adventures for Tolkien to write about. Goldberry and her Husband Tom Bombadil are older than middle earth and indifferent to good and evil and both seem to stay out of the struggle over darkness and light. Except they did save Middle Earth from darkness in a subtle way.

This picture represents the water and lilypads Goldberry must have around her when she is on dry earth. Bombadil found the Hobbits when he was gathering lily pads to take home for Goldberry from the river Withywindle. He accidentally found the Old Man Willow had eaten several hobbits and the river had put everyone to sleep that touched it.

Her Husband Tom Bombadil seems to have mastery over the sentient trees in the Old Forest. However, he and his wife with cannot leave their land and the old forest used to cover all of Middle Earth, now there are only a few areas of old forest left and maybe Bombadil and Goldberry are trapped.

Old Man Willow likes to eat unsuspecting humans, hobbits, and so on, they are very grumpy trees, most of their kin have been killed by two legged beings. They have ancient resentments against any one who wants to kill trees. Both the river Withywindle and the Old Forest are dangerous, dark, and brooding that hold many ancient and seemingly evil secrets.

Goldberry is a blonde in Tolkiens story and I’m trying to give the sense of light colored hair using black and white. That’s really hard for me to do, but I have had practice, Bumbar my last Tolkien character was rendered in pencil and he has red hair, I think I pulled off representing red hair without using color.

Tom Bombadil was found by Goldberry when she grabbed hold of his beard and pulled him into the river Withywindle. The river had no effect on Bombadil and Goldberry fell in love with the plump, merry, bearded character. The origins of both characters are shrouded in mystery. I think both of them are elementals and not made by a creator God.

Fall Is Around The Corner

I am back with new ideas and finishing up my unfinished paintings I started in 2014. Moving to a new state, moving two homes, and helping family put a kink in my creative flow. Now I’m reestablishing my creative routines and it’s so difficult, I’d rather garden and clean house. I still haven’t figured out why I like to paint and draw, they are both tedious and painful. I found a new social site where you can earn crypto currency call Steem, you can exchange Steem for what ever currency you use, the site is called Steemit. Just imagine your content generating money you can use…


Here are are a few ideas I’m tossing around as illustrations to stories, greeting card to friend and a present for a rugby fanatic.

Sunflowers and Tea – 1

More Kitchen art, first layer of color. I will be posting less for the next couple months. Packing up our house and moving to a new place. The painting of the girl with the flowers is gonna be done before spring hits us.

Sun Flowers and Tea