Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Art

"Christmas, California Style"
9" x 6"

Mary's Flower Bike
San Jose, CA

Friday was a lovely sunny day in California, so I decided to paint the master for my Christmas cards. Almost every year, I paint my Christmas card art, photograph it, have it reproduced on cards, and include a letter. This year I am especially late, but timing does not deter me. I've been known to send them after Christmas. I have been to more than one home where the art reproductions are displayed on the wall, so I know that people enjoy receiving the cards. You don't get the full effect here as I am picking up the cards today at Costco where they are reproducing the art into one of their stock formats.

There is a story behind the garden sculpture I call my Flower Bike. When I retired from IBM, ready to leave in a few short weeks on my cross-country bike trip, my wonderful co-workers surprised me at my retirement party with a gift of this bike with all four planters filled with live flowers, sporting a lovely purple bow on the handlebars. Turns out Patti and Carolyn came up with the idea, found the planter online, had it delivered to their office, and assembled it themselves. Apparently I even walked into the office one day when they were working on assembly and I was totally oblivious!

I was totally thrilled with the gift given from personal contributions and since then, it's been an important part of family celebrations. When Bob's daughter, Jamie, got married in April, I decorated it with spring flowers and silver ribbons to greet guests at our large extended family brunch the day after the wedding. I used the bike at the entrance when we had Open Studios this last May. When I visited the hardware store a few weeks ago, they had wonderful poinsettias on sale, so the flower bike is the centerpiece of my very modest Christmas display. I added LED lights that show up nicely in the night, a fitting decoration for a home where the garage houses one car and 13 bicycles. People attending our very large New Year's Day Open House will have an easy time finding our place.

Back to Friday -- the weather was awesome after a cold and rainy spell. So I painted on the patio and created the art. I sat under a canopy of trees laden with oranges and lemons, facing the mountain that is Santa Teresa County Park, and revelled in life.


Nina E J said...

Painting under a tree of lemons sound like paradise!

Mary Paquet said...

Nina, I'm sure after the bitter cold you are experiencing, that sounds pretty nice! My son's family in Vermont have sub-zero weather and were thawing pipes this morning when I called.

Claire M said...

Mary - this is lovely and so perfect for the season. I loved reading your reflection and I can remember back to your retirement party when I first saw this garden bike. It is so perfect for you and it is so special how you've been able to take advantage of it for different special occasions. Happy Holidays!!

Mary Paquet said...

Claire, thanks -- I have really enjoyed my garden bike.

Happy Holidays -- hope all your sons make it home.

Candy said...

What a wonderful story! It sounds like your friends got you the perfect retirement present. How nice that the Garden Bike has a place at various celebrations.

I read your biography. Biking from the west coast to the east coast? Woohoo!

I also like your attitude about Christmas cards. You're right. People enjoy the art even if it arrives a little late.

Mary Paquet said...

Hi, Candy. Thanks for visiting my site. I've checked out your blog and have become a follower.