Freezing Waterfall in our Japanese Garden

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Freezing Waterfall

We never know how late in winter the re-circulating water can flow in Clayton’s Japanese Garden. The first photo was from December 27; the one below from  December 29.  We haven’t had temperatures above freezing for five days.  The sun has been helpful, but with nights in the single digits, everything is freezing up.  Luckily the flow of water is keeping this waterfall open for the moment, providing a source of fresh water for drinking and bathing for the birds who feed nearby. The ice formations change from morning to evening as the water passes over or under existing ice, so we are able to enjoy seeing an ever shifting water/ice -scape.  Did Clayton know when he designed and then set the rocks for the waterfall that it could continue to provide such interest in the middle of the winter?

Painting a Reflection of Coastal Maine

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Sometimes only takes a glance in a certain direction for Clayton to recognize a scene that he would like to paint.  After a morning bike ride, Clayton was standing at the griddle cooking pancakes when he glanced toward the open kitchen door.  Reflected in the glass portion of the door was a field full of Queen Anne’s Lace leading out to the ocean where a lobster boat was heading out to work. The view out the door itself was the edge of the woods across the road.

Clayton finished cooking, ate his pancakes and then set up his easel in the middle of the kitchen to begin painting this double scene.  Meanwhile other hungry family members continued to cook their pancakes, careful to avoid jostling the painter at work.


posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Many consider Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, a noxious weed, but as Clayton walked by this plant he noticed that four butterflies (monarch and swallowtails) and at least five bumblebees considered it a feeding station.  It does need to be cut back before it goes to seed, since it is difficult to control as a non-native plant.

Jack O’ Lantern bronze displayed at the Chester County Studio Art Tour

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Jack O' Lantern J C Bright

Clayton created Jack O’ Lantern because he wanted a different take on jack rabbits.  He had been working on a jack rabbit in full run, legs outstretched, and realized that if he stood it upright, it could be put to work holding a lantern.  This bulb is low wattage but sheds enough light to see a walkway or short set of steps.  It can also be placed indoors, as shown recently when Clayton combined his art with two artist friends, Doug and Pat Mooberry, for the open studio tour.  There is a dignity to the jack rabbit that is evident in this photograph.

Nothing Like an Artist’s Outdoor Shower

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Artist's Outdoor Shower

When I first encountered outdoor showers it was in a beach town where often sandy footed people arrived at the door.  Of course, outdoor showers are set up for camping and at places where the outdoor experience leaves one dirty and not suitable for a clean floor.  But an outdoor shower is also something that some people really enjoy, and Clayton is one of them.  Being the designer and artist that he is, the shower acts as a climbing trellis for clematis while surrounded by ferns that enjoy the extra moisture.  Thus the shower provides both cleanliness and beauty simultaneously.


A Moment in Spring Digging

posted by Starr Cummin Bright


A Moment

Clayton’s bronze sculpture entitled A Moment reminds me of the work that lies ahead during the next week.  The first shipment of seed potatoes arrived yesterday, but more will arrive soon. This is where the real digging ensues, since we create trenches for the potatoes so that as we continue to “mound” them as they grow, the plant tops will ultimately end up at ground level.  Although the ground has been tilled and compost added, digging trenches a foot deep is always work.  Just as the sculpted boy, one needs to take a moment’s break from spade work to stand upright and gaze at one’s handiwork.

Snowdrops! It’s that time of year.

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

Snowdrops Painting BrightSnowdrops painting JCBright

Today, February 8, it is 60 degrees outside, so I went looking.  The forsythia could be forced now – the buds are all there.  In fact many plants have their buds ready.  As for blooming? The snowdrops take the cake.  Their beauty reminded me of Clayton’s painting from a few years ago on January 25th, the title of the painting.

A Man of Many Talents

posted by Starr Cummin Bright

JCB cooking2 - Copy (2)

Clayton may not usually cook for the family, but he can cook and produces delicious dishes when he does.  In this photograph he had just finished preparing mincemeat for his 2017-2022 Christmas pies (one jar per pie, one pie per year).  He also produced three plum puddings, which he shared with two brothers who will enjoy them come Christmas.  Clayton says, “Both of these desserts need to sit refrigerated for a long time so the flavors can blend and mellow.”