Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Spring at Rensing

Karen Ferguson
March 2019

In my time here at Rensing, I have been totally immersed in a serene landscape of marvelous variety and subtle detail.

I have never so closely observed the magical and captivating arrival of spring. This is partly because I haven’t taken time to notice, and partly because I live in an area of Australia where the seasonal changes are less clear. If I didn’t paint and draw my response to this delicate transition I would be forced to write bad poetry about it! Seeing the bare branches sprouting tiny leaf clusters, blossoms arrive and depart, bumble bees and other insect life has been deeply inspiring.

A tree which has captivated me is the American Beech, with its pale, dry, winter leaves trembling in the spring breezes. In my work, I have explored the elegant structure of its veins through pattern and geometric design. Similarly, the five petals of the pear blossom have lead to pentagonal designs. I have received invaluable advice from Ellen about colour value, and taken direct inspiration from the quilting heritage of the Carolinas, and of Rensing itself. Close attention to contrasts in shape and tone, as well as using repetition to create movement and unity, have been my formal focus for the past month.

My sincere thanks to everyone at Rensing for their support and generous spirits. To Evelyn, for intelligent conversation and a glass of wine at sundown; to Ron for peach cobbler and magical waterfall visits; to John for expert plant knowledge; and to Hubert for making us feel so welcome here. And lastly, of course, to Ellen, for so many things – but mostly for keeping the wonderful Rensing show on the road!

Below are ink and watercolour studies of American Beech leaves and blossoms inspired by the plants I have seen at Rensing.


  1. Karen Ferguson, your work moves me. Thank you for posting some of it. And thanks for joining our little sisterhood in celebration of Ellen and Evelyn. We may live in the boondocks, but the people and the nature compensate us well. Safe travels. And, as old-timey Southerners say, "Y'all come back, ya hear?"

  2. These works are as elegant as they promised to be. What a privilege to see them evolve and to get to know you both. We are so looking forward to keeping in touch, and celebrating you as Rensing Fellows.

  3. The American Beach my favorite. Beautiful renderings, interpretations. And to meet you a privilege.... Nol