Painting and Gardening in 100+ degree weather

Work in Progress, for a show at Olney Gallery in September. 


Large panel painting in progress

I finally committed to the idea I had for this large panel, but by the time I did, it was well over 100 every day. This past weekend it was around 114! Normally I don’t paint outside unless it’s under 90 because the paint just dries too fast and I wilt in extreme heat anyway. But, this needed to be done by late August and there’s almost no chance it’ll be good outdoor painting weather again before Oct.

So, when it “cooled off” to 106 today, I was out there spattering, glazing, dripping and slinging paint. I had a water spray bottle in one hand, which helped keep the paint wet long enough to get the runny effects. The paint dries instantly in this heat. The panel itself heated up so it was a little like painting on a frying pan. Artists who use oils and spray paints seem to take advantage of that. For acrylics it can be a real drawback but one just has to work with it, or wait for better days!


Cooled off to 106 today, ran outside to paint before it passes.

I LOVE spattering and dripping. We did a lot of it painting theater sets and other large scale things. It was like being given permission to make a big mess, plus the effects are fun. Because it’s all so random and you have to work fast, it’s a great loosening-up exercise. Happy accidents happen, and give rise to more ideas.

This painting will almost certainly have birds in it, but you never know what life of its own it’ll take on. Tomorrow morning I’ll be out there again. We’ll see where it goes.

Flowers that survived the 114 degree weekend




Red sunflower, about 6 ft tall, the back is mostly yellow but the fronts are red!


Dwarf zinnia mix


Sweet potato flower

Technically, the sweet potato flower did not really survive the 114 degree weekend, because it seemed to have stopped flowering just before that. I moved it to the shade because the plant looked like it was struggling in even morning sun right now.

This is an actual sweet potato, not the ornamental kinds you buy for the foliage.

I had bought some sweet potatoes at the grocery store, forgot to cook them, and they started to sprout leaves right in the paper bag they came in. I continued to ignore them and they got to be a nice houseplant, LOL, but I was concerned they would die if I didn’t get them in soil soon. This was in winter here, maybe Jan or Feb. So I took it outside and put the bag and all into a pot and dumped potting soil into it and watered it good. It continued to grow into a lush plant, only getting a little damage from frost.

When it got hot this spring, it began to flower! Being related to morning glories, the flower resembles them. I can’t seem to capture the full beauty of the bloom, but they’re mostly white with a lavender and purple tone as it goes deeper inside. Luminous is how I’d describe them. They’re not quite as big of a flower as morning glories and they tend to hide under the foliage.

I’m told this is really rare for them to flower and that I should try to save any seed it makes. So far I can’t even locate a seed head. It may be that the heat, or lack of pollinators, prevented pollination and it may not even have seed as a result. If it does make seed, info I read said they’re rather rare and valuable to gardeners because that’s the only way to get genetic diversity in them. Most of them are propagated by roots because of how difficult it is to get seed. I wonder if the fact it was in such a crowded pot made it flower. Sometimes ‘stress’ makes a plant flower, and go to seed. High heat is one of the things that can do that with some plants you don’t generally want to go to seed, too, like lettuce. Some herbs and greens are “slow bolt” varieties that give you a little longer time to cut greens before they bolt and die. In all my reading up on the sweet potato I don’t recall if the vine is perennial. Seems like it would be; guess we’ll find out!





6 thoughts on “Painting and Gardening in 100+ degree weather

  1. This post is so much fun!! Well, except for the heat. ::gasps::
    LOVELOVELOVE the new piece with the trees!! So much energy in it! Wonderful that you’ve been able to work on it outside.
    “Happy accidents happen, and give rise to more ideas.” So true!

    Red sunflower? Wow! Didn’t know they existed. Your other heat-resistnat blooms are gorgeous, too. Congratulations for the sweet potato flowers! Rare? Yes!!!! Just found this:
    Two years, nice!!YIKES — severe storm, lots of lightning signing off for now will be back later……..

  2. ::runs back:: Wow! Crazy storm! The power was out for an hour and a half. I was using the computer’s battery backup to finish typing that comment. Anyway!! I found this about sweet potato seeds, true seeds, and slips – the pix are cool – I hope you don’t mind these links:

    Stay cool!!!!!! ⛄️

    • Thanks, I appreciate the links/info on sweet potatoes flowering and making seeds! Now I know what the seed capsules look like. I am wondering if it made any as I can’t see anything looking like seeds forming but it’s not been that long since it flowered. We have fewer bees now and a lot of things just don’t get fertilized. Many times the sunflower seeds are empty! (Must frustrate the wild birds!) The hollyhocks, too, seemed unable to make seed, though they were started from seed that people gave us from THEIR self-seeding hollyhocks. Could also be the heat. I think when it’s too hot that just gets messed up. Some not so pretty yard stuff was us cutting tree limbs last night. But it was nice to jump in the pool afterwards!

      • Doing yard-work in that heat? Wow. I hope the night temps are lower. Pool…perfect! Do you ever get sudden dust storms? Saw a show about them on The Weather Channel. They mentioned Phoenix, so I was thinking about you maybe having to grab your paintings and run inside! AAACK!!

    • Yes, we do sometimes get sudden dust storms, and they often make the news. They don’t necessarily get bad all over the whole metro area, but whichever side it came from will usually be coated in dust. They can come with rain storms, too, so if you’re lucky, you get rain to wash it out of the air afterwards. Yup, the pool makes summer bearable, and is our reward after hours of hot yard work. Feels great! We had to get it done because this coming weekend will be 119 they say! Gah! I plan to stay in a lot.

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