Island Flower Cart

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A vivid moment – I was eight years old, cradling a dead houseplant in my lap wondering where I’d gone wrong. An aunt, coming by for a visit, said in passing, “You sure don’t have a green thumb, Honey. Yours is definitely brown!” And I knew exactly what she meant – anything I’d try to grow would die. (Please know that this aunt of mine would be horrified to think she said this to me so long ago.) And so I grew this sad moment into a tragedy. I loved plants! I’d visit nurseries and public green houses and parks wherever I could find them. I’d yearn over the luscious swaths of color and growth, then say to myself, “Don’t even try, you’ll just kill them.”
Fast forward to my next pivotal plant moment… I was 46 years old wandering through the local nursery when a woman with a cart full of plants stopped next to me. She smiled my way and I felt compelled to say, “I wish I could grow plants like you but I have a brown thumb.” As vivid as my aunt’s spur of the moment comment, I remember that moment. The woman chuckled and turned to look at me carefully. “You know, growing plants is like anything else. If you want it badly enough, you learn how its done. That’s how we’ve all become gardeners. Research, talk to gardeners, read books, join garden groups if you like – gardeners love sharing their wisdom. But above all, BEGIN. Try. Start with something easy. Fail but DON’T STOP.” Then she lay her hand on my arm and leaned forward and said softly, “That’s what a beautiful Master Gardener told me years ago when I believed that silliness myself.”
And so I did begin. Today I give away or sell flowers just for the joy of watching the smiles unfold. Now I, too, encourage anyone longing for the title “Gardener.”
by Mary Jo Oxrieder
Watercolor & Ink
Raven Rocks Studio
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Sweet Gatherings Home


“You know how there are places you discover that pull you in? That was the way this sweet house felt the moment we set foot on the property. We felt compelled to linger as all the tensions of the day melted away and all that was left was peace and warmth. It certainly was the home we’d sought for so long. As our lives unfolded there, we discovered that its magic worked on others as well. We found ourselves throwing parties when we’d never thought of ourselves as party people. We had overnight guests more often and enjoyed the visits thoroughly. Folks seemed to be their most joyful selves at our house – as were we.”
Watercolor, Ink & Acrylic
Painting: 8.5″ X 11″
Raven Rocks Studio

The House That Loved Parties


“There were rumors about this couple – aren’t there always when a hint of magic whiffs through a community? It was said that these folks were “creative types,” lovers of all things beautiful, especially Nature. Some people said they were semi-hermits living in a strange house. Others said they were subversives plotting the overthrow of anything stark and drab and ugly. It was also said they were generous to a fault and you were most fortunate if you could call them friends. Through a series of coincidences (really, though, is there any such thing?) I did come to call these joyous people friends. It started with a purchase of their paintings (they actually were creative types) and eventually I was invited to their wondrous home on the most gorgeous piece of property I’d ever seen. They called it “The House That Loved Parties” because they enjoyed inviting friends over, decorating, cooking glorious dishes, encouraging inspiring and insightful conversations.

There really is something to aspiring to a life lived in light.”

Watercolor, Ink & Acrylic Framed Original

Raven Rocks Studio