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Art in Bloom: Painting with petals

The University of Kentucky Art Museum will hold its annual Art in Bloom fund-raiser Feb. 26 to 28. More than 50 works of art will be reinterpreted as floral arrangements.

This year, an advance demonstration, Interpreting Art with Flowers, will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday. Those who attend will learn how to put together a floral display and will pick up some insights about viewing art.

Four designers — Sarah Davis, Greg Hofelich, Jessica Nicholson and Anne Roughton — will share their ideas, techniques and inspirations by putting pieces together in front of the audience. Local artist Adalin Wichman, whose work Salute to the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, 2009 is this year's signature piece, provided paintings for the demonstration.

Davis, who has entered an arrangement each year since Art in Bloom began about 10 years ago, began her design business, A Tisket, a Tasket, 25 years ago. She is an experienced instructor, having studied and worked with Sheila MacQueen, a renowned garden and flower designer for British royalty. Davis chose an equine portrait to interpret, selecting a warm copper bucket as a container to complement the rich brownish-red hues of the horse's coat.

"Having an outline plan and finding line material for your design is important," she says. "I do this work because I love it, and the exciting opportunities that come up to bring in a garden touch."

Hofelich was drawn to a childhood portrait of Wichman's daughter Alison. Painted mostly in whites with just a touch of color, it presented him with the challenge of muted subtleties and a mood reflecting this time of year. Sometimes, he says, "people put art in a box and think it has nothing to do with real daily life." He finds that creating floral designs based on art unlocks that box by engaging the senses, bringing art to life and developing a deeper understanding that arises from the translation of one medium to another.

The program will be in the gallery at the UK Art Museum gallery, at Euclid Avenue and Rose Street. The $15 fee includes refreshments. To register in advance, call (859) 257-5716 or e-mail artmuseum@email.uky.edu. For more information, go to www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum.

Hardscape how-to

When you look out at your yard these days, pretty much the only features standing out are evergreens, bare branches and structural elements of hardscape in the form of rock, brick and wooden walls or raised beds.

The importance of these good landscaping bones is laid bare in winter. With that in mind, The Down to Earth Garden Club is opening its next meeting program to the public. There will be a "show and tell" slide presentation with before and after pictures of projects in established Lexington neighborhoods. The program was developed by club member Betsy Chappell and University of Kentucky landscape architecture student Scott Qualmann.

The program will include do-it-yourself ideas including drainage, balance of hardscape and green space, starting the design process, reassessing current landscape renovation needs, and integrating interesting lighting effects.

The meeting will be 7 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 1 at the E.S. Good Barn, 1451 University Drive. There is no charge Send an e-mail to chappellbetsy@yahoo.com if you plan to attend.

Birdsong book and CD

Birdsong by the Seasons: A Year of Listening to Birds. By Donald Kroodsma. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 384 pp., two CDs. $28.

Daniel Kroodsma is an excellent and knowledgeable listener, especially when hearing and recording the songs and sounds of birds. In his new book, Birdsong by the Seasons, he has lined up 12 months of recordings captured in habitats across the country and in the tropics. Before dawn, after dusk, month after month, his treks took him to out-of-the-way places where birds flock and roost. Kroodsma brings together notes from his journals, line drawings and sonar charts, two CDs of recordings, and a link to free, downloadable software from the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology to view sonograms of the recordings on the computer.

In January, he's with wading birds in Florida's Everglades; in March, he records sandhill cranes converging at Nebraska's Platte River; and December shows why robins are called "harbingers of spring" with a spike in their singing, which leads to his hopeful note that "the winter solstice is the first day of spring." Here, you can tag along with Kroodsma as he demonstrates what the world is like if you focus on getting outside to listen and learn.

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