Thirty in Thirty, 2014: Red Osier Thicket

Red_Osier_Thicket:copyright_2014:Michaela_Harlow:pastel_on_paper:michaelaharlow.comRed Osier Thicket, 2014 – Michaela Harlow - 20″ x 15″, pastel on paper (24″ x 19″) 

A day filled with snow squalls and flashes of bright color: red fox lurking in the hemlock stand, male cardinal at the bird feeder and red-breasted robins plucking ruddy fruit from sumac at garden’s edge. But in the darkness of winter, it’s the red osier thickets —swirling with white flurries and punctuated with tawny winter grass and birch saplings— that really gets my attention.

I plant a great deal of red and yellow twig dogwood in my garden design work. My clients rarely get excited when they see me hauling the scruffy green shrubs into their yards in May —but come February, my email box is packed with thank you notes. The glowing bark of native red osier (Cornus sericea) is almost as uplifting as a bouquet of red tulips on a dreary, steel-grey day. Red Osier Thicket in the studio

This entry was posted in Seeing, Thirty-in-Thirty 2014, Winter Paintings, Work on Paper and tagged , , .


  1. Jen January 26, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

    Yes! That red is fantastic, makes my eyes dance. Or maybe that’s just leftover visions from seeing the NYC Ballet for the first time last night! Regardless, I always think of you when I see Red Osier.

  2. Michaela January 27, 2014 at 5:59 am #

    So interesting how we can come to associate people with certain plants. I bet a number of people connect me with the red twigs in winter! I think of you when I see Juniper berries and Daphne. I confess that I am a bit envious! Although I am very fortunate, and have seen many dance troupes perform, I have never seen the NYC Ballet Company live. That is on my list of wishes. Enjoy your walk about! xx