Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brilliant and Bitter

Brilliant sun and bitter cold
"Spring is just around the corner" says the grim-faced coffee shop owner as I wipe the fog off my glasses and await my order of hot coffee. Whatever you say!
Good morning people! The sublimating snow is leaving fanciful lace-like spires and icicles. Sticks and stones are revealed like bones from a grotesque injury. We are half past the Hunger Moon and larger animals are very hungry now that winter is in its eleventh hour. But mockingbirds and robins have started to sing.
How can we be so grim when the sun shines so marvelously (although some would say mercilessly)?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thinking Thawts

a view of the frozen Charles River

"petit pont" at Elm Bank
The last two days have been relatively balmy in Natick. I didn't get out for a walk yesterday but today I made up for it by bringing a new sketchbook with me to Elm Bank. The birds were singing and the buds looked appreciably larger on the maples. The icy snowbanks were dirtier than ever and seemed to be relinquishing their grip on all manner of trash and slowly revealing the pavement and, in places, something that looks like grass (I think forensics will be needed to sort out the state of the victim and the nature of the violent pummeling she received!). I walk with a swing in my stride then; Spring is in my step (even though I'm well aware that it's only mid-February!), until I leave the road and begin to trudge through the snow covered field over to the river to draw. I crunch through old compacted snow up to my knees.

So much for Spring --it's Winter from the knees down yet gloveless I draw on reveling in the sound of a freshet darkening the ice-bound river across the channel. I know we'll have more snow and nasty weather but there's a part of me that's recklessly willing to wager that maybe, we won't.  Ha!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gla gla weather

ice covered branches of the cherry tree
Another snowy day. A gla gla kind of day that is bone-chilling. We've had a lot of storms this winter and it's beginning to take its toll. Today was a bit warmer; I was able to draw in my sketchbook outside without gloves. Of course I was standing in snow up to my knees and there was a mixture of snow and tiny ice pellets falling.

The sleet made drawing very interesting. It melted on the paper and my crayon slid over the wet spots and caught and gave a good black in the drier patches. Maybe I'll try to replicate this in the studio: wet the paper discontinuously and work over it with waxy and greasy media.

The South Natick dam | Feb. 2, 2011 | litho crayon on paper
A detail view showing the resist caused by the melting snow on the paper

I was heartened to see a flock of mallards feeding in the calm of the eddies at the base of the fish ladder. Maybe this means that food is not so plentiful elsewhere. A recent spell of very cold weather has limited the open water and they are congregating in smaller areas. Maybe. They looked "happy", cooperative  and very active dipping and dabbling in the swift current. I don't know how they survive.

All in all, it was a nice day to spend indoors working on special projects.

I'm working on a children's book. Here's a spread with a flap and die cut
The die cut hints at the surprise (a bright red balloon) underneath
Snorri and Cupcake
I'll write more about this project when it's farther along.  I'm early in the process of developing it and hope to have it ready for my agent next week. Stay tuned!

I think the cats had the best strategy for a gray, gla gla afternoon.
:-)
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