Monday, January 28, 2013


21 Jan. 2013
A single crow perches in the top branches of a tree above the river.
26 Jan. 2013
Pigeons flock near the chimney of an abandoned church
 "All the world's a stage…" Are you strutting and fretting too? Are you managing to persevere and get through the winter of your discontent? Or just plain old winter? How do you manage it?

I wonder how birds do it. I could easily research the facts and those ARE interesting. But I like posing the question even more: Isn't winter long, lonely and cold for the birds? And their bony and scaly legs and toes that grip, lock and release with no insulation and are exposed to the sub-freezing elements 24/7.

26 Jan. 2013
A log is snagged on top of the dam 
and sheet of ice has formed below it
Yesterday, or maybe the day before, I was at the river taking note of the steadily advancing ice that seems intent on encasing the waterfall; it's been very cold for a week and this seems to threaten the steady flow of moving water. But instead, I was surprised by a flock of a dozen geese and about fifty mallards diving and dabbling in the open laminar flow below the bridge. I was bundled in layers of nylon, wool and fleece and they were diving for breakfast and acting like it was the middle of Summer.

I pass through these landscapes as if they are an imperfect mirror where I know that somewhere in them I can find myself and not feel alone. This is life and this is what we do: on the face of a beautiful Chaos, we seek some confirmation. On the paper of winter, the birds of winter write the fact of their existence and thence, I find a fragment of my own. In the faces and fact of loved ones I search for and write what is in my heart hoping for a similar confirmation. And in Art which is my calligraphic responses to Reality, I jot some statement regarding or even a cry to connect to what is outside of me and bring it to you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fool in the Rain

Jan. 15, 2013
crayon, charcoal, watercolor
It was lightly snowing when I walked to the dam yesterday to draw the landscape. However, as soon as I set my coffee cup down and opened my sketchbook, the snow seemed to pile up on the open paper. Quickly, water was pooling on the page and snowflake-floes were glacially moving as I tried to draw the snow-covered log on the top of the dam (above).

It was difficult making the waxy crayon stick to the wet paper so I switched to charcoal. As I scrubbed, dirty piles of charcoal-plowed snow accumulated around the places I was drawing. I gingerly flicked them to the ground and tried not to smudge my beautiful artwork. Finally, the charcoal started running and the brilliant white patches for the snowy log turned gray as the snow and rain took over my artistic project. How silly of me to be drawing out in the snow sleet and rain. Even the mailman thinks twice about that nowadays!

Before leaving, I made one more quick drawing and resolved to add some watercolor washes and try to clean them up once I got back to the studio. Here's the second drawing (right).

The drawing below was done a few days ago when it wasn't snowing. All was still and the far trees were reflected in the cold sluggish river. It's all very beautiful regardless of the weather.

Jan. 13, 2013
crayon, charcoal

Monday, January 14, 2013

Goodbye Blue Mondays

Some Geese, Charles River
blue chalk
14 Jan 2013

The Pleasant Street Bridge
blue chalk
14 Jan 2013

Some mornings I just need to get out of the house and go to the South Natick dam to think, or not-think: whatever is most needed. I always take my sketchbook of course and I frequently grab my pencil case that is full to bursting with a revolving cast of crayons, pencils, sticks of charcoal and pens. Sometimes I stuff a bottle of ink --of indeterminate parentage and a few paintbrushes into that pencil case.

They say it's good to have options. If the muse has a prior commitment as I stare down the subject at hand sometimes a new tool helps the work get started more congenially. Today, instead of the usual cornucopia, I only took two items: a stubby black litho pencil that stayed in my pocket, and a piece of blue chalk. Chalk: the kind used to draw on the sidewalk or on a blackboard. The muse brooded, showed her wares and I did her bidding without too much dithering or chit-chat. These two quick drawings are the result of this collaboration.

Variety IS the spice of life and I see now as I tidy up this blog post, that the sun has emerged.
Have a good and productive week friends!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ice Land

Big dendritic ice crystals have started to form in the smooth water just above the dam.

Below the dam, amid the turbulent water, a frilly pleated skirt of ice and icicles cling to the rocks and rock wall.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Three Geese Day

Three Canada Geese
Dec. 31, 2012
conté pencil
 - - - - - - - - - - - - 
One day follows another ad infinitum

These artificial divisions help sort through the tapestry of space and time. Maybe yesterday was really called "Three Geese Day" rather than "Monday, Dec. 31st, 2012". And maybe today was called "No Geese Day: January 1st, 2013". Maybe another day was the day I last saw you …only I didn't know it. And still another day I carved our initials into a tree. Was it a real tree? Or only a tree in my mind?
There is some sort of peace in all this infinity (despite the mocking laughter of Memory). It is accompanied by a loud whooshing noise in the ears. A deafening sound of our desire for a clear static moment where love can rest while the river of time flows around it. Maybe that is the appeal of this river place: I stay still and the water does all the moving.

And then there is this. Bonne année and Peace to you.

Charles River, looking downstream
South Natick, MA
Jan. 1, 2013
colored pencil

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