Monday, February 25, 2013


Low sun above the Pleasant Street bridge
15 Feb. 2013
carbon pencil

17 Feb. 2013
This view of the dam is from a different vantage point: from inside a car! It was so cold, I couldn't bear to get out and go through the motions of drawing in the frigid weather. The odd rhythmic shapes in the foreground of the drawing are snow-covered rocks in a stone wall. Some sere decorative grasses form a bit of a screen on the left.
The temperature is warm today and the sound of melting snow is everywhere. Try to enjoy the winter, what's left of it!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post-Blizzard drawings

9 Feb. 2013
Really cold, lots and lots of snow, a few mallards

9 Feb. 2013
A mockingbird, quickly drawn, shows interest in a few bittersweet berries

10 Feb. 2013
In the brilliant morning sunlight, molten mallards rest on a shelf of ice.

Friday, February 8, 2013


The South Natick Dam in winter
30 Jan. 2013
ice and open water
6 Feb. 2013
ice bound driftwood
graphite & digital color
8 Feb. 2013
A "superstorm" is approaching and we have been anticipating it for a day or two. No surprises. Sure thing! A few minutes ago I was down at the river and even though it's premature, I did see a few microscopic snowflakes swirling here and there.

So this morning, Life has that weird suspended quality while we wait for the blizzard to land and settle in. Schools and businesses have been cancelled. The trains, buses and international airport will be shut down this afternoon. It's just another day at the office for the first-responders.

My teenaged daughters got to sleep late this morning and my wife has a series of conference calls instead of going to her office-hive. Since I work at home, there are few changes in my day except the interruptions of family and snow-management chores. If the weather gets bad enough and the power goes out, I'll blog by candlelight.

Was it yesterday that I was enthusing about how winter was on the run and the groundhog was looking for its shadow? This, mes chers amis, is winter. Stay warm and check on you friends from time to time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hooded Mergansers

A pair of Common Mergansers
colored pencil
4 February 2013
I spotted these guys yesterday as I walked a long route around the perimeter of the Elm Bank Reservation near my house. In my limited experience, Hooded Mergansers are shy and avoid curious observers like me. But this pair drifted down with the river's current and ignored me. I only had a few minutes to make a drawing. I like how the tree reflections create a strong graphic framework that seems to accentuate the organic, drifting movement of the birds.

More information at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Porto-pencil

Three Mallards
This drawing was made with my "Porto-pencil". It was given to me by Paula C. a friend from Porto, Portugal. This pencil is a tourist number. It's big and black with a kind of art-deco illustration of Porto's skyline wrapped around its barrel. It's big and fat and filled with lots of hard indifferent graphite. But it's from Paula and I know special drawings will come out of it.

From Paula's photos and blog posts, I imagine that it's always warm in Porto and moist sea breezes perpetually tangle my hair. The city — is it made of butter? — rises on the hills above the ocean and the harbor-side promenades. I'd like to visit Porto and Lisbon. Paula would show me the lighthouses.

But to draw with my Porto-pencil, in Massachusetts in the middle of winter, I have to hold it in my gloved hand and I hold it at the far end. The pencil's tip is far away herding the bits of my vision into a fidgety but recognizable drawing of ice and snow, ducks, the river's current and the tangled branches of bushes.

It's nice to think of my pen pal Paula here in my winter. We both love birds and the freight of symbols they carry so effortlessly. I imagine that the Porto-pencil is especially good at drawing birds. We'll see about that.

Hi Paula. Muito obrigado, gratissimo!
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