Thursday, March 27, 2014

Looking for Spring

This is the winter with no end. But there are tantalizing glimpses here and there of warmer weather. I've seen flocks of robins for weeks. Last week I saw my first red-wing blackbirds and grackles. Great Blue Herons are fishing wherever they can find open water. Crocuses, tulips and day lilies are elbowing their way up into the sunshine. The sap is flowing!

It was sunny and Spring-like last Sunday so I gathered my sketchbook, put some pencils in my pocket and biked a few miles to Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary. I had "spring fever." It looked like Spring but it felt like Winter: I wish I'd brought gloves! By the end of the excursion my fingers were stiff and had to be pried off the bike's handlebars. I made two drawings (how to choose from a the myriad of motifs??). The first one (below) is of an old beech tree grove. I added a bit of color to it the following morning. 

Beech Grove, Broadmoor March 23, 2014
crayon, watercolor

The added watercolor on the right helps the forms emerge from the confusion of the drawing

Stream with beaver dam, Broadmoor 3/23/2014
charcoal, watercolor
original drawing on left. I added some watercolor washes the following day (on right) 
This drawing (above) was done where a stream flows out of a pond that a beaver dam have created. I love moving water! It's hard to draw however. I need a system I suppose. Paradoxically, my ineptness pleases me and forces me to observe and take note of what's in front of me and also what inside of me is resisting the active process of really Seeing. It's a problem I live with. Fortunately, a little touch of watercolor can help clarify the tangle of lines and smudges.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Getting Caught Up

It must have been a warm day on February 2nd because I stopped and drew the cows at the neighboring farm. One cow was focused on getting the last particle of food from a black rubber bucket that appeared to be stuck on its head. And now, over a month later we are experiencing another warm day: the birds are singing like mad and we set the clocks ahead tomorrow and ponder that Summer is not some abstract concept.

But this winter has been unremittingly cold and onerous. The last month more onerous than the month before. But like a pernicious patch of weeds that we rip up in a righteous fit, what will be left when Winter is gone? Will we get a delicate and soothing Spring or will we hurtle into a Summer of see-sawing extremes with new pernicious greenery, biting bugs and hungry slugs? And where, has timelessness gone to? How do we suspend the moments when we're so focused on trends? We don't live in fear of the weather. We live in fear of climate. The senses reel at their own confusion and powerlessness in the face of abstract and frightening speculation and prediction. We have lost our innocence but maybe a few art-filled moments of observation and wonder can sew a patch on our frayed selves.

I will try to love what I can of it and draw and draw and draw… till the cows come home.

studies of some cows. One is eating from a bucket.

Bitter cold morning, the trees are coated with rime, mist. I saw a Bufflehead duck

The sun is casting shadows across the swirling foam below the dam

View upstream; the river is encased in ice.

This drawing done from inside my car. I'm tired of winter!

Last Sunday morning: a view downstream from atop the Pleasant Street Bridge. 

Trembling reflections; drawn with a big blue child's crayon

Glowing hoarfrost and Icy skirts on the island's rocky shore

You can't put your hand in the same river (or season) twice.

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