Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Arrows and Circles

Every moment is unique --of course. Yet we forget and think that Time is an arrow instead of a circle. I noticed as I was rummaging in my archive that one year ago today on January 22, 2018, I saw and sketched an eagle standing in a tree.

This singularity in my memory, was floating free of Time like a comet traveling through space. In reality, the Earth has rotated 365 times since then. I wonder where the eagle was on January 23rd? And today is very cold so I'm not sure if I'll see, let alone sketch anything outside at all!

Is Progress real? What is Progress for? Is life better now? Are Nature's cyclical renewal and human progress compatible? Well of course because, like the smallest nesting doll, we reside inside of Nature. Progress is a human philosophical and technological idea constructed on top of Life which seems to favor renewal and cycles.

It's all so confusing! What are we to do? Shoot our arrows through the circles and hope or the best? Yes, and also pay attention, be nice to each other and share our good fortune. Bonne Année my fellow astronauts.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Cooper's Hawk

Waterfowl has been a rare sight at the river this winter. The water is high and is flowing quickly. It's just unsafe for a duck or goose who needs rest, preen and feed. And now with colder temperatures the water is turning to ice. But all I need to do is turn my head to the sky and I notice that birds of prey have been observing me —and other more interesting animals the entire time. Mostly, I spot Red-tailed hawks up in their favorite trees. Their bulky shapes calmly perch on high, far above the din of blue jays and the morning commute into Boston.

I was surprised a few days ago however by a Cooper's Hawk which was perched on a utility pole across from the church. It was very cold and a breeze kicked up to make it more foolish to stop and draw pictures. I guess the artist won the debate (and the bird was patient) and I was able to spend a few minutes marveling at this slender, long-tailed woodland hawk.  Instead of soaring up high in lazy circles, the Cooper's Hawk stays on the forest edge or near your bird feeder preying on smaller birds and mammals. Since this one was near the church, I presume he was checking out the persistent flock of pigeons that stay warm by the church's chimney.

The third drawing here is out my front door. Beyond the ubiquitous wires that help me communicate with you, is a tall dead pine tree which is commonly used by the Red tails. And you can see one up there. Sometimes there are two.

A snowstorm is headed my way today and it's time to go outside and draw before my work day begins. I wonder if there's a hawk in that big tree. Bonne journée.
charcoal, pastel
charcoal, pastel
(My field notes say "Sharp-shinned Hawk" but I think it was a Cooper's Hawk)

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Inspector Gadget

If you're an artist, do yourself a favor and make it easy to get immediately to work. Streamline and prioritize your tools and support. In my startlingly orange gloved hand I hold two frozen inky paintbrushes, a charcoal pencil and a waxy china marker. I used them all as I made this drawing of some geese and reflections of a willow tree.

After thinking a moment, we will all agree that it's a circuitous process getting impressions and thoughts from your eyes and brain down onto a piece of paper (or whatever) that exists outside of your body. Your hands are where the handoff occurs from your firefly thoughts to a tangible crawling residue that others can behold and take up and appreciate. That's what art making is: a process of transference from the cerebral to the palpable.

But you know all this so, get to work.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy New Year

The human world is very quiet on January 1st. That's when I like to tiptoe outside and see if Nature thinks this day is more special than others. It is not; just the eternal present going about its business. We are mere observers.
I'm looking forward to 2019. More of the same no doubt but maybe too I'll sprout some new directions. Tally ho!


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