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Thursday, December 27, 2012

The First Snow Fall, A Love Story

Snow filled the air
from Birch to  woods beyond
A dancing fog.
Quiet truthes.
The first real snow fall of the winter was impressive. It added six inches to the one covering the deck table.
The storm was supposed to come in at  4PM. This was my
road home at 12:30 PM. The street had been clear and dry
forty five minutes earlier.
I knew it was coming. I knew I had to beat it to the market. Mock chicken soup with too much pepper wasn't going to carry us through a couple of days of blocked driveways, bad roads and apprehensive drivers. Honey needed some Barqs Root Beer. I needed some chips. I hadn't been to the market in four years. It was going to be an adventure. I threw in a load of laundry, bundled up and  set out to what had become the unknown.

The market had changed. What was there then was somewhere else. I did a lot of walking back and forth trying to fantasize I was on my way to the beach. It didn't work very well, but as long as I kept thinking of the aquamarine sea I managed to round up what was on my list. The snow began falling while I was in the checkout line talking to too TG older than me ladies. We were remembering when phone number began with a two letter exchange. The clerk, a young woman, had no idea what we were talking about or why we were laughing over the Tuxedo exchange.

My woods 8 AM this morning, an hour
and forty some minutes after sunrise.
Do you see why I was up for every
sunrise by the seashore. 'How bleak was
Buffalo,' (Auntie Mame). 
Pausing in the anteroom to pull my coat close, I was glad to see the Salvation Army volunteer still there with her kettle. I had missed her before we left on holiday. We chatted a bit about the good work the Army does and  I stuffed in my usual twenty.  A surge of Christmas passed through me, warming me for pushing my loaded basket through the snow that already covered the parking lot and the drive home on already slick roads. As I filled the trunk, I wondered if Ellis noticed what I was going through for his Barqs. I wondered if I could depend on him again for driving me in weather like this, now that he knows I can manage? I may have blown a good thing?

I shot the featured photo from the entrance to the garage after unloading the bounty. The peace of the scene got to me. I would need it. Honey was asleep in his lounge chair covered with a comforter. He didn't look himself. It was going to be another day of Clara Barton, nurse and chief cook and bottle washer.

Today when I came down to breakfast, Honey scolded  me for what a mess the kitchen was is in and how could I have left the trash so close to the back door, (so I didn't have to go out into the cold garage to empty wastebaskets full of snot rags). He had emptied the dishwasher, plunged the tricky toilet, took the laundry upstairs and the sundry goods down to the pantry. My Honey was back. --At least for this morning.

I'm back too. Honey's illness brought me back to taking some responsibility around here. For four years I let my nudgies--the cancer, the knee, the vertigo--get in the way of doing my share. The fear from those maladies pushed me into hiding in the studio--not a bad place to hide--but within reason. Working with my photo art archives, I know I was 100% unreasonable.  I took advantage of Honey and he let me. I'm very fortunate to have latched on to this guy early on-- proving that when you see something (someone) you like, write his name all over your high school text books, put on some mascara and be available whenever.

Winter, Four Season Quadtyck; 20" x 20"; Acrylics

Winter, Four Seasons is a done deal. There's more to do on this one. Gnarly landscapes may be as strong a preference as portraiture--the better to plein air with this Spring. In the new year, I'm going to move away from watercolor back to the mediums I understand and have an affinity for: pastels for small works, oils and acrylics for larger ones--charcoal always for getting a feel for the subject, the composition, the values. Pencil when I'm too lazy to stand at the easel and want to sit on something cushy.

Work in progress--but close to finish. Winter; 36" x 36"; acrylics
This one has unpainted sides. When I haven't been moved to paint the sides,
the painting isn't done. The grasses need more glazes I noticed over the last months
it has been hanging on my observation wall--but who wants to paint winter in summer?


  1. I love those pictures you took and I can see how they inspired you. Those winter paintings are expressive and lovely too. Well done.

    1. Thanks Roger. There's a lot of winter inspiration around here--probably around you too. Skiers are probably thrilled at all this white powder on this sunny day, a perfect day for the sport. I've been only once. It was a rush; I loved it. I never took it up though. None of my friends skied and my parents never skied either. Two of my boys do though. They went out on their own. They didn't need anybody else to do what they wanted to do. Their independence makes me proud.

  2. WOW, did that snow ever come down in a hurry! Yikes!
    I'm glad you find the snow landscapes an inspiration - the two scenes you have painted are beautiful!

    1. I say that, but it isn't true. I find snow depressing, but the two scenes I painted, I did so because I had a use for them: 1) in a Quadtyck of the Four Seasons, (that snow came in February of 2012); 2) the large one is one of three I want hanging behind the bar in my lower level where the actual view of that terrain is visible through the windows and doorwall. Summer is a done deal in that grouping. Fall is waiting for me to finish--as is this one. This one is the closet to being finished. If I didn't have a use for winter, I wouldn't be moved to paint it. When it comes to winter, I'm very calculating--I went to the market yesterday figuring I had enough time to grab what I needed and get home before the storm hit. I was off by a half hour. I do think snow is beautiful as long as I'm not in it.

  3. Love your Love Story - and i do so enjoy the winter landscapes, they are special (in a cold way of course) I have only ever lived in hot climates so would love to experience a White Christmas.

    1. Thanks Carol. What I like about snow scenes is the sculpture of the naked tree branches intertwining with one another--the linear texture of the grasses--the white which is actually negative space. That's interesting. The cold colors make me cold, so I like some warmth underneath or glazed over to make the painting appealing. I hate Christmas card snow scenes; they are utter lies--Norman Rockwell story telling.

  4. The paintings are beautiful and what an inspirational place you live in! If you hadn't painted that scene from the 8 am photo, I would have asked if I could paint it! Your writing today is very heartfelt and honest... and I thank you for sharing your story, as it echos all of our own stories in many ways, yet is uniquely yours to share. (if that makes sense...)

    1. Dead wood, cold ground, cold colors, cold. It's difficult to paint cold. Most artists like to warm the scene up a bit--like me--but there's really nothing jolly about winter in my book. Winter scenes are excellent exercises in neutral grays. If you want to try, go ahead. our interpretations will be uniquely our own.

      I figure everybody on the planet wants the same things--health, love, wealth. I write my stories figuring people can relate. Ellis thinks I'm too open, but he's a guy. Guys breast their cards. We women learn from one another by sharing experiences. It's our strength and our weakness. The guys' way is all weakness. Not sharing what one knows cuts them off from learning what one might need to know. Closed off, they had better be plenty smart.