Friday, February 24, 2006

February Chills

Winter keeps reappearing this month in the form of snowstorms and wind and subzero temperatures. The humans don't like it much as it means freezing water in the barn and cold cars and colder hands, feet and ears. Tomorrow yet another blizzard is forecast with up to 45cm of snow. I guess I'll be inside, creating comfort and art, venturing out only to check on the animals in the barn.

The animals on the other hand, seem to accept the snow or sleet as if it were a summer's day and child-like, greet each day with a sense of wonder. The geese step out into the snow and leave goose foot prints showing where they've explored and then make little impressions in the snow where they sit, head under wing to snooze in the -5C sun. They don't like the wind and it drives them inside. We have been hatching goose and duck eggs. There are 16 goslings hatched so far and more due this weekend. They peep inside the eggs before they pip (break the shell) and if you talk to them , they talk back. I feel a little silly talking to an egg, regardless whether it responds or not!

The horses seem charged by the cold air with it steaming from their nostrils as they snort and toss their heads on the way to the field. Their first instinct is to drop and roll like big dogs in the snow, legs flailing. They scramble up, looking slightly embarassed at such indiscretion, then wander off to munch hay in the stand in the middle of the field til muscles, cooped up in a box stall for a day or two, demand the release of a gallop through the snow.

Drawing has kept me busy with completion of two portraits for a realistic portrait class I have been taking. The first I completed, the second, of Oscar Wilde was done for practice with another bringing up the wings. The concept is circulism and while a very slow process, it does give a realistic impression of skin texture. I will be doing a female portrait as the next project, along with daily sketches to keep loosened.

Here is the portrait of Oscar Wilde, near completion.

My sketchbook is filling up rapidly. I want to buy another but have told myself I won't do that until the first is filled. There are so many types of sketchbooks now. I think the next one will have a heavier weight paper so I can try some watercolours in my sketches.

I ordered Derwent Drawing Pencils from Aboveground Art Supplies in Toronto as I can find little in the way of art supplies here out of the ordinary. They arrived and I have played with them a little, getting the feel for them. I think I will try an animal or human portrait with them, as they have a lovely buttery feel to them and the earthy tones would work well I think.

I dug out sketches and drawings from 20+years ago and that was a trip down memory lane. Its funny how images trigger memories and thoughts. The drawings fuelled thoughts back to lifeclasses done with Tom Greenshields who was my mentor and taught me so much about drawing, sculpture and art in general. He introduced me into circles I never would have entered and nurtured my artist's soul. These memories brought forward this sketch of him as well as one of the drawings done all those years ago in his studio in Hawkschurch, Devon.

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