Saturday, February 25, 2006

Blizzards and glass

Another vehicle on my path back to art was trying new or unfamiliar mediums. By joining art classes and online forums and daily practice, I will get back to the point I was before the 'dry spell' began. I am constantly looking for new inspiration for a drawing and took a number of photos of glass and ceramic objects to see if I could come up with something. I did a series of coloured glass votives that turned out well, considered that the sun never seems to shine here lately! I've started mapping out a drawing of one of the photos. It is complex to capture the pieces of light and colour reflected in the glass, but once the drawing is complete, the colouration should go fairly easily. It is true that to paint, you have to draw well first. The drawing is the skeleton that holds your work together. If that is off, everything is off.

This sketch is done with Derwent Studio pencils. I'm not very impressed with these pencils as they are dry and the colour is a bit weak. I think I was spoiled by the Prismacolor pencils. They are so smooth and rich and the colour glides onto the paper, making the colours blend beautifully.

This image is of a friend's dog Bailey. The next sketch was done in about an hour for a weekly drawing event. I prefer drawing animals and people so it seemed to flow at the time.

The island today is being battered by a heavy duty blizzard with 60cm of snow down so far and another 10 to 15cm overnight. There will be a lot of digging out... Just getting to the barn is a challenge with deep snow drifts and strong winds.

Here is the forecast:

St. John's and vicinity8:04 PM NST Saturday 25 February 2006

Blizzard warning for St. John's and vicinity continued This is a warning that blizzard conditions with reduced visibilities are expected or are occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.A low pressure system east of the Avalon Peninsula this afternoon Newfoundland will continue to intensify as it moves northwest toward the Labrador Sea tonight. Snow and blowing snow with strong northwest winds gusting up to 130 km/h are giving blizzard conditions to northern and eastern regions of Newfoundland. Total snowfall amounts of 40 to 60 centimetres are expected for the northern Avalon Peninsula and sections of the northeast coast by Sunday morning with lesser amounts expected elsewhere. The snow should taper off by early Sunday morning as the intense low moves into the Labrador Sea.High waves along the East Coast will result in higher than normal water levels and should be most noticeable near high tide Sunday morning. Also there is a possibility of ice rafting onshore along the notheast coast particularly near high tide on Sunday morning due to the higher than normal water levels.

This was taken during a lull in the storm this afternoon. Visibility is nil at times when the wind blows the snow horizontally.

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.