Our region has been crushed by a winter storm that brought not only the dreaded White Death (a.k.a., snow) but also, more dangerous, ice. Layers and layers of each.
My sister’s 2 kids have joined our household for a few days and as a group, the kids are on snow day number 4. Things have been a bit chaotic and crowded, needless to say, but we are occupying the time with sledding, snow forts, Wii games, movies and hot cocoa. I have been pining, just a tad, for my solitude and studio time, but nothing, not even an ice storm, can shut down the mind of an artist. I have been knitting like a fiend on a sweater I haven’t touched in years. I learned how to darn a sock I made a while back that had developed a hole. I have been outside a bunch snapping pictures of the beautiful ice. It is something of a miracle to me that something as simple as ice and snow can be so breathtakingly beautiful.
Art never really stops, even when it feels at a stand still. Outside I noticed that there is water flowing under all the ice and snow in our creek. I think that makes for a nice winter metaphor regarding creativity. No matter how frozen things may seem on the surface, underneath it all, things are flowing. Ideas are brewing and will eventually thaw and bloom into more tangible, fully realized work. For now I must have patience for these slow and hibernatory times, and find the art where I can….
Yesterday I kept the kids home from school (yep, I am one of those parents) so we could head downtown to Fountain Square together to watch President Obama’s Inauguration on the huge jumbo-tron television they have set up there. There were a couple hundred other fellow Cincinnatians there as well, and they breathed collective sigh of relief as Obama’s oath was taken. I felt it important to experience the Inauguration among fellow citizens. In spite of our very cold toes, or perhaps because of them, the kids and I felt like we could almost have been in Washington, DC at the actual event, a small part of the huge crowd of Americans so joyful to bear witness to this new beginning….
New beginnings come to us in many ways; with pomp and circumstance such as that of the momentous Inauguration of President Obama (wow, it feels great to type that!) and with smaller, more private (but no less momentous) personal moments. As the Inauguration was happening, some of my dearest friends were finding out that their expected baby will be a boy and is developing beautifully, yawning and sucking his thumb, on his way to being a full sized person. In spite of the dark of winter, there is something stirring in the groundswell of humanity. That something is Hope.
This is Smoke. He is a greyhound belonging to a family who emailed me after reading the write-up about my dog drawings on the blog Dog Art Today. It is difficult to draw a dog (or really much of anything for that matter) from a photograph. But for me it is an interesting exercise now and then, especially when the picture is of such a graceful sinewy creature as Smoke. I much prefer drawing from life, when I occupy the same physical and temporal space as my subject. At the very least, if I draw from a photograph, I like to have been the one taking the pictures, capturing the images to study later on with my line drawings. That said, I still couldn’t resist sketching this beautiful dog. I hardly do him justice, to be sure.
I have been in the studio a bunch lately. Drawing some, gathering images to update my website gallery, working in wax, making baby gifts. I am enjoying this time immensely, especially knowing that Tornado Season (in other words, puppet season/ full time work for awhile) is right around the corner. I know that my studio time suffers in the spring as I am stretched far too thin with teaching, doing puppet shows and keeping up with my busy kids. This will be Jeni’s and my 3rd season on the road with the Red Cross’s Wind Around the Toybox production. It’s an intense season but it is just that, a season. This year, I think we see it for what it is and we are ready for the hard work and high energy level these shows demands of us. Last year we saw over 10,000 children in the Tri-State area, providing a not-so-scary approach to Tornado Safety for little people. It’s a great job and I am lucky to have it. Shows will start up in February sometime and go through May and it is during this time that I will have to fit studio art into the available little spaces I find here and there. That will have to be enough.
Until then, however, all’s quiet, except for the howling wind outside. I have a fire going in the fireplace, the wax table on means the windows have to be open and a fan on for exhaust, but I bundle up and play there while I have the opportunity.