Winter Green

Holiday Season is in full swing here in Cincinnati.  We have even had some recent snow and ice to liven things up a bit and remind us that it is, indeed, Winter.  With winter comes a raw, dry harshness that is difficult to escape.  Even with the presence of humidifiers, houseplants and an aquarium, I still find myself cracking at the seams and zapping everything I touch.

Yesterday afternoon my son Jack and I had some time to spend after school while my daughter was at a play rehearsal (this will be a frequent theme in the next couple of months).  So we wandered up the hill to the Krohn Conservatory to immerse ourselves in the moist tropical air of this beautiful glass hothouse.  The Conservatory is a favorite place of mine to draw for the sake of drawing and I am rewarded with moisture and quiet while I work.  It’s lovely.  Jack got a new camera this past fall for his birthday.  With this new toy and his natural eye for photography, he managed to capture a bit of the winter green magic that can be found at this Cincinnati treasure…

Lately, with my schedule being somewhat more open with fewer teaching gigs and such, I have been reconnecting quite a bit with my studio space and my own personal art work.  I have so many ideas recently that it is hard to pin them all down.  This is a wonderful place to be and I write it here so that when an Art Desert scenario returns someday (which it will), I can remind myself of the ebb and flow that is the life’s work of a creative.   There will be dry spells I must work through, usually by simply maintaining my sketchbook and feeding my spirit with little field trips like yesterday’s Krohn visit.  Author Julia Cameron calls these little field trips “Artist Dates” and I like that notion.  Like one is wooing the inner artist out of her shell a bit.  It works.  I have always known that work begets work and yet I am often guilty of the self sabotage that is easy to fall into when life intervenes.  There is often not enough time to just wander and take in the world.  Recently I find myself blocking out time in my calendar as simply “Studio Time”.  Often this time is most fruitful when spent not actually in the studio, but rather out in the world, exploring.  Through my own practice and in my classes, I have become accutely aware of the power of keeping a sketch journal alive and well.  I am swimming in the power of this practice right now, and it feels right.

“Go outside, move deliberately, then relax, slow down, look around.  Do not jog. Do not run…Instead pay attention to everything that abuts the rural road, the city street, the suburban boulevard.  Walk. Stroll.  Saunter.   Ride a bike and coast along a lot.  Explore.”

John Stilgoe, Outside Lies Magic

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