I always eagerly anticipate the first signs of spring. This year, I was surprised to see a dandelion in bloom on January 4th. That is amazing to me. Now I’ve eagerly started looking for signs.
So far, I’ve also spotted several bushes in bud. Rhododendron, azalea, magnolia. Sometimes I’ll catch a mixed up forsythia in bloom already but then, they often bloom in autumn, too. However, they are easy to force if you just cut some branches and bring them inside. (Put them in water, of course.)
I have a lot of naturalized daffodils in the yard. They are already coming up in several places. Sometimes they’re too early. One year I painted a group of daffodils blooming in the snow so it’s not inconceivable that I might see some soon.
One day last week, I saw three robins in a row in the front field. Sometimes I’ve seen large flocks of them in early spring. Only the males.
And I caught this rabbit in my headlights as I was coming up the drive a few days ago. The little devil was looking for something yummy in the garden but there’s nothing there yet except garlic. A motion-detector solar-powered light is good to chase away night critters.
With the winds, I saw several of last season’s nests which have been blown down. My kids used to bring them to me and I still love the engineering.
These little sketches were done with some very old Osmiroid ink in sepia. (It’s a collector’s item now.) I haven’t worked with ink for awhile so it was fun to get back to an old friend. I used a #4 quill which is also hard to come by these days. There are a number of fine quality pens and inks made in Japan of which I would like to try more. Stay tuned.
I am glad that I live in a climate that exhibits mercurial moods. The past month has been some wild ride. Record-setting heat for winter, up to the 70s. And a blizzard which scrubbed the land with high winds, followed by bone-chilling freezes. No two days were the same, it seemed. I think I would get bored if every day was sunny and warm, say like Florida or Arizona. But ask me about that next month towards the end of February.
One thing that I’ve noticed is that my own mood perks up on sunny days. Thus, I seem to prefer painting outdoor scenes depicting sunshine. So when I woke to a heavy fog a couple of weeks ago, I marched outside (yes, in my robe and rubber boots) to take some photos of the fog. The air was soft and the neighborhood was very quiet. It seemed shrouded in mystery if that isn’t too much of a cliché. One could almost imagine some settlers emerging from the heavy air or some knights on horseback in days of old. Yeah, too much reading with my granddaughter.
But as I was reviewing my photos, I got inspired to try some new subjects. The misty landscapes will probably appear sometime in the next few months. Just imagine the peace and soft footfalls.
Oh, by the way, happy new year. Or at least a better one if the past has been difficult for you. Find a still place to reflect, maybe enjoy the peace of some foggy weather.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!