Well over a month since I last posted here. Has anything much been happening? Not a lot. Or so it feels. A heavy head cold which kept me indoors, was followed by some encouraging signs of spring as I recovered. A few spring flowers and warming sunshine on the beach. And then everything closed down again. Falling temperatures, snow, ice, events cancelled, we were stuck inside again – going nowhere.
But even so things were happening, indoors, undercover. Aided by a very helpful Future Learn genealogy course I continued my family history research and made some useful progress. I also brightened the afternoons, when every thing was reduced to white and sounds muffled by falling snow, making cushions with Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Don’t they pop!
But they didn’t prevent more snow this weekend. I know our icicles and snow depths are nothing compared with what others cope with regularly, but it challenges us all the more as a result. I have not wanted to do much more than hibernate for weeks.
Facebook reminded me this morning of March 20th 2017, last year’s spring equinox when I posted on my blog here a collection of photos of colourful flowers from our garden. A bit of a contrast this year. The flowers have taken a battering, and this morning many are still bent and bruised by the remains of the latest snow. Many are not open at all yet. But this morning the sun is shining and there is a promise of temperatures rising. So here’s hoping…
At the beginning of the month I said I would allow myself to have a day off if I didn’t want to make a comment every day. Otherwise it becomes a duty, not a joy. Yesterday I didn’t comment. Sometimes, like the wet Sunday yesterday, we just need to keep ourselves to ourselves.
But this morning the rain has stopped and these little flowers, glistening in the wet garden, are a joy. Hiding amongst their dark green leaves their subtle flowers aren’t garish, but nonetheless colourful. They made me want to draw them and attempt to capture their colour. Once again the process was all absorbing, the result not so satisfying.
But I feel better for looking into their faces.
This is the smallest of my pencil sharpeners but much the sharpest. I have had it for many years.
“Though she be but little she is fierce” – Shakespeare (A Midsummer Nights Dream)
When I received these lovely pink lollipops from a friend earlier in the week, I was delighted and resolved to draw them.
Now that they have opened a little I sat down to really look at them and their apparent simplicity was revealed in all its complexity. Their shapes change every time I change my position. It makes me realise just how many assumptions we make about about things, perhaps friends too.
Don’t take them, friends and tulips, for granted…
Yes I know it’s a bit different – odd even. But contemplating circles, wheels and spirals this morning – we have a wheel bearing going on our car – I thought I would experiment with a free hand spiral design. The outer circle was drawn around a sellotape ring but apart from that I drew the inner spirals “by eye”. Much more difficult than I had imagined. And in fact I had nothing to look at and observe. I was judging the lines, and spaces between the lines, as they emerged on the paper. I needed the eraser a few times until I began to understand a bit more about the relationships between the lines…
Sometimes the process is much more interesting than the product!
Why bother to draw these little beauties on my kitchen window sill? A supermarket buy, bought on a whim when they were unpromising green spikes, they are now bursting with colour. Why not just gaze at them and enjoy while I make my morning coffee?
Well, Michelangelo (no less) told a pupil to “keep drawing and do not waste time”. So, coffee beside me, I tried to draw the iris. I thought I had already paid close attention to their shape and beauty, but drawing them was another matter. Making lines to match their shape from my position was a challenge. And as to their colour – it was impossible to capture with my set of sketching watercolours.
So was it a waste of time? Not for me. I know so much more, about the flowers themselves, their structure and form, not to mention my perspective on them, simply by making lines on a page and filling them with shades and tones.
I don’t draw what I know – I draw to discover, and know more.