These days following the winter feasts bring a quiet with them, not necessarily unwelcome. Often grey and a little lonely, or too-quiet for some, yet there is a gentleness to them that eases the emotional tumult forced by the calendar shift into a new year.
When I was younger, I longed for the new year to turn at Springtide, or during the full heat of Summer. As I’ve got older, the shift has felt more accustomed and proper happening in the dead of winter— it allows a moment, at least, for reflection which those other times wouldn’t afford.
(I’ll own, this is clearly the result of living one’s entire life in the northern hemisphere, in the west. Nurture and nature have their sway.)
Upstate at the Farm over the winter holiday is something I’d not trade. Cold, and snowy, I can see the sun and shade of summer in every angle— but those white cloaked fields are equal in my mind to their mild counterparts. Some of my best memories are of being alone in a quiet icicled clearing in the woods; or frigid rides along field paths as snow-blanketed as the horse’s backs, and my eyelashes— in awe of the change a bit of weather can make.
Sure, we get more irritable in the cabin-fever months. But also we get closer, cozier, if allowed. Weather does change things. It’s one of the things my cold-climate friends and I always joked about— nothing akin to Russian novels ever comes out of easy climates!
We complain, yet we can’t rightly imagine life without seasons. Or we try, and give it up for folly. Relegate easy to vacation times, to the fleeting (and also irritating but in different ways) Summer. It all balances out in ways we’ve grown accustomed to; in ways that make sense to us.
Anyway, I rather enjoy and look forward to the quiet spell after the hectic holiday time —before it turns into the doldrums— at which point I’ll want winter to go. There’s a period during which it’s welcome and agreeable; and productive, honestly.
Eventually, of course, the grey just becomes too much, and all we want is the return of green trees and sunshine. That’ll be hitting us around mid-February, I suspect, when the whole city has lost its luster; after the fairy-lights’ve been long taken down, and all the world just feels like it’s given up.
But, just as we reach our wit’s end, some modest glorious crocus will raise her chilly new petals from the snow, and give a beacon of spring, a bit of hope to see us through.
A few weeks ago I began studying intaglio again, and decided I’d like to do an etching of this guy, but that initial sketch needed some work, it was very rough. Below are four different studies I worked on my iPad of the witch-boy in various different wooded settings.
Above is the first study. I like the composition of the snow and path, but after some thought I decided that these slender trees are not quite what I had in mind; they lack mystery. So I moved one to another.
Here are some beefier trees which I can easily imagine being toned with a combination of line etch and aquatint (a way of introducing continuous tone shades to a print) I like this one! But I kept going.
Here’s what I haven’t posted the past few days— and I’m still three days behind! But the missing drawings will be forthcoming. I’m a man of my word, dammit.
Above, Day twenty-seven: : The witch boy on a night walking beneath the pointy crescent moon.
Day twenty-six: My FACE! Here’s a variation, as I already included one in the last post. This makeup was my 26 day drawing, haha.
Day twenty-five: a palm plant, enjoying the sunshine of the east-facing window in her new-old house.
I was out all day Sunday and into the night; eight miles of walking in the rain, and when I got home the apartment was clammy like when it rains at a beach house during vacation and steals away some of the fun.
Revisiting the April trip, zooming back to Berlin, in black and white. We begin here in RAW-Gelande, the graffiti-clad playground to artists and DJs, just over the river in East Berlin..
Feeling a little Brutal(ism) on this corner, but in person it was a rather lovely building. blue sky reflecting in all the glass.
A stunning, lyrical façade rendered prickly and sere in the fading light and surround of winter tree branches.This cathedral is a hollow shell; was bombed heavily, during WWII, but much of the exterior remains in what is now a park.
I’ll eave you with the ethereal image below— rivulets streaming down from the apex of Viktoria Park, which was neighbor to us for our days in Berlin.
Two weekends ago, I spent some days in a fantastic waterside lodge for a wedding in south Georgia. Above, a view of the little lake. Mossed-draped trees trace menacing silhouettes across the water. This was late at night, and the frogs were singing— an orchestra louder than the nighttime city.
The lake, seen Saturday afternoon, just before the storm descended, bringing winds, thunder, lightning, and wide curtains of rain. I sat on the wide porch under its corrugated metal roof during the whole storm, and enjoyed the display immensely.
Everywhere in the lodge were taxidermied deer and various other beasts, giving the feeling of a hunting lodge (despite being hired out primarily for weddings).
The severed heads had been put on pikes for all and sundry to see; made examples of. The unseasonably warm autumn weather made grotesques of each— death masques submitting to rot and gravity; to the punishments meted by the state.
Passersby turned their heads, and covered their faces with kerchiefs, but there was no ignoring such a brutal and noisome spectacle.
Day seventeen : A crow lit in the yard for a moment, tentatively. It tested the wind, then flew off to an unknown destination; a hooded gleam in its eye.
Out the back window, where the trees climb higher than the roof, rain soft patterings on wet leaves; there is no wind today.
The leaves have not even begun to consider a change of wardrobe, as Summer lingers; couch surfing straight into October.
(This is from last week, when it was still in the 80ºs.)