Saturday, July 13, 2013
Seeing What Turns Up
One of my favorite things about this drawing project is that it has loosened me up so that I don't always have to have a Plan when I go out to draw. Today I intended to go back down to the cow field and revisit yesterday's cows. But the first thing I saw when I stepped outside was a big sleek crow posturing and strutting around. I've been watching birds lately in order to paint some with underglaze in the bottom of a ceramic pie dish that I'm making. So immediately I whipped open my book and did a few gesture drawings of the crow.
Then I turned around and spied the cannas that we recently planted. All the recent rain has jolted them into lush growth, and before I knew it I was studying and enjoying the sinuous leaf edges and veins. I could almost see them growing and unfurling as I drew.
As I rounded the back of the house I took a detour up onto my studio deck to check on the lemon tree. The other day it had bloomed a single white flower, bigger than all its previous ones. I noticed that the flower was gone, and that in its place was a very different proto-lemon. All its previous baby lemons except for one that's still clinging to the tree have dropped off when they reached the size of a small blueberry. This newest baby has an elongated structure coming out of the top of the ovary of the flower. The ovary itself is slightly swollen and very strongly attached to the twig that supports it. I drew two views of the different baby lemon and then drew the remaining older baby for comparison. I am wondering if this new one was actually fertilized and is going to form a real lemon. Hope so.
Finally I made it through the woods and out the stile and onto the high meadow behind our yard, overlooking the cow fields, the river with its row of woods, and the mountains to the north. I didn't see the cows, but I did see in the distance two little chicken tractors parked in the middle of a high-grass field. They looked like a couple of gypsy wagons.
I walked down to the river and then I saw the cows grazing at the edge of the field. The field itself looked mowed. They had eaten a lot of grass since yesterday! I settled in to draw the cows when I saw an odd little solar panel just beyond the fence. While I was drawing the solar panel two farm crew students drove up, and one jumped out of the truck with an armload of fence stakes and some wire. I asked him about the solar collector, and he said it was used to recharge the battery beneath it, which powers the electric fence. Apparently they charge the battery back at some electrical place on campus but use the solar collector to keep it charged all day in this relatively remote field.
I returned home and lay on the porch couch talking to a friend on the phone, and I drew a plant that we recently re-potted and that's finally flourishing.