Thursday, March 31, 2016

Last Winter's Tangerines

These five guys got lost in the fruit bowl after the winter holidays. Now they're leathery and shrunken with interesting surface textures.  Kind of nature morte-ish.  Garbage night find.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Marrow Spoons and Other Wonders

Tonight we went down to the River Arts district to cash in a gift certificate for dinner at the Bull and Beggar.  We arrived early enough to walk down to the river while waiting, and I drew this fine old brick chimney.  The river there with the sun setting behind trees reminded me, in a a very pale local way, of the Fly in New Orleans (minus of course the stately elephant parade of barges that makes the real Fly unique and irreplaceable ).
We sat upstairs overlooking the main dining area and on eye level with a fabulous medieval-castle-like chandelier.
We both ordered filets with marrow bones. The presentation included the bone itself looking like a vase, with some green onion leaves and a beautiful little spoonish implement that turned out to be a marrow spoon, hand made by a metalsmith who used to work nearby.  Next time you come to Aville you need to eat at this place!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Purples

Violets and grape hyacinths have colonized the front yard! 
F's cat Teenie knows how to fill a sunny corner.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Sunday/Sheep Monday

This is a quick drawing of our friend B's bunny cake formed in an antique German cast iron bunny mold.
While waiting for dinner I zipped outside to check out J's hens.
Then back inside to draw the back view of the fabulous bunny cake surrounded by sumptuously painted and dyed eggs, such as L's bunny and bird egg.
Today my friend C and I inaugurated her new etching press.  I did a bunch of monotypes incorporating my herd of direct-carved sheep.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hot Cross Buns!

Hot cross buns, never in shops until Easter week, and all the more excellent for their seasonableness.  So much fun to get really close to them and draw them. Their smell is as satisfying as their taste, which is good because this dozen is heading with us to a party tomorrow, and there will be no sampling tonight!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

At the Woods Pond

Maya and I took two hot cross buns amd went down to the woods pond for a Holy Thursday picnic. The most astonishing thing that we saw was a blob of jelly attached to some stems of grass near the bottom of the pond.  We tried to gently turn it with a stick but it kept blobbing back.  Then we noticed several more.  They were not frog eggs because we know what those look like. 
Then I remembered the salamanders I had seen there the other day, and we looked it up, and sure enough: salamander egg cases.  May apples are popping up, too, about a month early!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Merry Wives of Windsor

M is in her sixth grade's play: Merry Wives of Windsor.  I'm sitting in the dard auditorium at the dress rehearsal, and they haven't quite worked out the stage lighting, so even the stage is rather dim except in one bright area.  The costumes are creative, and I am drawing without being able to see the page.
There's M in the left center, looking at least 20.  When did that happen?  Actually all the kids look older in their costumes.
Now M is at bottom left and again on the far right. She has a big part and is supposed to be the mother of the teenaged girl.  No wonder she looks older-- good costume and makeup.  Fun to draw this way-- my pen goes for a walk on its own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ducks Tranquil and Not So

It was a bucolic scene at Lake Louise this afternoon: ducks paddling around, ducks sleeping in the sun, ducks diving and ducks grooming.
Two sweet ducks were placidly sitting a few feet away from me while I sketched them. Then suddenly a large duck zoomed up out of nowhere and jumped on the little gray and white duck's back.  She squawked and the little white duck scooted out of the way. The gray and white duck seemed to be trying to get away.  After a couple of minutes the large duck flapped off without a glance back.  The little female stood up tall, flapped her wings as if shaking off water,  groomed herself a bit, and settled down.
The white duck paddled away, and the gray and white duck went back to sitting  peacefully in the sun.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cattail Dissertation

I've been reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer, a gift from my friend A in Vermont. One section of this wonderous book is about cattails. "Meh," you say? Well,  I am here to educate you on survival should you ever find yourself in a great dismal swamp with only a Swiss Army knife.
I used to (stll do) play a game with various of our kids and grands about what to eat and drink and shelter in if we were stuck in these woods overnight ..  J and I decided pine nuts and hickory nuts plus mint leaves and dew drops would keep us alive.  After reading Kimmerer 's book I know how to build a hut, make a fire, find protein as well as carbohydrates to eat, weave a sleeping mat and even a raincoat, stuff a cushion and pack a diaper around an infant-- all out of cattails.  Just enlarge the two pages and read the notes!  Better still, check out this book.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Continuation of Cattle and Some Guest Bloggers

More demos from the monotypes class today, and as guest bloggers, the students in the class.
I like these cattle,  oblivious to all the dramas of the humans.
This piece by Allison Dennis shows the subtlety of a delicate textile with the luminosity of oil painting.
Clara Boza combined a stencil with oil paints in this print.  The playful dog figure is an interesting foil for the inscrutable writing on the dark background.
This very subtle print with fresh and luminous colors was done by Margaret Kantlehner.
This elegant and restrained piece by Janice McMurray is an interpretation of a Gertrude Stein portrait.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Cattle Morning /Evening

I taught a monotypes class all day today, and I am counting my demo monotypes as today's drawings. You may recognize the carving of the grooming steer. He is making a reappearance in these prints.
I was at first thnking of the tall recangular shape as a silo, but it seems to have morphed into a doorway, which is fine with me.
I printed the two prints on one sheet and think I will keep them this way.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Action Portraits

Drawing people while they're talking and interacting poses big challenges.
In fact we are moving all the time even when we're still.  So drawing people always means a constantly moving pen that records many movements but only a few of the enormous number that are taking place.  Only the papier mache goat was still, and even it was in the process of drying and thus shrinking infintessimally.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Along the Urban Trail

A few of these fat maple wings are still hanging onto some branches. The incredibly tiny red flowers are the bloom of a nearby tree, and the little golden spider rode home with me on a cattail that I managed to pick in spite of its being in a drainage marsh out of reach. F found a very long branch and managed to hook one of the nearly spent ones, which I will dissect and draw tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Flesh is Grass is Flesh

The newborn calves plop down on the grass that their mothers are busy processing into milk and flesh.
I like that bible quote that is in Brahms' German Requiem, only I think it should say 'behold all flesh IS grass.'
And meanwhile down at the pond in the woods is a bumper crop of tadpoles and some duckies paddling around.
Even an aquatic salamander or two.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

At the Gardenia Whisperer's

F kindly took care of our fragile gardinia plant at her light-filled house while we were gone.  Ten new flower buds! A robust bloom!  I would like to send this plant to her for sleepaway camp whenever it gets sulky and sad.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Charlotte Among Succulents

First a couple of turtles at the lake this morning.
Then these lush succulents in a wooden crate, which D and H gave me last night.  These things are not native to the NC mountains;  but when we lived in NO in the 70s we would find them happily growing in pavement cracks.
Our friend J would arrive with a pocket full of tiny alligator jaws that she hadswept  off the leaf edges of a mother plant, and we would sprinkle them in our front porch pots.
Of course a charlotte looks oddly tropical in this dish garden.  I am curious to discover what ideas sprout.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Jesse Sleeps It Off

For my birthday Jesse gave me half an hour of the same pose.
And then he rolled into a meatloaf.