I saw the twists of lilies of the valley coming up by the diner this morning and remembered the side yard of my paternal grandparent and my father’s aunt and uncle’s house.
Lilies of the Valley
By the steps, bound with wooden planks,
whorls of leaves appearing suddenly,
fiercely and unreasonably optimistic.
In another side yard, years ago
these same pointed spikes of green
equally dogged and determined and light
filled a barren yard where in summer
the ancient catalpa would cast darkness
so complete, no grass ever grew
but in April and afterward these leaves
arise, an undisturbed tradition, rising
to provide for may day and mothers day
the most fragrant and cherished bouquet.
Here, in my own yard, they endeavor
cheered perhaps by daffodils before them and
holding within those tightly twisted leaves
everything they need to delight the nose
and fill glasses on windowsills everywhere.
Tuesday when I went over the hills to the east, I did two paintings at the Clark. The first was smaller, 5×7″, and my intention was to try sketching, color and value while trying out the plein air “thing”. My paper and board tried to blow away, my water tried to blow over, my brushes fell into the bottom of their travel bag. You know. Juggling in the wind. Meanwhile I was sitting on the cold ground with my little beach backrest hoping it wouldn’t suddenly dump rain on me.
The second I did I moved to my 8×12″ sheet of arches and started from the covered but still breezy Crystal. Man those colors did not want to cooperate. I saw pinky orange, bright yellow-green and dark trees and well. Part of it I know was impatience. I know I should let things dry before adding more color, filling in darkness but for whatever reason it wasn’t happening and so it didn’t work out all that well.
[Note to self- this is why you should bring a thermos and a snack – to divert yourself while letting things DRY!]
This really bugged me so I decided yesterday I would NOT do a scene but work on hot press paper which isn’t my favorite just on trying to get those colors. I didn’t tape down the paper – just stuck it with water to my table. I stopped before I got fiddling with things. Like the bluish color of the main distant hill better. Like the trees more but… meh still not quite it. Will try a different approach next.
On to the next!
The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well and doing well whatever you do. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
and keeping on keeping on!
rain on a Tuesday
wind makes it chilly
tree buds just showing color
below a swatch of ski-slope
more rain tonight
but driving home
hedgerows and yards
the wet pavement
and still-dark woods.
Today I went to pick up three books I won at auction at the Milne Library book sale. Then, the plan, weather permitting was to paint on the hill overlooking the Clark. If the weather didn’t permit I figured I could always go inside to the two exhibits I missed last time. The weather held – no rain at least – so I trudged up the hill and set up and started to paint. It was very windy. I had to make a few adjustments to batten everything down after my board with paper tried to fly away. I finished the first landscape and decided to try the Crystal by Thomas Schütte – an installation which is inspired as I recall by New England-y sheds. I walked up the path and found a double door on the back and there I was, inside looking out through the opposite opening. And, conveniently there’s a bench along one of the other walls. So I set up there thinking it nice to be out of the occasional sprinkles and a little more protected, when a burst of wind blew through the opening and pushed out through the two doors. How very exciting. There were two couples that wandered up the path and through the Crystal too but they weren’t anywhere near as exciting as the wind.
By the time I started down the hill again I was pretty darn cold. I dumped the painting stuff in the car while wondering if the museum cafe was still open. As soon as the hatchback of the fiat closed, I knew the keys were inside. Started AAA on the way, found out the cafe was closed, warmed up a little inside the building and then went out to wait. Young guy showed up in his big tow truck and had the front door open in no time. His first Fiat, he said.
Drove home. Ordered a few more watercolor supplies. (That’s it. I’m done unless I run out of something. Seriously. No more!) Watched The Voice. Write my NaPoWriMo poem while drinking some peppermint tea. Now I’m going to heat up the bed and go finish The Martian.
Posted in Art in the world, Do the Work, life around us, NaPoWriMo, silliness, taking time to look, watercolor
Tagged AAA, dothework, NaPoWriMo, TheClark, watercolor
This morning my phone indicated a call from Williamstown and the nice voice said I’d won three books. One was particularly exciting but I can’t say what it is because it’s –ahem– my first holiday gift for 2017.
So here are the other two, quite exciting in their own right: