Quite apart from the utter necessity of snow to replenish aquafers and guarantee moist and fertile spring fields, the utter beauty of a coat of white argues for its healing balm on our wintry Canadian souls. Walking in November and December this year was starting to feel quite desolate. The palette was that of a female sparrow — all greys, taupes, cloudy creams. There was little for the eye.
But today…. As I look out the studio window, now that’s is a value study worthy of interest! Even down in the park earlier today when the storm was swirling we were treated to lovely progressions of high values close to us, which melted into the distance in a series of fading silhouettes. It may take us forever to get all of our and Theodore’s layers on (and off) but well worth it for comfortable viewing.
With luck the snow will continue its slow accrual; We’ve received about eight centimetres so far and hope for another ten by morning. Because it is so light even Theodore with his low undercarriage can navigate; in fact every so often he lowers his considerable snout and breaks into high speed plowing runs. He alternates these frontal snow attacks with luxurious squirmy backscratches in the cold fluff, emerging with a stiff white coat. It’s all fun and games until he gets an iceball between his toes and then he quits, striking pathetic poses with one paw held high. Jon and I would have walked longer but we no longer run this corporation. Theodore and I went home to stay, while Jon just changed his gear and headed out with his skis.
I had ample time to wish I had joined him. If you are a creator of any stripe, you know there are “Just Shoot Me” days. This painting, which is a decent size, has been nothing but trouble so far and I suspect I’m failing to acknowledge some cosmic hint. Soldiered on, though, and ended up with a grisaille which may or may not play nice in the days to come. I’m working from an incomplete set of original photos (the dancer's middle section completely missing) complicated by my decision to further alter my reference shot of the original watercolour which still has all of its parts. Remember the copy of a copy of a copy issue? Oh well, nothing ventured.
What kept me going was the prospect of The Day after the Storm. On the prairies at least you could count on a day of dazzling sunshine in a perfectly blue sky and a blank canvas with interesting messages. Sometimes that happens here too. Common for us are the raccoons’ articulated hands and the coyote’s elegant stroll, but the best discovery of the year were the distinctive footprints and tail drag of a pheasant -- in our very own driveway. Just proves you can live in a large city but if you pretend to live in the country sometimes nature plays along.
I have a day to kill while the grisaille takes its own sweet time drying; you can see how fresh the paint is in the digital. Watch for snow angels; I may drop by.