Ode to Joy

Sledding Illustration

I have many fond memories of sledding as a kid: steep hills, thrilling descents, and inevitable wipeouts were all part of the fun. Sledding is great, in large part, because it packs so much emotion: anticipation, fear, exhilaration, wild abandon. I felt especially challenged to capture some of that experience in this small painting, which I did as part of a Christmas book commissioned by my cousin for his daughter. Sledding is one of the things they like to do together– so although I don’t typically paint people or snow, I resolved to illustrate the scene. My reference was the view from their backyard; the rest I had to imagine.

Wishing you a sense of wonder and bit of wild abandon in the New Year! Thanks for following!

In the Bleak Midwinter

baptisia australis

I finally cut down the last of my baptisia pods, which were attractive in the fall, but had become bent over and forlorn since the last snow. Still, I liked the shape of this stem and decided that a stark portrait might be fitting for the first day of winter.

Christina Rosetti penned In the Bleak Midwinter as a Christmas poem in England sometime prior to 1872. The entire poem was later set to music and published as a Christmas carol in 1906. The script is based on Italics from the Treatise on Hawking by Italian scholar Francesco Moro, penned in about 1560-1570.

Note: I’ve finally updated my blog header and added a few new sketches to the journal section. Check them out when you have a chance and let me know what you think.

Nest & Eggs

Nest & Eggs

Yes, this is a completely unseasonal piece given the temperature outside (36F), the snow and barren branches, and the fact that the wood thrush that made this nest is far gone to Central America for the winter. Still, it’s good to remind myself in the year’s darkest days that we are riding on a fantastic, revolving planet– which, after a little more travel around the sun, will bring us to spring once more.

Appreciating Craftsmanship

Pottery
New Hampshire craftsman Peter Sabin has been making pottery for more than 40 years. His exquisite stoneware is simple, elegant, functional, and flawless. I consider myself fortunate to own several pieces. But after a recent visit to a shop where he sells his work, it occurred to me that he isn’t getting any younger. The day will come when he is no longer making pottery. I’ve never met Peter, but it seemed high time to say thank you. After all, I take pleasure in using the result of his labors and craftsmanship nearly every day.

I painted this as a small gesture of appreciation and mailed it off with a note of thanks. It isn’t much, but I hope it conveys my gratitude for things made well and made beautifully.