There isn’t a winter that goes by without losing a glove. Worst of all, I even saw this one lying on the ground as I got back in the car at a Thruway rest stop. “Geez, it’s too bad someone lost a glove. I hate that,” I thought, not recognizing that the glove was mine. Ugh! When I got home and realized my stupidity, it was too late. But for some inexplicable reason, I wasn’t able to throw out the orphan glove. It’s been sitting above our coat rack for three weeks—until yesterday. That’s when artist Laure Ferlita posted a fine tutorial on drawing garden gloves and it inspired me to memorialize my annual glove loss and move on. Thank you Laure!
And now for something completely different…
I’ve been experimenting with developing this small, quirky character Owl in Sneakers. The basic features came to me late last summer, and I thought it might be fun to play around and see what he might become.
I figured out the body shape, eyes, pigeon-toed feet with red sneakers, and potted geranium fairly quickly. But making him move and do things and express emotion has been trickier. So far, I’ve been able to make him read and play hockey, and I’ve been test driving various concepts with my niece and nephew (who think he should play an instrument, like the tuba or trombone, and concur with me that he needs a red wagon and friend, perhaps an ermine). What comes next? I’m not sure. But I’m open to suggestions.
(Watercolor on aquaboard, 5×5”)
Outside: seven degrees, wind chill minus 15F, bright winter sun. Inside the car: warm enough so that I didn’t see my breath, warm enough so that the watercolors didn’t freeze, warm enough to take my gloves off. A temporary win. After weeks of being inside, I was determined to try my hand at painting in the car. It’s less than ideal by any measure, but not without merit. The end result is a little muddy and overworked, but not bad for an hour’s outing on a frigid day.
A few years ago I found a great blue heron skeleton revealed under melting snow in a ditch near my house. I don’t know how it met its end, but the bird was almost completely decomposed and I decided to take the skull. As a specimen, it’s fascinating; as reference for painting, it’s quite useful. The colored pencil study here is life sized, based on the 9-inch skull.
I’ve also been doing gesture drawings of herons as a precursor to doing a larger painting. Since the ground here in New York is covered in snow and herons are long gone for the winter, I’ve resorted to the next best option: watching and sketching from nest cam videos. These videos offer a rare view of herons courting, mating, and raising their young. Come spring, you can watch them live, but for now check out the links below if you want a glimpse of these majestic birds.