The Eve of NaPoWriMo

Yup it’s that time of year again – National Poetry Month! May all the words be with you.

Counting the Determined Spring

and trees, buds swelling,
and grackles, squealing
and volunteer daylilies
and startled calves
following placid cows
to unknown pastures
along strange paths
Trembling they look
wide dark eyes
hurrying into a
world, newly made.

Meanwhile I was out myself today, driving around, maintaining social distancing and giving myself a stern talking to about “what would Vincent do?”

The Eve of NaPoWriMo

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Yes I was struck down by something last week. I’d gone off to a talk at the Clark (sorry guys) and driving home felt sort of punk. Chest feels rough, that weird head thing when you’re probably running a temp. This went into a dry cough and felt like it was going to a typical bronchitis thing. Napping? I’m suddenly good at it. Normally, for me, things start in the head and go down, ruining voice, mild cough, deep cough, and then better with cough that goes on for weeks. This was not that but stayed the same until yesterday when suddenly I started sneezing. I waited to take a claratin and then everything went back to how it had been. Weird interruption by allergies? slash shrug.

It felt plain weird to be home sick while the whole world is sort of freaking out about COVID-19. Call in with “I’m still sick, sorry” and wonder if they’re like “oh thank god she’s not coming in!” LOL. Maybe it was just the low fever talking.

I stayed home. I had recently grocery shopped, although not everything on my “emergency list” but I was good. (And I’d picked up eggs and bread so I worked on my “soft-boiling eggs by observing how quickly the shells dry” skills) But let me tell you friends, apart from having the mandatory symptomatic relief stuff (and checking to see that your digital thermometer actually works…hey the hand is 85% accurate!), here’s what really saves your butt in times like this.

Well, this. And not so much this when you’re trying to sleep and keep sticking out a foot to cool off, LOL.

THIS! This is my thermos. Everyday, just about, I make hot tea in it and bring it to work or out to paint or at least have it in the car. When I went to Wales I had a similar one which proved a great comfort when I’d get turned around (aka lost) and would pause to reflect on the landscape. This one has fallen down the stairs a few times, leaving it with some dings and some finger holds but it does a GREAT job of keeping things very hot.

So, when I’d make a cup of hot tea this week I’d make another in this. Awhile later I could have a second cup without getting up. This thermos is the best money I’ve spent on something in the past several years. It also has a pour-through stopper which works like a charm. It holds about twelve ounces which is a mugful, but you get 3-4 capfuls which is a nice way to drink hot tea whether you’re sick or not. If I’m out painting, it distracts me so things can dry.

This was one of the Salada tags this week. This box is all about smiles for some reason. So remember to keep your distance and let your smile tell the tale!

On Being Sick in Time of COVID-19

Monday Sun-Day

Was out early today, getting the Prius Prime’s 10K checkup. They say it’s totally one hundred percent good. I say, I have some questions… LOL but anyway after that, the sun came out. No clouds but still – sun. So I went off to paint. Windy as all get out. I put a weight on my tripod and still had to hold onto things. I was pretty pleased with the results. When I finally packed up to go to Mom’s – classic J.M.W. Turner clouds… of course. But still. Sunny and 50 in early March, I’ll take it.

Monday Sun-Day

Thursday: Snow, Wind and Clouds

After a howling windy night and a mixed-precip morning, I went to do a little cloud-chasing, taking the southern route home over county 28.

That landed me close enough to Ooms, so I sat there awhile and did a sketch before starting home.

Thursday: Snow, Wind and Clouds

Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

I started reading “No Time to Spare” by Ursula K. LeGuin and what a read it is. A blurb on the back by New York Times Book Reviewer Melissa Febos promised “The pages sparkle with lines that make a reader glance up, searching for an available ear with which to share them.”

And so dear reader, since the cats sprawled nearby look confused by my fist pump just now, this share is for you! (emphasis mine) Ursula writes about that question writers are asked: what does it mean? She encourages readers to seek out reviews and other analysts of writings if they can’t decide for themselves.

It’s a job I do as a reviewer, and I enjoy it. But my job as a fiction writer is to write fiction, not to review it. Art isn’t explanation. Art is what an artist does, not what an artist explains. (Or so it seems to me, which is why I have a problem with the kind of modern museum art that involves reading what the artist says about a work in order to find out why one should look at it or “how to experience” it.)

I’m on page 42 of this slender volume and this just stopped me in my tracks.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Meanwhile, today was a gray rainy day, not for painting, but I managed to buy some new socks. I also managed to go into an art supply store and leave without anything. I got an EZ-pass thing for my car after finding out from a co-worker that you can buy them at drug stores and grocery stores. Well, you buy it but they put all the money as a credit on the pass so it’s all good. Did some wash, did some reading, watched a favorite movie.

Yesterday I tried again on the scene I’d painted two days ago. Trying to figure out if it’s the change of paper (at least in part), paints getting rehydrated (they are now), me being rusty (yes and yes) but anyway here’s what happened. No explanations LOL per Ursula. Done from photos I’d taken of each scene.

Ah HA! The Job of the Artist

A Warm Bright Day

Rumor had it that today would be unseasonable warm and that was correct. Can’t complain about sitting outside in near 50F sunshine, painting and listening to the canadian geese trying to lord it over each other.

These were on the new paper, the first two on the turner 140 weight and the last, started to let number two dry and flatten a bit, was on the leonardo 300 weight.

Am currently reinstalling scanner software because unless I included a bright background these scanned in technicolor. I finally gave up and used ImageCapture which had its own weirdness but at least the color was better. Geesh. I would have been excited to have painted the scanned versions!

A Warm Bright Day

The Sun! The Sun!

I literally ran out of the house this morning when the sun appeared and found a scene to paint, even before starting to sip coffee! That is how sun-deprived we’re all feeling about now.

This one I did at home. I’m trying some new paper by Hahnemühle. The last two are 300lb Cezanne paper (cold press) which is quite a bit stiffer than the 140 I generally use. The first was 140 but a different type that is only sized internally – it’s their Turner line. It’s quite a different experience from the Arches that I have been using from the start. I bought full sheets of both to try and the Turner is smaller (20×26″) than most sheets (22×30″) which confused the heck out of me but I worked out the math to cut it up. Another good use for the mat cutter! This paper came via Acuity Paper in Indiana.

And in case you wondered – was that Mary Beth out there at the side of Old Post Rd? Here’s how you can tell:

M4KE 4RT

The Sun! The Sun!