Monday, January 19, 2009

Unfinished Projects and a Poem

It's still cold outside my warm little house, the snow piled so high in places that my six foot three inch husband has trouble throwing it to the top of the pile.  No snow blower for Mr. Tough Guy.  I'm inside reading and working in the studio, ideas hatching like chicks, but I still have projects that sit unfinished.

This darned colored pencil piece started out as a companion for a similar picture of red, white and blue buttons.  It's small, six by six inches, and it sits out on my work table, silently inducing guilt every day while I flit from sketchbook, to painting, to collage.  I keep all the pencils I'm using in a foam meat tray, but every day it's the same.  The picture doesn't call out to me right now, even though I've already devoted hours to the project.  That's one of the beauties of colored pencils.  They wait patiently.

This is an unfinished collage of the January Virtual Sketch Date.  I did a monotype of the image already, but was that enough?  Does a chicken have lips?  Sherry has to try it as a collage, and maybe a Yupo painting.  The collage is fun, a challenge to find the paper, cut or tear it just so.  How fussy to I dare to go?  Do I want to add paint to the cut paper?  Hours speed by as I play with tinting tissue paper, newspaper, vintage receipts.  I'm gradually wrecking my flat brushes by using them to apply acrylic gel as glue.  Hmmm, may be I should try a soft gel medium and see if it wrinkles the magazine paper less. 

Then there are the books that I feel compelled to read.  In general, being a former English major, I prefer literary fiction, and often have several novels going at once.   But lately art topics have been informing my reading.  This massive reference work combines two of my passions, writing and art.  Who knew Hugh Lofting, the creator of Dr. Doolittle, wrote the stories and illustrated them from the trenches of World War I?  I read thirty pages a day, and I'm about half way through.  But then there is the Essay on Criticism to read and discuss with an online group, and Dreams From My Father to start for my neighborhood book group for next month.

And I need to get out of this house.  I've been using the cold as an excuse to not go work out. Today I'll go.  After all, there's a hot tub at the athletic club as well as a treadmill.

Here's a poem that expresses how I feel in the dead of winter in Wisconsin.  I know it's not February yet, but it could have been written for me.

by Bill Christophersen

The cold grows colder, even as the days
grow longer, February's mercury vapor light
buffing but not defrosting the bone-white
ground, crusty and treacherous underfoot.
This is the time of year that's apt to put
a hammerlock on a healthy appetite,
old anxieties back into the night,
insomnia and nightmares into play;
when things in need of doing go undone
and things that can't be undone come to call,
muttering recriminations at the door,
and buried ambitions rise through the floor
and pin your wriggling shoulders to the wall;
and hope's a reptile waiting for the sun.


laura said...

Wow, Sherry, if this is what cold weather and being snowed in produces--bring it on!
You drew those buttons?! Astounding--I love the subject and the colors: blues are my favorites. It's gorgeous and your VSD is stunning--so strong, and the light on the pith is great! (I haven't started mine yet.)
I'm really awed!

Ann said...

Those are awesome projects you have going there! The buttons look terrific and your clementine is amazing! What sort of paper are you using for the colored pencil piece? The size is interesting, I like using square formats too.

Sharon said...

I LOVE getting a peek at all your projects, Sherry. The blues in the button drawing are so beautiful and I really like what you've done with the VSD photo. I'm still considering if I'll do that one...

Kim said...

By a happy accident, I just realized I could click on your photos to see the detail. Wow! I love the collage even more. And, yes, I thought that was pile of buttons, not a drawing. Beautiful. I'll be looking more closely next time.