Snow and rain outside, warm and dry inside

It seemed like a miracle to me, but I actually got two consecutive days of work in at the studio. Yesterday I spent a few hours coloring in with the pastels and adding a little greenery here and there to the pen and ink.  As I worked, I saw the rain outside my windows turn slowly to the first snow of the season and my heart gave a little lurch.  It wasn’t supposed to snow until later in the evening.  Was this a preview of things to come?  I hoped not.  I vote for a mild winter for a change.  Fortunately, even though we got a little more snow in the evening, the ground was still warm enough that it didn’t stick on the roadways and the total amount was relatively small.  Chalk up the first snow.

Tudor style

Anyway, I ended up adding a little shrubbery to the lower right.  After inking in the chimney, the expanse of brick seemed way too big so I put in some more greenery.  I’m not sure that it is enough but we’ll see.  I’m not quite happy with it yet.  I need to finish the shadowing too.  For instance, I forgot the shadow of the gable on the slate so the roof looks a little odd up there.  Easy enough to fix.  I may add some brighter flowers at the bottom for more visual interest.  I also need to re-delineate some of the ink lines to sharpen them up a little and use some colored pencil.  It’s not that far from finished but it seems the last details sometimes make or break a drawing.

I only gave it a light spray to pop the colors because of the rain.  I have to spray outside because of the fumes.  I hugged close to the house to give it a quick dose but I was leery of the eave drips falling on it and ruining my effort.

Back in the studio at last

The family company is gone and the weather has turned rainy for a while. I have felt cold all day with the change in the temperatures from the 60’s to the 40’s and inked my drawing in the studio bundled in my sweater and LL Bean fuzzy slippers all afternoon.

All inked in

I was able to work for several hours and managed to finish most of the inking.  I’ll look at it tomorrow and perhaps start coloring it with the pastels.  I like all of the angled brick and the curved chimney  with the its added insets and soldier courses.  I am not sure I would call it a true Tudor with the sided gable but it does have the stucco and the timbered work.  The front door is a nice, heavy wooded piece which was dressed up with a pretty wreath that I decide to keep to dress it up a little.  I miss the diamond windows of the past few entryways, but the small square panes are not unattractive.

Fall frosts and pre winter scenes

The last of the flowers and herbs have finally succumbed to the fall frosts.  The reblooming irises managed to open about half of the buds that developed before dying back and made for some wonderful fall colors..  The petunia flowers are also gone but surprisingly the plants themselves are still hanging on and actually look quite good. I hope this bodes well for them to come back next year.  I love how their iridescent purple, pink, and striped blossoms have spread all over the hillside.  In fact I am seeing some variations that I never bought because of the cross-pollination.  I even got a few pure white ones – which I never would have bought because as you know I don’t like white as a main theme.   I never was much of a petunia fan before this, but I have decided I like the way they spread and I have to plant fewer to get coverage in an area where it is hard to dig very deep.  Plus they are volunteering to return on their own.

Two weekends ago deer hunting season started with a 7 AM blast and I was a little worried about the bucks that live around here – particularly the 8+ pointer.  We don’t hunt ourselves but many of the surrounding neighbors do and I knew he would be considered a prize.  Still, he didn’t get to live to have 8-10 points without being pretty smart and yesterday as I was coming down the last fifty yards of the driveway to the house, there he was.  He stopped and I stopped.  We looked at each other for about a minute before I started to edge the car on and he bounded away.   I got one last glimpse of him as he turned back to watch me briefly.  Of course  I didn’t think to get my phone out and try to snap his picture.  One of these days I will see him close up in the yard and manage to get the telephoto lens so I can actually count the times on him.  I’m betting on at least 10.

Rosemary and oregano

And finally, for the last month, my studio table has been the has been doing double duty as a drying rack for the herbs I grew and picked.  I got around to stripping the dried leaves from the stems yesterday.  Who knew the rosemary could be so pungent after it was dry.  It actually had a piney smell to it and my fingers have had the aroma of herbs for half of the day.  I managed to dry over a cup of the rosemary and 1/2 cup of oregano which I will use in my cooking over the winter.  I particularly like to use the oregano in the artichoke spaghetti and the rosemary on the baked sweet and red potato fries.  Yum.

I bet my grill can out race yours

It was a wild and wooly weekend .  We didn’t get the rain other locales did but boy did we ever get the wind.  We have a medium sized grill on our deck that was pushed up against the house.  On Saturday I noticed it out about 6 feet from the wall and I thought “Why did John move that there?”  On Sunday he called to me saying “Look at that.”  There was the grill caught against the patio table and two chairs.  He hadn’t moved it – the wind had.  I knew the wind had been gusting strongly, but I never would have guessed that it would be able to move the grill across the deck boards and around the table corner until it got trapped.  I guess I should be glad it didn’t decide to go the other way and fall down the steps.  Now that would have been a mess not an amusing spectacle.

Tudor Entryway

Yesterday I selected another entryway to do. I really like the whole house. The chimney was quite distinctive, but in the end I decided to go with a partial portrait. For some reason I find the partial aspect to be so much more interesting to me at this time. I finished up the pencil sketch and stopped for the day and should be able to get back to it later on today.

Once again the mason had a good time being creative.  There are about 6 different patterns in the brickwork and I love the chimney’s shape.  The gentle curve extends far off to the right almost to the ground and the upper part is fluted almost to the top.  This house has no stone accents but its door has an interesting curve to it.  The panel above the door is painted wood where I might have put limestone, but the shape is pleasing with the point in the arch.

Fall gourds II

Fall painting

Did you ever have one of those lost weeks? Or two?  That was me in recent days. I started painting this 2 1/2 weeks ago and the three sit downs were separated by close to a week each because “real life ” intruded. I finally got it to a passable stage late last night. I decided to work in the evening which I don’t often do.  I was determined to have something to post today.

As I said, I felt it needed something to go on the left to balance the composition so I decided to put an onion there.  I thought the colors would match well.  I wasn’t really happy with the overall definition, so I decided to take Cindy’s suggestion to add some ink and I think I’m glad I did.  I tried to also tone down the orange a little although it is not as overpowering in the actual painting as in the picture.  I think this is one of those works that I may have to let sit a while before I really decide if I like it.  Overall I think it has some good qualities, but I am not quite sure in the back of my head if it will stay that way.  I’m hoping to have a lot more time in the studio this  and I look a this maybe next week.

My sweet Lady

Us, in better days. She's peeved because I won't let her graze

Her official quarter horse name was Reb’s Flashy Cat, but we just called her Lady – because she was.  She was the kindest, sweetest, most generous horse anyone could imagine and I didn’t know that when I when to the barn where I boarded her last Wednesday, it would be the last time I’d see her in good health. It was a beautiful fall day -warm, dry, and clear.  The weather was supposed to turn to cool fall rains on Thursday and since I really hate to be cold I wanted to take advantage of it.  We had a lovely time together.  I have not been able to ride her in a couple of years because she didn’t have a good leg left, but we enjoyed our time together with grooming, baths in warm weather, and gentle massages.  It was horse heaven on earth.

I had just settled down at my drafting table to finally spend some time on the latest painting after a rather hectic 10 days when the phone rang.  It was the barn manager, who is a friend,  calling to say Lady had shown evidence of a disturbed night and wouldn’t settle down to graze in the pasture.  Because colic is always a danger in an older horse, the vet was called.  Over the course of the day we determined that Lady had most likely had a stroke and become blind and irreparably  anxious.  I decided to let her go. As tough as these things can sometimes be, it turned out to quiet and simple.

My memories are all good ones.  She taught me so much that I never would have known otherwise.   First of all, she had a wonderful sense of humor.  I remember when we kept her for a few years in a timber frame barn that my husband built on our property.  We had a barn cat to keep her company and reduce the rodent population.  She loved to sneak up on him (and I do mean sneak for a 1000 lb horse) and touch him on his upright tail.  Merlin would jump straight up into the air as only a cat can do and run off at top speed.  Lady would laugh and laugh watching him race away.

In myriad ways, when I handled and rode her, she would make me laugh, asking “is this what you want, how about this, or surely you mean this”.  She was a kind and gentle companion but capable of great passion in her work.  I learned piaffe and passage along with her, the use of my outside leg, and once even an inadvertent airs above the ground.  She was capable of great delicacy of movement not normally associated with a short legged, long backed quarter horse if  asked with the proper light touch.  Once we went to that other place where we were truly as one. It was an indescribable a moment I will treasure as no other.

Lady was part of our lives for 17 of her 28 years.  She enriched it in ways unimaginable before we got her.  I am going to have a small basket made from some of her tail as a cherished memento of a cherished soul.  I miss her.