Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peony WIP, goodbye to winter

Peony Center, WIP detail, coloured pencil on Stonehenge paper
copyright Teresa Mallen

Peony Center, WIP, full view, coloured pencil on Stonehenge, 20.5" x 5.5"

This is where I am at now. I didn't get much time to work on it yesterday as I had a day of errands. I was out buying art materials for the students that will be starting my Coloured Pencil Basics course next week. I have students buy their pencils and I have them bring items like masking tape, scissors, etc. Throughout the course students work on various small projects. I give them an opportunity to try different supports and to try different methods of burnishing. I find it less confusing if I purchase the different papers and drafting film myself and I then charge the students a materials fee. Yesterday, I had to do more running around for this than I would have liked. The art supply store closest to me was out of basics such as tracing paper and colorless blenders. So less time in the studio...darn...

I know most people are rejoicing over the arrival of spring. I am one of those odd people that actually enjoys winter. I love the way the exposed rocks and the tree trunks and branches look so sculptural. I enjoy the brisk fresh air on my daily walks. I delight in seeing the fresh tracks in the snow each morning that allow me a glimpse into another world. These tracks tell of the activities in the early daylight hours or perhaps yesterday's dusk. I learn where the fox travelled, whether the coyotes came through the meadow again and up by the house in search of the rabbits, and then the rabbit tracks that let me know that they are still dodging their predators. I love the cosiness of a wood fire and the cocooning that comes with long dark evenings. I find that compared to other times of the year, winter gives me the most hours to spend in my studio.

Don't get me wrong, I love all the seasons and their unique gifts. The spring birds have arrived and we have had some delicious warm weather. My thoughts are turning to the gardening season ahead. Gardening is a passion of mine and these days I find myself looking through books and catalogues planning my projects for 2009. We have moved to the ideal property for gardening. We have areas that get full sun and areas of cool shade. We have lots of room for growing vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, wheat - essentially anything we might desire. There is a former pond area that has silted up such that it is only a stream. This area seems to be just waiting for our attention. The ideas include having the area dug out to have a pond again, adding ornamental rocks (which means moving large rocks from one area of our land to another) and adding more wetland loving flowers and plants. Oh and the little bridge over the stream needs some repairs. I have inherited from the former owner a large walled perennial bed (contained in the foundation of a former stable). This area takes maintenance. The dreams are many but the hands and hours few. No wonder I look out my studio window and enjoy the peacefulness that a frozen winter white landscape brings!

So it is with a bit of wistfulness that I say goodbye to the quiet time of winter. As I enjoy the warm of the sun and the extra hours of daylight, my perspective is gradually shifting. It is time to grab a cup of tea and to have another look at my gardening books. Before I go, should you be interested in prairie grasses for your garden, do check out William Moore Farms by clicking here. There are lovely photos. Enjoy!


CountryDreaming said...

I'm enjoying seeing the progression of this peony and can't wait to see the final result. Love the soft mixture of white and yellow so far.

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks CD and as Queen of Narnia, I know that you too are sad to see the white stuff go. :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

To be quite clear, Country Dreaming is Queen of Narnia, not me! I just like winter. :-)

Beth said...

Hi Teresa! Nice start on the peony. I love snow and would love winter if we got more snow. I guess I should move North! It seems things slow down in winter, the way I like it!

Jan said...

Peonies are one of my favorite flowers (well, I guess all flowers are for different reasons!) and if we didn't have spring, we wouldn't see the peonies!

Anyway, as a spring lover, I'm so excited to watch your progress on this! Can't wait to see it coming together more as well as finished!

Deborah Ross said...

I understand what you mean about the longer hours in the studio in the winter. I guess we all try to stay home more when it's cold. Of course, that's relative. A low here is about 34 degrees, and I know it's much lower where you are.

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Beth. Maybe things aren't slower in the winter for everyone here in the North, but it is how I choose to live my life. By the time the Christmas holidays are over, I need some quiet time in my studio to recover!

Hi Jan, I love peonies too. Unfortunately a painting can't capture their wonderful smell. I guess I shall have to wait a while for that.

Hi Deb. Ah yes, the cold. Staying inside a warm house on a stormy day is most delicious. :-)