Sunday, March 20, 2016

Winter's Last Gasp? Hardly!

Well, as I predicted, we're in the middle of a wintry blast on this, the first day of spring. There's a happy row of bright yellow daffodils lining my fence, which usually withstand a few inches of snow falling on them. But alas, the magnolias I don't think will fare so well. They really don't like snow very much and drop their petals at the first sign of cold temperatures. I'm a little sad to think this is probably the last snow we'll have this year. I've always preferred winter to summer. I suppose it's because my birthday is in December
Today you're supposed to be able to stand a raw egg on its end - something to do with the earth's axis being vertically upright or some other equally nonsensical theory. I always manage to get one or two eggs to stand. I forgot to try it today.

As a young art student in high school, I remember doing pen and ink drawings of the forsythias in my yard. Hundreds of tiny, individual flowers. I loved just loosing myself in the rather hypnotic task of drawing such massive amounts of tiny little four-petal flowers. A few years ago I discovered a spot where hundreds of these shrubs are planted in orderly rows as far as the eye can see. They remind me of the lavender fields of Provence, only they're a perfect complimentary counterpart. I discovered that it's actually some farmland preservation project for the state, and I'm impressed, no, actually incredulous, that someone working for the government could have planned this, visualized it and implemented it is such beautiful way. People stop all the time to take photographs of the impressive sight. It's on a busy section of 537, heading towards Columbus, NJ. There's no room to pull over, so you take your life in your hands. I plan to go there some time this week, maybe Thursday or Friday. They should be in full bloom by then. It's still a little early and the cold snap doesn't help, but I want to try to catch them when they look their best.
I want to do a painting on site this year. I took some photos last year with my phone. None of them were quite satisfactory. It just doesn't register the magnificence of the view. Yellow is so difficult to get right. I use cadmium yellow, but it never seems to be chromatic enough, especially if I mix it with white. And the difficulty of keeping it clean, i.e., not muddy can, at times, be disheartening. I've tried all sorts of colors to mix for the shadows, but they're usually too warm (yellow). I've tried manganese violet, which just makes the shadows grey. I'll post photos of the painting as it progresses later this week. Meanwhile, here are the best of the photos from last year.

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