Friday, February 18, 2011

Gibbie's Camera

Gibbie got a camera for his birthday and has been taking a bunch of pictures (hundreds, actually). Here are some of his favorite picks:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Collaborative Art with a Child

This piece was a collaboration between Gibbie and I. I was working on a small piece Paul's mom commissioned, and Gibbie was so enamoured of it he wanted me to make a copy for him. I said I wondered if he wouldn't rather choose a favorite animal, and that launched this simple project.He drew the landscape and the sky, and told me which animals to put and where they should go. He brought his stuffed animals as drawing models and set them up for me on the dining room table. I drew the animals and painted in the colors, with consultation and discussion about the Antarctic. This is a painting of the time of year when it is dark all the time--we don't really know what that looks like, so we surmised, and we will learn more about it later.

We talked about painting snow. At first, Gibbie said it was white, and wanted me to use white paint. I suggested he look out the window at our snow heap and asked how he can see the shapes in the snow. He decided that there are blueish parts, so we put those in.

For the sky, I just used a watercolor wash, sprinkled with table salt . We both signed it. The most challenging part of this painting for me was keeping my admirers from sliding the tablecloth off the table and bumping my arms in their excitement while I worked.

I love working together with my kids! We will both treasure this painting.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Urban Owls in the Woods

I have discovered a Wonder not far from our house. There is a beautiful park, Reservoir Woods, just up the road from us. No one talks about this place, and I had never heard of it until last summer, but it is so lovely! There are wetlands, buggy lowlands, butternut woods with currants, a sunny vineyard of sumac, and lovely tall piney woods.
It is in the piney woods that we have seen owls. Or rather, an owl. I don't know if two owls would ever sit together like that--it is a fanciful rendering for a nursery wall. I think I could have been more realistic if it weren't the dead of winter--so this picture shows all the gaps in my memory of one of my favorite forests. I did try to show the forest floor, sparse of plants, and covered with a thick mat of orangey needles. A fallen log with that bright orange fungus spotting it. Sunny greenness and sky showing farther away. I wish I could depict the feeling of depth in these white pine stands. The trees are so tall, and the woods adopt a stillness. It is like a chapel.

I first saw the owl high in the trees, far off, with that distinct shape. I have seen him close up too--covered in fluffy grey feathers, as wide as my car when his wings were spread, silent as the woods when flying, even from very close. It was a gift, one that I treasure. I do hope this owl
has little ones to nurture in the spring?