Stuck here more or less right now because of the shoulder, I took advantage of my little deck and pretty yard yesterday to read. It’s not a very pleasant place because of the summer traffic going down the state highway, but I put in earphones and obscured most of it. I’m reading Yellowstones Ski Pioneers: Peril and Heroism on the Winter Trail by Paul Schullery. There’s something comforting about reading books about frigid cold in the summer.
Every backyard is a little wilderness. Back in the day when I was teaching Critical Thinking Through Nature Writing I required my students to go out an observe nature for 30 minutes every week (more was better, of course) and to write a journal of their observations. I knew some of them weren’t in a position to GO anywhere and I told them their back or front yard was OK for this journal.
There were butterflies — cabbage whites, and a flickering fleet fast little black and white one I’d never seen before. I had to find out what it was — it was so pretty. When It stopped, finally, I was able to see it had a bright red head. I “googled” and learned it wasn’t a butterfly at all, but a “Police car” moth. The big reward was watching a hummingbird in the beans. With my fancy new phone I was able to photograph it even though it was 15/20 feet away. It was a rollicking good time out there in the garden.
My arm is healing well, and I have a pretty good range of motion at this point. I also decided to learn how to use pastels. Long, long ago I got a set of colored Conté Crayons for Christmas. They are beautiful and it was a wonderful gift, but I have never been a fan of, or skillful user of, dry media. I think the last thing I drew with pastels was a copper tea pot in my 9th grade art class. I was 15. 😀 It was a pretty good drawing, but stressful somehow. BUT I’m not feeling much joy from painting right now, and it’s always good to learn something new, so…
Yesterday I got the apple out of my fridge and implored it to pose for me. After some gentle persuasion and the promise that I would eat it for supper, it agreed to sit a few minutes on my drawing table. I’m no Cezanne but I think apples are wonderful subjects. They are beautiful.
When I don’t know what I’m doing, I draw or paint an apple. So, I sat down on my new drawing stool in front of my new tablet of charcoal/pastel drawing paper and went at it. After a while I realized I had forgotten a lot of stuff I once knew, but it was OK. I was still having fun. I also realized that teaching myself was going to be the slow way, so I ordered a book and some good tools for blending because using my fingers — which is OK with me — would end up putting the chalky, colored residue left on my digits where it didn’t belong. I need to get back to the mentality that 1) it doesn’t matter what I do, 2) I’ll never get it right. When I lose that it’s time to stop or try something new at which I can’t possibly succeed. Pastel drawing is definitely something at which I will not succeed. There’s freedom in failure. ❤