Snowshoes and Chickens

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Finished one I started a while back, inspired by a trip to Donner Lake near Tahoe. The area has a gruesome history, but it sure is beautiful. And scary, too–my daughter did not want to go on the trails behind the cabin we stayed at. Just a little too close to complete remoteness for her, I think.

I just finished reading an essay in Wendell Berry’s collection Home Economics about this very subject: it’s natural to feel wary and apprehensive about pristine nature, even while being in rapturous awe of it at the same time.

He believes we feel most comfortable living with nature, not in it, and I have to agree. He mentions the ecological phenomenon of  “edge effect.” I live on those special margins that seem to bring out and nourish the health of the wildlife in the area–my garden and little orchard and “developed” land abut a big track of oak forest that covers the side of the canyon we live atop. I’ve seen more birds, animals, insects, etc. than I ever have immersed deep in the woods (fox, moles, squirrels, red-shouldered hawks, turkey vultures, crows, wild pigs, deer, swallowtails, western jays, finches, doves, owls, praying mantises, skinks, fence lizards, garter snakes, to name some).

That being said, Berry also talks about how we “need” wilderness, as much as a physical reality as an idea in our collective mind. I, for one, definitely feel that necessity to know that there are still wild, scary places out there, with creatures that could, in fact, kill us.

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Also finished another drawing, inspired by my girls feeding the chickens. They love to dig for worms in the compost pile and feed them to the chicks!

And I’ve been featured on the Doodlewash watercolor blog and community…thank you so much!

By the Lake

Finished a new watercolor for a postcard. Some friends who met in the Finger Lakes, NY are getting married, and they asked for a landscape with a lake and trees and sailboat. I think they are going to use the image as part of the wedding invitation!

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I think you can really see my major influences in this one: Charley Harper, Eyvind Earle, Kay Nielsen. This has also made me remember a few other paintings I’ve wanted to do featuring lakes: one about Yeats’s Lake Isle of Innisfree and one about Pope’s Ode on Solitude.

I’ll be putting up a print of this in my Etsy shop soon! Need to start painting on a regular basis again, as it is definitely therapy for me, a way to relax. And I get something to show for all of my relaxing at the end!