Saturday 7 February 2009

Snow and frustration

It’s been a frustrating time preparing for an exhibition in Cambridge and not much painting, all publicity and organisation. But today I have had 2 sitters back to finish off. Paintings are in some ways only finished when they are beyond reach and one cannot do any more to them, keep em around and there will always be more to do. Four frames arrived today in big boxes, looking forward to the unpacking and seeing what the pictures look like, dressed.

But all's well walking at night with the dogs. So cold after four days of snow and now the coldest night of the winter and a there’s a moon! A fine, high three quarter moon shining in thru the woods and the tree branches dogs and me we all have crisp silhouette shadows the dogs paws click clack on the frozen path and swish in the snow and crack thru the frozen mud. What a joy to be out at midnight in woods so cold and and the branches’ shadows patterned onto the snow so bright in the moonlight it’s clearer than in the day. Half a million people asleep or watching cras Ross on the television and all only twenty minutes from this heaven, timeless as a Breugel snowscape or a medieval hymn, a christmas carol or Victorian elegy. White slim Chillie does her fifty yard sprint ahead, turns and greyhound and gazelle leaping thru snow and onto and off the path and now behind, growls at sturdy steady Othello black against the snow and then she’s off ahead again.. heavy black beast trips sturdily on smelling badger and fox and keeping his turn or speed for the chase. Down off the path to collect wood from my pile and youthful Chillie leaping up at the log on my shoulder and the moon separating shadow from dog and then bouncing them together again as she falls. Snow drifted and deep here and I should have bought gaiters , cold in the boots… Swap shoulders to ease the pain of carrying in the fire for some evening in the autumnand back to the road and the neon takes out the shyer moon and turns the shadows to a dirty yellow slushy brown and down the snow covered road to home. Toast and fill the bread machine and world music on Radio three and bed.

Thursday 1 January 2009

Celebrating being alive, with the dog.

Dog walking. There are bits of ordinary days that are closer to the essence. If painting is worth the effort of doing or being looked at, then it must be touching something essential. So what is essential? Dog walking gets there, ticks lots of boxes.
I just went out, it's new years day, it's very cold and there's a hoar frost magically placed just on the tops of the trees and not on trunk or ground. The valley looks as if it has been glazed with icing sugar, swept with a wand by an ice queen, beautiful and blessed. I'm 56 and have never quite seen the like. So the dog got me out and the year is only hours old and life is lovely, I'm humbled and elevated and enriched.