Sunday, February 1, 2009
Some people loathe winter. I am not one of them. I love it. Every new snow fall is cause for celebration. Yes, there is shoveling and scraping ice, slogging through snowbanks and shivering in bitter winds. But the rewards! A snow day is a gift from above, a chance to get out.
Hey, I grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, thanks to parents who met in Aspen and wanted to settle near ski areas in New England. Here are the happy ski bums, circa 1955.
I enjoyed a childhood of skiing every spare moment. Family portraits from this chapter would be the line of skis, from small to tall, in the breezeway of the Red Doors Motel.
My first paid "art job" was in high school, doing posters for a local ski shop, complete with hand-lettered prices for hot wax packages. Somehow, I've done precious little illustration on that subject, other than an overly art directed magazine cover for Aspen Magazine back in the 80's which I will not show here.
This, however, is one of my favorite's by Marty, possibly because he did it from reference of me skiing in the Arboretum in Jamaica Plain, MA. It ran in the Washington Post.
I grew up skiing downhill but tried cross country skiing while living in Boston, since it wasn't always easy to get North every fabulous snowfall. Now that I am on Peaks Island, it's amazing to ski out the back door, past the deer tracks, up a hill, down through the woods, and emerge, exhilarated, facing the endless ocean.
My antennae is up about birds and trees since I am finalizing the illustration for the Nest, Nook, and Cranny bookjacket. Here's a reference shot of a stoic crow sitting watch on the recent blizzard.
I've read about how intelligent crows are. They deserve all the acclaim. Later, I noticed a black shape in the tangle of trees beside the trail. I thought it was a stray glove.
When I realized it was a crow carcass, I was struck by the brutal fact of winter. Our society leaves no room for the natural facts. We barely slow down in our constant drill of ambitions while nature hunkers down for the assault. After seeing that vestige clinging stubbornly to the tree, I wanted to go home and hibernate, like we are probably meant to.
On the way, I spotted another sight. A welcome sign at that moment.
I do have a thing for trees. They are speaking to us, if we can listen. I love how dressy the trees are in Portland.
It has me thinking pink. I made this whimsy for the upcoming Think Pink show at the Gem Gallery.
And stay tuned! I am participating in the indie love fest of book signings on Valentine's Day! Where pink, love, and literary valentines will go together.