Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life in the Not-So-Fast Lane

I still remember moving day seven years ago, when I left Boise to start a new life in Vancouver, WA. I was SSOOOO excited because I was moving to the coast (okay, it's almost the coast - much closer than Idaho) and I had visions of long, meditative walks on the beach every weekend and frequent hikes on the wooded Columbia Gorge trails breathing the cedar-scented air and sketching the abundant waterfalls. I DEFINITELY did not give ANY thought to snow. In fact, when one of my friends asked if I was going to load the snow shovel in the moving truck, I laughed hysterically and told her that I would certainly not need that where I was going. After all, I was moving to a place where snow knew its proper place - the slopes of the nearby mountains. Oh there was a bad week four years ago when an ice storm kept me homebound for a week, but it was just one week.....until this year. We have already had more snow in the past two months than we have had altogether in the last six years. In fact, it is the snowiest year since 1950 and we still have half of winter left to get through.
I carefully watched the weather forecast and breathed a sigh of relief when the weatherman said snow flurries as in a light dusting of snow - as I left for work, a few snow flakes began to fall and I admired their lazy float to earth - I could feel the tension slip away in the zen of the moment - but then the pace picked up a bit as I left to meander my way to the freeway - the flakes began to multiply, as if they had invited all their extended families to fall to earth on this fine day - and then they began to stick and cover the road - I feel myself slipping and sliding at stop signs and by the time I reach the freeway, three miles away, I am in a veritable blizzard of a snow flurry.
I'm a little freaked out - I am NOT a happy winter driver - but I think, once I reach the freeway, all will be well, because in Idaho and Montana, that is the first place that is plowed and maintained. Not here. The freeway is a mass of snow and ice and very nervous drivers, like me, in my little Saturn that has normal everyday tires. It does not take long before my knuckles are a gossamer white and my face a waxen green. We are moving at a fast clip - 10 MPH - cars are off the road being attended by stout tow trucks with merry flashing lights that make you want to say, "hey knock that off - this is serious out here!" - then I see the crumpled remains of a four wheel drive truck that apparently failed the invincibility test - this is when the pleading starts - please oh please oh please let me get to work in one piece - the car has only been paid off for one short week - oh please!!!
An hour later (with a normal drive time being 20 minutes in high traffic) I arrive in the relative safety of my parking lot and I can finally breath again. By that time, two inches of snow flurries coated the ground. As I gathered myself together and started the work day, I stopped to wonder - why didn't I consider a career as a meteorologist? Where else could you be so wrong, so many times, get paid well and still keep your job? Surely there must be a position out there long as the snow knows its place and stays in the mountains.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Encaustic Class

I've dabbled in encaustic before, but today I took a class to learn the ins and outs of using colored waxes from Kimberly Kent, who creates fantastic, impressionistic landscapes in wax. Three students managed to cover the tables with wax as we created our "masterpieces". We used the conditioned wax and later carved back into the wax and filled our lines with chalk pastel for greater detail. I have a lot to learn in this medium, but was pleased with what I produced in a two hour time span.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hoarfrost Morning

Woke up to a fairy tale world today. Everything in the yard was coated with the delicate feathers of frost crystals, shimmering in the light of dawn. Even the most mundane objects were transformed into glistening jewels fit to be worn by the Fairy Queen. It did not last long in the rising sun, but for a moment, there was magic in the air.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Amphibians and Reptiles

Here is my latest painting for the Nature Gathered challenge. Watercolor on hot press D'Arches paper.