Labadie, Missouri Snowscape
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I have always felt dreamy when hearing these Robert Frost words from “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” For any of you who have followed my blog, you have seen this composition before: while Christmas vacationing in Missouri, I paused at the back door of the apartment we stayed in while visiting with Wayne White on his Double D Acres ranch. Seeing the lovely woods shrouded in snow, I had to capture them quickly in drybrush watercolor, on a block measuring 8 x 10″. As soon as I returned to Texas, a dear friend purchased the small sketch, but I could not forget the scene. Hence I pulled my digital photo of it, printed off an 8 x 10″, and went quickly to work on this 12 x 18″ composition. I have a good feeling about this one, though it has come along very slowly, which I guess isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes a long gestation period works with my paintings.
The interruptions have meant plenty of “down time” for this piece: I have two other large watercolors in progress (already posted on this blog). I have also spent time in L.A. on school business (sketches from there already posted as well). I’m also teaching two college courses at night, in addition to my “day job” at the high school. Hence I have had problems getting back to this one. So why is today different?
Well, this morning we were awakened by a 5:15 phone call that school was canceled for the day. Looking outside at the solid sheet of ice that covered everything in my neighborhood, I was seized with delight, made coffee and returned to bed with an excellent book: Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. While enjoying this remarkable book, my BlackBerry tinkled a Facebook message and what did I find? A former student’s photograph of her lovely little daughter watercoloring in the living room, titled “The artist in residence: snowy day watercolors.” That was enough! I returned to my studio, since piled high with books and journals, cleared a path for my art work, and resumed work on this piece.
Always I am amazed when I pore over an Andrew Wyeth snowy drybrush piece. Naturally, as I tinker with this one of my own, brushing, dragging, salting, spattering and drawing, I will ruminate over his magnificent contribution and how much it has enriched me since the first time I saw his work in 1968 as a curious, yet awkward high school freshman Art I student. Thank you, Mr. Wyeth. I miss you, and will always treasure your Chadds Ford and Cushing meditations.