Embracing The Melancholy Of February.

February can be a tricky month. Usually one of the coldest in these parts where I reside, it can also be very unpredictable. So far this February it hasn’t been as bad as what we’re used to here. We’ve had a few average days, as in the single digits, but not many.

This February has been typical in another way though, it’s been mostly dreary and gray, and unquestionably somber. At least if you happen to live in Upstate NY. I was recently told about an article where the author, citing the crappy weather, the failing infrastructure, the abysmal employment rate and various and sundry other legitimately accurate reasons, made a case that all of us, everyone, “should leave.” That we should “get out asap”. And to depart to… “anywhere”. “Anywhere would be better”. And honestly it’s hard to argue with this fairly reasonable viewpoint.

Here’s the thing though. There are just as many legit reasons not to leave. We’re surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery and countryside in the state. Most people here, often like any other place, where gossip, anger, and lets face it, all kinds of nasty politics abound, are also kind, and there for you when you really need them.

And then there’s the whole apocalypse situation. If there is one thing that can be said for those of us who have survived Upstate and all the inherent obstacles, we’re tough. If the electric goes out, we pull out the candles and blankets, if the snow is four feet deep, we still go to work. Apocalypse, schmocaplypse, piece of cake. There have also been theories that living here will be the best bet when (laugh to keep from crying), it happens.

Whether true or not, (and of course no one wants to test that theory), it’s a good one to throw out there when the discourse turns to what a shite place to live this is. It’s also somewhat curious that these same people who point out the down side of living here, are the same ones, who come here for some of the most spectacular leaf peeping there is. Or to ply the countless streams, and other waterways with their top of the line kayaks, enjoying the vistas, and the fresh air.

Yes winter here can be brutal, nevertheless it can also be stunningly beautiful. Something those who live here can take for granted. So it’s a good thing to remember this, and get out and enjoy it. Even on the bleakest days, it can be invigorating. If nothing else, it’ll leave you so exhausted from slogging through the snow, and wet, that you’ll sleep really well. (Unless like me, you have anxiety and tend to lie awake questioning your existence).

Thankfully there are the other three seasons to break up the year. Spring, my personal favorite, brings all new life, and the promise of sunshine and warmth (that is if it arrives, and winter doesn’t skip directly to ninety degree weather). Summer brings the freedom from layers of clothes, boots, and bone chilling days, (and often the life sucking kind of humidity and heat that lesser mortals eschew). Then if and when Autumn arrives, (and summer doesn’t burn directly into a wet cold early winter) it gets us set for those colder days, and by then we’re usually ready and looking forward to wearing our sweaters, and scarves.

The problem with February is, that we’re sick of the cold, and the layers, so it feels longer. Then March is an even bigger trickster. This is because for some reason we tend to feel like it should mean that the cold weather is finally done, and usually that’s March’s lie. But if you took the weather of March, and put it in the middle of January, or February, we would be running around in shorts extolling how great it is out. (Unless you’re used to tropical weather, like some people I know, and anything under sixty eight degrees is torture.) It’s all a matter of perspective.

February is the month when it would be nice to be hibernating. It feels as if that is exactly what we should be doing, like a throwback to neanderthal days. Why fight it? Unfortunately few of us have that option.

I guess I’m using this as an excuse for my own recent lethargy. Maintaining the working position that supports myself and family, seems to take all the energy I have. After which, being creative, painting, or writing sometimes feels like an insurmountable mountain. But perhaps these changes in season are here to make us feel exactly this way. To make us step back, breath, dive deep into morose thoughts, and of questioning what’s next. To make us move on to that next stratum. The next strategy that presents itself to us. It’s worked before. And Spring is right around the corner, hopefully.

I hope everyone is thinking deep, morose and questioning thoughts to ready themselves for the next season. Thanks for stopping by, see you next time!

Inktober In Review; Week Two, “Sixty’s Style, Giants and Legends”.

For those of you who are following along, I won’t go into the whole description of Inktober again. I will just mention for those who don’t know about it, to please visit my last two blog posts, or head on over to Inktober on Twitter. So I’ll jump right in here about my first ink drawing for week two. The prompt word for the day, was “frail”. As I do, I didn’t want to go with anything cliche’, and unfortunately this led me to procrastinate until I basically had no time, energy or desire to draw anything. But not wanting to skip a day, I did a very quick drawing of earth. Yes, I know it is not accurate in any way, which further on in this post, you’ll see was humorously pointed out to me. However I do feel it gives an OK representation. My idea here was to point out the fragility of our one and only earth. I hoped that people would pick up on that, otherwise, my “frail” image, is mostly a “fail”. Ah well, such is the exciting and dangerous world of art.

For day nine of our little adventure, the prompt word is “Swing”. Thinking out of the box and into the dark of Halloween, I thought an image of a child in a red cape, (wink), who decided to swing her lantern into the dark of night in search of, ahem, her grandmother as a large unfriendly, (though he came out looking more wise then “bad”) wolf followed her would be appropriate. I had a little more time to play with this, and I was happy with the shadowing, and how the composition generally came out.

Day ten, the prompt was “pattern”. I wanted to get an elephant or two into the mix this week, so playing around a bit, while also watching TV and “chill”, this is what I came up with. This whole thing was just an exercise in doodling. But it’s not too bad. My older brother, pointed out that it reminded him of 1960’s art. So there you go. This was a much better reaction than his about my “earth” drawing, where-in he inquired as to if “Australia, (where he mostly resides), was in the mix?”

The prompt word for day eleven, is “snow”. I decided to go with an image I had from a ride “up the road” out of our little college town, to a Christmas tree farm. The day we went it was bitterly cold, but very beautiful. There had been a fresh coat of fallen snow, and the trees and fields through the woods, were pristine, and just wonderfully quiet.

Finding that day twelve was “Dragon”, was fun. For a few years, in between jobs, I took a part time position at what was known as a “head shop”. It was actually two separate stores owned by one person. I worked on the side that sold a lot of hippie style clothing, rings, incense and things along that line. The owner also graciously “allowed” me to sell some of my hand made crochet bags, and other things I made, for the low low price of 40% ! (I have never since, worked with anyone who expected to make more than 10% off of my work. and neither should you.) Anyway, for some reason I got into drawing dragons, (I may have had it in mind to do a kid’s book.) In any case, it brought back some funny and sometimes odd memories (perhaps a story for another day), as I worked on this drawing.

I have to confess that I was actually at work when I did this quick sketch for the day 13 prompt, “Ash”. So I was interrupted a lot, and tried to get it done as fast as I could. This is why it may not be the best for a number of reasons. (I won’t point them out, as I learned a long time ago, with one’s looks, and art, it’s best not to point out what you perceive as problem areas, because most of the time no one notices anyway.) Where was I, oh, yes, I think depicting Ash from “Ash vs Evil Dead” probably fits the prompt and the whole Halloween vibe perfectly.

This last little drawing is for both the day fourteen and fifteen prompts; “Overgrown” and “Legend”. I pictured a story about a young boy, completely overgrown to giant proportions, who was the object of ridicule by his peers, until one day a great tsunami hit their seaside village. He saved them all, and was then a hero. I literally wrote a sort of sing song-y story to draw this picture for, which turns out, was for me anyway, a good way to make the picture evolve. So there you have it, week two of Inktober in review. I hope you enjoyed this post, and have maybe been inspired to try an art challenge. Thank you for reading my blog! see you next time!