Thursday, December 30, 2010

The eyes have it

Colm and Tess both frequently sketch things. Under Beth's tutelage, the impulse to make things has become second nature to both of them. This Christmas both kids got an art kit.
Here is Colm trying his hand at a portrait of his new bear, Charles, who sat patiently for quite a long while.

Last night, after watching How To Train Your Dragon, they watched a short feature by one of the film's animators who offered a step by step approach to drawing a dragon. It was interesting to watch them watch the screen and then put their heads down and draw. Tess is the more experienced and also more instinctive artist, and while Colm has shown a penchant for closing the gap between himself and his sister in things like riding bikes and reading...he'll have to go some on this front as Tess has long had a flair for drawing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We went up to Cricket Flats for a couple of snowy days. It's always like going on a retreat up there. The snow was thick and wet, good for making things, so I built a snow man. Later on, after looking at this photo, I was reminded of this Wallace Stevens poem:

The Snow Man

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jellybean becomes Sofonisba

Our great and dear friend Jessica and her partner Dean had a baby girl Friday. We brought the kids up for a visit just hours after "Nisba's" arrival. The kids took up places in the front row and never strayed from their vantage point throughout the duration of the visit. The glow was definitely on Jessica, and we all basked in it. Dean and her are a great pair. Great work all around, including Jessie's parents who flew in from the east coast to help out. Jessica and Beth met and became friends about fourteen years ago in Mexico. Not long after that, Jessie told Beth how one day she would like to have a little girl and name her after the artist, Sofonisba. After months of being referred to as "Jellybean", she's finally got a name for the ages.

This morning we woke up to fresh snow so the kids and I walked over to their house and made three snow figures in their front yard to mark the occasion. Colm claimed dubs on the beard and did a good job, I thought. When everyone comes home from the hospital they'll hopefully get a smile out of this.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bringing home the tree

Every year around this time we go looking for our Christmas tree at the foot of Mt. Emily. Beth is partial to the Noble Fir but so are the deer it seems; consequently, each year the pickings seem more sparse. Tess, on the other hand is drawn to the White Fir which are plentiful, and , to her eye, alluring.

The search goes on for awhile, with me and the kids alternately proposing this tree and that and Beth casting an appraising and skeptical eye on each one. This year, Beth relented and Tess got her White Fir.

We took the tree home, cleared a space in the living room, set up the tree and brought up the ornaments and lights from the basement. By the end of the day, our tree was dressed for the holidays.

The moment Tess and Colm enjoy the most is always when they run around the house turning off all the lights.

We then bask in the glow of the glittering lights and ornaments.