February 20, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

Well, it is still about a month till Spring if you believe the infernal equinox really sparks the coming and staying of Spring. If you believe the weather maps, oh, better not do that. You'll just drive yourself crazy.

Here is the pond during the most recent Ice Storm, which dropped us a very few inches of snow. You can see how the wind is tossing the watery bit surrounding the floating heater (which has acted without a pause for several months now. (Sometimes about now you will see your heater give signs of failing, but if you will clap very loudly, it will spring back to life.) Anyway, this is only the first year of a three-year warranty. You can also see the sleet falling into the pond.

The next day, February 11, you can see the result of the Ice Storm. Come on over for a brewsky before it melts! That's the glider at the far right, and I've saved you a seat!

The path around the woodshop was very slick from all the wet snow that had frozen to a terribly slick state. These days I walk that way with two canes. I was able to get some terrible pictures of the brown straw egg mass. (By the time I convince myself to go out to try to catch the scene, there is usually very little light on that spot.) Maybe after the equinox, I'll be able to take a better picture, good enough to be able to say what kind of creature had laid the eggs. I hope! Picture two shows the dark brown Barklouse eggs, which are too cold to try to hatch.

Now I begin the walk back to the house. On the way I see one of the old egg cases, which seems to have undergone a lot of weathering. I wonder what will emerge from it - if and when! The second picture seems to be the remnants of some mysterious creature, and picture 3 must have been a bug-like thing at an earlier stage of its life.

The Spiders and the Springtails are apparently still hiding from the storm, which must have seemed to them an enormous nemesis. On the other hand, I decided to attack the next page in the Imitate Bob Ross Handbook - Mountains! My daughter Abra had expressed a wish for a mountain picture, and I was curious how I might best produce one. I still had a few pages of nice quality white watercolor paper. I decided to make this picture vertical like the one from last week of the waves. So first I penciled directly onto the paper the outline of a few mountains at differing distances from the observer. Then I covered the sky with a fairly highly patterns blue cardstock. At the bottom I repeated this outline in a pretty green paper. The result was picture 1 below. I had to decide which of the peaks would be the farthest forward, etc. Picture 2 was the result of making the farthest-left reddish peak one step back from the next piece, an interesting mixture of pinkish and purplish colors. Then I made the reflections of those two peaks in the colors you see. Then I decided I didn't like the pinkish reflection of peak #1, and replaced it with a more yellow-toned piece to match the greenish of the rest of the reflection. Note that the reflection of the left-hand peak was obscured by part of the reflection of peak 2. I continued the rest of peak 2 to the right, letting it fall a bit to the right to imitate a slight downward turn. Then I made the tiny peak 3 a darkish red and matched it below with a less-dark one. Picture 4 shows the completed picture.

So that is how I filled some of the lonely moments without my bug friends. I think next I will try a horizontally oriented picture of a similar scene. I hope that you have had lovely things to do to cheer you through the LOOONNNG winter season!

Love, Martha

Oh! Thanks to everyone who gave me some suggestions as to how to answer the imaginary Bob's generous offer of a job converting his technique to paper collage. I decided to tell him that I was still busily learning from his shows on PBS.org and Youtube.com. So I sent him back his dove with this apology and he sent back another with a little rolled-up letter saying "GOOD LUCK, thou good and fateful student! You have got a long way to go. Enjoy the study!"

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2022