It was frosty this morning, but I bundled up in several layers, including my winter jacket, and Rowan and I joined other artists on a plein air paintout at Boscobel on the Hudson River. We set up across from West Point– bluish mountains in the downriver distance, hills a bit closer, then extensive marsh lands just turning bluish-green spread out below us.
Red-wing Blackbirds darted over the reeds, flashing red and yellow epaulets as they described their territory in song. A Baltimore Oriole entertained us with glimpses of brilliant orange along with rich, liquid notes from surrounding treetops. Sparrows flitted among the shrubs on the slope in front of us, and I heard a warbler of some sort singing unseen.
Rowan lay contentedly, alternately watching me and turning to enjoy the view, especially when trains went by on the distant tracks. My dog at my feet and time to paint– a perfect day.
When I was in England last year I wasn’t at Stonehenge at dawn, but I’ve imagined what it might be like with early sunrise colors and with birds coming in for the day. I always love the magical feeling of being outside to welcome the day and I would think it would have an extra special feeling at such an ancient spot.
(If you click on the picture, you can see a larger version of it.)
One year ago today I visited Stonehenge, a place that had always intrigued me and that I had long wanted to see. I love the mystery surrounding ancient construction and like to learn about and ponder the possible theories behind such edifices. Mostly, though, I like the feeling of walking with some sense of awe where people so long ago also walked with awe.
I also have always liked stones and rocks and like to look at them, feel their textures, learn about them, and paint them. I’ve always enjoyed some aspects of rocks, but because of Jonathan’s fascination with rock collecting, I’ve learned more about them and my appreciation has grown.
When I was a child I would hide behind and under boulders, especially on a jumbled boulder field in Butler Sanctuary where I often climbed. The solidity and immensity of boulders always makes me stop and look in admiration, observing the surface, the colors, the edges, but mostly the immovability. I can’t not look at rock cuts, stone outcroppings and pebble fields.
So, visiting Stonehenge was special for many reasons, and I enjoyed just walking and gazing. I could have stayed for hours and hope to go there again someday and perhaps spend more time absorbing the feeling of antiquity and unrefined beauty.
I painted this today as I remembered my time there, and I’m painting another one with different lighting that I hope to finish tonight or tomorrow.
The soft sound of the rain lures me from my bed. Never mind that it’s 2:53 AM, or perhaps because it is, I’m drawn outside. With my dark pajama bottoms, raincoat and brown Muck shoes, I’ll be pretty much invisible in the warm, wet night. Petra is the obvious choice of a walking companion. The quietest of my dogs and with almost no white on her, she also will be invisible and unobtrusive.
I flip off the motion sensitive outdoor lights so they won’t intrude on the darkness, slip into the night and look around, Petra quietly by my side. Fireflies twinkle over the swamp… not many– they’re just getting started for the season, but a sight that always fills me with wonder and that I can’t bear to miss. A pinprick glows in the grass at my feet – glowworm?
I walk slowly, Petra padding by my side with an occasional foray to sniff where some animal has crossed. A Grey Tree Frog trills as I walk by the maple and another answers from across the stream. Then another, from farther back in the woods and yet another from the lilac. I’m surrounded by animal life, mostly hidden from my sight, but going about their lives on their land. The night is theirs; I am just a visitor to their world.