"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Monday, January 28, 2013

Carving Jonah and the Whale

It's been too long since I've picked up a carving knife. Too much worry was consuming me. It was time to work with my hands again. But, as many artists will tell you, half the battle is being inspired. Carving Jonah and the Whale was the last thing I'd ever thought I'd carve!
Once inspired, my hands automatically went into motion.
I used 2" basswood for the whale and carved him 11 1/4" long.
While trying to determine the color of the whale, I remembered a thin sheet of copper Ted had given me. Its age gave it a beautiful patina. These would make perfect fins for the massive mammal and I'd paint the rest of the beast to match.
Poor Jonah! I knew I wanted to have a man inside struggling to get out, but at 2 1/2", carving him wouldn't be so easy. It took a very delicate hand, but I got the look I was going for. Jonah's on his stomach, propped up on his right hand, while his left arm stretches out as if trying to grab hold of something.
Once Jonah was carved and painted, I adhered him to the inside of the whale's mouth. The large teeth act as prison bars.
The base is made out of two old pieces of wood that I attached. The red paint is original and has a weathered folk art feel.
Brass wire acts as water shooting through the whale's blowhole.
It never ceases to amaze me how something as primitive as carving a piece of wood can bring such peace to my mind.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I shall give you rest." Ain't it the truth?!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Oh, The First Snowfall of the Winter

Have you ever noticed that some of the best times are the spontaneous ones?
Two days after Christmas, Bucks County was sent a gorgeous snowfall. Ted thought we should get out of the house and take a drive.
We wound up at an old cathedral that I'd never seen before. Ted had the foresight to bring a camera.
It was all so breath-taking.
Mary and Nicolai had snowball fights and made snowangels. What a shame we didn't come better prepared - little did I know Nic snuck out of the house without wearing any socks!
To our suprise, the old cathedral was open so we got to get a glimpse of its medieval design from within. We met the Director/Priest who gave us a small tour (a wedding was planned later so we didn't get to see the entire inside). But, if we wanted to see more, they were offering a free tour of its sister-site, the Pitcairn Museum, just down the path.
And to add to the serendipity of the day, they were hosting a "Nativities from Around the World" event. We got to see new and antique nativity scenes from places like Africa, Chile, Mexico and France.
The kids were given scavenger hunt with hints about the Nativities and then had to find which country it was referring to. When we finished the kids each got a little prize, while Ted enjoyed a good hot cup of coffee! One of my favorite Nativities was from Africa. The animals were made from beads and they used a zebra and giraffe as part of the stable.
What I thought was going to be a day we were stuck inside turned out to be the most pleasant of days. After a few hours in the snow, the kids were thrilled to get some hot chocolate and lunch.
No planning, no expectations, no schedules to keep. Just a normal day that turned into an extraordinary memory.