After much too early a start to a day of sitting with my eyes focused on this flat screen monitor, and having already spent a couple of hours manipulating abstract lines and shapes in AutoCAD, I took a break to walk down to the woods at the river's edge again this morning. I had my black leather bag that Neil Flancbaum gave me a few months ago, perfectly sized for my sketchbook, folding stool that I've had since I was a teenager, and a tin of a dozen Faber Castell colored pencils from my collection of various tins of art media that have seen too little use. Picked out a beat up Savinelli pipe and loaded it with a strong flavored English blend called Syrian Three Oaks, and headed downstairs and out the front door. I had it in my mind that I would do a vigorous, angry, slashing rendition of some patch of sinister looking spring growth pushing through the brown leaves and deadfall.
But as I walked along the damp, quiet path through the trees and the soft grey morning light, the calm river, the cool air on my face, fresh from last night's light rain, dissolved my aggressive intention. By the time I unfolded my old stool, sat down and started drawing, I found myself remembering the eagerness with which I went out looking for the first woodland flowers as a fourteen year old boy with a box of Nupastels and a pad of charcoal paper, eyes keen to identify Dutchman's Breeches, Trilliums and Wake Robins, Adder's Tongue, and other plants that my grandmother had taught me to recognize and appreciate. Jewels waiting to be discovered and drawn by my impatient young hand. So this morning, instead of scribbling violently, filling the page beyond its borders with dense, heavy tones, I could only bring the lightest touch to my interpretation of the tender purple edged shoots of these young plants, beautiful woodland weeds that I have no name for. Grandma would know, and she would share my enjoyment.