It's snowing, still, in my area. It was expected to hit us early in the morning. And this time, the threat was real. Everyone raided the grocery store on their way home, even me. Though I was in search of broccoli for the recipe I was planning for that night and creamer for my coffee because we were getting low. To my surprise, the vegetable section of the store was more barren than the milk section. I lamented not squeezing in time the day before when I was already out and about. But I wanted to get back home to finish my sketch of an owl peeking through a cluster of branches. Luckily the rush at the store was over quickly and I found one of the last heads of fresh broccoli in the organic section. Home I went with aspirations of creativity. The only creative energy I had left was to write an entry in my journal, exploring what it means to me to live a creative life. Perhaps one day I will share that entry on my blog.
Today I have found myself with a snow day, like when I was a child. Though the excitement of going out to play in the snow was short. My husband, running late because I am too talkative over our morning coffee, needed a little help getting out the door on time. Since I made him late, I packed his lunch while he was showering and rushed out the door to clean off the truck and get it started. That was enough playing in the snow for me. It's beautiful, as long as you don't have to be out on the roads. Years of working in the long term care industry have soured me on the joys of playing in the snow. It is mesmerizing. At least from the comfort of my favorite chair. I did manage to finish the book I have been reading, 'Paradise Lot'. Seems like it took me forever to finish. Not because it wasn't a good book, but because I was reading two others at the same time. It definitely rekindled my ideas for transforming the front flower bed into an edible garden. My husband cleared the bed for me after I trimmed back the overgrown bushes. A soil canvas awaits the transplanting of some of my herbs that have out grown the raised bed and greens for salads.
This rare moment has also afforded me some much needed time to create. The studio is not heated or air conditioned so there are limits to the time I can spend in there. I often find myself exploring other areas of creativity during the cold months of the year and returning to projects in progress in the spring. Some of my projects include crocheting scarves and watercolor sketches. I've been sketching owls and decided to order some printing supplies. I haven't explored print making since college. Linoleum block print making is a close cousin to wood carving. It will at least temporarily satisfy my desire to carve until I can return to my current project. I am excited about it. I love owls as much as I love flowers. This may even be the beginning of a new series for me. That is the good thing about exploring creative techniques. It opens up the mind to possibilities that have not been considered. I have thought about exploring wood block printing before and this may just be the stepping stone. It certainly would not be a complete move though. I am a mixed media artist at heart. Even now, as I finish my sketch to be transferred to the block I am thinking of the many handmade papers I have and wondering which one I should print on; if I need to glue it to a thicker mixed media paper so it won't tear when pulled from the block and how the glue will affect the print quality. A test block is definitely needed. That I have learned from jumping in too soon!
As I close, I cannot help but feel blessed that I no longer work for a company that can't close during bad weather. In years past, I would have been clutching the steering wheel, a bundle of nerves, hoping to make it in to work and a stressed out mess once I arrived. But there are jobs that require people, no matter what and we should be thankful they will go in, no matter what. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. And remember those not blessed to have a home or shelter. They suffer the most during this harsh weather.
I'm Jennifer Nichols, a mixed media artist from North Carolina. I enjoy capturing the essence of nature through a variety of materials. I incorporate found objects such as strainers and bottle caps into my work. I am drawn to these items but it is also important to me to do my part to protect our environment by keeping things out of the land fill.