Digging out…

Valentines Day 2010

Sitting here in the studio looking at mountains of snow.

Three days of hard labor with the snow shovels and monster blower machine thingy and I am so grateful that all I have to lift today is a triple ought sable haired brush.

At the height of the blizzard I took this shot from the studio window…

And here’s a look at a painting that I worked on after our first snow storm back in December…almost the same view…just pan over to the right a bit more…

And a look at the labyrinth that I have to shovel out for Finn each time it snows so her mending legs have a better than fair chance out there in the tundra…

And the Apprentice Herself tucked into the snow fort that has melted some but was well over her head a day or so ago…

The good news is that we finally got Miss Pat out of the lane and up to town. Her cabin fever was approaching the red zone so even the laundromat was looking good !

Blueberry pancakes for both of my valentines this morning to fortify another day of winter survival adventures…and I shall be more than content to paint the day away and know that I am so well loved by my two sweeties.

Blizzard 2010

Last week we weathered a trifecta of sad, painful and challenging events. Pat’s father, Frances (Pez) Ritchey 86, was admitted to intensive care and we waited each day to hear news of his deteriorating condition while in the hospital in Hawaii. On the home front our dear puppy Finnegan was scheduled to have the first of two surgeries on her front legs to minimize the elbow displaysia with which she was diagnosed in December. And, along with several other million people, we were following the weather channels who predicted us to be in the core of the blizzard of 2010.

I’m sad to write that Pez died on Saturday. Pat was relieved for him that he was not allowed to linger on machines and that she was able to have many hours of conversations over the last few years about the old neighborhood and adventures that she remembers fondly with him when growing up in Lancaster, PA.

We brought Finnegan home just in time to batten down the hatches for the big snow storm. It has been four days now and she is doing remarkably well. On strict house arrest until her next surgery in a month, she is getting regular therapy sessions and a big dose of love from her buddy and me and ….except for insisting that we refer to her as “You Highness” when she has the Elizabethan Collar on…she’s a model patient.

Today the apprentice returned to the studio for the first time and was beyond excited to see that her toys and bones and her brushes and paints were right where she left them.

Meanwhile I had the pleasure, while taking Finn out several times during the blizzard, to watch it bury our little corner of the planet. We got two feet and more in some spots and the snow blower finally has paid for itself.

Here are some highlights mid-storm and the morning after.

I can report that we made it up to town today to stock up for the next storm which is predicted to be a piddling foot or more moving through here tomorrow night. Restocked the pantry and the wine cellar…so we’re ready.

Brandywine Valley Visit

Earlier this week Pat and Finnegan and I took a day off and drove over the river and through the woods to visit Robert Jackson in his Kennet Square studio. Bob is a highly accomplished realist painter and a magnificently kind and generous spirited human. I’ve followed his work for a while now and after meeting for the first time earlier this year we’ve started down the road towards a friendship that I hope will endure well after we both can no longer lift our paint brushes.

Here’s a look inside his studio at Bob and his wall of boxes…

To see some of his work and appreciate the skill of this story teller and his wonderfully rich sense of humor… click here.

We traveled a little further on down the pike to the Brandywine River Museum to soak up some of the Wyeth family inspiration.

If you live in the area and have young children their model train display is a must see. And they currently have an exhibit featuring illustrations from Alice in Wonderland throughout the years. But it’s the magic of Snowy River that I go to see.

But with the sun setting earlier each day now we soon headed back home along the country roads…passing Amish farmers getting one more plow in before the coming snow…

Since Kennet Square is also the mushroom capitol of the world we stopped at an organic farm and bought a giant box of freshly picked mushrooms to bring home for our first snow of the season tradition…mushroom soup.

Right on cue the biggest storm of this century is in full blizzard mode outside of the studio today. We’re right in the one to two feet swath and… with the heaviest snow yet to fall…I just may get to use that snow blower that has been sitting in the garage for three years now !

But first… the soup.  I’m too excited to paint.