It feels like winter arrived very late this year. Hardly any snow fell or stayed in December or the beginning of January. Finally, around the middle of the month we had a big snow (but only after a couple of dramatic wind-rain-flooding-storm events), and now the landscape is appropriately dressed in white.
Our regular winter routine has started to kick in. Filling the small woodbox beside the stove morning and night. Stacking a big pile of wood on the porch every couple of weeks. Shoveling ash from the stove every week or so. Feeding the woodstove throughout the day to keep the cold from creeping in. Clearing off the driveways with giant push shovels whenever there's more snow, clearing off the porch, and digging out paths to the house. Rather than planting, digging and weeding in the garden, these winter things keep us moving around our home.
My art studio is fortunately always warm in this season, being upstairs on a balcony level open to the rest of the living room. On days that I'm not at my Archivist job, I stay up here and work on the two or three paintings I have going all at once. I also spent the first few weeks of the year applying to artist residencies for the coming summer, seeking out grant funding to help pay for said unpaid residencies, and working on a few other projects. Fingers crossed I'll be spending some time in an adorable cabin painting for a couple of weeks in July or August!
Another fun event on the horizon is the total solar eclipse occuring on April 8th, 2024. My home in Bethlehem is not too far from the path of totality, so it should be quite a show here. This part of the state is expecting a ton or visitors for the eclipse, and my local gallery, WREN: Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network, is hosting an eclipse themed show during March and April titled "Total Eclipse of the Art" (could there really be any other name?!). I'm therefore working to two eclipse-themed landscape paintings for exhibition.
In addition, I am making a small batch of custom, hand-painted White Mountains eclipse glasses! These are going to be so fun, and they'll make awesome, collectible mementos for the eclipse. Each pair of real, functional eclipse-viewing glasses will have a White Mountains landscape with an eclipsed sun on it. I've sealed the front of each pair of glasses with white acrylic paint, and I will paint over them in oils. Stay tuned. They're going to look great!
For now, on with winter! Hopefully there will be some opportunity to get out on cross country skis, do a little trail running on stomped-out paths, and curl up by the fire doing absolutely nothing!