01 December 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

It's KRAAAAAAMPUS week again!!!!

The Dead Swamp

I'm so excited to have finished the third painting in my childhood memory series. I've been having so much fun taking a break from other work making these, and I have a fourth forming in my mind already.

The Dead Swamp is located in southeastern Massachusetts and feeds into the larger Hockomock Swamp. In Wampanoag, the name Hockomock translates into "place where spirits dwell", and my childhood experiences there could corroborate that name. During the seventeenth century, the Hockomock Swamp was used as a fortress by the Wampanoags against invasion by early white settlers. It played a role in King Philip's War as a strategic base of operations for Metacomet (also known as King Philip) to launch assaults upon nearby white settlements. My town was largely unscathed because of the friendship between Metcomet and the Leonard family who operated the first Iron Works in the new colony. The Dead Swamp provided not only fish and game, but also inland protection from some of the harsher New England seasons. While the swampy areas have their beauty of flora and fauna, there's a much darker side to this mystical place. There have been accounts dating back to the 1700s of will o' the wisps (or feu follet), poltergeists, large thunderbirds, ghost dogs, and  larger than life snakes. All this makes the provides the perfect combination to fuel a young girl's imagination.

On one cold, fall day... this very swamp called our names. From just over the hill, where the path lead into the swamp, we heard a whisper that carried towards us as we biked up the hill. First I heard it, then my friend. There was no denying that this was no ordinary voice. And it wasn't the last time that the woods called my name.

Inktober... in November or Sloooovember

For the past few years, I've really been trying to embrace Inktober, not only because I love ink, but also to just get out of my normal daily work routine. All of this is easier said than done! So, my slower than molasses self is still trying to get the last few images done. Therefore, we're in Slovember. Wait. DAMNIT. I swear when I started this post it was still November. It just changed into December. Well, curses! I'm still going to try and get the last few leaves in by the end of the year.

I decided that this year I wanted to make a longer series for Inktober. I tried to do random drawings in the previous year, and I would sometimes have too much hesitation on what to draw. Since I was a small child, I've loved learning bird and their songs, so I decided to increase my natural knowledge into native New England trees. Sure, maples and oaks are well known, but what I didn't realize was the broad variety that existed. As I researched further, some of these trees are transient, in some trees like the Bear Oak grow in newly deforested or fire damaged area. You don't typically see them in old growth areas. This series encouraged me to get out of my studio and take a walk in neighboring woods and fields, looking for new leaves and shapes I hadn't noticed before. I'm thinking of trying out evergreens next October. I mean October, November, December. Ugh. I'm so slow!