One of the prettier sites during the winter months can be found in the glistening icicles that appear. I particularly love the many icicles that form on the branches of trees, transforming a sad leafless tree into a shimmering masterpiece of glassy wonder. Here in the Midwest, it sometimes decides to warm up just enough to avoid snow, and instead we get freezing rain. When I was growing up, I remember being trapped indoors during these ice storms. Looking out the window, you could see that every single thing was entombed in a thin layer of ice. It was a magical sight at the time, and school was usually cancelled, so it had the same wonderful outcome as getting several inches of snow. The power would go out as well, turning our home into a giant tent and the evenings into a night of camping by the fireplace. This was something my father referred to as a “pain in the ass,” but I was overjoyed to be trapped inside my very own ice castle.
As an adult, I understand what my dad meant, as being trapped in an ice storm and a house without power isn’t particularly convenient. But, on the other hand, it’s also a unique experience to suddenly find yourself without access to all of the various electronic devices that dominate our lives today. Suddenly, you feel like time stands still and you can do things that you never felt you had the time to do. With just a little spark from a kerosene lamp or candle, you can still write, paint, knit or do whatever creative endeavour your heart desires. That’s the beauty of our creative pursuits. They just require a few cordless tools and a bit of imagination. When I think about it like this, I realize that there’s truly nothing to stop me from painting each day, except some reason I’ve simply made up. There’s always that tiny bit of time waiting there for me to make something new.
So as the weather turns colder and threat of snow and ice lurks around each corner, I’m content. As long as I have my paints and trusty fountain pens, I know that I’ll always have more than enough to keep me entertained should I ever find myself stranded at home. Staring out my window, I could study each little icicle as it forms on the branches of the trees. I could grab a couple of colors of paint like I’ve done here and pull those icicles onto a piece of paper. A simple memory, frozen onto the pages of my little red sketchbook. Each day, another little memory added until the book is full and it’s time to begin another one. And on those days when finding time to sketch and paint seems like an impossible feat, I realize all I have to do is stop what I’m doing for just a little moment, and pretend I’m trapped in an ice storm.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Olive Green and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.