The calligraphy of hares, and other ways to fill a quiet weekend
After a day in Edinburgh yesterday, I am very happy to be having a quiet family weekend at home. Since my head injury, my natural hermit tendencies have definitely grown stronger. (That’s my excuse, anyway.) While it’s lovely to meet up with friends at a party or to enjoy the faster pace of the city for a day, I feel quite drained afterwards and need a period of quiet to restore my equilibrium. So I am lucky that this is what we have had today.
On our morning walk, we took a new route through fields which are full of livestock for most of the rest of the year. It was refreshing to see familiar landscapes from a different perspective, and to ‘meet’ some trees which we normally see only from a distance.
In a crevice of a fallen oak, we found vigorous baby nettles already starting to grow (boo!),
but on the way home again, we found that the daffodil shoots have, well, shot in the past forty-eight hours of mild weather (hurray!).
Back at home, my younger son and I both love to spend an hour drawing and painting at the kitchen table.
I must admit that one of the great attractions of art, for me, is the materials. A mug full of pencils and paint brushes, a new sketch-book, a box of paints: they are things of such tingling beauty and promise, don’t you think? My favourite item of all is my battered tin box of Reeves watercolours which once belonged to my Dad. He passed it on to me when I was still a child, and I have loved using it ever since.
Even my son’s new plastic box of children’s paints, though, is pleasing in its simplicity. I love these luscious discs of solid colour. I wonder which of these boxes appeals most to you?
While my son drew a house with a beautiful garden (roses on one side, carrots on the other), I returned to my exploration of hares. I’ve had them on the brain for a while. (No jokes about being hare-brained, thank you…) Perhaps it is to do with the coming of spring. They keep appearing in my sketch book, sitting watchfully,
or running under a crescent moon. I have a lot of work to do on getting the anatomy right, though. This running hare looks more like a deer; probably because I have far more opportunities to watch deer in the wild than hares.
In my slightly obsessive drawing of them, though, I discovered how easily their leaping form can be simplified to a couple of swift brush strokes. Compare the more realistic versions at the right of this page (below) to the increasingly pared-down ones on the left.
My final attempts were nothing but a streak of colour.
It made me wonder if there is – or ever was – a language in which ‘hare’ or perhaps ‘leap’ were represented by a two-stroke hieroglyph like this. I can easily imagine it.
What else have we been up to? Well, after lunch, while Daddy and the dogs had a snooze in front of the rugby, my son and I made brownies. This is a job he loves, for obvious reasons, all of them involving chocolate.
Later in the afternoon, then, once we had all had another play outside and so on, we were able to treat ourselves to a particularly scrumptious tea by the fire.
It may not make the headlines, but a day full of quiet contentment like this is one for which to be very grateful. I hope that you are having a lovely weekend too, however you spend it.