Saturday, January 8, 2011

you call this winter?

Although you might be thinking this is what it looks like outside our January window the fact is this isn't a great photograph of a snowy Canadian landscape, in fact, it's no photograph at all. Instead, it's a pencil drawing done by a Russian artist whose work I found completely by accident and whose name I don't know because the web page is almost all in Cyrillic. If you click on the link you have to scroll down to see the other drawings but I promise it will be worth a little of your time.

So far winter here has been surprisingly mild. It's snowed a couple of times but just prettily and none has stayed but there are still months to go and the parking bans that went into effect in December don't end until the last day of March. I mentioned to someone today that I was going to miss seeing crocuses and snowdrops in February and he asked what they are. I'm hoping he's one of those people who don't pay attention to flowers rather than that early spring flowers don't grow here at all. Time will tell.

I'm still drawing and thinking of a story I'd like to write to go along with the pictures. Sometimes I can't fall asleep because images and colors race through my mind. Does anything like that ever happen to you?


  1. Mild winters in Canada, Siberian winters in Western Europe - maybe the speculations about global warming and the effect of the melting of the Arctic ice on the Gulf Stream are starting to become fact!

    Even if I've seen enough snow already this winter to do me for a long time - thankfully there's a good thaw on this weekend - the picture is beautiful.

  2. I went wandering through those drawings and when I got back, the hems of my jeans were wet.

    Thank you for sharing these.

    My google translate helped some, I hope. I think the artist's name is Stanislav Nikireev and the series is Imereti winter. Imereti is located in Western Georgia.

  3. these are magical.... i was walking the dog through similar landscape this morning.... we've had a foot and a half of snow in as many days.

  4. You asked if anything like that ever happens to us? It does. But it's words, plot ideas, character sketches and dialog that come at me when I should be sleeping.

  5. I can see how you could get lost in this picture. It looks like a world you might be able to relate to. I'm thinking of my very own picture...

    On another note, Portland is one of those very special places in Spring. Not many places quite like it for flowers. I'll be there the end of March - perfect for a big splash of color after a long winter of blaaa.

  6. francis - I've awoken to a very snowy morning so we may enjoy such a scene ourselves when we venture outside later. It's far easier to enjoy the stuff when you don't have to get in a car and drive to a job, isn't it?

    lisa - Yeah, I had to put on a sweater and drink some hot tea. Thanks for using your translator. I didn't even think of that. He managed to capture the realism and the fantasy of deep winter in pencil for heaven's sake. I can't begin to conceive of how.

    gfid - There have been times in my life where I was transported by light on snow and ice. I remember a dog who kept me grounded.

    lisa - Oh dear. Sometimes the mind just whizzes and flashes from one great idea to another yet there's not enough energy to get up and act on the visions. sigh.

    nancy - Yes, really good artists can shift our consciousness, can't they?

    Portland has the longest Springs of anyplace I know - Feb through May when the roses bloom announcing Summer. I am really going to miss that and wish you the very best for your trip in March - daffodils, tulips, forsythia, azalea and much young green.

  7. Amazing work! The artist's name is Guram Dolendzhashvili - see the interview * by Nikireev) in English under "About the Artist". The site is slow going, so much to see that I"ll have to go back.

    Vancouver is having a fairly typical wet winter so far though lots of snow in the mountains. You've reminded me that I need to go chack if any snowdrops are peeking up. Some years they are in bloom already, and like Portland, we have a very long spring. I remember Winnipeg's lasted about a week or two in May!

  8. I'm glad someone has had a mild winter. By our standards at least it has been a hard winter. I love the illustration

  9. Hi, Susan

    The link to this artist's other work keeps timing out, so I'll try again later. The one you show is really magical.

    I have always wondered what a Nova Scotia winter would be like. I imagine by the ocean, there isn't the kind of snowfall you would have inland.

  10. It looks amazingly real and yet magical at the same time. That pencil he uses has a bit of magic to it :~)

  11. Thanks much for the link. I will check it out. That drawing is fascinating.

    You have just lucked into the oddest winter I have ever seen up here in Maine, which I assume has also been an odd one for where you live. We have maybe 6 inches of snow on the ground. The usual is 2 feet or so at the least.

  12. marja-leena - Thanks so much for checking out his name for me. I thought I'd looked at all the sections (even saw his family pics) but missed that. You're right the loading time is long.

    We had snow all day yesterday, right after I posted (:-)). Don't mock Mother Nature is my new motto. I know I won't see a west coast Spring here but I sure hope it's a bit more mellow than the one they get in Winnipeg.

    jams - I've read that the winter in England this time is the coldest (by far) in more than 100 years. Please accept my condolences and I wish you an early Spring.

    pagan sphinx - I hope you'll be able to go back and look again. I have no idea how he's able to attain such amazing results with pencil. I'm one of those who helps support the eraser industry.

    liberality - Yes, he really has captured that ephemeral beauty of deep winter. Magical indeed :-)

    mrmacrum - It did snow right after I posted this but, although there's cover now, it's not deep. Further inland there's been a lot more snow so I'll just think we're lucky for the nearby ocean. Of course, there have been some good wind and rain storms.. I like weather.

    It turned out his site was down early today. It came back a little later so I hope you've been back for a look.

  13. Amazing drawing. I will follow the link and look for more.

    I recall several evenings getting to bed after painting and under the comforter, as I nearly drifted off, every move of my arms and legs was a sweeping change of the painting's composition, and a slow moving dance, like trees do in a landscape over decades... I loved that feeling and prolonged my transition to sleep in order to enjoy it as fully as possible.

    Colors can sometimes get me so wound up I can't sleep. So can composition. But only when I'm the one doing the painting - it doesn't happen when I view other artists' work, no matter for how long, or with what longing. Other artists' work usually makes me itch terribly to do my own. A trip to a museum is heavenly, but if I can't go home and paint afterward I feel all worked up and left unsatisfied.

  14. well, last night i ended up on this website so long i never got back here to leave a comment, even tho i wasn't sure i didn 't and had to double check first..... ah, age...and a few other things thrown in. isn't this magical work? i was completely transfixed by the talent of this man[?] and his drawing on paper with a no.2 pencil...i had all sorts of pictures in my head as a result of seeing these... thank you for sharing, i couldn 't figure out how to translate the whole site so just enjoyed the work... hoping you are doing better and better back there, up there, out there in the non-frozen tundra ....interesting the weather around the world, you have had a 'mild' one up there, we have had a cold, wet one, snow feet deep where there should be none and europe in it's own snowy mess...absolutely scary really.
    but not tonight, i too go to bed and lay here thinking, i am not asleep, why don't i just start painting or drawing and have before, and then, i end up at dawn, still awake, still painting or whatever and exhausted so now, i just lay here and be frustrated. ;) xoxo

  15. An interesting previous article on the evolution of painting. I think it is important in a painting your eye is attracted to the essential feature which is not obscured by too much detail although a few hidden surprises are not unwelcome. I am sure you manage very well in that department.

    The Russian drawing are exquisite but personally I find it hard to believe all these beautiful penciled drawings were not embellished one way or another. But you would now more about that than me. Nice to hear the winter is a mild one.

    Best wishes

  16. steve - His nature drawings really are magnificent but I wasn't so enthused about the people who sometimes appear. I hope you got to see some of the bigger pieces.

    I experience the same thing when I'm processing images for paintings and drawings. Sometimes the visions will be so beautiful I'll just relax and enjoy them on my way to sleep. Other times the colors and forms will be moving through my mind with such force that sleep eludes me for hours. That's when my only recourse is to get up and read for a while. Painting at 3am doesn't work.

    linda - I just enjoyed the stunning visions of winter he drew as well. Some of them went right over the top into the kind of fantasy elements we don't usually allow ourselves to imagine existing in the world we inhabit. They do, though, don't they?

    Did you know we're actually just really far east of where we were previously? The latitude is only 1 degree further north than Portland. There's some snow on the ground here since I wrote the post but at least they know to expect it and the cleanup response was swift. When it snowed in Portland we could be, and often were, stuck for days. I hope yours has melted by now.

    Like you, the one thing I can't do is get up to draw or paint once the vision hauntings are well under way. Now I'm getting smarter about it and will get up to read for a while just to clear my mind. Maybe that would help you too. Any port.. :-)

    lindsay - I'm glad you liked the post about how I painted that piece. It's always a challenge to decide what to put in place and what elements to either leave out or obscure.

    I have no idea what that artist's process is to get that amazing effect with pencil drawings. They looked pretty real to me but as you say, it would be interesting to see them in reality rather than on screen. Being able to do that seems unlikely.

    Best wishes

  17. i can vouch for the realism of the drawings - a really heavy snowfall of just the right kind of snow looks exactly as he depicts it. i walked through 3 dimensional replicas of those paintings the other day in the moonlight, with puppy frisking and diving out of sight into feather soft drifts beside me.

  18. Beautiful drawing!

    My daughter is in New Hampshire, in the thick of the big storm. Her boyfriend is stuck in Mass., covering the snow stories there. What a mess. She went into work this morning and found that just being in the parking lot for a couple of hours had her totally snowed in. It took her and a plow an hour and a half to get her out. She's going home and staying there the rest of the day.

    I think ice and snow belong in pictures, not falling on our heads in record snowfalls. :-)

  19. gfid - That sounds really beautiful. I know you probably needed no more company than Maestro's but it would have been lovely to share the walk.

    Naturally, it snowed here the day after I wrote this but so far it's been raining pretty much equally.

    nunly - I hope they're both okay. I must admit one thing I enjoyed about living in Portland was seeing snow on the mountains - 50 miles away.

  20. some things are meant to be shared.... i feel sure you would have appreciated the magic...... Maestro and i don't go out by moonlight these days.... someone spotted a cougar along those very same trails recently. a little frightening, the trails cutting through the heart and soft underbelly of the city as they do.