Sunday, January 18, 2015

winter weekend in Halifax

We're in the midst of a typical Halifax winter right now and that means the temperatures bounce back and forth between very cold and just above freezing with the addition of some often powerful winds. Considering there's usually some precipitation in the offing we can expect snow and rain in sometimes equal measure with the result that whatever hits the ground usually freezes. Icy patches and lumpy icy footprints make walking more a trial than an enjoyable outing to one's favorite haunts. Of course we're still going to the park as often as we can (barring storms and below zero windy days) but we've been avoiding the higher paths because whatever you walk up also has to be walked down - the same route the water has taken when the snow melted a bit. Ah well, at least we're almost a month past the shortest day so I won't complain.

Yesterday it was 5° and windy, so instead of the park, we decided to go and see a movie we'd been looking forward to - 'Inherent Vice'. The book written by Thomas Pynchon has become a favorite of ours, at least as far as normal size novels go. ('Against the Day' at 1100 pages is our real favorite and highly recommended if you haven't read Pynchon since 'Gravity's Rainbow'.) 'Inherent Vice' is a comedic hard-boiled novel about a hippie detective in late 60s LA. Numb, who lived there in those years, found the book very true to his memories of the time. I lived elsewhere back then but also remember the period and attitudes similarly - as probably do you. Anyway, the movie was very disappointing for both of us. The director and scriptwriter, Paul Thomas Anderson, born in 1970, seems to have missed the feeling of the book and the time entirely by turning the wild and joyous original into character studies of the detective, his ex-girlfriend (who hardly appears in the novel), and the policeman. He made such a wonderful job of portraying the early 20th century in 'There Will Be Blood' that we thought this would have been easy.  Instead, we didn't even get to see LA since almost everything was filmed inside. Anyway, I see it has a few good reviews but we gave it a one star.

We rarely go to movies these days anyway since it's much more pleasant to rent or stream them. 'Avatar' was great at the theater with our 3D glasses perched on our noses (^^). I have to say what made yesterday's experience bad before the start was having to watch commercials in 'surround sound' and then seeing previews for 'Hot Tub Time Machine 2' and some other silly overly frantic things neither of us can remember. No wonder 'The Interview' got made and released if those movies are typical of what audiences pay money for now.

Speaking of art of one kind or another, I've got myself stuck again in my attempt to illustrate the story a friend's daughter wrote many years ago. The problem is in keeping all the pictures at the same design and color levels. At this point I've just about come to the conclusion it doesn't really matter if they all look different since (for better or worse) my particular style is always going to be there even if the girl's shirt is pink in one picture and peach in another. Geez. What can I say, but I'm just not a comic book artist (a fine and worthy profession though it may be). This is a recent practice picture - still deciding on paper type and how much inking is the right amount.

Stay cozy.


marja-leena said...

May your winter be no worse than at this time and go quickly. Days are getting longer and soon it will be spring (my snowdrops tell me so).

Your experience at the movies reminds me of the time we went to see Herzog's 3D film on Chauvet Caves and found those ads and previews very loud and far too long. We had not been to a movie theatre in decades and that may be the last time. We borrow DVDs from the library for free and play them on our old but still good TV (which is not connected to cable).

We artists are our own worst critics. Your work is lovely and definitely has your own style. No one will notice the shirt colour change!

Tom said...

Predicted temperatures below freezing. I really do not like the offends me, you know. I should be hibernating but human life will not allow. Lovely picture as usual. They always lift my heart, even when a lift isn't necessary.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

There is a lovely delicacy about all your art.

susan said...

Snowdrops? You have snowdrops? We don't see snowdrops or crocus here until late March or April. In Portland, however..

As far as film entertainment goes you're a couple after our own hearts. We like watching older movies and foreign ones on our uncabled tv set. It's so nice to be able to pause the film when one needs a break for a snack or something. For some odd reason that's not something movie theaters accommodate for anymore.

I'm definitely a serious critic of my work - largely because I really can't paint what I see in my imagination. I'm always happy to read your compliments :)

susan said...

I feel the same way about winter, Tom. My mood always nosedives as winter draws closer but I'm feeling somewhat better now - so spring must be a tiny bit closer.

I truly appreciate you saying my pictures lift your heart.

susan said...

Thanks so much, Andrew.

Rob-bear said...

Sounds like things are going per usual in your corner of Canada. A little too tempestuous for this Bear. I like my hibernation times to be quiet, though the snow machines have found a way of interrupting my rest. GGGRRRRrr.

I slipped over to "Adventures Ink" and saw what I had been missing. I have made a note to go there more often. I've also made a note to spend more time with my poetry blog. We'll see what becomes of those two notes.

See you in the spring. Blessings and Bear hugs, susan! Best regards to Crow.

susan said...

Good to see you poked your furry muzzle out of your hibernation cave, RB. Yeah, stuck out here on the bit of Canada that faces the North Atlantic tempestuous is a good description of the winter weather.

How nice to know you've been by to visit 'Adventures Ink'. I'm still quite pleased with some of the stories I managed to get done when that blog was a going concern. I hope you do stick with your goal of writing more poetry.

All the best that our mutual experiences of winter will be gentle ones.
Crow sends his salutations.

L'Adelaide said...

I read this a few days ago in email but couldn't really do much about it then... ugh. anyway now i don't have energy to read your whole post again but wanted to say how much i am enjoying your little people... i think if you try and make them match... well, boring, no? i think that is asking to much of yourself to keep within such strict parameters. now if i'm way off, like i said i didn't read this all tonight.... forgive me... i'm feeling better and holding my breath, tho i'd be blue either way. :-/

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
Trust Halifax dodges the worst of the winter use and winds, or should I say you stay warm and still manage an odd walk in the park.
Like you I also really enjoyed 'Avatar' with the 3D glasses.
Your picture looks superb and oozes character.
Best wishes

susan said...

Sweet Linda, I sympathize with what you've been going through and well understand your inability to pay much attention to blogging. Meanwhile, though, I'm glad you like the pictures for this and the other project. You're right in thinking that it's boring to attempt to create art within strict parameters. That's why I could never be an illustrator of books for children.

susan said...

Hi Lindsay
After many days of severe cold with snow on the ground we finally had a day of rain followed by a sunny and dry one today. The walk in the park was a normal one up over the hills and down along the shore.
'Avatar' was fun that way, wasn't it? I'm not sure there needs to be another, but Cameron is apparently making a sequel and then, and only then, will we go back to the movie theater. :)
I'm delighted to know you like the picture.
All the best

Steve Emery said...

I think this picture's best feature is that overhanging outcropping - what a lovely shape! And wonderful trees!!! Fun shorthand for pines, and hopefully it helps your friend's daughter's readers to notice how pines actually grow...

Lisa Golden said...

I love the rabbit's expression.

As for movies, I've seem some very very bad ones in the last year and a half. And I don't even expect much.

susan said...

I'm glad you like it, Steve. I seem to have difficulty illustrating something written by anyone other than me. After several months I'm still trying to get a handle on how to present this one.

susan said...

I drew several 'natural' rabbits but this one looked best.

There are so many bad modern movies we've generally been in the habit of watching old ones and foreign ones.

clairesgarden said...

your weather sounds much like what's happening here. when everything is done for the day I mostly just go to bed with a hot water bottle, I'll read or browse - the lap top just picks up a signal in there. not worth trying to heat the main body of the caravan.. just the little room can be warm enough to be comfortable.

susan said...

I'm guessing you're not too fond of winter either, Claire. The hot water bottle sounds very nice - til it gets cold, that is :)