Usually by the end of February, the cold starts to ease a bit. Not this year. We’ve had a few days around 40° F (4° C), but then it’s back to the deep freeze. Last night was -8° F (-22°C). Makes walking the dog prior to sunrise lots of fun. I need double wool mittens, a thick knit hat and my Maine Game Warden’s coat. Snow piles along the side of the road are 4′ to 5′ high in places, and it gets quite narrow, sort of like a toboggan run.
In the shop I’ve been dragging my feet finishing up a single door cabinet. On really cold days it takes two trips to the wood pile to stay comfy. But at least the sun is higher.
The Lost Art Press has asked for ten more trees to add to the book With The Grain, and I’m busy collecting samples and photos. My daughter is doing the pen and ink drawings this time: silhouettes, twigs, leaves, and fruit. Finding photos for the silhouettes is a real challenge. Last fall I went out with the Arborist for the city of Portland and we located most of the trees. Believe it or not, I even got a photo of a Douglas fir, right in South Portland.
The trees need to be “typical”, and growing in the open, to make them easier to draw. Last weekend I spent a few hours on snowshoes hunting down a nice hornbeam. They are pretty common, usually growing in damp areas and along riverbanks. I slogged almost a mile into the woods before I found a good specimen. Even got a good photo of the bark. Hornbeam, a really tough, hard wood, is sometimes called ironwood, blue beech or muscle-wood. The bark is smooth and undulates in wide ridges , like muscles.
I already have the photomicrographs of the end grain of each of the woods, and the wood samples, too. Now all that is left is to write the copy for each of the trees.
If you enjoyed the dovetail article in FWW issue #239, The box I made for the article is now available on the SPECIALS page. C.H. Becksvoort © 2014