Apologies for the break in service: I have been distracted by some rather industrial gardening whilst the weather is fine.
However, a little update is in order as by next Tuesday I shall have to have something prepared for the first day back in the etching studio… so, on with the Medusa pictures. I had an idea that a scarecrow Medusa might be fun. September is a month I’ve not yet covered in the calendar, and so that seemed an appropriate month, too. This was my first sketch:
There were the crows in the background, there was Medusa in the foreground amongst the fat corn, in a kind of motley collection of clothes. I’m not sure the stick is helping the effect at all, but that wasn’t really the main problem. I spent a lot of time thinking about this picture and what worried me is that there is not really very much to suggest that Medusa is a scarecrow. The etching process doesn’t really do fine detail – the sort of fine detail that could depict ‘scarecrow clothes’… and posing her with her arms out straight on a rod would just look like someone had tied her up, and I don’t want that sort of picture!
…And then I thought that the thing about scarecrows is that you see a lone figure in a field in the distance, not in the foreground. So I ditched that sketch entirely and reversed everything:
Maybe she should still be standing with her arms out straight… and maybe my crows look a bit like blackbirds… but I think this is more promising, and will work better with an etching technique… and so the Medusa etchings progress, just not very quickly at present!
And by way of explanation as to why I have not been getting on with artwork recently, here is one of my gardening projects – a quick lesson in How to Plant a Fig Tree:
Step one: make sure you really, really want a fig tree, because to some extent planting it (round here at least) is a labour of love… and to a greater extent it’s just simply hard labour. Actually this is the second one I’ve planted so this came as no surprise this time. I like fig trees 🙂
Step two: dig a hole two foot square, and two foot deep. Or dig the four foot by one foot hole that is dictated by the space you have, and, when you get to the hard, hard clay eighteen inches down it is probably best to stop digging, for fear that you are simply making an underground pond.
If you have ground like I do, you will then have a lot of rocks. Big ones and very big ones and some small ones.
Step three: line the hole with two foot paving slabs. See the note about underground ponds in step 2 for why the slabs do not in fact go all the way in…
This is the ‘Fig Pit’ – it is to restrict the roots of the fig, because otherwise apparently the plant just makes leaves and leaves and grows like a mad thing, but with no fruit.
Step four: put the small and medium rocks back into the bottom, soil after that, and finally, your fig tree.
Step five. stand back and admire your work, while you wonder where to put the big rocks…
One soon-to-be fig tree. It’s the little short twig: the much longer stick that you can see is a bamboo cane behind it, but the fig I planted two years ago is doing quite nicely now, so I have high hopes of it… and maybe plans for a third one when I’m feeling brave, because the last one will be a bit tricky!
And that is just one of the reasons why I have been slow on the artwork lately…