Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow at last

Tamara talking
Skype sketch
black and grey marker on bond paper
11 x 16 inches
Barbara Muir © 2010

I am an Ottawa girl although I've lived longer in
Toronto than I did in the Nation's capital. But
we grew up with snow -- lots of it. Before global
warming Ottawa used to experience a whole
lot of the white stuff. They still have more than
we ever do, but it's not the same. As a child I
was sent outside in my snowsuit to play with my
brothers from dawn until dusk. A huge pleasure
was making forts. We dug them out of the snowbanks
by the driveway. Someone had to shoo us out
of there when my father was coming home from
work. But I distinctly remember three children
being able to get inside with snow bank above
and below. We fancied ourselves to be arctic

Toronto? Forget it. A few centimeters of snow
fell today and everyone was talking about it.
well who can blame them, this winter has been
a winter in temperature only. Neighbours were
out with their snow shovels, people were
warned to stay off the roads. I didn't get out
north of the city, where the weather is always
wild compared to Toronto's tame weather.
But here in town this was not a storm. It
was so warm that the snow was melting
quickly into big slushy puddles. It's the first
time all winter I've had to wear my high
lined rubber boots to wade through first the
snow, and then the melting stuff.

I felt grateful to my Mom and Dad today for
raising me where the weather was dependably
undependable in winter. Grateful to my
driving instructor who taught me to drive in
winter, and grateful to that inner Ottawa girl
who found the whole idea of being stopped
cold by a bit of snow funny. Sorry Toronto.

Have an enjoying-your-weather-and-your-inner-


cohen labelle said...

In our generation we were all sent out to play come snow, rain or shine. Growing up in Montreal, David’s mom sent him out to play hockey at the age of three in the nearby open air rink in Outremont close to Bloomfield. Now there is another real winter time city. Hilariously so.
Of course we all know about the legendary winters I grew up with on the prairies.
It just so happens that Toronto and Hamilton aren’t really in the snow belt. But I can remember walloping snow storms that would hit Toronto coming our way all the way from Buffalo. It would shut every thing down including the art college and people would be skiing in the streets.
But as you know there’s snow and then there’s the anticipation of it and the media play this to the hilt.
So there you are and there is your lovely Tamara – another splendid skype drawing.

xoxoxoxo, Marcia

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Marcia,

My brother has never forgiven me for breaking his cap gun (toy) trying to dig a hole in the ice covering a stream near our house so we could go ice fishing. We were blessed with a park with a huge fallen tree over the stream (which was turned into a horse of course) and a cave-like structure where we built imaginary camp fires, and played so many different scenarios.
I always hauled my doll around with me, and ordered my brother into his roles.

I feel quite chagrined now about my diatribe because north of the city the storm was serious.

Take care,

Melinda said...

I love this skype portrait, Barbara! You've really got this down!

Your stories about growing up with real weather are fantastic too. Reminds me that we desert folk are big, big babies. Around here, if it starts to rain, just a little bit, people slow down with mouths agape, having minor fender benders. No way could we handle snow...of any kind. Very funny.

As a California girl, my closest snowy experience was sitting at my school desk, head down and under my arctic blue, fuzzy coat pretending I was in a cold place.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

In really cold weather, cold is the farthest thing from fun. But living here you learn how to dress, and how to keep warm pretty quickly. Plus the beauty of snow is enchanting. Right now we've finally got a small layer, and it's like a present after this winter's dry spell. We wear warm everything, and you've seen the
winter Olympics maybe. People are having fun. You aren't babies. We couldn't stand that level of heat, although the truth here is that we get every kind of weather -- and heat is part of it.

Come on up Melinda, and we'll give you a fuzzy coat, and let you see the beauty of real snow.


Liza Hirst said...

Yes, I remember playing in the snow, too. And I loved it!
Great drawing, Barbara! Especially the eyes are amazing, so sparkly.
I like the delicate shadows you have drawn on her face. Wonderful.

eldon warren said...

The weather is indeed odd. I grew up in Nebraska and it Was cold.Things have changed a bit I guess though I'll be the last to complain about it being too warm. I'm not sure why I haven't headed for a warmer climate. Remind me some day to tell you about it. Brrrrr

Cold wind chasing snow
over furrows through fences
and into Kansas

Once in a while I'll write a haiku. This is a memory of a stubble field in Western Nebraska. Very cold as I remember. 1957 about.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liza,

Today we took the dog to the park in the snow. She was so happy, running like crazy. Then we made snowman balls with the wet perfect snow, and never managed to actually get a snowman together because the dog thought the whole thing was a game and shredded every giant snowball we made with her paws in exuberant delight.


Barbara Muir said...

Love the Haiku Eldon. I remember days so cold that even in layers and layers, and down over top, warm boots, neck warmers, thick hats, down hoods pulled tight on parkas, you weren't cold except for about three square inches of skin around your eyes that you couldn't cover because then you couldn't see. It hasn't ever
been like that this winter. Now there are 21 days until spring.


Take care,


Portrait Artist

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!