Posts Tagged ‘snow’


We awoke to a white Christmas in Louisville.  Just enough snow to cover the lawns and trees.  By now all my Falls of the Ohio holiday cards have been sent out.  Usually, I have several designs going at once.  This year, I made cards featuring snowmen, a dog I made from river delivered Styrofoam, as well as one featuring a Styrofoam polar bear with one leg I found out here amazingly enough!  Sometimes the cards are funny and sometimes they riff on some aspect of the holidays we could live without.

Both of the snowmen I made were created using parts of old Christmas ornaments I have found out here.  Usually, the perfectly round Styrofoam balls I find were originally fabric covered baubles meant for the tree.  This first snowman also features a bottle cap hat which gives you some sense for its scale.  The nose on this one is actually a miniature carrot I also discovered in the sand and kept for just such a purpose as this!  I waited for the snow to arrive which it did this year just in time.

The little dog came from a previous post that most everybody missed and so I don’t feel as badly about recycling one of my former projects.  In this case, I thought the dog came out particularly well and deserved another chance to shine.  It’s made from Styrofoam and sticks, plastic, and tiny bits of coal thrown in to create eyes and a nose!  He’s so light that he doesn’t leave tracks in the snow!

I featured another image of this dog in my last post on the spoor of a particularly large bird which was a fun juxtaposition to work with.  In this overall group of photos, the object’s shadow plays a role as a design element.  As I recall, this was a very cold day with wind which caused some issues with the camera’s batteries.  I had little time to snap these before the camera turned itself off.  Among the other bits of polystyrene I was carrying on me was a “bear effigy” that I found out here this year.  I posed it in a few places along the way and here are some of the images.

Emerging from its hibernation, the one-legged Styro-Polar Bear encounters a rapidly changing landscape.  What was historically all ice and snow is now a melting landfill.

I mounted the Styro-bear on a small piece of wood I found out here so it could stand up.  I found it in damaged condition missing one of its legs.  I have no idea what this was originally intended to represent, but it reads bear-like to me.  The bear is such a resonant image going back to the beginnings of art and ironically I find one that says something about the here and now and our relationship with nature.  Much has changed.

 One final snowman before closing and this one wears a blue hat!  I made this guy as a window decoration for a display at work, but couldn’t resist adding his portrait to the winter series.  Although he was made with Falls materials…he’s strictly a visitor.

Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, etc… to everyone out there.  My best to all in the coming year!

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I’m the only one out here and for good reason too.  It is just so cold and the wind isn’t helping matters at all.  My eyes peer through a narrow exposed  slit formed by the bottom of my hat and the top of my scarf which covers most of my face.  On a day like today it is good to have a purpose and I do.  Each year I make my own set of holiday cards and mail them off to family and friends and I use the Falls of the Ohio to provide materials and context.

The snow changes things by generalizing the landscape.  You need to be careful where you step out here since the snow gives you a false sense of security.  All the old dangers are still out here…they are just harder to see.  A misstep can cause you to fall or twist an ankle and it is slippery walking on top of this wood. 

For me, however, all these miserable conditions are worth the moments of enchantment that occur.  Every day objects take on a renewed visual interest and new compositions are created.

With the vegetation gone, this frayed barge cable shows up easily on the willow branches that have snagged it.  The river deposited it long a go and it is finally falling apart.  Next spring, strands of this rope will form parts of next year’s oriole nests.  What I also find interesting here is how the wind, sand, and snow blow together to form a light drifting mixture.

Walking towards my outdoor studio site, I unexpectantly came across these tracks in the sand and snow.  These were made by a very large bird and I thought Great Blue Heron or even Sandhill Crane?  It’s unusual to see these bird tracks here since the herons in particular stay closer to the water’s edge.

The little dog traveling with me couldn’t resist seeing where the tracks led to.  The sand and snow mixture may have exaggerated the true size of this bird.  After a short walk the tracks end here.

I wonder if what is recorded here is a brief moment of indecision?  First, the bird turns one way then another and then the tracks are gone.  It may have jumped into the air from this spot since there are no other tracks in the immediate area.

I come across another nice snow/sand drift and start taking a few shots for my holiday cards.  I had made this little Styro-snowman with a Blue Hat at home with Falls’ materials and brought him along.  Here he is admiring the drift as he walks on one side of it.  Each time I take a picture I need to take my glove off and before long my finger tips start to burn.  The longer I’m out here…the more purposeful I become.

Reaching my familiar site, I find the large figures that watch my back.  Other than the snow, more has changed here since my last visit.  There’s a new figure leading the group like a skinny choir master.  It’s getting harder to take a simple picture and I think the day is getting colder still.  The camera is freezing and the batteries are getting zapped.  Soon, I won’t be able to take pictures and I decide to turn around after about a half an hour’s walk.  I did take one other picture for this post from my snow filled studio.  It shows that indeed, milk crates can hold water…as long as it’s frozen.  See previous posts a go.  Time for some hot chocolate and heat!

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Presently, the ice and snow are gone at the Falls of the Ohio.  A warming trend the past few days has pretty much taken care of that.  Over the last several years, snow at the Falls has been a relatively scarce event and we have been limited to a couple dustings now and then.  It will be interesting to see how this winter plays out.  Will there be more of the white stuff or was that it for this year?  Certainly, there is this love/hate relationship with snow.  In Kentuckiana, we really don’t receive much snowfall, but when it’s in the forecast there is all kinds of anxiety that manifests itself in bizarre behavior.  The suggestion of an inch or two of snow can cause a run on certain grocery items and the local school systems fret about whether they should close or not!  I confess that I like the snow.  I appreciate its transformative power in an otherwise drab and dull season.  I also like that it can cause you to pause and reflect on what’s important and that’s beneficial.

My last few posts have shown some of my artwork in relationship to ice formations at the Falls.  Following are some other shots I made out here that I thought were interesting images.  Water defines this planet and to see it behaving in its frozen state is a beautiful experience.  Many of the best formations occur closest to the river and hang on the smaller willow trees that exist there.

Don’t these shapes look like ice “jellyfish”?  I marvel at how these formations build up.  I’m guessing that these shapes are created from several things happening in quick succession.  Melting that occurs from the sun shining on the ice higher in the tree causes a drip to run down these narrow branches.  At night, the fog and mist generated from the warmer rivers coats the terminal end of the branch and then refreezes.  The ice finds it easier to build up on preexisting ice.  Anyway,  I like the way it plays with light!

Here are a few pictures of ice-covered willows near the river’s edge.  It’s been awhile since the river itself was frozen and is something I’ve witnessed only a couple of times.  It’s not a routine event.  If memory serves me, the last time that happened was 1996?  Maybe someone out there remembers?

That car tire has been half-buried in the mud for over a year!  Here’s another tire I came across.  This one, however, is coated in ice creating a frozen circle.

There are a few months more of winter a head of us and so if it snows again…I will be sure to come back out here with my camera.  I’ll end with this last image of snow covering the driftwood at the Falls of the Ohio.

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Not much remains of the season’s first snow at the Falls of the Ohio…except for these images.  I shot these last weekend as well as another figure that I’m unveiling today.  I call him (or her?) the Skater and originally posed this figure on ice before moving on to investigate other locations.

Skater’s head is made from some odd bit of insulating material covered in black paper.  The facial features join a variety of materials including found plastic, wood, a clam shell, and a small acorn.  I had to chip a tiny hole in the ice in order for this figure to stand up.  I zigged-zagged across the park imagining this small guy visiting the sights with me.  Here are a few of the other scenes we came across.

I’m always on the look out for bird life.  During this time of the year duck watching can be very productive.  Although on this day, all I came across were these Mallards, it’s not unusual to see during winter other species including Common Goldeneyes, White-winged Scoters, and Canvasbacks.  Ring-billed Gulls, Great Blue Herons, Carolina Wrens, Song Sparrows, Canada Geese, and Northern Cardinals were among the other year-round residents seen on this day.

The temperatures are somewhere in the high teens, but luckily there is no wind to really make things cold!  After checking out the water’s edge with its ice formations, I moved back inland to check on my studio site and the few sculptures that are still in place.  Skater trudged along with me to say hello.

Among the past projects we came across were Pot Belly and Cross-legged Lorraine holding their positions.  Since the really cold weather, there haven’t been as many people out here to potentially mess with them.  A quick look around the snow didn’t show any human footprints.  There were, however, loads of various kinds of animal tracks now generalized by the elements.  Next I visited my Styrofoam cache, but couldn’t see much of it due to the snow.  Three figures from this past year were still on guard.

After a couple hours, I started to get hungry and the thought of a fresh cup of coffee seemed blissful.  I headed back to my car enjoying the sound of icy snow underfoot.  Skater decided to stay at the outdoor studio and I went ahead without him (or her).  I walked past that mysterious object that my son Adam dubbed in the spring, “…that giant plug at the bottom of the river”.  It will take a mighty flood to float this thing away.  I wonder who will eventually inherit it?

I still have some nice ice images to share with you from this day and perhaps I will put that post together in a day or so.  As I was walking home, I saw this object sticking out of the snow and it amused me and so, I’ll end this winterland adventure with it.  Might go good with coffee and pie!

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