There is never a dull moment around here. I wanted to have a cup of coffee with my readers and bring you up to date. Much of studio life takes place outside the walls of the studio. My studio is on my property in rural eastern Washington, and my family life and other country happenings this week have kept me away from art and this screen.
1. My son, Carson, stayed overnight in the hospital last week with a skin disease. His skin is now almost clear, and he is doing great. It was hard for the parents of an eight year old, but for him it was like a stay in a luxury hotel. He missed school all week except half a day, and last night, I took him to the movies. I have been updating peeps via Facebook.
2. Yesterday, May 8th, commemorated the end of WW II in Europe. Sixty-five years ago the unconditional surrender went into effect and was dubbed V-E Day. The US press was absent, for the most part, in commemorating this, but I see that the UK and much of Europe, and Canada did have ample press regarding this important date. Since my US audience needs remedial history on this, I have prepared a set of five facts you didn't know about V-E Day, which is at the bottom of this post.
3. Let's do the bear story next. Yesterday morning I found myself in the woods alone with a bear. This has happened to me a handful of times, but I usually don't get too charged up about it. The American Black Bear is pretty much like a big, cuddly dog who leaves you alone if you leave him alone. This one was different. This bruin was very large, and uncomfortably close. I estimated about 70 yards away, and above me. His color was an amazing cinnamon brown, but not like the brown or blond that marks the back of Black Bears sometimes. This guy was head to claw cinnamon brown, and flawless. Because of the size, and the unusual color, I started doing the checklist in my head that is titled: "Is This a Grizzly?"
He was looking at me. I was looking at him and doing the field taxonomy that any sane woodsman does in his head. First, you look for the hump at the shoulders. Since he was above me, I couldn't make one out, but I did note the distance from shoulder to chest was massive. The head also lacked that dog shape common to Black Bears. Instead, it was big and round - I would say massive. He turned his head once, and then gazed back at me. He had heard me crashing over branches and had come up to see what the noise was all about. He was calculating his moves, too. Is this little thing dangerous to me? Should I saunter off, or give him the growl? What does he taste like?
The bear's decision was to walk in my direction, which is either the common curiosity of bears, or the run-up to you-know-what. By this time, I had finished my list, and my new task was egress. He had me tactically, because he was on a level contour, and I had to ascend diagonally to get to the field and "outta there." As I made my way up, I could see his bright red coat coming through the trees.
So, that was fun. The neighbor saw a large bear track on the road the other day, too. A guy looks for this kind of commiseration when he has an out-sized story to tell. Was this a Brown Bear? I'll never know. If he was a Black, then he gets the prize for beauty, and is in my top 3 for size. I did see a Grizzly in the wild one other time, but it was a roadside event in Banff. That was a monstrous bear, tearing at roots like a machine, and I would say twice the size of my bear from yesterday. Except yesterday, I didn't have a car.
4. How to top that? All the news I have left is the two litters of kittens we have. My 7 year old daughter finds them much more engaging than my bear story.
Now, all that energy can be channeled into the studio. See you next time.
Five facts about VE-Day:
1. The unconditional surrender document was signed on the 7th of May, and ratified on the 8th. The allies wanted to avoid the troubles surrounding the WW I armistice by having the German High Command as signators this time.
2. No head of state was present at either the German surrender ceremony or the Japanese one on September 2, 1945.
3. The surrender in the Mediterranean Theater was the 2nd of May, 1945.
4. Susan Hibbert typed the document of surrender in English.
5. The surrender of Italy on September 3rd of 1943 had some wiggle room at first, and only later became "unconditional."
Bear photo: Madfelix.
Kittens photo: Lorie Klahn