Roxbury Puddingstone

Three Irresistibles

It has been a few weeks since I posted, so here are some 'first day of winter' thoughts and images, while I pop up for air from the frantic pace of the season.

Setting off through the afternoon woods on the darkest day of the year. Michelle Geffken, 2014

This is always a time of year that stymies normality and routine for us, between a snowstorm of birthdays, Thanksgiving, and then the race for Christmas. This year, add in airport trips to pick up or drop off kids. A car accident that almost totaled our van but thankfully resulted in no injuries. Helping with my son's college applications. And a three week visit from our first grandchild, that sent everyone scrambling in the attic for the boxed-up baby toys, and got us lost in hours of playing and encouraging irresistible baby Rose to crawl.

   Used by permission, copyright Liz Steel, 2014


Used by permission, copyright Liz Steel, 2014

Sketching Now!

I also began Liz Steel's sketchbooking foundations class, "Sketching Now." This three month, online class focuses on 'visual thinking for spontaneous sketching.' Learning to see quickly and translating what you see to the sketchbook page. Over six hundred people from all over the world are attending. It's delightful to see such burgeoning interest in sketching and Liz Steel is one of the best teachers out there.

In the New Year, I hope to report on how I've been applying the lessons and show you some of the results.

First lesson learned though: do not get caught up in a specific materials list, even though you're told it doesn't have to be followed exactly. I find myself unable to ignore the ideal offered and unable to proceed until I have the suggested list. Quite ridiculous because the principles can be gleaned from Liz's lessons regardless, something that she's quick to emphasize. Ah, but art supplies are as irresistible as baby Rose.

I've heard from several of you Paperbloggers who're eager to get going with sketchbooking, and a common initial response is that you went to the store, tried to get a sketchbook, but still haven't decided on one. We are all in search of getting the 'right' thing.

There are obviously some tips to be passed on about products that someone loves, but the secret delight of sketchbooking truly is that there are no perfect or just right materials and that what you have  now, or the sketchbook you already saw at the store, is fine. Just get going with what you have.

So that is what I'm going to do. And I'll let you know the results.

A Quick Puddingstone Revisit

And as a followup to my rant about the irresistible Boston beauty, Puddingstone, today, on the shortest day of the year, my husband and I could not resist snatching a walk in the gathering gloom before it completely descended, traipsing off in search of more of the lumpy stone for which Boston is known.

Hammond Pond Woods in the Chestnut Hill area has some of the lumpiest and largest examples and it was there that we headed. Snow was gently descending with the gloom, keeping some brightness in the air. Spring-like moss carpeted the woods, fall leaves lay strewn, untouched by a gardner. All the seasons except summer collided on this darkest day, captured in the timeless woods.

We found a fifty foot high escarpment of puddingstone that seemed to have a quarried flat face. I've seen climbers rappelling down its face before but had never thought of climbing it myself. Turned out there was a steep but manageable climb at the side and up we went. And even on the top the moss was growing thick.

Rocky outcroppings of Roxbury Puddingstone, official stone of Massachusetts. Michelle Geffken, 2014

Spring-like moss, fall leaves and winter snow, in the woods. Michelle Geffken, 2014

The tallest outcrop of Puddingstone in the area. Its face bears the marks of quarrying. Michelle Geffken, 2014

Fissures big enough for a man's arm. Michelle Geffken, 2014.

Way to the top! How long has that tree been growing there? And how can anything grow on the surface of a rock? Michelle Geffken, 2014

Hammond Pond from near the top of the Puddingstone. Michelle Geffken, 2014

More tree life at the top of the rock. Michelle Geffken, 2014

And lichen mixed with moss. A lovely set of colors. Michelle Geffken, 2104

Panorama at the top. Michelle Geffken, 2014