A Fine Rain

Since writing my last post, I’ve been thinking that it was perhaps a bit too negative — essentially a moan about the weather (though admittedly that is a characteristically British pastime!).

A much more positive view on the subject is taken by a couple of the characters in the novel That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis.

It’s been several years since I last read Lewis’ Cosmic Trilogy, of which this book is the final instalment (I was going to say “third and final” but I realised this was slightly redundant since, with the notable exception of the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy trilogy, the number of books is clearly indicated in the word “trilogy”) and I haven’t had a chance to dig out my copy to check the names of the characters or precisely what they had to say about the weather. The gist of it, though, was that they enjoyed the weather in all its manifestations, not just the warm, sunny weather that most people would call “good”.

Ever since first reading the book (probably a good 25 years ago now) I have felt that this was a sensible policy to adopt, although I often fall far short of managing it and I think there are situations, when lives and livelihoods are threatened by by extreme meteorological conditions, that call for responses other than enjoyment. Most of the time, though, it’s better to aim to relish the variety of weather conditions — the warm summer sun, the soft refreshing rain, the power and majesty of a thunderstorm (a phenomenon which occurs very rarely in my part of the world – I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of full-on thunderstorms I’ve experienced since moving to North Wales nearly 20 years ago, and at least one of those was while I was on holiday elsewhere), the sheer beauty of a pristine snowfall, or whatever.

With that in mind, allow me to observe that I experienced a fine rain on my way home from work this evening.

The term “fine rain” is, of course, ambiguous and I must confess that the sense I was primarily thinking of as I cycled home was that sort of small, light raindrop that still somehow manages to totally get in your eyes and soak you through (despite wearing so-called waterproofs) within seconds, rather than a particularly excellent specimen of precipitation. Trying to think more positively about it, at least this sort of rain is relatively gentle (and quiet) compared to the heavy rain that I often have to contend with or, worse, hail (I still have a hard time trying to find any enjoyment in being outside in a hailstorm). Fine rain is more like a gentle, though persistent, caress and actually quite refreshing. Another nice thing about it is getting home and being able to change out of your wet clothes into nice dry, warm things. And it’s pretty good for the garden (if not experienced too often).

Despite those positives, I would definitely not think of it as being the sort of weather that would particularly make you want to eat ice cream. I was therefore rather surprised to see an ice cream van (complete with classic, slightly-out-of-tune jingle) driving down my road as I reached home.

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Hearing the weather

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain lashing against my windows, accompanied by wind. This is not unusual for where I live, especially at this time of year.

More or less my first conscious thought of the day was “The weather sounds pretty horrible today”. This was followed by a time of pondering the fact that if we can hear the weather at all it is usually a bad sign.

Obviously it’s quite possible for the weather to be very bad in complete silence, for example heavy snow. However, I am at a loss to think of anything that would be considered as good weather by most people in most circumstances that would make a significant noise. All the loud weather phenomena I can think of (heavy rain, strong wind, hail, thunder etc.) would definitely fit into the category of bad weather.

Fortunately by the time I actually set off for work, an hour or two after waking up, the rain had eased off substantially and the wind had dropped quite a bit. It was actually quite sunny (albeit still moderately breezy) by the time I cycled home, though it did start raining again fairly soon after I arrived.

Figuary is finished (for now)

Figuary 2019 is now over.

As I have mentioned once or twice in recent posts, Figuary is a daily life drawing challenge set by the Croquis Café and LoveLifeDrawing YouTube channels, running through the month of February. Serendipitously, I discovered these channels (or more strictly speaking, I restarted drawing after a long gap, joined a weekly life drawing class that happens to take place in the building where I work, blogged about it mostly because I accidentally came up with a too-cool-to-ignore title for a post on the subject and was subsequently directed to the channels by my brother Wulf — I don’t know how or when he first came across them but I’m very grateful for the pointer) just before the first ever Figuary took place.

I have very much enjoyed watching the daily instructional videos from LoveLifeDrawing and trying to put the lessons into practice with the daily pose videos from Croquis Café. My results were quite variable from day to day, but I think there was a definite improvement in my drawing skills over the course of the month. I managed to keep up with all the daily videos and draw all the poses from each one (as well as a couple of extras on a day when I got fed up with the model moving too much and ended up pausing the video!). Having switched from a single page to two pages of my (A3) Figuary sketchbook each day from about the middle of the month (when they tackled the subject of drawing on a larger scale – I’d already given myself an extra page on the second Sunday to allow for the extra poses in the longer session that day) I ended up filling 43 pages of my sketchbook, as well as half a dozen A5 sheets on the first day (when I didn’t have my sketchbook ready — I did another set of drawings from the same video the next day), doing a total of 192 sketches specifically for Figuary, not counting all the ones I did in my life class or from the back-catalogue of Croquis Café videos or other sources). As well as putting copies of all of them in my general Croquis Café album on Flickr, I have now set up an album specifically for my Figuary 2019 drawings (I have another one for my life drawings done at my actual life class and one for miscellaneous figure drawings based on other sources)

Now that Figuary is over, I may not do life drawing every day, but I certainly intend to keep up my daily drawing habit. As for the figure drawing, I’m planning at least to keep going to my weekly life class for as long as possible (as drawing from life beats drawing from videos hands down in almost every respect) and to keep up with the new figure drawing resource videos appearing weekly at the Croquis Café. I’m also due to be attending the Oxford Summer School this year (at the end of July) to have 3 days of instruction on drawing from dance, so I’m hoping that the life drawing (and general drawing) practice I have done and will have done by then will give me a good foundation for that.

I gather they are planning to run another Figuary next year (presumably sometime between the months of January and March!) and I very much hope they do. If so, I fully intend to participate again. And since it’s due to be a leap year, I guess we may even get 29 days of drawing instead of just 28.