Friday, November 29, 2013

"Forecast: Cartooning"

   Weather is such an integral factor here that effects all aspects of daily life, and when the routine patterns are pushed into extremes it serves as a harsh reminder just how much our way of life is on the proverbial thin ice up here. This year in particular has been outta whack, especially the onset of the winter season: first the unusual warmth and lack of snow, and the delayed cold offset yet again with a recent bizarre storm that knocked out power for thousands of residents and caused widespread damage across the Interior.
   I was struck by the peripheral sense of chaos and disruption throughout the community as a result of the loss of a single utility that our survival hinges on in so many ways. Isolated in my artistic buffer zone and ensconced in the cabin I ride out most events on the mental periphery, or at least stay connected on-line. But what if there's no line anymore? Or worse - no coffee? This observation borne out by the quadrupling of vehicles at every local coffee hut and expresso stand, and even the line at the diner was out the door.
   Closer to home, cloistered in our neck of the woods, deep in the bottom of a valley we were additionally ensconced in a thicket of 3-story black spruce, which normally is a buffer for incliment conditions. Nevertheless we rode out the night in no small state of trepidation, listening to the crashing branches and pummeling sleet on shingles. In the morning we also discovered one way to get an Xmas tree delivered right to your doorstep: a 3' in circumference spruce whacked the roof dead-on, and was tall enough that the top tipped over the cabin and whipped down to snap off the final four feet and deposit it right on the porch. If the tree hadn't gotten initially hung up for a few hours on another one that was in its way, it would have surely caused some structural damage, but as it happened we were fortunately spared anything beyond a dent. Not all that different than the truck, or come to think of it, my own self.

   Incidentally this rubs up against another related topic I've been mulling over... housework. I would hazard a guess that the demographics of cartoonists are going to contain slightly higher numbers of folks who are well habituated to shouldering most of the household duties. This on account of either them being single, or the significant other is off working all day while we're laboring away at home, slaving over a hot sheet of Bristol. But seriously, the routine is usually a rhythym of draw: clean litterbox, draw, take dog out, draw, bring dog in, draw, vacuum, draw, dishes, draw, yardwork, draw, get dinner ready, draw (repeat). Taking "breaks" from the drawing table and/or monitor is crucial habit for health, but sometimes I can't help but wonder: which is work and which is the break?
   Regardless of conditions outside - or inside - I don't think an artist is ever done: the work is a way of life, so there's really no retirement, no breaks, no vacation. Snow days, weekends and holidays are all time to open up at least the sketchbook, if not tape up some paper and open a bottle... of ink.
Everybody have a safe weekend and enjoy time spent with friends & family!

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