New Year's Eve is a favorite day of my year because our cul de sac has a "Winter Wander" party organized by our fabulous next-door neighbors. About 20 of us go from house to house, sampling some tasty party food plus a wine pairing. The street is a magical combination of personalities and caring about each other. All of our kids, from 4 to 24 years of age, have been growing up on this street, and in this atmosphere, with lots of outdoor play and the usual drama of waxing and waning childhood friendships. The party is laid back, we come and go throughout the evening to recharge our batteries in our quiet house, and it ends with everyone in the next-door neighbor's TV room counting down and hollering and exchanging first kisses of the year, followed by corny jokes and ending with a few of us left, talking about movies, comics, books, music, and borrowing CDs. Last night's party was as good as any in the tradition, and I'm still glowing with the memories.
Early on the morning of the eve I had looked out one of our front windows and saw the sun gilding the tops of the loblollies in the early blue grey. Below them was our front yard Japanese maple, my slow sculpture these last fifteen years, full of large Christmas ornaments and strings of lights. I decided to paint it.
I did an uninhibited drawing, using pencil, and then a brush and resist. Watercolor washes followed, to make a dawnish blueness. Then I removed the resist (it's like magic) and did the rest of the painting to express my feelings about this day, the light, the neighbors, the good fortune which placed us here, and these people around us. Orange and pen lines and colored pencils. After an initial push while the ladies in my house went to Zumba, I happily continued in all the odd moments of the quiet day. By the party I had finished it, and I took this orange warmth of former parties into this year's party and beyond.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2013 be good to us all.