Ten Thumbs Page 1

In the Beginning - 1980

When I was in grade school the only things I ever drew on my own, that wasn't for an art assignment, were dinosaurs. Like most normal American kids I grew up without much artistic desire or confidence. But in 1979 I did make a critter out of snow that wasn't exactly a snowman. It was a photo of a snow man that my Mom had made which inspired me to break from the snowman tradition.

There was nothing mysterious about what I did.  
It was a warm winter day and the recent snow was sticky so I started making a snowman.
These are the pictures Claudia took of me. She has a fetching shadow don't you think?
When I got to the head I wasn't satisfied with a corn cob pipe and two eyes made out of coal. I remembered an old photo of a snow gargoyle my Mom had made back before I was born. I played around with my own snow and, voilá.
I accented the nostrils and eyes with food coloring and dribbled a trail of color down its snout. Here is my gargoyle posing with the neighbor's kids, Nicki and Brent and their dog Brandy. It would be six years before I would make a snow critter again.

By 1987 I had my own children Keely, age 6, and Robb, age 3. It was near Easter so I made a bunny. When  my wife wasn't looking, I sneaked Robb outside without his jacket and stood him in front of Bugs for a photo. He's refused to pose for any picture ever since. 

I started with a pile of snow. Once it was my height I put a snowball's worth of snow where each eye should be and a little more where each cheek should be. The face was a lot like my 1980 critter. I would later discover that you can create eyes by digging them out instead.  More snow was required for the paws and the fluffy cotton tail

The ears were formed like a couple of bananas on the ground. I used a snow shovel like a spatula to cut them off the ground in one piece and stuck them on end over the head. I made a couple stubby legs and put a little cotton tail on its bottom. Sticks were used for whiskers and stones for eyes.

See the paws? They remind me of an anecdote I read in Reader's Digest:

Mom and Dad were horrified to discover that their son Bobby had just sculpted a naked snow woman in their front yard. When they confronted Bobby about his sculpture he said with pride: "That's Jimmy. He's holding his hands over his ears."

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