Mowing the Grass

Spring is here. Grass is growing. Time to cut the grass.

OK, that’s the short form. I know you want to find out more about this topic and its importance in my life, and what it has to do with art.

First of all, I like to cut the grass, and I’ve got about 50 years of experience doing it. I don’t really care much about the quality of the grass in my lawn – as long as it’s green, I’m fine with whatever is growing. But I sure do like to cut it.

My front yard is almost no grass – it’s small and we have it planted with bushes and flowers and trees that, with the stepping stone sidewalk, cover the whole thing.

The back yard, though, is large. I cut the section near the house and let the rest of it grow wild, though I also put a couple of paths through it.

back yard 4-192

You may remember I had some serious health issues over the past few years, and one of the tasks I gave up was mowing the grass. We had a lawn care company do the work for the past five or so years. I never liked the way they did the yard. This year, I took back control. We got the lawnmower tuned up and on April 23, the first cut of 2019 took place. Sure was fun.

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, in commemoration of the event I decided to do some quick sketches of my lawn-mowing companions. You may also remember I want to do more sketching/drawing/whatever. This event seemed like a good opportunity to participate in both goals.

I have sort of settled into a semi-blind-contour type of drawing. I work fast, I look mostly at the object, and I don’t care if I miss details or things go a bit off-kilter. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So here we go. First, my shoes. I wear hiking boots. You can cut your toes off with a lawnmower, you know, and I have met someone who did just that. So, sturdy shoes. No flip flops.

Next, my safety goggles. I am aggressive with my lawn mowing, meaning I’ll run over sticks, clean out under bushes, and everyone had better get out of my way! Things get kicked up. Eyes are important and must be protected. I wear these goggles over my glasses – they are new, and they work great.

And now, my lawnmower. We have had this lawnmower since 1992 or so. I’ve traveled many miles with it and we are friends. There’s no more to say than that.


All right. There you have it. Lawnmower-inspired art.

20 thoughts on “Mowing the Grass

  1. agnesashe

    All looking great now. Don’t understand why companies can’t manage grass/lawns/gardens as the client would like, suppose it all comes down to costs as usual.

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I think the lawn care guys hurry because of course the more yards they do the more money the company makes. They use the big mowers and cut the grass higher than I like, too, and also, I think I was just missing cutting my own grass. I do think it looks a lot better than what they usually did, though, and I liked getting reacquainted with my yard.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, it’s an odd property we have, with the house so close to the street on one side and then this yard in the back. In the summer especially it can feel very quiet and alone even though there are houses and cars very close. I really felt good being back with my lawnmower, for a lot of reasons.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          Yes, it is. It is an older one and pretty heavy, but I got used to its ways quickly again (though I forgot and ran it out of gas, it doesn’t like that, you need to refill it before you get to that point. oops, because it took me time to restart it then. My bad!). And the good thing about mowing grass is…it grows! Back again next week.!!!

        2. Claudia McGill Post author

          Yes, my grandfather, who died at 83, was mowing the grass (I guess about 1/2 acre) the summer before his death. Has anyone thought of lawnmowing as a life prolonging activity? Should it be studied? Let’s get right on that. I volunteer!

  3. Laura (PA Pict)

    Great contour drawings. They have such dynamism in the mark making, probably because you were working at such high speed. We have always cut our own grass (I write we but really I mean the husband because my allergies are so bad that I rarely do it). My husband decided we would pay someone to do it when we emigrated here, given he works out of state so much, but we could not convince anyone that they wanted to deal with all the slopes in our garden so we have continued dealing with it on our own.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I like drawing and letting go of the idea of faithful representation of the subject has been a turning point. I want to give the impression and personality and do a good enough job the scene is represented but I’m also having fun with it. I can see why your yard is a challenge, the big mowers would not handle it and the yard guys don’t want to use smaller ones. You need a backup mower, call me!

  4. memadtwo

    I love your landscaping. As a child, my brothers mowed the lawn, and I did the trimming along the driveway and sidewalk. I also raked leaves. Women’s work back then.
    Your drawings are great. My blind contour drawings are much more illegible. (K)

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I liked yard work then and I do now. I’ve done all kinds of things, including what you mentioned plus hedge trimming and etc. We did all the landscaping at our house ourselves. Including the piece de resistance, the flagstone stepping stone walk. Each stone weighing way too much. I’ll never try that again. I was fearing dropping one and a smashed foot but it never happened. As for the blind drawing, I do look at the paper every few lines to reset. But in between I look at the object. I hope to improve as time goes on.

  5. juergen61

    Great work Claudia !
    You may know a mower where you can sit on ? Thats a great feeling and don’t tell me your garden is not big enough …a sitting mower is a suv for poor people (like me 🙂 All the best, Jürgen

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I know just what you mean, my family had one when I was growing up and from a young age I cut the grass using it. I loved speeding around the yard (maybe too fast). My yard now has many bushes and trees and a push mower is better for the situation, getting around all the small spaces even though the yard is a good size, but I think about when I used the riding mower and I’ll admit that I would not mind a few rounds around the yard again at the wheel of one…

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. It is a small thing, but to me it means taking over control of something in my life that I had had to relinquish. I am getting this yard back in shape!

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