Monday, October 31, 2005
Over the past two weeks or so, I have found myself doing more and more blogging, surfing and slithering around on the web. So yesterday I took a vacation from the computer. It was very restful! But I did find myself sitting down to just "check" my mail.....And worked to stop myself. Using my time in a conscious way felt much more satisfying.
I was messing around with my new pastel pencils and decided that this rough watecolor paper was not the best choice for the above drawing. I'd like to try smoother paper and exploit the blending qualities of the pastels.
Last June our car was totaled in an accident. (Not very hard to do when the car was already ancient.)What we have discovered is that life IS possible with only one car.
Here are the benefits:
1 Our insurance premium is really low now!
2 We use less gas
3 We bike more often and are developing bulging quads. Too bad the rest of us remains stubbornly middle aged!
4 Craig and I no longer pay monthly parking at our respective work places
5 We only have one car to wash and maintain.
6 A couple of times we rent a huge van to pick up and deliver the kid at school and then virtuously return the gas guzzler to the rental place.
7 We communicate more about all our various transportation needs and try our best to support each others needs.
8 I gleefully, gratefully, happily spend less time driving around! (I must remember to not keep crowing about this in front of my teenaged daughter.)This gives me more
9 TIME TO DRAW and READ!
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
This is one of the many dolls that so dominated the landscape of our house (not too long ago!) Now my daughter plays with musical instruments, interior decorating, juggling balls. The toys have changed and I'm sure they will change again. I'm feeling nostalgic tonight. And I'm 24 hours early for BC this week!
Here is the same doll done when I'm looking:
I used watercolor washes, felt tip pens and pastel pencils.
My son has been recommending reading material for me lately and his most recent recommendation is Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. His recommendation is one of those strange synchronicity of events. He’s offered me exactly what I needed to read at the exact time I’m able to absorb its meaning and message. I’ve read other books by Murakami but this one is really special to me right now.
Murakami writes with intelligence and humor about the human journey. On the outside, his characters lead quiet lives, almost boring compared to our modern, accelerated lifestyles. They have plenty of time to contemplate their inner lives and plenty of assistance from supernatural events and helpers. Murakami’s books are all about the mythic journey to return to the honest, core self.
There is a passage in the book that describes Hayden and his music. You can tell that Murakami respects him as a personal hero: talented and innovative without being cutting edge, humble, filled with an “inward moving spirit and a youthful curiosity”.
At least one character in every book is an adolescent. The teens form pivotal relationships with older characters. He’s messing around with the idea that a younger self can heal and inform the more mature self. In a really elegant way , Murakami flips between myth, metaphor and mundane daily life to tell the story of how his characters travel toward wholeness., solve the mystery of them selves and their particular relationship to their times.
Right now I am healing something that got seriously broken when I was 16. ( I know of only one person who was not damaged by adolescence in some way! ) Reading Murakami comforts me. He understands the rhythm of living in mid life and how it’s a time of integration and in some cases, a time to put things back together in a new, mended way. Like Murakami’s characters, I have no idea how my life will unfold from here but I do know what is important now: a simple life in the physical plane, books dense in ideas, more writing and drawing, long walks with turning leaves and natural life, my wonderful family and friends, and an “inward moving spirit and a youthful curiosity.”
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I wanted to draw this scull before I gussy it up for a Day of The Dead decoration. I'm really sad that the Mexican Festival of the Day of the Dead is getting supplanted by the US Halloween. Our Halloween resembles an excuse to spend more money. Twenty years ago, most people made their costumes and my friends all boasted about prowess with the glue gun and their imaginations. Now most people buy costumes pre packaged.
In Chicago, the Mexican Museum of Fine Arts always has an exhibit devoted to offrendas (small altars) that community members build to honor the dead. These are so lovingly constructed with creativity and care. I'm moved by the remembrances of people that have been loved. I need to make my annual pilgrimage to the Museum!
Monday, October 24, 2005
OK, I can't lie, these are his every day sandals too. When I glance at them sitting by the door, they just scream "manly". Wonder if I'm developing a shoe fetish!
I'm collecting information lately. Now that my eldest is at school and my youngest will be going to college in less than 3 years, I'm wondering what to do with all this maternal energy. Of course I have my work but work is, well limited to work. I'm looking around to how people have structured their lives after mid life. I'm previledged to find great inspiration, encouragement and humor with other online artist's. What a great gift these Cyber friendships are too! I'm also thinking of Richard Feinman: physicist and tireless promoter of science. He also had a huge sense of humor. Dr. Andrew Weil: whole medicine practitioner. My friend Janet practices an amazing form of life- living. I also read somewhere about a woman who started a prison quilt project that generated powerful change inside a maximum security prison. Whom do you admire? Whose work touches you?
In a weird sense of synchronicity, my friend M arrived today with an issue of Smithsonian magazine. It's devoted to 35 people who make a difference!! Julie Taymor, Winton Marsallis, Wendell Berry, Andy Goldsworthy,Wedard O Wilson. I've hit pay dirt!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
1.A sure sign of fall arrives with sneezing, coughing, general malaise. (My students have been doing a great job of spreading round their germs.)Someone I know says that illness is an insult to the psyche.
3. Mice move back indoors, usually around the kitchen
4.Flaming tree colors
5. When we moved here 20+ years ago, the geese used to migrate and the sight of their long v's and the sound of their honks was a sure sign of the change of seasons. Now they are seduced by comfy condo living and permanent food sources. They have become the couch potatoes of the natural world thanks to human encroachment.
6.The following items are back on the menu: chili, soup, fondue, and deep dish pizza.
7. Its cold enough to enjoy a camp fire in the back yard.
8. I'm unearthing my flannels: jeans, pjs ect.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Yesterday I was reading a shampoo label for some reason and this product is marketed to teens. The flowery language was so funny but got me thinking about word choices. So I'm paying more attention to words everywhere.
Here are some words from the bottle:
These are some really descriptive words. Hannah Hinchman recommends using more such "illustrative" words in writing.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I used to work this way often. I toned the paper with conte crayon first, smeared the stuff around and drew into the black with an eraser. It feels a little stiff to me now. Straight contour seems much more lyrical. But I love the back and forth of the darks and lights.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Our eldest is back this week from college. This is his first visit home since leaving for college and I'm amazed at how quickly we all adjusted to his return. Its good to have him back and hear about his life at college. These are his shoes and I'm thinking of doing every family members shoes as a kind of portrait. Kelsey is next!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
One of my favorite elm trees was felled this year. This tree was visible from the back of my house. I really miss the sight and sounds of that tree. These elm trees are 1/2 a block away but also beautiful.
Today I really had a great time at the dojo. Working out gives me perspective on the rest of my life. It requires so much concentration to remember all the parts of class, I forget about everything else. Its a real mental vacation. After a good hard sweat, I feel rinsed clean. I hope I'm never too old to do this training.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I was in the library coffee shop this morning. I had at my elbow, a field guide to help me identify some leaves I had brought home with me from our camping trip. I have loved sycamore trees for ages and now I finally know their name! The bark is so beautiful.
Drawing in public is less and less a problem for me. The hardest part, as Enrico says is getting the darn sketchbook out. Once I have it in my hand, I can begin drawing wherever. I vacillate between using a tiny book that fits in my pocket or using the one I really like that is 9"x 12".
Monday, October 10, 2005
If you live in the Chicago area and want to crawl with a group of us, please join in on the discussion at this yahoo group:
The next International Sketchcrawl date is Sunday November 13th. See this site for more information: www.sketchcrawl.com
The next International Sketchcrawl date is Sunday November 13th. See this site for more information: www.sketchcrawl.com
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Craig, Kelsey and I went camping this weekend. When they picked me up after work on Friday, it had been raining all day. It rained quite hard all the way out of the city. This brought back all the reasons why we had stopped camping 10 years ago. We had a string of very, very bad experiences: tornadoes, hail, allergic reactions,bike falling off the rack.
But as we got closer to the campground, the rain stopped. The campground was cold but dry! We set up camp by lamp light and had weenies over the fire.
Overnight, the temps were in the upper 30's and neither Craig or I slept well. Kelsey however, slept soundly and blissfully slept 10 hours. ( ah, youth!) One of the advantages of poor sleep was that I heard the call of a Great Horned Owl in the wee hours of the morning. Very exciting sound!
I did this sketch while Craig was cooking a breakfast of pancakes and bacon. We are really wimpy campers. We like comfy chairs, good food and space heaters in cold weather.
The river bed, in spring is a torrent of water but at this late date in the season was quite dry and the river very tame. In the damp rocks, lots of plants had taken the opportunity to grow and flourish even in the summer drought.
Craig and Kelsey went for a horse ride on Saturday afternoon. Horses are fine with me so long as a paddock fence separates us. I hiked the trails and found all sorts of birds and tracks and plants.
Our last morning in camp, I woke early and drew this while the coffee water was heating. Craig and Kelsey were sleeping and it was very still.
Our last hike to the river to say good bye. Woven in between the look out fence were loads of spider webs. Must be a good bug spot because almost all the webs had something in them.
All in all a wonderful trip. Something we all needed: relaxation, being out side all day, good food, a roaring fire and fun games at night and of course: smores! This trip reminded me of all the reasons I love camping. So we are hooked again, thanks to Kelsey's request. We are planning the next trip!
Thursday, October 06, 2005
This pine bough is really much much skinnier than this but, when blind contour is in the air ANY thing is possible! In honor of Danny's mom Hazel(see link at the right), I'm looking up the trees to identify them. I think this is a red pine, judging from the length of the needle and the range map in my field guide. Next time I have to take a closer look at the bark and draw it on site.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
I know everyone usually is attracted to the front of his famous home, but this little quiet corner is in the back where almost no one goes. This, believe it or not is a basement window well! He gave it as much attention as the rest of the place! It was so quiet and peaceful even with tours going by the front of the building.
I talked to Derek today. He is coming home for fall break in TWO weeks. I can't wait. We are already making plans to slaughter the fatted calf and have a few parties. It will be so good to see him. Since I have discovered the charms of Instant Messaging, I feel much more in touch with him. But giving him a hug...no substitute!
This drawing was made by placing a blob of ink on paper and moving it around with a straw. I got this idea from a book called "Sketch Book for the Artist" by Sarah Simblet. This book is crammed full of interesting ways of working and some really exceptional drawings by both the author and masters. Her style is a very loose one and she has an interesting way of working with ink. Will post more ideas soon.
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
This hot house flower is left over from our party this last weekend. I have been reading " Keeping a Nature Journal" by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E Roth. Makes me long for some wild place. I always feel at odds with my love of the city and my yearning to be someplace wild. Need to go camping soon!
Monday, October 03, 2005
I finally figured something out. All the roof gable lines that are sticking out of the main roof on these Victorian type houses are perpendicular to the main spine. The gable edge appears to rise because I'm looking up at it and it appears to recede as the roof spine moves to the attachment point of the main roof!! The reason the porch is shadowed in is because I haven't figured out yet how to establish the plane for the windows and doors behind the front edge of the porch. Today the roof! Tomorrow the first floor!
I've hit a magic number! I can hardly believe I've posted over 100 drawings since May. What a great inscentive it is to draw with support from my Everyday Matters Group and others who comment on my site. Thanks everybody!
This is the top of my drawing stool with imagined embroidery.