July 2005 Archives

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This wooden pig is the size of a small footstool, and stands in the livingroom at my parents' house. We've just arrived for a long vacation visit. The house is quiet, as everyone has gone up to bed but me. I've been drawing downstairs to the rhythm of four clocks. Now that I'm done, they are chiming eleven.

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Guest room chair in my sister-in-law's house. I think it came from her parents - I remember it as an extra chair brought into the dining room when the whole crowd gathered at the table. I love the way family furniture lives on in new settings.

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An old bell, not very large (about 2 inches high), with a cooling chime. Just what's needed at this time of year.

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Study of an orange billiard ball in watercolor crayon.

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After class, I sat in a coffee shop (Kiva Han, at the corner of Forbes and Craig) and waited for a friend. She wasn't able to come after all, so I drank my iced tea and drew the other coffee shop across the street. (Gel pen in my Fabriano sketchbook - tan paper.)

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This was done as homework for my last drawing class of the summer. My older son says he likes the Manga-style hair I've given myself...

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It is that time of year again... zucchini are everywhere.

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This is the painting I started last week and finished tonight - my first time painting the figure. I was trying to concentrate on the values, the planes, and the overall composition, and wound up combining colors in ways I never would have expected ahead of time. (Click for an enlarged view.)

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The saucer for this teacup is only two and a half inches across.

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More zinnias from the back yard, and one blossom from my dark blue butterfly bush. The weather has been muggy, and I feel the need for intense colors.

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Schenley Park pool in a light rain on a warm Sunday afternoon. Splashes and shouts of children. A slight breeze brings the scent of chlorine and sunscreen. The rain came in a steady sprinkling, without thunder. We planned to stay until the lifeguard's whistle blew, but went to the playground and then home for a cookout instead.

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This is my new wall-sized bulletin board, made of two large pieces of homasote. Clearing the space for it and dejunking my study took far more time and energy than buying the materials and putting the boards up. That part was done in less than half a day. I tacked some big sheets of paper on it, to offer a space for immediate marks - or to provide a clean work surface for careful preparation of some paper for painting. (Guess what I did with it. ... right. Scribbled in great big satisfying swoops with a chunk of fireplace charcoal. Mmmm.)

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Sometimes I start collections. Sometimes collections find me.

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Our crate of vegetables, dominated by a gorgeous bunch of Swiss chard this week. We participate in CSA, community supported agriculture, where we subscribe for a season's worth of vegetables, and a local organic farmer supplies us with a small crate full-to-overflowing with what is fresh and in season each week. He knows he has a steady stream of income from subscriptions, and we can support a small farm and delight in eating the most amazing variety of organic local produce. Our porch is a drop off and pick up point for subscribers in our neighborhood, so it couldn't be any more convenient - or social. If you have something like this in your community, I highly recommend it. We probably spend what we would in the grocery store, but we get far more vegetables than we would otherwise - plenty to eat, and often enough to share.

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Five sketchbooks, drawn in the sixth one. Over 200 days of drawing, now. (This is the sketch made on day 204.) Never would have expected this project to evolve as it has - even the bad days have their own discoveries. I am so much more focussed on process now than I ever was before. I used to regard it as a consolation prize - oh, the process is helpful, even if I don't like the result, I would think. Now process and continuity are the center of my work; individual drawings are just the by-product. As a result, I am much more willing to take chances, say 'why not?' The individual project may fail, but I know I will keep working. I am incredibly grateful to have learned this.

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Plucked this lavender sprig from beside the front steps after taking many bags of trash to the curb. I have a couple more boxes to sort through, and need to go after a mysterious stack of papers, pictures, and broken frames on the corner of one bookshelf, and then my study/studio will be officially de-junked. Hooray. Already I can work in there again, and that is blissful. I plan to buy some sheets of homasote at Home Depot later today - will have them cut to size, and then I'll put them up tonight. I have room for a 7'6" tall by 5'8" wide bulletin board along one wall. Just wider than my armspan, and higher than I can reach. Ahhh, space.

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The blue and violet background was added on impulse afterwards...

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This dried okra pod still works as a rattle. I love the shape and sound of it - given to me by an artist friend when we lived in Iowa, and unearthed during the ongoing study de-junking.

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Drawn late enough at night that I found later I'd had the sketchbook upside down. (Spent most of the day clearing junk out of the room that used to be my study...)

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A beach ball left out on the lawn glows near dusk.

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"Chance favors the prepared mind," said my fortune cookie. (My soup came before I had finished drawing, so I added color when I got home.)

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These lemon lilies out compete the grass and weeds in their part of the border.

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Most of the time my four-and-a-half year old is moving too fast for me to sketch, but she sacked out on the sofa last night. "I'm not tired..."

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This sandal (and the one it matches) feels as if it were made for my foot. Simple, functional - it goes with lots of things, and I can walk for miles.

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Good to be home again.

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Annisquam, Massachusetts. Visiting my parents and extended family and enjoying the views of Ipswich Bay. It poured rain all night and partway through the morning. I went out to draw just as it began to let up, but the ocean was still dramatic from the storm. Now the sky is bright blue and everything is beginning to dry out and warm up. Just in time for me to leave tomorrow morning! I'll be back, with my whole family, in August, so I don't mind...

And the rain gave me a chance to catch up with all my web posting.

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I used ink and wash with such vigor on the morning of July 7th that I had lots of splotches and shadows to contend with on the next day. That day the rain held off until later in the morning, so I painted a brighter morning scene on the Charles.

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A view up the Charles River from Boston University, looking towards Harvard, 7:20 a.m., as rain was falling.

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It was too dark to draw the view from the window in Boston by the time I had more than a moment to look, and it was pouring rain, but there were orange carnations in our suite.

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This was probably the longest I'd looked at this in several weeks. And it was off.

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I got home from San Francisco on the 4th of July, just in time to join my family and some friends for a picnic up at Lake Arthur. Most people left when the beach closed at six and the water was quiet and so beautiful.

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A view from the fire escape steps, San Francisco. Imagine Humboldt Fog cheese and wine and a little jazz.

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Mission Dolores park from the cafe across the street, San Francisco. I had a pear ginger smoothie, with pineapple juice and bee pollen. Not exactly sure what the bee pollen added to the mix, but I'm sure it was important. Anything that combines pear and ginger is a good idea.

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A blind contour drawing of one stone in the ocean, and the pattern of the waves around it. Color added from the earth at my feet.

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Here I've put a selection of drawings I made during the workshop at the Esalen Institute. The larger ones were three-hour drawings in dry pastel or mixed media. The smaller drawings are india ink and red oxide or charcoal/mixed media. (Click on any thumbnail for a larger view.)

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The gardens at Esalen were filled with vegetables, flowers, and sculpture. We ate well and had much to contemplate.

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One tree, early in the morning, at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific. The sky was the palest color apricot in the fog along the horizon.

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Fragrant sweet peas got me started on this drawing. I can't grow them where I live (though others have better luck), mostly because I never remember to plant them early enough to avoid the heat of the summer.

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Early morning view of the Pacific Ocean, as seen from the Esalen Institute, where I studied painting and drawing for five days.

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A green shed at the Mission Playground, San Francisco.

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Back yard with flowers, San Francisco.

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Looking at myself, as reflected in my sister's living room window, San Francisco.

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