September 2005 Archives

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Seaglass and a small whelk shell. The piece of glass has been under my fingers for a week or two, moved from pocket to pocket, from day to day. Calming to the touch, it is luminous and accidental, a glowing fragment. I decided to draw it twice tonight, as I kept wanting to think about it and the pleasure it gives me.

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This hand-sized piece of Cape Ann granite sits on my desk to remind me of the weight of places. My grandfather was born in a house built above rocks like this; my mother went swimming from them on the morning of the day I was born.

People can have landscapes which speak to them - this stone says to me, "You are still of this place." And I say back, "Yes, in part, in part."

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This is the end of the season, I know... but tomatoes and basil still taste and smell like summer. (Ink and rubbed basil leaf.)

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The rest of the head of garlic, on a half-sheet of typing paper. Turmeric and coffee again for color, and a very very fine-pointed pen.

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Further experimentation with kitchen pigments: I rubbed turmeric and spent coffee grounds into this sketch. Whenever I worry that I will fall too deeply into habits of drawing, I find something new to explore, and the process reinvents itself for me.

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Sunday at the rec. league game. A lull in the action. Hot sun. Whistle. Go Blue!

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We went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History today. This life-sized model of a Black Rhinoceros stands at the entrance to a series of African habitat exhibits. I love that some parts of this area are behind glass and some extend out into the space where you walk, sit, draw.

To continue playing with natural pigments from around the house, I came home and rubbed the ink drawing with used coffee grounds (espresso, natch) for color.

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These were left over after the drawing of and with the beets from two nights ago. I felt called to return to the same method. I love the contrast between the fine ink line, which reflects and magnifies every gesture and wobble of my hand, and the smoother, more subtle variations in the rubbed natural pigment.

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Came home after a late obligation at school and drew the wastebasket in the corner of the living room - notes, a child's worksheet, crumpled graph paper, some torn envelopes. After drawing it, I sleepily turned the notebook on end and saw a face there. It wasn't there this morning.

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I thought I didn't like beets until I discovered them as a medium. This drawing was done with ink, beet stem, and beet leaf. (Locally-grown materials now coming into season.)

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Four hot peppers, drawn close to life size, picked from the yard this weekend. "You can draw these," said my daughter.

So I have.

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Studio means "I study," if I remember my Latin. Here I was studying a walking stick and a roll of white paper in the corner beside the window. Another time I'll do a color study of this part of the room - as I look at the scene, I notice so much variation in the white paper and unfinished wood against the white wall and windowframe.

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So much to be grateful for. A red binder and a blue binder from my planning retreat. I spent my weekend in the inspiring company of other artists. By all rights I ought to be completely exhausted, but I find I'm facing the week ahead with excitement and anticiipation.

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Am midway through a two-and-a-half day artists' strategic planning retreat, and my head is full of a world of possibilities. No accident, then, that I chose this bookend to draw tonight. While drawing, all the words and ideas from the day fall away from me, the buzzing of my plans and questions is silenced and I can focus for a few moments on the present. I come back from the voyage rested, and ready for the next spate of thinking.

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An old glass inkwell. I don't use bottled ink often enough to keep it full, though there is some dried dark substance in the bottom of the well which might make an interesting experimental wash some day.

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The temperature does not yet make us think of fall - we've had a warm September - but the days are shortening. (The winter squashes begin.)

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This is a small wooden clamp - one of two from my grandfather's house. He believed in saving things and fixing them. I am better at the saving part than the fixing, though I have rewired our small coffee grinder on occasion.

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My daughter wanted company in her room as she was falling asleep tonight, so I sat in the rocking chair and drew a group of her toys. They looked pretty tired, too. That kind of a night, I guess.

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I tried drawing with the wrong hand, that is, the right hand, which for me is, oh, never mind. It's a great exercise in letting go - trying to feel the shapes even when the line seems to have a mind of its own.

Today's my anniversary (number 18 - thanks!) so I thought I'd draw my wedding ring, only realizing after I'd decided on the subject that it meant drawing and painting with my right hand.

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Another contour drawing, with watercolor crayon for the background. I love the way these crayons let me blend unlikely colors like pale orange and lavender.

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This says a lot about my housekeeping. I have nothing against neatness, in fact I love the idea of clean and uncluttered spaces. Unfortunately my interest doesn't get beyond the idea stage very often.

Garden flowers look both strong and fragile when they have gotten to this state - full of character. Let's pretend I left them on the mantle for two weeks without water on purpose.

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Another tiny apple on an old butter plate. The pattern is related to the pattern on plates I remember from visiting my grandparents in the summer when I was young. I found it at a consignment shop or flea market, and it has been on my dresser holding change and odd earring backs for the past year. Dusted off now, it's headed to the kitchen cupboard. I have a weakness for odd china. And single chairs - but that's another entry.

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This is a view of one of the houses across the street from us. I sat on the porch swing and drew and drew as the shape steadily became more of a silhouette against the evening sky. The drawing paused for conversations with a neighbor, with greeting my husband's band members arriving for practice, with my nephew and his fiancee saying hello after taking their dog for a walk, with my daughter talking to me about her first day of school tomorrow... and the night sky grew brighter and then darker. Now insect and city traffic sounds mix with the band's chords as I type upstairs. It still feels like summer to me.

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Or, what to draw when you are tired and have just kicked them off. Trying to command more of the space in this small notebook, thinking about the edges of the page and the shapes of the undrawn space. Sometimes I do just feel like putting one drawing smack in the middle of the page and leaving it there, with an even amount of whiteness all around it, but lately I like to see what happens when I take more chances with balance and scale.

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I drew this with my brown Hi-Tec C Pilot pen. Since the ink in the brown pen isn't waterproof (the black ink is, mostly), I decided to see what would happen if I created a wash effect with a waterbrush. Now I'm thinking about getting some real sepia ink for further experiments...

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Frick Park, looking down the hill near the entrance. The kids climbed trees, rolled down the hill and onto each other, drew, laughed, and built a human totem pole with Mark as the base. The trees are just begnning to show hints of the end of summer in their coloring - the leaves will change - but not yet.

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Detail from one of the works I saw while visiting Ceil Sturdevant's studio tonight. The hands stand over two feet high, and when they are shown, there is a female figure suspended above them - floating, rising, supported. Today there were just the hands, and when I had a moment I sat and drew them. Later I found out that the sculpture's name is "communion" - which also seemed appropriate for the gathering of women at Ceil's house this evening. Good company, good food, good discussion - our book group.

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Blue skies today and neither too hot nor too cold. We ate both lunch and dinner outside. I began drawing this before suppertime and finished it inside later.

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School has started for almost everyone, and we have begun to get local apples again. This is a Prima, tart and tiny, drawn at twice its actual size in my little moleskine.

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Another late-night study. I am so overwhelmed by the news stories coming out of the Gulf Coast, especially from New Orleans, that I don't have much to say about drawing right now. I've put a link to the American Red Cross in my sidebar, in case anyone visiting here has not already donated to the effort. Thanks.

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I am entranced by the colors of garden produce at this time of year. Until I began drawing this pepper, I thought the skin was really dark, with the deep green blending into the orange-red. What I noticed while drawing it, though, was how many reflections were lightening the surface. I had it on the white comforter on our bed, and light was coming from several directions, as well. This is all watercolor crayon and wash, no ink.

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