July 2007 Archives

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With the reading glasses comes a certain absent-mindedness. Today I went swimming with them stuck in my hair, and didn't notice for about twenty minutes. Maybe next time I'll bring a book in with me - I could sit in the shallow end and read...

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After four-and-a-half days of life in transit, it is good to be home again. Learned a lot, met wonderful women, and am filled with ideas and possibilities. Now comes a time to move from thought to thought more slowly. Someone has a loose tooth. Someone has summer reading. Someone has gone kayaking with a friend.

I'll finish the cracker and drink some water and go to sleep.

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Walked over to Millennium Park after supper tonight, listened to part of a live jazz concert, watched the parade of passers-by, and painted as the light changed. Back to Pittsburgh on the night bus - home by tomorrow morning.

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Chicago Harbor Light, as seen from the Navy Pier this afternoon. I stepped out of the air conditioning and into midsummer, sat on a bench and painted for a while between conference sessions.

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The conference is full of energy bubbling over into conversations, connections, and genuine enthusiasm for what each person brings to the place. It was hard to make space in the day to just sit and look, let alone draw - but after all the sessions were completed, we went up to the roof terrace at the end of the Navy Pier, where Christine Kane gave us the amazing present of a short concert. This gesture sketch let me catch the moment when I saw her sitting on stage, looking down, before she began. Was she reading? meditating? She seemed so still, so intent, a quiet center in the swirl of conversation and energy. Later, when I asked, she said she had been putting together her set list, but it was a moment of presence, of concentration, which caught my attention and prepared me for the music to come.

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A sunny day, and I drew a woman as she sat on the steps looking out at the Chicago River at lunchtime. The boat traffic was all sightseeing boats, as far as I could tell, and the cafe seemed busy.

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I'm headed out of town tonight, to go to the BlogHer conference in Chicago and immerse myself in blog theory and practice, to have fun with lots and lots of bloggers, and to speak on a panel about mentoring, with fellow bloggers and mentors, Collette Ellis, Liz Strauss, and Wendy Piersall. Yesterday I made a bunch of little buttons with "woolgathering" on them. If you run into me, ask me for one - I'll be so happy to meet you! I am also signing my children's book, Think Cool Thoughts, on Saturday, from 12:45 - 1:15, at the BlogHer bookstore. The book has a summer theme, and is fun to read aloud...

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While traveling this month, I've been taking a break from the drawings of Pittsburgh I contribute to another blog. I'll return to work on that series next Monday.

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Meanwhile, I've posted half a dozen small paintings over there, made while I was away. These were separate from the sketchbook, below, but also show views of Cape Ann, in Massachusetts. (Gouache on various colors of mat board.)

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A flower that tends to look after itself - luckily - so we have plenty to pick from the backyard.

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Sleeping child...

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We're home, and stopped at Robinson's farm stand on our way back into town - corn and tomatoes for supper.

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In addition to daily drawings (which were posted as I went along), while on vacation I kept an extra sketchbook. I used the same paper as I use for my regular journals, but made the pages twice as wide. Here are each of the two-page spreads in it. (If you click on any image, you can see an enlargement of it.)

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One sailboat looked so peaceful on the bay this morning, as we were about to leave for home.

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Last full day at the shore. I'll try to draw something tomorrow morning before we leave...

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Experimenting with a dip pen and non-waterproof ink. I liked the variable line, and decided to add color, which then blended with washes picked up from the ink. All done from the porch, as rain was falling steadily by mid-afternoon.

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Day with rain and mist. We've had such a long run of beach days, so we can't complain. Besides, it made an excuse for three generations to play charades in late afternoon.

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Very little wind today, and the sailboats were moving slowly - plenty of time to draw them as they made their way up the channel.

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Not much air stirring, although a breeze picked up later in the day.

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My sister's family is staying here right now. All the cousins in residence jumped off the dock today at high tide.

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Trying a new set of colored pencils while playing games with perspective. The convention would have been to move the sailboat a little higher on the page. Instead, I let it align with the windowsill, as it did when I began drawing.

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Almost hidden in the trees, but looking out over the water...

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A view from one of the few windows which does not face the bay. Yellow hollyhocks in my father's flower garden.

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A good drying day today, after the fog lifted. I go out of my way to do laundry on vacation (I, who NEVER like to do wash) for the pleasure of hanging it on the line and looking at the horizon, and because the line-dried clothes will still have something of salt air about them when I unpack them at home.

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Morning. Found a fence to sit on in the boat trailer parking lot, and looked out over the cut. This was about half painted before the bugs found me, and then the rhythm of the work shifted to brush, slap, look, slap, slap, brush, look, slap, and so on. Stopped on the way home to buy a small bottle of insect repellent to keep with my art things for the rest of the summer.

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Tonight I was noticing how the horizon was gone in the hazy twilight, and sea and sky were both pale and bright. Rocks cast slight shadows in the water, and I washed the paint fast in the dark to try to catch the Japanese garden feeling of the view just off shore.

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Painted with a very wet brush on a very wet page, just as it started to rain. Time to walk home, and then it didn't really rain after all.

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The rocks I climbed on as a child, the rocks my children climbed on today, were here long before any people walked across this beach. (A moment of perspective after the freezing cold wet sandy person jumps into my lap to give me a hug.)

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We were completely fogged in this morning, so I have no idea whether the tall ship was still there when I woke. By the time the cloud cover had lifted, though, she was gone, probably on the outgoing tide. At the beach, you could walk for yarda and yards without getting to the water, and then for yards and yards without getting any deeper than your knees. Perfect for castle-building... the big storms held off until late afternoon.

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Looked out the window this morning and saw this tall ship at anchor in the distance, part way across the bay. Still there at nightfall. Perhaps I'll wake in time to see her under full sail.

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Painted at the beach this morning. Rain held off until after supper. The sound of rain on the water after dark is so peaceful. Think I left the beach towels on the line, though.

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Found on the beach today.

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A folded-over napkin is on the coffee table. Or is it a paper towel? Should I think of it as a landscape, or as a plot device? (The folded message was overlooked in her haste to pack the bags...)

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The Painting A Month project continues, with June's landscape now posted.

(For those of you new to my website, back in December the DIY home improvement and design community at Curbly.com offered a contest in which you were to tell them how you'd spend a $200 Amazon gift certificate. I wrote that since my daily drawings and paintings are all in bound journals, I can't hang them on the wall very easily. I proposed to spend the money on painting supplies and canvases and to paint twelve small paintings, one each month, for a year. To my delight, I won.)

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Imagining the view in two days... headed for vacation and a lot of horizon.

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