April 2008 Archives


As I see it this evening.


Maybe it's having just read Clay Shirky's talk on Gin, Television, and Social Surplus, or maybe not. Tonight I find the television more interesting to look at when it's turned off.


Just ripe. Tomorrow's dessert.


Artist Velma Parker made fabulous hats from newspaper, tissue paper, ribbons and artificial flowers at Art All Night this year.


Bookstore time this afternoon. I browsed for a while, but my mood or interest was not matched by anything for long - so I drew and painted instead. Then drank coffee.


I passed an art supply store having a sale today, and bought a few Derwent Inktense watersoluble pencils - got versions of the three primaries and a couple of greens. Think I can fit them in my pencil case along with everything else, and look forward to playing with them...


Every year for the past eleven years there's been a one-night, all-night art show in Pittsburgh. It's run by volunteers: no fees, no jury, no censorship, no commission. Anyone can submit one piece. In 2007, 850 artists of all ages, and all levels of experience took part. It's a fantastic community party. The energy and creativity are inspiring, and the crowds get bigger every year. I'm submitting this small gouache painting, "Ipswich Bay." Framed, it is roughly 7" x 9". If you happen to be there, look for it - and if you see me in the crowd, please say, "Hi."



Found five-for-a-dollar packets of zinnia and marigold seeds at the drug store on the way home today. Tell myself that this is the year that I'll plant flowers in the front yard.


Hand and swash of color. Walking home today involved moving in and out of various pools of scent - especially noticing viburnum in bloom, but also apple trees, cherry, plum - all blossoming and dropping petals into the wind. When the rain came (we were almost home), I smelled earth and wet sidewalks. Spring.


Streetlight and treetops near the playground.


My daughter walked through the garden, and after asking ahead of time, picked one or two of everything in bloom. Spring is here, and we can have our own flowers in the house. (More drawing in white-on-white with the china marker on the white page.)


A day spent with family. I think afterwards of the threads that connect us, look down at my current sewing project, and decide to draw the needle and thread.


Today I arrived at the symposium early, and had time to sit on the wall beneath the branches of the splendid magnolia outside the theater.  I drew.  While I traced the outline of petals and branching twigs, while I breathed in the scent, a light wind ruffled through everything and the petals began falling around me.  And on me.

This weekend has been one of those times when I really pause, pay attention, and appreciate Pittsburgh.  Maybe it was the symposium gathering women to talk with one another about art, activism, and equity.  Maybe it was seeing the way networks of new friends, old friends, experience and opportunity can expand with thoughtful tending.  Maybe it was the power of all that creative energy in one room. In a city the size of Pittsburgh, small groups working together can have a significant effect - in neighborhoods, in institutions, in politics, and in business.  Drawing every day has taught me about the way a gesture, repeated, can have a powerful cumulative effect.  I see that happening in the city around me. 

And in this season of change and  new growth,  I feel an irresistible upwelling of optimism and hope.  Happy spring, everyone! 

And don't forget to vote on Tuesday.



A banana given to me by Guerrilla Girl Frieda Kahlo at the Art, Activism, and Equity symposium this afternoon. (After the talk, I took it to be autographed.) I painted it tonight, in celebration of the strong and creative voices I'd heard today.


I'm participating in a symposium tomorrow, so spent this evening organizing (and reorganizing) what I was going to say.


Further signs of spring. Mark has planted spinach and lettuce so far (I think). Our daughter tried the first tiny thinnings and now can't wait to check on the garden progress each day.


A red balloon near a corner of the living room rug sways gently in place when the furnace comes on.


In multiple senses of the phrase. We haven't very many of these tangelos left, and some of them are just about past ripeness.


Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh. Had some time at the school arts festival between looking at art and listening to music - so I drew the view across the back field and the street beyond. As I was finishing, darker clouds moved in from the west and the light rain began again. Which makes the day sound gloomy - but that was just the weather. Art brought its own light to every corner of the day, and I was left mumbling platitudes, stirred beyond language by the landscape of work itself.


Began this with china marker - the white grease pencil nearly invisible on the white paper. When I do this, being fussy is impossible, I just have to feel my way along the page. Layered gouache over the drawing.



We saw a row of pink trees behind a blue-painted building this afternoon.


Not sure who picked this - from the length of the stem, I suspect a child. I can remember my mother saying, "Leave a long stem, pick it with a long stem," and I never really understood why. Forgot all about it until I got to the age when small people began presenting me with just-picked flowers, and I heard myself saying the same thing. A blossom with no stem will float in water, though... and this one has a lovely smell.


Late night sounds: keys clicking as I type, the clock ticks, and in the other room, the gurgle, rush, and roar of our dishwasher. Something wooden settles with a soft creak. A bookcase? A floorboard? I don't know. I will myself not to hear the mouse. (No mouse.) In a moment I'll hear the spring move in the clock, the chimes, the hour. And then it will be tomorrow.


Celebrating the return of warm weather with a tall iced coffee after work today.


The moon is just a sliver in the sky tonight, but the grapefruit was full and round.

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It seems we only have them around the house when nobody has a cold.


The party was great fun, the downstairs is newly picked up, and the weekend is only half over. Tomorrow we get the added luxury of stretching out with the Sunday papers in a clean house.


We have friends coming for supper tomorrow, and the downstairs is a mess, so we bought tulips and daffodils at the grocery store. (Here it is April and we have nothing much in bloom yet in our own yard.) We'll clean tomorrow in order to live up to the blossoms...


My husband reads the paper; I draw his feet.


Mylar balloons seem to hang on to their helium longer than the old-fashioned kind. This one came home from a birthday party four days ago, and still presses against the front hall ceiling.


Small dish made of play-dough sits on the coffee table.



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