October 2005 Archives

crumpled wrapper

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Necco wafer wrapper - crumpled. One of many crumpled wrappers about the house tonight. I am probably one of about two dozen people in the world who still like Necco wafers. They taste like childhood treats, dusty with sugar and unexpected flavors, and they also remind me of walking the back streets of Cambridge, near Kendall Square, after college. When the wind was right, you could smell the candy being made at the New England Confectionery Company. When the wind was wrong, it was mostly the Charles, with overtones of the Red Line and just a hint of the Dudley bus.


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Two trees at dusk. We've changed the clocks and have already forgotten the extra hour of sleep we got last night. Dark comes even earlier.

cafe morning

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Text [including parts not visible] reads: Saturday morning. Cafe at the corn[er of] Forbes [and Cra]ig streets in Oakland. Got my hair [cut] and no[w I] am here drinking coffee. Feeling th[e ]sun com[e in] and out - onto that space where neck a[nd] shoulde[r m]eet. Warmth of fall. Blue skies after a [wee]k of ra[in] is such a delight. Shadows shift across [the] cafe t[ables] and chairs as I tangle with the puzzles of [sun]light a[nd sha]dow and the perspective and depth of th[e v]iew fr[om ] the window here. Now[ is about time for me] to [get] up. We have m[ore errands to run to]day and [then I'll head home and post this.]


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View of one small pumpkin, after my daughter's visit to the pumpkin farm. She plans to save it for Thanksgiving.

raku pendant

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Took part in my school's annual raku firing, off campus, from 4:30 until midnight. (Hence the late post.) I don't teach clay, but the process is so interesting, and the results with the glazes are so varied and unexpected, that I am quick to volunteer each year as an extra chaperone. This year I made a pendant. The white crackle glaze has flashes of gold and brown in it - the unglazed edges and gouged stripe are black.


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Welcome visitors from Moleskinerie! I am so pleased to be linked today.

I am 302 days into a project of drawing a picture in a pocket Moleskine sketchbook every day - I am now on sketchbook number eight, and I've been posting the drawings to my weblog daily since January. Feel free to browse through the archives and see how my work has evolved over the past ten months.

paper towels

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The new roll of paper towels from the kitchen.

spent carnations



I find I am drawn to flowers past their season. As they age and wilt, the colors intensify and the forms become more interesting. Of course, carnations look crumpled to begin with, so my neglect shows less.

red pepper

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Red pepper shaker. I am fighting off an autumn cold, and red pepper helps.


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From my other, more occasional, sketchbook: an African lion from the Discovery Room at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The youngest member of the household had been very patient as I finished my drawing upstairs in the Museum of Art, and so we spent an equivalent amount of time touching and talking and exploring the displays in the Discovery Room. This effort was rapid - ink, brush pen, and waterbrush - on paper that takes more kindly to wet media than my Moleskine. I think I will stick with the Moleskines through the end of this year - but after that...

head of Guanyin



A Sunday afternoon spent looking and drawing in the two Carnegie Museums in Oakland (Art and Natural History share a connected complex of buildings). This was drawn in pencil. The head is monumental - carved of wood, probably four feet high, and atop a pedestal so that you tip your head back to see her. Yuan Dynasty, 1279-1368, China. She peacefully dominates one end of a gallery.

night window

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On the Moleskine's paper, my black brush pen is never really quite black, and ink washes brushed out from it just bead up rather than blend. I read a rumor that they are coming out with Moleskine notebooks with watercolor paper - this would be wonderful for me, because I love everything about the size and binding and plainness of my tiny sketchbooks, but the paper won't co-operate with water.

maple leaf



On the way home from the bus stop I picked up this maple leaf from the wet pavement. Today we lit the furnace. No frost yet, but rain is forecast for the next several days.

apple on towel

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This is the time for local apples. Small, intense, blemished, amazing - they can taste the way you imagine apples ought to taste. I forget that I like apples until the fall, and then I like them all over again. Every year.

door to hallway

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I love doors ajar, edges askew, the characters who only have one line, the fragment glimpsed in the dark or overheard in passing.

child's black tights



Finding local geography or abstract design or just neglect of laundry. These needed mending, and they wound up in my study. So I drew them.


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As in "memento mori" perhaps, or perhaps this small ceramic skull-like head is just the usual sentimental kind of memento. It was made by my oldest son, who used to work a lot in clay, but hasn't done as much of that lately.

three beans

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Three green beans on a brown paper bag. Watercolor crayon and wash. I think I need to get some work lights so I can see color better after dark. I don't mind making the colors up as I go along, and trying to work from values, but it would be good to have a choice as the days get shorter.

porch roof

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Detail of our porch roof as seen from the swing. Thought I would use color when I began this drawing, but it was late afternoon, and I'd forgotten how fast the light goes away at this time of year. By the time I had the shapes mapped out for myself, the sun was behind the house across the street.

moon in my window



My neighbor's house shapes the sky for me, as I tip my head back. The moon is nearly full and the wind is blowing. The clouds are suddenly illuminated and full of texture and motion, and then they wash on past, the moon disappears again, and the sky returns to the solid smoky lavender of night in the city.

kitchen drawer

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I don't think anyone really knows what is in the back of this kitchen drawer. Birthday candles? plastic spoons? string? You might find them there.

apple and bowl

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The apple is in one of the two blue bowls which came from my grandmother's house. We would have the best desserts in them: usually peach or coffee ice cream.

standing lamp



This standing lamp is one of a tree-like pair in our bedroom. The six branches are articulated like goose-neck lamps, and so the two lamps together are expressive, varying in their posture and relationship from one day to the next. Sharing light... hmm, I like this set of metaphors and possibilities.


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Sketchbook number seven takes flight? It goes up onto the shelf, anyway. This drawing (on day 286) begins little moleskine sketchbook number eight. Numbers can be a comfort when so much is unmeasurable.




I can't remember where I got this metal sign - at an antique store or flea market, I suppose. I bought it with the plan of marking the room where I write and draw and work on projects. Somehow the day was never right to put it on the door, and it has come to live on the ledge of an old slate chalkboard instead.

jelly beans



We went to the movies (the new Wallace and Gromit - don't miss it!), so the kids got jelly beans afterwards. I drew eight and didn't eat them when I was done. Which is not to say that I didn't eat some others before I began drawing...

pincushion hand

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It's a kind of Saint Sebastian of the sewing room. I found it in the back room of a consignment shop and knew it needed to come home with me. Not that I ever needed another pincusion - I already had a couple of versions of the classic red tomato - but I have a weakness for hands, and this one had such sweet violence about it. Or violent sweetness? Faded silk flowers and rusty pins. Hmm.

I wonder if the person who made this really liked sewing. This could be a message of resistance, a comment on confining roles, or a veiled expression of self-hatred. Or it could be just a pincushion, made for the annual hospital bazaar out of felt and tulle and notions. For a long time I thought I would use it in a video project - and maybe I will someday.

duct tape

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O.k., so I liked duct tape back before it was ironic and political and hip. And I'll probably continue to like it. You can tear it with your fingers. You can mend kayaks (ask my husband), prevent blisters, and create custom dummies with it.

cleaning device

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Cleaning device - I think it's called a "broom." I have no idea why it looks so worn, for I don't use it often. Perhaps someone in my family is a secret sweeper.

fallen zinnia

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This one had half-fallen out of the vase, so I dropped it on the table and drew it where it fell. Ink, turmeric, chile powder, zinnia leaf.

bowl and ladle

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A carved ladle and wooden bowl seemed right for my drawing tonight. Even though the temperature still feels like summer, the clearer shorter days have me thinking about autumn - and vegetable soup. The empty bowl will have to stand in for many soups and stews to come...

wooden last and baseboard

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I got this wooden shoe or boot last at a flea market in Massachusetts. I liked it as an abstract organic shape, but it also reminded me of a creature from one of Edward Gorey's books - I think it was The Doubtful Guest.

my day

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Sketches from a Saturday: Heinz Hall has chandelier sconces in the basement and gold leaf everywhere. An old wall lamp near Smithfield and Liberty looked as if it might still run on gas. I was given a grey pigeon feather. At home, I sat on the porch swing and watched shadows.