Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dining Alone

To some people the very concept of dining alone is intolerable. Meals are meant to be shared events—intimate dinners for two, boisterous family gatherings surrounding major life events or holidays, daily meals carved out of the day-to-day fray in order to catch up with your immediate family, lunch with co-workers just to get out of the office for a bit.

But then there are those of us who eat most of our meals on our own, and we rarely give thought to the fact. Don't get me wrong, I love gathering with family and/or friends to share a meal, but dining alone isn't a tragedy. Most of the time, eating alone will simply mean ingesting a meal for nourishment and then getting back into my day, but occasionally I will make a Meal (with an intentional cap M) for one. I'll spend quantities of time planning, shopping, cooking, savoring the fragrance, tasting and consuming a Meal all by myself. It would be lovely to share it, but I won't deny myself the experience of dining just because I sit down to the table alone.

This morning's breakfast was one of those Meals. I'd stopped by the grocery store yesterday, and discovered the rare but delicious Ranier cherry in stock. There were only four bags, and I greedily snatched one up. I brought them home, decanted them into a bowl and rinsed them carefully—not letting a single one drop out of the bowl when I poured out the water. I positioned the bowl containing the rare treasure in the center of an otherwise empty island in the kitchen and spent the day nibbling now and then.

This morning, I put on a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, pulled a small plate out of the cabinet and placed the last lemon poppy seed muffin on it with A WHOLE HANDFUL of Ranier cherries. This was a Meal worthy of attention and savor, so instead of catching the morning news on the tv while shoving food in my pie hole, I sat down at the dining room table with the day's paper and lingered over each bite of the Meal.

It was because I'd slowed down time and become very mindful of the moment that I was dazzled by, and inspired to draw, the sunny oak in the front yard.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gearing Up for 2009

This is the opening spread of my 2009 Moly planner. There's nothing quite as wonderful as cracking open a brand new moly and beginning to despoil its pages. This year I committed to a softcover planner, and now I can feel that special crinkly paper feel right through the cover. All the notebook junkies out there will know just what I'm talking about, and to everyone else please just bear with us as we all let out a collective sigh of satisfaction.

I'm ashamed to say, in 2008 my planner ended up with some untouched spreads...I know...the shame of it...the waste...the missed opportunity.

Well, 2009 is a new year, and I'm in the process of pre-modifying every spread of my Moly. I have the best of intentions this year to draw something on every page (which I managed in my 2007 moly). If nothing else, I will have done something to every spread.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in Front of the Fire

It's a tradition. Dad's house for Christmas. Hang out in front of the fire. Open some gifts, and give some gifts. Eat turkey. Really simple and really wonderful. Highly recommend it.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Bloggyland Tour Continues...

...with a stop at Nan's!

Please come in and let me take your coat.

It's terribly cold outside. Can I offer you a warm cup of the holiday season? Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? I think I might even have a little apple cider left from the fall if you'd prefer a warm cider. And you must have a little something sweet too!

Please make yourself comfortable in the living room. Sorry there's no fire at the moment.

But the lights are on the Christmas tree, and that always makes a room feel a little warmer.

Not surprisingly, you're not the first visitor who's stopped by today. Santa was here a short time ago to help me with some of my preparations for Christmas. There's still so much to do, but he did give me a head start on my gift wrapping and my Christmas cards. I don't know how he finds the time—must be the magic of Christmas.

Well, I know you're anxious to be on your way—so many terrific things yet to see. But you haven't made it half way through your hot chocolate yet, so let me offer you a little diversion before you go:

Merry Christmas, Everyone

In the rush of the merry morning,
When the red burns through the gray,
And the wintry world lies waiting
For the glory of the day.
Then we hear a fitful rushing
Just without, upon the stair,
See two white phantoms coming,
Catch the gleam of sunny hair.

Rosy feet upon the threshold,
Eager faces peeping through,
With the first red ray of sunshine
Chanting cherubs come in view;
Mistletoe and gleaming holly,
Symbols of a blessed day,
In their chubby hands they carry,
Streaming all along the way.

Well we know them, never weary
Of their innocent surprise;
Waiting, watching, listening always
With full hearts and tender eyes,
While our little household angels,
White and golden in the Sun.
Greet us with the sweet old welcome—
"Merry Christmas, everyone!"

Well, I hope you've enjoyed yourself. I know I have—I'm so pleased you stopped by. Enjoy the rest of the tour!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas in Bloggyland!

And you're invited! On Monday, December 15th I'll be participating in a little early holiday spirit—a warm-up to the season.

Click the Christmas in Bloggyland invitation on the right to find out more!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


The final results for Yoda's Witch moleskine for Moleskine Exchange 42. I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. Could be a little darker overall, but futz with a thing too long and it turns to mud.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Moly-42: Yoda's Witch Moleskine

So I had a mild bummer of a day yesterday—feelin' a little rejected and dejected. Shook it off this morning by creating a monster banner for a show display this morning, and working on Lady Orlando's moleskine for the MolyX-42. I've had a heck of a time coming up with the art for this witch themed book. Many, many sketches were completed, and nothing was clicking. I'm not sure that this one clicks just yet either.

The elements are pretty decent. However, I'm playing with the colors—trying to get the right atmosphere. It's close but not quite there...hmmm. I'm at the point with my preliminary sketch where I'll probably start fidgeting the thing right into the toilet, but perhaps not.

By the time I get around to committing this to Yoda's Moly, I should have worked out the worst of the kinks.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Surprise Map!!

Complain all you want about snail mail being filled with bills, but every now and then a treasure appears. Yesterday was one of those days for me. A friend and fellow fan of traditional correspondence (FFTC) sent a note and a MAP! Sweet!

When my map-themed Moly returns from it's world tour, "Everyday New York City" will be added into it. Thanks Beebimbop! Love it!

Click the pic for a larger version.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Doodle Progress

As some of you may know, I'm currently in between jobs. More accurately, I'm in between iterations of the same job. You see, the parent company was no longer interested in the child, and gave it up for foster care. The child is taking its fate in its own hands and reforming with new independence. There's an amazing amount of prep work to be done, and the very act of being unemployed has many time-consuming responsibilities built into it as well. So I'm happy to report that I haven't taken to roaming the streets lookin' for trouble.

Perhaps someday I will be more specific about the above, but I'll wait until there's an exciting and happy ending to the story.

In the meantime, I've had some opportunities to fill small moments of time. One of those moments was filled with a little doodling while listening to NPR.

I've been in possession of Lady Orlando's moleskine for several weeks. I'm attempting to come up with a witch-themed bit of art for her MolyX-42 book. The witch doodles are part of that process, but it remains to be seen if any part of the doodle will make the final cut. Needless to say, it's a work in progress.

The Guinness doodle with accompanying leprechauns was purely a time waster. I met some friends at Hackney's in Wheeling for dinner and drinks. I got there a bit earlier than we were supposed to meet up, so I doodled. Fascinating story, no? No. I know, sorry.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Feelin' Sketchy

Quality time with the cat in the back yard on Sunday afternoon. He was deeply focused on activities surrounding the bird feeder while I was focused on the wee figure. Well, I was focused on it for at least one drawing, and then I was focused on the bird feeder too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

MolyX-42 Entry in Amy's "Red" Moly

This is a cross post from MolyX-42. To read more, go to http://moleskinex42.blogspot.com/2008/10/amys-moly-is-moving-on.html

Monday, October 06, 2008


Saturday was a lovely day so I set aside my house cleaning for a few hours and rode my bike over to the river to do a little sketching. I've spared you the warm up sketches of miscellaneous fishermen/women and gone right to the heart of the matter. The fish were jumping and I mean that quite literally. I didn't see any being hauled in, but there must have been some terrific spawning going on judging by the way they were leaping into the air. I half expected to see some wearing togas and neckties tied around their heads with that kind of partying happening—no such luck though.

The lighthouse was the object of some news over the summer. The Coast Guard is no longer interested in maintaining the lighthouse because they have other equipment that is more up-to-date and convenient to navigation. However, they would still be interested in keeping the lighthouse going as a back up to their main systems. Huh!?! Yep, it's the old we-still-want-to-use-it-we-just-don't-want-to-pay-for-it routine. Haven't read anything about it in the Kenosha News since that cutting edge story broke, so I'm thinking they're still paying for it.

The main attraction on the water this weekend was a visit from the gaff rigged schooner, The Red Witch. The Red Witch normally berths along Navy Pier in Chicago, but she sailed up to Kenosha Thursday and stayed through Sunday. For a not-so-small fee, the average Joe could have a two hour sail. Contemplated it, but opted to sketch her from afar instead.

There is one key feature these two subjects share that is cogent to another project I'm working on—they are both red. I am currently in possession of Amy Mebberson's Moly (http://moleskinex42.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-theme-red.html). One of these sketches will end up being my entry in her Moleskine.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Moly for Exchange 42 Is Ready to Send

This is the one I'll be sending to Jenn.

And this is the one I'll be putting together at home.

My theme is maps. I can stare at a map for hours. They spark my imagination like nothing else can. The details written on the page take form in my head. It doesn't matter what type of map it is—schematic diagrams do the same thing, so my theme is pretty flexible. Real or imaginary, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ridin' Along...

...minding his own business, and he ends up being sketched. Imagine the absurdity!

I'm thinking he graduated from college fairly recently. Don't know what gave me that impression...hmmm. We'll just call it a hunch.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fun Day in Art

What a treat I had awaiting me in the snail box this evening. There was only one envelope, but it was fat with goodness. I fed the cat, fed me, changed into afterwork chillin' clothes, and cracked open an envelope full of ATCs! The ATCs from the Everyday Matters group arrived today, and they are so beautiful!!!! I will take some snaps and post them eventually, but I think you, gentle reader, need to experience a little of the anticipation I felt. Then I will let you off the hook.

In the meantime, here's Gimli preparing to pounce on my toes.

No wait, that wasn't what I wanted to show you. Now what was it again? Hmmm...let me see...oh yes. I've begun a new project. Hitched myself to a group of very talented artists in a Moleskine Exchange (the 42nd such group conceived).

Now, here's the concept. We each purchase a Japanese Album fold Moleskin. In that Moleskine we create a piece of art covering several of the accordion-folded pages, and then we mail it off to the next person in our rotation. That person creates a piece of art on the next few pages, and ties it into the original art. Then they ship it to the next person in the rotation. Step. Repeat. Step. Repeat. Until, voila, your Moleskine returns to you filled with the creative brilliance of everyone in the group.

The Moleskine can be assigned a theme, or it can be a free-for-all of art. Whatever you choose. Great idea, no?

So this past weekend, I managed to create the sign-in spreads in a couple of Moleskines. Why are there two, you ask? Because I'm going to send one off on its round-the-world voyage (which really will be around the world), and the other will remain here with me. The one that stays will get copies of all the art I do in everyone else's Moleskine—at least I hope so. I guarantee I'll do theirs, and hopefully I'll do mine too.

Each person gets a month with a Moleskine before they need to send it on its merry way.

In the back I've written out my address, so it will eventually return to me, and I've asked each of the participants to include a little something from their countries. There are 10 participants in our group. Four are from the U.S., two from the U.K., one from the Netherlands, Spain, Australia, Mexico, and I'm not sure who I'm missing. Anyway, this sucker's gonna travel—I wish I could go with it!

You can follow along on the progress at our group blog: http://moleskinex42.blogspot.com/

By the time it returns, I'll no longer be contemplating a blank page, I'll be savoring the turn of each folio.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 01, 2008

To a "T"

Made a few sketches this weekend, but it wasn't until I was scanning them and naming the files that I realized my propensity to draw objects beginning with the letter "T". The tomato plant happened to be a very good model. That's the least it could do since it keeps teasing me with little green tomatoes.

There's really no good reason for this unusual focus of mine. No tall, dark stranger with a letter "T" prominent in his name has wandered into my life. I did not see a Model T on the highway over the weekend. I DID drink a lot of iced tea—as evidenced by the above picture. As a matter of fact, I believe I was drinking a glass of iced tea while I was drawing the sun tea brewing. Could be a conspiracy. Come to think of it, since the Boston Tea Party, tea has not really enjoyed the same level of divisive fame, and it could be looking for a little of the old spotlight. I'll have to keep an eye on those teabags to see what they're brewing.

Sorry, yes, I had to go there.

Now you could argue that this last one is more about the circus performer than it is about the tent, but then you'd just be lookin' to interfere with my mojo, and why would you want to do a thing like that?!?

For the record, the tent came first. It was a two line doodle that turned into a tent. The circus performer started from the feet, but the torso was illusive, so what's an artist to do? Why draw a Pacman eating the performer of course! Ha, can't believe you didn't see that one coming...sheesh.

Perhaps I've struck gold for drawings with a theme—pick a letter, any letter, and find the objects to fill the book. That really doesn't sound very exciting. Sounds a little more like dictionary manufacture.

I think I'll just revel in this happy coincidence, and move on. Or perhaps I'll submit them to the shrink and see what my psyche is telling me. Yo, Nan, I'm thinking you were hungry, thirsty and bored! That'll be $568.02, please. NEXT!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Things Afoot

Big things like the Democratic National Convention are afoot. Now, I know this isn't a political blog, but I can't help but say, "Wow." There you have it—my one word commentary. There wasn't a dry eye or a slow pulse in the place. Good stuff.

Now let us turn our attention to something a bit more mundane, but still a little exciting. A while ago I'd signed up with a group inside the Everyday Matters group to exchange ATCs (Artist's Trading Cards). These are 2.5 x 3.5" pieces of art that get swapped amongst the group members. I did a swap like this once before, and it turned out to be a one-for-one swap—probably a good thing for my first time out of the gates.

This time I was looking for a bit more of a challenge, and I was also looking to reap the reward of a flood of return ATCs—there are some very talented people in this group. Last week I mailed off my ATCs, and I'm anxiously awaiting the return mix of original, wonderful art. In the meantime, I've decided to let the cat out of the bag, and give everyone a sneak preview.

I made a record of sorts of the creation of my ATCs, so here they are. First came the pencil drawings, and a bit of pen work... In fact, first came some agonized planning, trying to decide what to do. There were nine people in my group (including myself), and I didn't want to do nine of the very same thing. Of course, no two would ever be the same anyway, but you know what I mean.

The planning looked like this...

The purple background made the whole thing fade into a grape lump. I'd mentally pictured something in gradients of color, but the subtlety of my mind is far, far ahead of the subtlety of my hand.

The pencil and stenciling came next...

The project ended up with far more than the requisite nine, but I've already given one to someone outside the group who is an avid postcard collector, and is also interested in ATCs (as of the moment she received her first, or so she said).

Then there were flowers and plants to add...

Next, I mixed up the background color (somewhat consistently).

Finally, I really set to painting, but I'd started a bit late, and not all the cards were finished before the chosen eight had to go out the door.

Most of these I kept...

And these I sent... Well, at the last moment I swapped the other finished maple for a crocus to give a bit more of a selection.

Always remember that...

Thanks for stopping by!