Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving, thanks. I hope you did too!

Then I had an avalanche weekend. You've probably experienced one, two or a few of these too.

The day after Thanksgiving is the day the Christmas decorations go up in my house. Holding true to the tradition, I started pulling some slipcased National Geographic magazines off a shelf that stands in the corner where the Christmas tree goes. The shelf is just too heavy to move to another corner when it's all loaded up.

There was dust on the slipcases and the shelves. The first avalanche had commenced...into a session of dusting. Which avalanched into mopping the wood floors with oil soap since I was going to be emptying that corner anyway...what better chance would I have to get at that bit of the floor??? Well, one corner of cleaning is just not right. I mean I had the mop out after all.

A couple of hours later, the living room and dining room floors were dry, and the rugs were back in place, so I was back to moving the shelf and reshelving those magazines. Well, the 2010 National Geographics were all loose because I never received slipcases. I was balanced on the edge of a dilemma—poised for another avalanche, and then I took the plunge. I pulled the 2000 NGs out of their cases, and boxed up 2010. This part wasn't much of an avalanche...I'll give you that. But then I decided I couldn't just chuck the 2000s...oh no...that would be too easy. I mean, I'd only been distracted from my original intention for a couple of hours, and I had the whole weekend!

So I pulled a hoarded composition notebook off the shelf, and proceeded to cut random art from each issue for the left page of each spread and leaving the right-hand pages empty for sketching. Lo and behold, and entirely new sketchbook was created (I need another one of those like I need a hole in my head). In my defense, I interspersed Christmas tree decorating with snip and paste sessions (I was pacing myself).

Well, by the end of the day I'd only managed to get the Christmas tree decorated with lights. Pathetic.

I have it on good authority that this ability (or curse depending on how you view it) is genetic. My great grandmother was behind the wheel of the family car having a driving lesson from my great grandfather, and she drove off into a field when a butterfly caught her attention.

These random scribbles are from the new book.

To justify the existence of this notebook, I've decided that it's not going to be so precious, and unfinished stuff is perfectly fine. Yep, that's what I'm telling myself. Like that makes it OK. Sigh....

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Full and Pleasant Afternoon

This is a little doodle completed during lunch yesterday. I get a lot of address stickers from various parties, and they come with envelope closure labels—some of them really cute and thusly deemed, "Moleskine worthy." The whole sticker thing is a throwback to childhood...for better or worse, who can say? This was one such sticker and after months of languishing on a blank page, it received an accompanying doodle. I had a bit of time while I sipped my hot tea after a brisk walk along the lakefront to Ashling on the Lough Pub and Restaurant. I enjoyed their Wisconsin Reuben—very tasty. In between concentrated bites I got to enjoy a view of the now empty marina...kind of sad that all the boats are tucked away for winter.

After lunch it was back out into the brisk air for a walk back the way I'd come and a bit farther to the Anderson Arts Center for the opening of the Winter Juried Show. The place was packed and the artwork was wonderful. Kenosha is the home to talented artists working in just about every medium, and the selections in the show reflected the variety. It's well worth stopping by to see these works if you happen to be in Kenosha. I had time to stroll the entire show and listen to the awards presentations. It was standing room only, and packed, so i was on the staircase around the corner from the presenter. I left shortly thereafter because there was a concert I wanted to see at the United Methodist Church at 3 pm, and it was just a quarter to the hour.

The concert was an assortment of songs of praise and Thanksgiving sung by the Carthage College Lincoln Chamber Singers and the UW-Parkside Chamber Choir. The choirs sung some pieces individually and joined together for a few selections. This particular music is not usually music I'd kick back and listen to without wrapping it up in a church service, but this was part of the "Fine Arts at First" concert series, and was worthy of note. The music was very beautiful.

It was a full and pleasant afternoon—a pleasant substitute for another fall afternoon of raking. I'll get to the raking this evening...sigh.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Breakfast at Common Grounds

Yesterday I treated myself to a morning walk up to Common Grounds for a bagel and coffee. I sat in the slightly quieter reading room which was completely empty when I arrived. I read a little poetry while I ate, and people started coming into the room in ones and twos.

I was distracted from my reading as the ones or twos gelled into a group, specifically, a group of runners having a running club meeting. There were a couple of men engaged in introducing themselves to each other with their running CVs. They'd both been members of the club for some time but with staggered periods of active participation. Their conversation was slow, interrupted by sips of coffee and the relaxed atmosphere.

After I was finished eating, I started in on the sketch of the lamp, but just after I began there was an influx of other running club members, and their table grew, was pushed together with another table, and chairs started being shifted to accommodate the new arrivals. I offered up my spare chair, and was kindly thanked.

I purposely took my time with my sketch because I was enjoying the eavesdropping opportunity. There were three men just over my shoulder, in particular, whose conversation I enjoyed. I don't know if they noticed my smirks and low chuckles when they cracked a joke, but I was having a lovely time.

It couldn't last forever, though, and new members arrived. One young lady was offered a seat but declined in favor of standing a bit longer—almost the entire group had, you guessed it, run to the meeting. But my sketch was finished, and it was inevitable that she would eventually want to sit down.

This is the natural ebb and flow of humanity. We are in a constant dance of arrival and departure, accompanied by intended and unintended interactions.

For my part, it was a lovely way to spend a part of my morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans!

Thank you very much for your service to our country! It is deeply appreciated.

Towards the end of the day I popped onto a couple of my favorite news sites and read that Dino de Laurentiis had passed away. The producer of Dune (one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies), the Hannibal series of films and Flash Gordon (a bit before my time) was 91.

The BBC news story had an accompanying photo (couldn't find a credit anywhere, just the "AFP" in the corner). His face was so full of character, that I sat down with my moleskine and pencil and discovered that I am seriously rusty! Yikes.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Wings by Coudal

Wings: Making the Field Notes 2010 Fall Edition from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.

This is a great little film. It's also a 6 degrees of separation thing for me, since I work with the talented folks at Envision Graphics (in Bloomington, IL) through my work at CRM.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Sketched from a photo by Alan Williams (Naturpl.com) appearing in the latest issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

'Bout 8-10 minutes worth of sketching...end of the day wind-down. It's been a while since I took a pencil to the Moleskine—felt good.

Thanks for stopping by!