Monday, June 26, 2006

Illustration Friday: "Rain"

I had so much fun doing this, especially because it's been raining for about six days here. The man I saw looked so crabby, and the dog looked so happy. I rent our hovel in a neighborhood of vineyards, ocean views, Mercedes, horses and such. I thought, "Good God, man, you've got a mansion with all fluffy white towels to go home to! We're all crying for a long shower every morning, and we love to swim. It's water, not acid. What's the big deal?" But enough moralizing. It's unbecoming.

Most interesting to me is my reliance on conventions. According to theory, my artiste disappeared 40+ years ago. I never learned how to SEE. So rain = lots of parallel grey lines. A leash = a straight line between human and dog. I have so much to learn! What does a dog really look like? How does it walk? How does a man walk? What do background houses look like in rain? What do puddles look like? I mean, I like my drawing, but I also see 75 flaws. I'm giving myself some slack because Julia Cameron says that we must encourage our artist and lure her out.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Likes and dislikes define boundaries and a sense of self. Last week, as part of my work in The Artist's Way, I drew food that I like. Today I'm posting foods that I don't like. I've tried to pinpoint the reason for my dislike.

Example, I don't care for shellfish. I've tried it a few times, but the texture reminds me of what an earthworm would feel like between my teeth. Click on drawing to enlarge it.

I tried lobster once, but it felt like I was ripping apart a huge scorpion. Dipping it in melted butter didn't even help.

More distaste

More dislikes. I don't like shrimp. I have a strong memory of the beloved grandmother on the Jewish side of the family telling me that we don't eat shrimp. "They live at the bottom of the ocean. They are dirty," she said. Anyway, their reptilian armor too closely ressembles that of my most-hated kitchen pest, the mutant-legged, camel-back grasshopper.

I can't even look at kiwis. They give me hives. On a related note, I shudder when I see a key lime pie or a lemon meringue pie. I can't explain it.
Eggs upset me, even though I eat them sometimes. By the way, I'm not criticising anyone else for eating any of these! A friend just called me to protest my first entry.


The potential new employer was supposed to call yesterday to give me the board's decision. I stayed home and puttered....well actually I just sat and watched the phone. Nothing.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I love mail




I believe in the magic of the U.S. Postal Service.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Yesterday was all about job interviews and an axle problem on my car. I didn't have the heart or even the time to make a drawing. I slept poorly, and woke up feeling worried. Then I discovered many messages from fellow bloggers. I felt so energized. I am in the third week of The Artist's Way. So today I'm still thinking about regaining a sense of self, so I thought about more things that I love. Above is the smell of honeysuckle at night with fireflies. The one below says A Salt Breeze -- I think I meant to write "A Sea Breeze". Our house is on a tidal inlet. Sometimes on very saturated and windless early mornings, I can sniff the air and smell the invitation of the great ocean.

Some of these are difficult to identify. The one above is me finding the first good summer peach the other night. Below is the smell of freshly-cut grass with wild onions and dandelions. I'm cutting with scissors because my attempts at drawing lawnmowers were disasters.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


This post grows out of my explorations in The Artists Way. Gaining a sense of identity (chapter 2) and gaining a sense of power (chapter 3) are both challenges to me. She keeps pushing the reader to care for her Self, for her artist instead of always caring for other people.

As I pay more attention to my own happiness, I discover that there are little glimmers of dreams and desires -- something I've denied myself for a long time. These past years have drained me. I am shut down in so many ways. I have lost my ability to hope.

I love Oprah's quote: "Your life is speaking to you all the time. What is it trying to tell you?" Julia Cameron gives a similar challenge to just " attention this week to anything that you notice." When I was on the treadmill at the gym I saw Michael Chiarello's cooking program. His approach to food is so sensual and bold and creative and fun. I used to bake in fine restaurants, so I have a sense of the territory. The show reminded me of better times, like when I lived for two years in the south of France, and even earlier, when I apprenticed with a great pastry chef. That part of me wants to be alive again. I want to shop in fresh markets and buy fresh flowers. I want to find amazing food combinations and enjoy them with friends. So I sat down and challenged myself to think of some of the special and sensual flavors that my self, my ARTIST has enjoyed in the past. It made me both happy and sad at the same time.
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Monday, June 19, 2006


I'm continuing with keri smith's theme of "draw your habits." This is actually two habits:

1. I sit way too close to the steering wheel.

2. I always listen to books on tape,usually non-fiction. Right now I'm listening to Gore Vidal's book about our founding fathers.

Hmmm... I just realized that there is no door on the driver's side. Let's call it a sketch. I spent the whole day applying for jobs. I sent out 6 cover letters and resumes. I'm sick of my desk. I want to go to the beach now.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Reading in bed

The idea for this drawing comes from keri smith's 100 ideas. I think it's number 32: draw some of your habits. I started with this one: reading in bed. I had several challenges. I don't know how to make the floor line. I also didn't know how to suggest form under the bedspread, so I made it into a quilt.

Maybe you recognize the cover to this one. I made the book cover into a panel as big as the wall as anod to an effective Japanese tradition. I've seen it done in prints. The angle is wrong. I wanted it to look flush against my bed.

I'm so enchanted by the book that I feel like I'm really in the McClusky world. Metaphorically, the book really does fill my room, so I'm the same size as the two girls. McCloskey's illustrations are so low tech. Just pencil, I think. Nothing derivative or post-modern about him. Just pure observation and skill. Now I'm on to Blueberries for Sal.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Paper and scissors

I feel blah today.

My life is on hold until I hear about that job. I'm letting it eat away at me. So I tried to think happy thoughts today. Instinct somehow led me to scissors and paper. When I was ten or so, my mom (Sally), may she rest in peace, taught me how to make paper dancing dolls. Making these dolls today made a bridge to the past. Soon I was in the house in which I grew up, seated at the sticky and humid dining room table with my mom, snippets of paper flying off as we fashioned our dolls. I felt the safety and predictability of my childhood. I sensed the breeze sifting through the curtains. So this exercise really lifted my spirits today. Thanks mom!

Friday, June 16, 2006


I .

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

doughy cake

Ice Cream Monster inspired me a few weeks ago when she published something that didn't quite turn out. She's a master graphic artist and a great illustrator, but was not too proud to publish a soggy cake. Just as Mok, my Chinese calligraphy teacher said, you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes.

I keep thinking about the Old Testament reading from Sunday. I'm not a Judeo-Christian. However, those stories just fascinate me to no end, probably because I grew up in a religion-free household.

I tried to draw this five times, but it won't capture my excitement and magical feeling. So in honor of Ice Cream Monster, I'll publish my unsuccessful execution in hopes that I'll learn from studying it.

The sandals are key in the story. God tells Moses to remove them. I think the sandals in my drawing capture Moses' awe better than any part. I decided in the end not to include the burning bush in the drawing. It seemed kind of sacreligious, and better left to the imagination. Anyway, the effect of the fire and voice was more interesting than the bush itself.

For the sake of composition, I wanted to publish the whole doughy cake, but it comes out really fuzzy -- not too much fun to look at. Anyway, Blogger is refusing to publish it now. It seems to be on the blink again. I'll publish it this afternoon.