It's still January, it's still 2009, and in spite of a straggling start (see post below for reasons why), here's my art and travel plan for the year:
It's a back and forth dance between drawing and painting.
Painting projects: I'll continue as a main painting focus my pursuit of watery subjects, blogging here about my efforts and on Watermarks, too, a group blog I'm a member of. I'm sure the other Watermarkers have entertained the thought of tossing me overboard, as I've participated very little of late. Life has its ebbs and flows and I've been ebbing, but for understandable reasons, I believe, so I hope they'll bear with me. I'm priming the pump, though. Flow will happen.
I can and will, of course, paint other stuff. We'll see what life brings.
September in Brittany: In pursuit of the above, I'm hoping to spend the month of September painting in Brittany. I'll find a house to rent and take my sketching stuff and my paints and go. Details to follow as they evolve. Much depends on the economy. But that's the plan for now.
Newfoundland and Labrador!Jeanette Jobson, a fellow Watermarker, lives in Newfoundland. Her stories and paintings of the area have made me so keen to go and see for myself! I'm hoping to take a few days' trip there in July. Last year, I fell in love with Iceland, and here I am again, inching closer, from where I start, to the Arctic Circle.
Drawing bootcamp! My new drawing hero is Veronica Lawlor, whom I met online via Urban Sketchers, another inspiring group blog we both contribute to. Click on her name to see her gorgeous, exciting, dynamic drawings! I want to learn the techniques she's developed for reportage illustration. She and her colleague Margaret Hurst run Dalvero Academy, offering courses in New York City and beyond. Last year, they conducted a two-week drawing workshop in Paris. Every year in August, they do a ten-day workshop at Disney World and, seeing as how there's no 2009 Paris course, that's where I'll be going.
I'm ecstatic about this. Veronica says we'll draw at least eight hours a day! In Orlando, in August! Won't that be kind of like the Arctic Circle?
They also do three-day workshops in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. I hope to take one of those this spring. I can't wait 'til August to try my hand at reportage illustration!
Illustrating a food lover's guide to my area: My town was named one of the top food destinations in the US by Someone recently. Someone Official and Fancy, but I can't remember now who. Will edit this post when I find out. Anyway, my friend Moreton Neal is writing it, I'm illustrating it, and we have a contract. Should be lots of fun.
Urban sketching: I am having such a great time thinking of things to sketch for the aforementioned Urban Sketchers, the terrific blog started by Gabi Campanario! It's a thrill to be part of a worldwide network of people as crazy about drawing as I am!
That's the rough guide to Laurelines in 2009. Hope you'll bring your windbreaker and your dancing shoes and come along!
We said a sudden and sad goodbye to Grace last week. My husband's mother was 87 and was going to move into a brand new ( to her), freshly-decorated (by me) apartment in the assisted living section of the retirement community where she'd lived for eight years. She fell ill quickly and suffered little, thank heavens. My husband was with her in her last moments of awareness. She never saw her new little place---and though it seems minor and beside the point, I wish she had.
A few days later, last Friday, I had a surgery that had been on the books for months. It took me that long to find time in my life for it. It wasn't the most serious type of surgery. It wasn't the least. It was, like me, in the middle.
Yesterday, my daughter Kate came to stay all day in case I needed help. I didn't, but I loved being with her and her Jonas, who is now three months old.
Here's Jonas, that adorable cupcake of a boy, looking for all the world as if he's saying hallelujahs in his sleep.
And here are the red tulips my husband brought for me to look at while I struggle to be patient. I'm better at being impatient, of course. Holding Grace in my heart, and Jonas, too, I'm looking forward to being on my road again.
We haven't had a snowfall here in four or so years, but we had a beautiful one yesterday, on Inauguration Day. Of course, the town fell to its knees and it wasn't just to give thanks for our new president. We've got a lot of snow scaredy cats here. One place that remained open was Neal's Deli, owned and run by our friends Matt and Sheila---it was featured in Bon Appetit magazine within the first month of its operation! Barack and Michelle Obama had pheasant and champagne for lunch. David and I had hot dogs and cupcakes. Is this a great country or what?
And though this drawing of a snowy day on the tarmac at Paris airport dates from a couple of weeks ago, the feeling here yesterday was similar. Except yesterday I didn't have to sit on a plane for five hours before taking off.
It's been a tough week. Next week will be another one. This is not to whine, but is by way of explaining my low profile of late and in the next little while. I won't be absent. I'll just be a bit scarce. Then, I hope, for an easier period and lots more studio time.
Today, I needed a break. I went to our university art museum to sketch Buddhas. This has helped my state of mind before.
Instead, I was drawn to a ferocious-looking figure called Bishamonten, chief deity overseeing the four cardinal directions of the universe. Here's how the museum describes him: "Energized by swirling draperies and a fiery demeanor,... Bishamonten ...is a powerful force for both protection and transformation." It was after drawing him that I realized that I had been behaving like Bishamonten with some members of my family. They know who they are.
Only after making this oddly autobiographical sketch, was I able to approach Guanyin, the Boddhissatva of mercy and make a sketch of her.
I give you, then, aspects of myself today. Before and after.
I still haven't posted my 2009 art and life plan! I have one---and there are some exciting things in it! I will post it, just as soon as I can.
Claire and Paul, below, the gorgeous progeny of my friend Casey, will be the first to tell you they are no angels. But they are heavenly looking, even if my drawings, done while all of us were drinking champagne, don't convey that quality as well as they should. These sketches were done in Paris and Bruges last week.
It was cold! Sometimes wet bits fell from the sky! I drew inside, mostly, though some of the faces in the Paris people sketch were drawn while waiting in line (for two and a half hours!!) to see the 'Picasso and the Masters' show at the Grand Palais. Yes, I sacrificed a great deal to go inside to drink wine or coffee so I could sketch. I'm noble that way.
More sketches to come, plus my 2009 plan!
I meant to add this earlier, but jet lag and a cold have me addlepated! My friend Maryam Montague has a most exquisite blog called My Marrakesh, in which she posts lovely images and moving stories about her life in Morocco and her travels to other exotic places. If you don't know her or her work, please make haste to check her out! She's a finalist in the 2008 Weblog awards and would love your vote. She has mine, most heartily. Please go here and vote! Maryam and I both thank you.
I'm home a day late, having been delayed by a snowstorm in Paris yesterday. I have sketches from my trip and ideas for 2009, my annual 'the Plan' post, which will be forthcoming tomorrow, I hope. For now, I'm unpacking and reconnecting with family and friends, See you here tomorrow!