Like all loose ends, February's beg to be tied. February has been a bittersweet month. I hate and don't hate to see it go. March brings spring, of course, even though on this cold, dark night that seems improbable. Ends, beginnings--- that age-old song and dance. Casey and I often talk on the phone via Skype with a webcam and sometimes I sketch her as we talk. My friend Anne of Prêt à Voyager fame met with my daughter and me on our recent trip to Paris. Anne is a graduate student at American University in Paris, where my daughter is applying for admission next fall. Here are two of many Annes I've drawn recently. I'm never satisfied. And then there's breakfast at the dinner and sketching in the car---life's constants. Happy March everyone!
Since I have to be on the road so much these days, I'm taking advantage of the passenger time to make more quick sketches of cars and trucks---and it IS fun to let go of control (mostly) and try to get down just minimal shapes and colors and movement!
Being on the road means eating in restaurants, too. Why just in the past week I've been to China AND Spain! Or some places that tasted awfully like them.
When we arrived late Friday afternoon, she was silent, eyes fiercely closed, her frail body sunk deeply in her bed. It had been a rough ten days---a fall in the night, injured wrist, hip, cheekbone. Bruises, pain, depression in the aftermath. And to think that just the night before the fall, she'd done a twirl or two, my brother as her dancing partner, before being tucked into bed.
Seeing her again Saturday morning lying in her bed, so small, so forlorn, so without hope, undid me. I, who thrive on problem-solving, had no way to solve this one.
In the dim, sad room, not knowing what else to do, I took out my sketchbook, my pencils and pens. We began to talk. Over several hours, it was just the three of us in that room, my mother, my husband, myself. She told us stories of her parents, her grandparents, the house she lived in as a child with her large extended family. She told us about icemen and iceboxes, about sharing her bedroom with an adored younger cousin, about waking up one Christmas morning to no presents under the tree and weeping aunts---her preacher grandfather had died during the night.
While she talked and in the in-between times as she rested, I drew. At the end of the afternoon, I showed her my sketches. She can barely see most times, but she peered and peered and then said "That's me? Let me see them again." When we left her that night, she was not focusing, temporarily anyway, on pain, on being away from her home, on sad and dwindling days.
Next day, she told me "I thought about those drawings all night. I love them." She wanted me to show them to the nurses so I did.
I promised to make more sketches of her on our next visit this Friday---bigger sketches, easier to see.
I spend a lot of time in the car these days, going to and from my mother's city each week to visit her. Sometimes I'm the driver, sometimes my husband comes along and drives. This past week, I toted my sketchbook and brushpens and, with new eyes, I saw the cars and trucks around me as perfect subjects for my goal this year of drawing faster! It's becoming a tiny bit addictive!
Of course, there are still the UNmoving subjects in my life to draw and here's one:
Unless you are yourself an artist, you may not find these quick studies of much value, but I am one and I do! What fun they are to make! You'll see more of these, lots more, this year. Whether that is to the good or to the ill, you will decide for yourself.
I am working on other things, paintings, other drawings, which you will see as they are completed. It's a real smorgasbord around here. Delve, dip, and nibble, why not?
Here are some of the artifacts from our snowy weekend. This drawing of my friend Moreton is too big for my scanner, so here are two sections out of three. She looks a bit solemn because we were talking about our elderly, ill mothers as I drew her. The rest of the night was very festive, with her delicious Moroccan meal to savor and our lovely, witty husbands for company!
I'm using my oil pencil here again. It is the Cretacolor oil pencil I wrote about here, not a china marker. I love them!
Birds ate, too. They flitted and strutted and waited their turn at the foot of the feeder.