October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Day 2 without power. The snow brought down trees and power lines all around town. Went for a hood walk yesterday to access the damage and it is pretty bad. We've got 2 big limbs down in the back yard, but no damage.

Nothing to do but wait for the power to get restored. Last night bundled up, lit lots of candles, made a pot of tea, and snuggled in bed with babes, my book light and a good book. I realize that I look better in candlelight :-)

Trick or treat has been canceled in our town tonight due to downed trees and power lines. That is a bummer.

October 29, 2011

Story Cutting

"We all need stories to make sense of the world", says Beatrice Coron, and she creates stories with paper. I love how artists are inspired to create art is so many forms. Prepare to be amazed by her work here.

Journal Page

We've got a winter storm headed our way - and it is only October! Forecast is for about 6" of snow. Have I mentioned that it is only October? What happened to Fall? I barely had time to enjoy it.

This journal page was created with pen and watercolors - my usual mo. It is interesting to sketch directly in ink - which is how I usually do it. No erasing that way. Makes it a freer sketch which I like. Gourds are pretty no?

October 28, 2011

Journal Page

Sometimes I feel creative and sometimes I don't. Am on a creative roller coaster at the moment, and have started a project that is taking much of my juices. But since it is a gift, I cannot talk about it for another month or so. Stay tuned.

Tis the season for pumpkins. The one on the dining table is on a leaf shaped platter. Love the contrasting colors. Pen and watercolors.

October 27, 2011

Journal Page

One of my goals this year was to get over my fear of drawing faces. Well, would not say that the fear is gone, but am certainly more comfortable doing it. Have more faces in this journal that ever before, and now can really see how faces are similar and how they are different. Progress.

This page has my usual mo - pen and watercolors.

October 26, 2011

Recent Reads

114. Goodbye Chunky Rice
I liked this graphic novel. It explores themes of friendship, home, travel and the search for one's place in the world.

115. Syncopated
Another graphic book - an anthology of non-fiction picto essays. This is an interesting collection, with some of the artist entries more compelling than others. Worth a read though.

116. Turn of Mind
There seems to be a collection of recent releases that have to do with memory loss in one way or another, and I really liked this one. This is the story of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I found it quite a tense read and was never really sure of what was real and what was not - quite an adept writing style, as it put me in the mind of the person losing her memory. This story gave me lots to think about. Who are we without our memories? Who can we trust? Can we even trust ourselves? The idea of the "mind rotting inside the head" is an image that has stuck with me.

October 25, 2011

Journal Page

I attended the Boston Book Festival this year and so loved it.

Here are the sketches I made that day. Both pages had acrylic paint backgrounds and I used my trusty sharpie pen to quickly sketch people around me. The first sketch was made while seated, and I was standing in line sketching for the second one. A first for me.

October 23, 2011

View - of Wacky Candy

This is a view of the Wacky Candy store at the Topsfield Fair this year.

This is the first year that I have been disappointed with the fair. Maybe it was because I was there on a weekday - but the fair seemed rather drab and all about carni stuff and junk food. Not sure that I'll be going next year.

October 22, 2011

Journal Page

I recently read this book, and loved the style the artist used to capture people.

So, took out my journal to try and see how he does it - sometimes with so few pen strokes. The line is really different when I use a brush pen. Had fun with these pages.

October 20, 2011

Journal Page

The thing about drawing someone you know is that the drawing does not quite capture the person - though in some ways it does capture the essence I see. I read somewhere to focus on what you like about a drawing, and in this one I like the angles of the wrists and elbow. Getting better with each drawing that I do.

October 18, 2011

Recent Reads

110. Leaving India
This was my book club selection this month and while I found some of the writing quite poetic, I would not have finished the book if not for my book club commitment. I did learn some new things about the South Asian diaspora, but for the most part, this is really a family memoir and I was not particularly interested in the family. Way too much detail for my taste. On a positive note, it did lead to a interesting book club discussion about what is lost and gained when a family is suddenly flung across the oceans.

111. Carnet De Voyage
I love travel journals and this one is so much fun to read. I liked both the story telling and the drawings, and the fact that all but a few of the drawings were made on site and not in retrospect is a staggering achievement. There is something quite magical about following along on an artistic journey. My only complaint is that the ending was rather abrupt - okay there was a deadline, but still, that could have been handled better.

112. Blankets
This graphic novel is heavy - literally - be kind to your wrists and use a kick stand. The story is a coming of age memoir and is wonderfully illustrated.

113. Moscow Rules
This is book #8 of the Gabriel Allon series, and at this point, the art restorer/spy/assassin feels an old and dear friend. He gets pulled out of retirement - again - and the story flows in a typical manner - various locations, murder and mayhem, a dash of history, a thrilling operation. Buckle up for a fun ride.

October 17, 2011

Journal Page

I got the idea for this one from a magazine at the local bookstore. Decided to make her hair funky.

The background was created some time back with leftover acrylic paints. The drawing is done with pen and watercolors.


Am back from a weekend full of inspiration.

I attended my first ever BBF. This year was the 3rd annual Boston Book Festival and I loved everything about it. Attended 4 sessions with authors who were funny, insightful and articulate. What more can a book lover ask for?

The MFA is hosting a stunning special exhibit - Degas and the Nude and I loved everything about it. Could spend hours just looking at his drawings, oils, pastels and sculpture.

So my mind is full of images and thoughts and ideas, and I need some time to digest it all. Bliss.

October 15, 2011

View - of faces

The theme for the sketchbook challenge this month is View.

This was fun to do. I do not usually have multiple drawings on a page and I like the layered look of this one. Quick sketches of people around me at the bookstore.

October 14, 2011

Eve Ensler

To hear another incredible talk by Eve, click on the link:
Suddenly, my body

Recent Reads

106. We the Animals
This debut is getting quite a bit of buzz and I can see why. A very short book of almost whispered stories that pack quite a punch. Vignettes into the particulars of one unhappy childhood.

107. Drawn In
A peek into the inspiring sketchbooks of 44 fine artists, illustrators, graphic designers and cartoonists is right up my alley. I love looking at how people use their journals and this one shows quite a range of styles. I was a bit disappointed by the Q&A sections - seemed too light and an opportunity wasted to capture some insights from the artists.

108. The Winter Rose
This is the 2nd book in the Tea Rose trilogy and I loved it. A huge, sprawling saga of passions, dreams, loss and redemption. And there were portions set in Kenya! How could I not love that? Yes, a bit Hollywood-like in the ending, but quite a satisfying read none-the-less. I gotta say that I am a bit reluctant to get the final book in the series based on the negative reviews, but will give it a try based on how much I enjoyed the first two.

109. Anya's Ghost
I quite enjoyed this graphic novel about teenage angst with a twist. Anya hates everything about herself - her name, her family, the food her mother cooks, her body - why can she not be just like other American girls and fit in? Enter the ghost, who eventually teaches Anya an important lesson - you are good enough just the way you are. This would be an good graphic novel to read with a teenager as it could start some interesting discussions.

October 8, 2011

Time flies

My sweetie pie and I are celebrating our 20 year anniversary this weekend. Am a little stunned at how fast time flies.

So 20 years years later, here are some of my lessons learned, in no particular order:
  • Let go of having to be right.
  • Relationships are all about compromise.
  • Fight for what is really important and let go of the rest.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff.
  • Me, you and us are equally important.
  • Don't get joined at the hip. Have your own interests, friends, etc.
  • Realize that no one person can meet all your needs. Heck even I'm not perfect!
  • It is essential to share common values.
  • Life is easier if you share some goals and interests.
  • Learn how to fight. And make up.
  • Communicate. Listen. Support.
  • A sense of humor can save the day.
  • Without trust you got nothing.
  • Laugh. Play. Learn. Grow.
  • Love. Each other and yourself.
Happy versary Babes. 82.

October 7, 2011

Journal Page

I decided to visit the Karanis exhibit while in A2 and was quite impressed with the collection from the Michigan dig.

Since it was right across the street from UMMA, decided to go back in with my sketchbook Here is the page I created with pen and markers.

October 6, 2011

Recent Reads

102. The Lincoln Lawyer
Great for a road trip. Listened to the audio version of this book a the long ride to A2 and quite enjoyed it. Time behind the wheel flew while listening to this interesting story about the justice system and the notion of reasonable doubt.

103. The Brass Verdict
Another great book for a road trip. Listened to this one on the ride back home from A2. This is Bosch #14 and Haller #2, and it was interesting to see the two characters interact.

104. The Wake of Forgiveness
Maybe I was not just in the right mood for this book, but I do not understand the rave reviews. I quit reading after the first 100 pages - simply did not care about any of the characters and what would happen to them. Some of the writing is quite lovely, but in the end was not enough to draw me in and keep me interested.

105. Stitches
I love graphic novels and loved this one. This memoir captures the particulars on one unhappy and tragic family story. I love that the drawings are deceptively simple and yet stay with you for a long time after you read the book. Makes me what to give the author a hug.

October 4, 2011

Journal Page

The fun thing about being in a college town is that you end up surrounded by young 'uns at every turn. So full of excitement and energy and angst. And oh so painfully young.

Here is one of the young men across from me at lunch. I was drawn with by all that hair.

October 3, 2011

Recent Reads

99. The Land of Painted Caves
I've been reading the Earth's Children series this summer, and was really looking forward to this final book in the saga. I got several hundred pages into it and simply could not continue. It is boring and not well written and though I really want to find out what happens, I've decided to stop reading it. And I almost never stop reading a book once I start it. Am so disappointed.

100. The Secret Servant
Am slowly making my way through the Gabriel Allon series, and this is #7. A fun ride that also got me thinking about how population growth and decline can change a region in terms of religion and politics.

101. The Tea Rose
Get ready for almost 800 pages of juiciness. Not since Gone With the Wind have I read such a sprawling historical novel. The story of a determined young woman is set in Jack-the-ripper London and 1890s New York, and I got a real sense of what it was like to live with and without money in those times. Yes, there is a love story too - but like GWTW, it is the time and place and the sheer grit of the main character that draws you in. Loved it and already have part two of the trilogy on order.

October 2, 2011

Home again

It is delightful to be home again. Even though the week of rain in A2 has followed us home, it is lovely to sleep in my own bed at night.

I love playing with my journal on the road. Here are two pages from the trip.