This gallery contains 1 photo.
Startings is the hardest part.
This gallery contains 1 photo.
Startings is the hardest part.
The ornaments on my tree all have an origin story. Some belonged to my mother. Others were made by my husband, or by me. Many more were gifts from friends or former students. Each decoration has meaning, and evokes the giver, the event at which it was acquired, or the location of purchase or creation. The Christmas tree, then, becomes a receptacle of memory, representing the strata of my life, and that of my family.
As a cat person, I receive a lot of cat Christmas tree ornaments as gifts. This one, though, I purchased myself while celebrating a birthday dinner on a riverboat in Hannibal, Missouri. (Yes, the Hannibal that is famous as being the hometown of Mark Twain.) I liked this cat for the whimsical arch of its back, and that it looks like a frosted gingerbread cookie. I’ve been staring at it ever since our tree went up a couple of weeks ago. This morning, I was compelled to document it.
I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to everyone, if that’s your thing, and, at the very least, Happy Solstice! This is as dark as it gets in the Northern Hemisphere. Be warm, safe, and thoughtful this holiday.
A couple of weeks ago, my laptop slid backwards off the edge of the sofa and landed with a dull thwack on the hardwood floor.
The resulting damage was a small crack in the screen on the bottom right. I took it to the local fix-it place, and they told me said screen could be replaced for a price that, while less than the cost of new machine, was still enough to make me cringe.
What followed was two weeks of anguish while I tried to decide the best course forward by:
A. possibly going ahead with the costly repair on a computer that is already four years old.
B. looking for the equivalent of a used machine via Craig’s list and local garage sales.
C. considering a refurbished computer that would replace my beloved, now broken laptop, thus consuming hours of time online reading technical specifications.
D. ordering a new computer to replace the old with the new.
E. skipping a decision altogether, by continuing to hook my laptop up to my 42″ TV, which was working perfectly well, despite the fact that the initial crack had formed tributaries and was now consuming over half the surface of the screen.
I finally, but not without tears and aggravation at my clumsiness, selected “D” and ordered a new computer, upon which I now submit my entry for Inktober, Broken.
It’s increasingly difficult to go completely off the radar since we (nearly) all carry a GPS around in our pockets or embedded in our dashboards. Yet, there are so many metaphorical ways to be lost for which there are no concrete satellite coordinates.
My husband and I drive a lot, heading “down state,” as it’s called here. That’s where the larger cities are, and my family, as well. For the most part, we pass through unbelievably beautiful areas, but some highway driving is just tedious no matter what. Bad weather can add a level of stress. As the passenger, I read aloud books of mutual choosing to help us both pass the time, lost in characters and places, descriptions and events beyond the windows of our time machine. Our current car novel is American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. The main character in this mysterious, fascinating story starts off without a life purpose, just going with, what seems to be, the whims of fate, also lost in his own way, spending a lot of time on the road. I based my Inktober entry for LOST on car time, oblivious to one’s actual position on the globe, and the feeling of being transported.
Inktober continues to whoosh along. Here’s Hidden.
On Sunday nights I used to help feed feral cats who lived in managed colonies not far from my neighborhood. There were four stops, and on any given night, I might see from 5 – 30 cats who came to the feeding areas for food. There were a few cats who would get close enough for a quick scruff, but the majority of them would hang back until the food was in a dish.
My Inktober interpretation for SAD is based on my experiences with the colony cats. I would worry on nights when I didn’t see a regular visitor, or if a cat was clearly in distress. But, at the very least, these cats were spayed or neutered, and got a meal once a day. Occasionally, there would be a sick or injured cat, who, if it could be safely trapped, received health care. When kittens did show up, they were carefully captured, and placed in forever homes.
I dedicate this drawing to all of those scrappy cats who survive in the streets, around dumpsters, drainages, and parking lots.
Still having fun with the Inktober drawings. Here’s my interpretation of Hungry.
I started with a photo of my dad waiting at a table for a meal. I wanted to explore more mark-making and value range with my pens.
You can see what I chose to keep in the drawing compared to the photo, such as the position of the subject, and the overall composition.
However, I changed many of the details, like the location, and the place settings, in order to make the overall content of the image more interesting.
I like to work with photographs as reference, to understand proportions or to get an angle or pose, but not as a way to recreate exactly what’s in the picture.
I used similar techniques with the drawing for the prompt, Collect, which you can see here.
I know I’m behind on the Inktober prompts, but keep checking in! I’ll catch up eventually. Happy drawing!
Random objects usually go on a shelf in my studio where they pile up as remembrances of people, places, or events. I used one such corner as inspiration for Day 3 of Inktober.
The oldest item on the shelf is the cloth clown that I got at an art fair 20 years ago! The waving red cat, the blue sparkle cat, the giant black bird, and the can of soup all came from students. Every object here has a story that helps construct my memories.
A trinket from the fair. A little souvenir. Small gifts from friends. Do you have a collection of such things?
Last year, I participated in Drawlloween, a challenge for artists to post a work every day for the month of October based on Halloween themed prompts. Despite my most sincere efforts, I can not draw anything that looks really scary, but, I proceeded anyway, rendering my subjects in watercolor and pen. You can look back on my interpretations starting with Drawlloween with Cats, where I present the first four drawings I completed, including Return from the Dead, Mansions and Manors, Spider Day, and Better Homes & Goblins.
I contemplated joining in the spooky fun again this year, but, instead, opted to do Inktober, which follows a similar format by providing daily drawing prompts. Inktober is decidedly non-seasonal, and the only rule, really, is that the drawing must be executed in ink. I find the discipline of using pens quite appealing, and I admire artists who do fine inking work. My favorite of all time is Edward Gorey, but a recent find is the illustrator Franco Matticcio. Both of these artists employ fine, directional marks, layering, and a variety of patterns and textures to create contrast and build form. Their drawings are also whimsical, and they both draw cats, among other things.
Across the board, interpretations of these prompts varies wildly, with incredible artists submitting their works. It is SO inspiring and fun to see what other people draw. You can see what other artists are doing by searching #inktober and #drawlloween on any social media site!
Already a couple of days behind the Inktober schedule, posts will arrive as I complete more drawings.