This adventurous kitty is the new mascot for a local public art walking tour for families and children. His nickname is T-CAT, short for Traverse City Art Trek. He will appear on the soon-to-be available map and brochure from the visitor’s center this summer!
The Traverse City Art Trek is a stroller-friendly walking tour that covers just a few city blocks and passes by shops and historic buildings, then crosses over the scenic Boardman River, and loops back to the waterfront. Participants will encounter works by local artists and learn a little bit about the city as well.
Follow me to find art around my city!
If you’re not familiar with Traverse City, we are a popular destination, making the Best of lists for beaches, natural beauty, wine, and livability, just to name a few!
It’s been fun working with this all-volunteer committee to make this a reality. It’s my first time doing illustration work for anyone other than myself, and I’m proud to contribute. If the TCAT has a successful launch, we will proceed with plans to expand the tour outside of the downtown area, and include bike paths and other locales in the city.
I find myself struggling with my art. I don’t know what to draw. Cats, of course, but I feel as if there should be more to it. Should I expand my subject matter? Create more complex compositions? Work larger? Draw in a series? Switch to acrylic? Build little theatrical scenes? Print and sew more fiber-related works? Work in a series? Develop a narrative? I want to do everything, and so, feeling overwhelmed, do very little.
I made this drawing during a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare airport when I was traveling over the holiday.
The next two months will be consumed with creating costumes for a local high school production, and teaching adult art workshops. I look forward to do both of these things, but they also distract me from the work of my own art. At the same time, these experiences can also invigorate my personal practice. Maybe there something about the costuming that I want to incorporate into the personal lexicon of my art making? And, I always learn something new by teaching what I already know to others.
What do you do when you don’t know what to do? I’d like to hear how other creatives work through their less productive spells.
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.
Do not eat. Not a real cookie.
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.
Continuing to straggle along on the Inktober days, but enjoying the process, nonetheless. This one just feels like a continuation of the last drawing, which was LOST. Lost in thought? Lost on the trail? Alas, the daily prompt list has moved on, so here’s my interpretation of the theme ROCK.
“What are men to rocks and mountains?” Jane Austen from Pride and Predjudice
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.
Feeling safe in my tube.
Still having fun with the Inktober drawings. Here’s my interpretation of Hungry.
No free breadsticks!
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.
Day 3: Collect
The treasures on this shelf in my studio were given to me by friends, relatives, and former students.
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.
Day 1: Fast
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.
Day 2: Noisy
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.