A year of us | day 182

A year of us | day 182

day 182

I had the house to myself after lunch. I sat down to write and all I could think of was a swimming pool and Popsicle, preferably together. I played the Adventureland soundtrack instead of my default background classical music. Bowie’s Modern Love reminded me of countless discussions we had about his pop songs sitting on the moss green carpet in his room, his turtle clicking in the aquarium, Bowie posters papered the walls. Late night trips to the grocery store for chocolate milk and donuts, after Twin Peaks marathons. Rock Me Amadeus followed, and on cue, I was in seventh grade again, lying on my bed listening to Falco on the radio. Memory and music ran deep, and often set the course for the direction I wrote. I clicked pause and listened to the whirring fan. Back to the short story.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

 

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A year of us | day 181

A year of us | day 181

day 181

The magnolia and weeping cherry trees blossomed all at once as if a secret tree pact happened a few months back. It was a long winter, and anything was possible. On our walk home, L watched pink and white petals fall like confetti on the sidewalk.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 180

A year of us | day 180

day 180

Sunday: coffee, yoga, spinach pineapple frosty, new yorker in bed, dusty bookshelves, chinese food, tea, laundry, dishes, guitar strumming, mosquito bites in the yard.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 179

A year of us | day 179

day 179

He fell asleep with the little one lying on his chest. It’s been a long day. We’d picked the line up days ago and repeated it like a game of telephone. The garden stayed dry while we walked on the bike path with the boys. We stopped to watch the chickens, refill water, and sit on every bench. The heat made it feel like riding a Ferris wheel, full tilt. I said goodnight and left writing for the morning when I would get an earlier start.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 178

A year of us | day 178

day 178

“You’re a lucky woman,” he said. I wasn’t sure why he said this to me, but smiled and replied, “Yes, I think so.” The waitress seated us by the window then immediately dropped off crayons and paper followed by a plate of sweet potato fries, which the little kept close to him. By the time we left the restaurant and walked outside, summer arrived. I bought a ranunculus bouquet on the way back to the car. I liked random birthday songs, even numbers, and handstands just because. It’s going to be a good year, I thought.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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Back to the sketchbook

As a kid, one of my favorite art books was Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book: Make A World. It’s one of the few childhood books still in my collection. I drew a lot when I was younger, enjoying the act of getting lost in creative expression, without concern whether the house or dragon was good or not. I found other hobbies and put down the drawing pencil for a number of years. When I was in college, I bought a used copy of Betty Edward’s Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain. I worked through some of the exercises in the book then stopped. I still have both drawing books along with a trunkful of supplies stored in the attic.

I recently passed Emberley’s book onto Luke who I like to sit at the kitchen table and draw with. The practice of seeing where light falls on a subject is key to drawing and ends up helping my photography too. “Draw More” has been at the top of my Things I Like and Want To Do More. So I found the sketchbook and pencils and checked out two books from Peter Jenny’s Learning To See series: Unlearning to Draw and The Kitchen Art Studio.

Unlearning To Draw by Peter Jenny       The Kitchen Art Studio by Peter Jenny

Written for anyone who has ever wanted to learn to draw or simply draw better, the Learning To See series offers a mix of inspiration, motivation, and doable exercises. Sized to carry in a tote bag along with your drawing materials, the books show how to make drawing a daily staple.

Unlearning To Draw, the fourth book in the series, takes inspiration from how children and outsider art use direct experience to express themselves on the page. Jenny gives 22 drawing exercises and asks you to use family photographs as a way to create your own outsider art. They can be cut, collaged, marked up in order to transform them into new material to work from. The first exercise, You and I, asks the reader to “strip familiar images of their personal meaning in order to develop new image-making techniques.” Throughout the book the author returns to the theme of transforming personal narratives to create new ways of seeing. Personal photo albums hold many of the great themes of life, including: “love, sexuality, sickness, death, children, festivities, work, money, personal endeavor.” The book concludes technical possibilities and tips for keeping your eyes open and this passage stuck out in particular: “Schooling in perception should be a matter of concern not only for visual professions but for all of us. It is actually just as important as learning to read and write.”

The fifth book in the series, The Kitchen Art Studio, looks to everyday pantry items as perceptual art experiments. According to Jenny, “The kitchen of our childhood is the one that stays with us our whole life” and I tend to agree with him. He lays out seven principles for the kitchen art studio that reads like a quipping manifesto on food and art: Art does not have to look like art. It arises out of unusual combinations. It can even look like cuisine.” Most of us have access to a kitchen art studio where the author encourages us to experiment with another set of 22 exercises meant to shift visual perception. Exercise 9, Reporting, was one of my favorites, which asks you to “break with traditional reportage of news-worthy events and turn to the triviality of what goes on inside the four walls of your kitchen” instead.

I’ve been carrying both books in my tote bag for inspiration to make time to draw in those in between moments. I tucked several family snapshots into a sketchbook with a pencil and draw when I need a break between my pen and camera. Learning to draw is about putting pencil to paper and if you study Jenny’s books, you’ll likely arrive sooner than expected.

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A year of us | day 177

A year of us | day 177

day 177

Three o’clock tea. Writing about drawing while not drawing, maybe that’s the secret. It’s eighty-five outside and I’ve gone out to check the mail and that’s all. I’d trade places with anyone to sit in this chair for me. No takers, I break for tea and pineapple instead.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 176

A year of us | day 176

day 176

On a Wednesday afternoon, we followed the little one around the yard while he sampled then tossed mica-flecked dirt into the sky. He skirted from dirt patch to the next, from the driveway to the garden and back. The blazing sun didn’t faze him though his cheeks turned red as strawberries. Microscopic details stopped him on point. To imagine how he experienced those tiny worlds, even for a second, reminded me to let go of the worries that traced lines into my face the past few weeks.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 175

A year of us | day 175

day 175

Six things I dreamed of doing before my next birthday (this Friday): drive to West Texas in a convertible loaded with cameras, film, and snacks and movies (for the boys), swim in a pool on a hot afternoon, go to the movies, beach picnic, trip to the new gallery in Portsmouth, finish writing the story.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

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A year of us | day 174

A year of us | day 174

day 174

No one saw the bear cub in our yard but one look at the dismantled compost bin was proof enough. The same thing happened each spring, the plastic bin gets torn apart and its contents spilled out next to the garden. One of our neighbor’s up saw the bear mulling around their backyard the other morning when it happened. It likely strolled down the hill and feasted on banana peels, eggs shells, fruit and vegetable trimmings, and baby oats the little one snubbed. I couldn’t imagine a cub finding much sustenance in all that, maybe the oats, though not much else. After breakfast, I walked around to the front yard with the grounds from my morning coffee. I looked over at the compost heap and poured the slurry on the blueberry bush instead, making a note to clean up the mess later.

+++++

I’m giving this yearlong project a spin. Undoubtedly, I will fall and pick up again. Knowing this makes it easier. Still, I plan to show up to record a short photo and story of my day. You’re welcome to join me. I’d love it really. We can give each other high fives and geek out with a hashtag (#ayearofus), not because everyone is doing it, but because we’re doing it, together. Showing up every damn day to make this creative habit real.

Share