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Drawing 5 is in my tiny Italian-made sketchbook, a gift from my mom back in the year 2000.  It’s the sketchbook I now carry with me all the time, in my purse, just in case.  Even though I’ve had the book for almost 10 years, I’ve worked in it sporadically, so that it contains special drawings and notes of places I’ve lived and visited over this time, and of my family.  On Saturday I counted the blank pages and only four are left.  I’d like to title this small drawing ‘coffee shop freedom,’ or something along those lines…

a cup of coffee and a brownie

the coffee cup was much bigger than my drawing shows

I had the unexpected gift on Saturday afternoon of and hour and a half to myself, with no planned errands or agenda.  Our second son had a birthday party to go to at the home of one of his preschool buddies, and I fully expected to have to stay for the whole thing.  The hostess graciously shooed me away to my own devices (and my 4 year old was fine with that arrangement too!).  So I followed my nose to an estate sale in the neighborhood where I found some useful odds and ends (old colored pencils, wrapping paper, embroidery hoops, cookie cutters), and then made my way to a nearby shopping center that has a cozy little coffee shop & bakery–my first time there!

The place was empty, with a few regular customers coming and going, friendly young staff, delicious coffee served in a real mug, and sweets.  Years ago I wouldn’t have imagined myself finding this sense of freedom from an hour spent drinking coffee, people watching, sketching, and just being alone.  I appreciated every minute of it.

Here’s what the drawing looks like with at water wash added to the pen and ink later:

water wash and new old colored pencils

water wash and new old colored pencils

Sunday I decided to do some drawing as part of an on-going book collaboration I’m working on.

The books are about memories of the building where we used to live in Chicago and our life there.  My friend & collaborator and I are each making our own books, but working in the other person’s book at the same time.  For this round with the books, I chose to do the same basic drawings in each one.  As you can see, the different paper’s colors, quality and texture, effect the action of the materials and the vibrancy of the colors used on top of them.

gray paper grocery bag brown paper

gray paper grocery bag brown paper

I borrowed this letter as structure idea from Paul Klee.

close up

close up

close up brown

close up brown

Then I went from pure invention to drawing from memory– a place where I used to spend a lot of time:

laundry room twice

laundry room twice

I had a drawing professor in college that urged his students to sharpen their skills by studying the model for a short but concentrated amount of time, then to draw from memory as the model changed positions.  It was difficult, but I got more confident and my drawing techniques improved with this practice.

gray laundry room

ink and gouache on paper

I like the simple lines that this memory-drawing is reduced to.

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