During the late 70’s while attending Massachusetts College, I lived with a wonderful family.  though I wasn’t officially their Nanny, I bonded with Jacob, Matt and Suzie, three unbelievable young children who  captured my heart.  I gave Mike a break and ventured on my own to reconnect with Suzie, Matt and San Francisco.  Last time I was in SF I was fourteen years old, stringing glass beads (I still have them) and going to The Fillmore West to see Chuck Berry (just released from jail) and Jefferson Airplane.

A block from the Cal Train station I found the Zeum Carousel.

Zeum Carousel, San Francisco

Two rides for $3.00.  I couldn’t resist.

Outdoor Shower

After walking to golden Gate Park, drawing and painting along the way, and visiting Loved to Death, I headed to Suzie’s for a fabulous evening of reconnecting and meeting the next generation.  A shower outdoors, in the middle of San Francisco, began my next day, a day of drawing in ink in the rain……

A ride on Suzie’s slide will have to wait for my next trip. I’m packing a sheet of wax paper.

The day ended with a night at the aquarium (California Academy of Science) topped off an incredible two days.  The sea horses are beyond description….. drawings to follow ……

As a thank you, I left a morning painting on Suzie’s table…

Suzie’s Kitchen

I hope to return in January to teach a few more Color Scheme Game Workshops and to play with the bizarre perspective of the streets.

Image:  Suzie’s Kitchen – drawn first with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

This will be my last post for about a week.  I’m headed south on another road trip.

Coffee and Lollipops, ink line drawing

Before hitting the road with my car packed full of paints I had the wheels of the K-car aligned at Oxford Auto and Tire.  After sketching for about half an hour outside on their park bench I moved inside to warm my chilled bones.  Coffee and lollipops were set out on a counter as a Thank You to their customers.

Sketchbook line drawing:  Drawn with my new Noodler’s Neponset fountain pen filled with their latest in, Rome Burning.

Another sketchbook painting from my recent road trip…

One corner of the kitchen on Pratt Road

I arrived at my brother’s around 6:15 pm. For dinner, Bronwen served the best lasagna I ever tasted.  A piece was packed for me the next morning for my ride to Portland, Maine along with a nice chunk of bread and a banana.  I saved the lasagna to share with Kathleen.  She agreed it was the best lasagna ever! If there’s a recipe, I’ll get it from Bronwen and post it.

My brother is a timber framer.  He built their home as well as the workshop where I sleep when I visit.  Both are open, airy, filled with light and good energy.  Savory aromas waft through the house and the wonderful smell of wood shavings sends me off to dreamland at night .

I was able to dash this drawing off after dinner, but was unable to finish painting it before tea was served and we began playing games.  Tea, games and the laughter that was shared was so much more important than filling the spaces with colors.

Kitchen on Pratt Road: first drawn with fountain pen, followed by watercolor.

I’ve just returned from a fabulous road trip.

Piano Lady by Vuillard, copy I painted in 1976

More later…….

I brought my computer, my camera, and all my cords and chargers so that I could post every day during my travels.  I’m happy to say that I left them all untouched and enjoyed the company of my brother, his family, my friend (since the age of two) and her friends, rather than photo and post all the drawings and paintings I did during the last five days.

Oil Painting:  In 1976 I discovered Vuillard.  I did a series of about six paintings, copies of Vuillard paintings.  I was astounded at the wealth of information I learned in the process.  I had forgotten that I gave this painting to my friend, Kathleen.  I often wondered what had happened to it.  It hangs on the wall in her house in the upstairs foyer beside the room I stayed in for the past three days, awakening to the sunrise over the water in South Portland, Maine.  It was like meeting an old friend.

If it had been an oil painting I would have wiped it off the canvas after the first hour of struggle.  Instead, I continued, searching for the problems and experimenting with solution options.

Trumpet Parts No. 43 - Grasping for resolution

Leaving white paper worked well for the Oxalis Ink and Watercolor sketches.  Leaving the table white did not work well at all for Trumpet Parts No. 43.  I started off with a loose, dip pen sketch of the trumpet parts rather than the more careful contour-like sketch I usually begin with.  The choice of throwing in a window, two walls and a painting on the wall as a background turned out to be another decision that didn’t work.  To top it off, the throw of the second die sealed the fate of the misdirected sketch.  The first throw was a Two (Modified Triad) The second throw gave me a dominant color of Orange.  That left me with Orange plus Red and Yellow ….. all warm colors that fall along the top half of the value scale.

I’ve been using saturated colors when playing the Color Scheme Game, not venturing toward neutrals.  Trumpet Parts No.43 is a great example of the importance of neutrals!  Without them, in this case, there would be no darks at all except for the black ink.  I didn’t mix neutrals until my last attempt to “save” the painting, which obviously, I didn’t do.  What I learned during the four hour struggle was well worth it.  Tomorrow I will reconstruct a variation of this sketch based on what I learned from today’s efforts.  I will hold to the same color scheme and attempt to extend the value scale to include white and the darkest darks while maintaining the scheme of red, orange and yellow.

Sketchbook painting:  drawn first with dip pen and black ink, followed by watercolor and gouache …….. the images shown are the last two variations after many layers of washes, splatters and glazes.

Sketchbook pages can be as fragmented as bizarre dreams, shifting kaleidoscopically from one impression to another.

Portraits and Pianos

I felt as if I had the room to myself, a private performance of musicians who came through the snow to play for me.  A bit surreal.  My mind wandered.

An empty stage and Valentines

Red metallic hearts hung from the ceiling, spiraling in the occasional draft of air that made its way through the door and around the corner.  I traded sheets of paper for my sketchbook, needing a connection between my wandering mind and my hand.  Memories of writing poetry forty years ago in the dim-lit bars of Boston crept like ghosts into the room, filling the empty chairs.  I needed live music then and I still need it now.  In place of words I draw lines, filling them with colors.  Am I addicted to the music or to making marks on paper? ….. I wonder.

Images: Top – pencil portraits of Arne Englund and Don Plowman, ink drawing of piano in the corner.

Bottom – drums and empty chair, sketch of Doc Z, Valentine Decorations, ink and watercolors

I began the red sketchbook on the day I climbed The Prow at Cathedral Ledge with a Frenchman named Michael.  It was the day before my first leader fall on Pooh, (only a 5.6) falling ten feet into a tree. The date was May 30, 1977.

Gone With The Wind Lamp

It ends, not with a drawing of Tom’s Gone With The Wind lamp and Merlin @Home defibrillator monitor, though that is the final drawing.  It ends with a record of money spent while driving West across the country with my brother and climbing partner, Howard.

June 20, 1977 ….. Carrots and Gum  … $.94

June 22, 1977 …. dinner $1.05 (can’t imagine what we ate that night)

June 23, 1977 …. Mountain Goat Sports, Rapid City …. $20.40 (climbing gear)

The other entries were equally as absurd.  Sketchbooks are marvelous time capsules.

Drawing: Line drawing using Roller Tip Fountain Pen filled with Heart of Darkness Ink

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