Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Peek in the Red Sketchbook

 sketched at a performance of Liberace! at the Milwaukee Rep

Happy new year to all who visit here.  I am resisting the urge to write about accomplishments or lack of accomplishments in 2010, or resolutions for 2011, though I may get my list of favorite books together later this week.  I'd like to go put in some time on the treadmill at the athletic club I shell out cash for every month, and these days seldom use, but I know the folks who have solemnly sworn to get in shape will be there for at least a week, and space on the machines will be limited.  Maybe I'll just stay home and do what I like best, reading and making art.

These are a few pages from the little red Moleskine sketchbook I have been carrying around in my purse since the beginning of November.  I had a black one with a few remaining pages, but I stashed it somewhere when I was going out one day and wanted a lighter load on my shoulder.  It's in the house, hiding.  When we were in Los Angeles in November I desperately wanted to have a sketchbook, so I purchased a new red one. 

view of downtown Milwaukee from hotel window, and musicians at a concert in Beloit College

audience member at Beloit concert, and a man on the Metra train headed to Chicago

doodling based on suggestions by Lynda Barry in her newest book, Picture This

I'm not sure why I get a little panicked when I don't have something on which to draw, but I do.  Sketching isn't really anything that I plan to share, except maybe here.  Most are not any sort of plans for future paintings.  I think that sketching has always calmed me and helped me pay attention.  I doodled nonstop on assignments when I was in school, and since my grades were good I didn't get into trouble with my teachers about it.  As a teacher, I doodled furiously during staff meetings - sometimes to stay awake, other times to control my temper and tongue.  It's a lifetime habit. It helps me remember what I've been doing and seeing - a sort of visual diary with intermittent entries. I also just use these little notebooks to jot down things  - telephone numbers, people's email addresses, book titles that sound interesting, lists of things to get at the store.  I am gradually getting over the idea that everything in a bound notebook has to be precious.  It's only paper, for pity sake. 

I turned sixty last week.  The person I see in the mirror every morning looks both familiar and also disturbingly unfamiliar.  So what's with the silver hair, bifocals and interesting lines?  How did that body get to look so decidedly not-decorative?  I know that time is speeding by, and that there are a finite number of days in which to see the world, be with the people I love, read all I want to read, and make art.   Maybe I should stop this and get to it.

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