Sunday, January 20, 2008

Nice Weekend

Enrico and Marit, needle-felted

Saturday was the 17th Worldwide Sketchcrawl. I went down to SF with Amelia and a new friend whom I met in my Architectural sketching class, Diane. We spent the day in Chinatown & North Beach. Aproximately 65 sketchers gathered in SF, with many more groups gathering around the world. Diane is an architect and does amazingly beautiful buildings, street scenes, trees, people, shading, you name it. And she's fast. Amelia did probably her best sketchcrawl work yet. I intentionally left my camera at home so that I would sketch. Most of these people are art students or professional artists, and the work we saw at the end of the day was simply amazing. My sketching is nowhere near the same league, but I try not to beat myself up too much about it. I don't like to share my work at the end of the day. Fortunately, only a couple of people asked to see my sketchbook. Diane & I both felt like it was such a gift to just dedicate an entire day to sketching. What fun. It's sort of like shutting out the rest of the world when you're concentrating on drawing, and I love the peace that it brings.

I had a little gift I had made last summer for Enrico and Marit, and this was the first time I'd seen them since then, so I was finally able to give it to them. Enrico is the mastermind behind Sketchcrawl. I had made little needle-felted likenesses of them, based on Enrico's charicatures in The Venice Chronicles - a cartoon documenting their trip to Italy, ending with a proposal of marriage.
I was so charmed by it, and by the couple themselves, that I made them these dolls. I think they liked them. Since I made them, I learned that Marit is pregnant with a baby girl. So I'll probably be adding a little pink bundle of felt in the near future.

The Venice Chronicles:
Sketchcrawl Forums:

Mail truck ... it drove away before I finished, but that's ok. Colored in Photoshop

Francis Ford Coppola's "Zoetrope" building, Columbus & Kearny. Colored in Photoshop.
We had soup at "Nanking" across the street - reputed to be the best Chinese food in SF. Soup was great - will have to go back there again.

Today we went to visit Jo at her new place in Sonoma. Dave & I brought our bikes & Amelia brought her new scooter, so we rode from Jo's to the square, and met her there for a little lunch at Basque Boulangerie. Now I know where General Vallejo's home is and the Sonoma Overlook trail. I love being a tourist in my own county!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Missing Jim

This week marks a year. Here are a couple of pictures of Jim doing his favorite things with his favorite people. These pictures are from our last visit with him. We had so much fun.

Doni, Jim, Lindsay & Kyle in the studio

Paige & Jim going into "It's a Small World" for the 2nd time in a row


I had never heard of Weathergrams before I saw some hanging on Velva's tree by her front door. They were really sweet, unique and obviously hand-made. To me, they called out for you to stop, and take some time to read them. They're a little bit quirky, and reminded me of the book "Remember the Night Rainbow," that we bought Amelia when she was 3. Velva's Weathergrams were made by her neighbor Judy Brooks. When Judy heard from Velva how much I liked them, she made some for us.

These have been hanging in our Oak tree out front for the last year or so. I don't think anybody but me appreciated them, but I think they are sweet. They were beginning to get tattered and torn, and I found a couple on the ground, so I rescued them. I will probably recycle them as gift tags or something. If anyone would like to have one, let me know, and I will pass it on. Click to zoom in and read them:

The weathergram is written on paper cut from grocery store paper bags. The strip is 2 1/2 x 10 inches. Current Cursive Italic is the letter-form for the weathergram - not formal calligraphy. Acrylic vermilion is used for the initial, & Higgins waterproof India ink for the rest. The writing will last as long as the paper does or longer. Any other color or ink will wash out or fade away.

Here are some excerpts of information that Judy included for us, from the book "Weathergrams" by Lloyd Reynolds, Reed College, Portland, Ore.

The Weathergram is a very short poem of about ten words - or less. It comes as a sudden insight; & hence brevity is essential. Furthermore, no one will stop to read any lengthy statement while standing in the wind & rain. The Weathergram is hung on a bough or branch in the garden, at a campsite, or along a mountain trail. Raw & incomplete when just written, the weathergram needs the graphic touches of wind, rain, sun and ice - depending on the season. It may fade to an off-white, old bone color, & ragged edges gie it some of the qualities of a faded leaf. The origins of the weathergram go back to 1926-27, when I first found translations of Far Eastern poetry. After developing weathergrams I discovered that the idea had been anticipated much earlier & with great artistry, by the Japanese, who send tanzaku with thank-you notes or exchange them with friends. Like weathergrams, they are given away & are strictly non-commercial.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Daddy went winsnurfing"

That's what Amelia used to say when she was a little girl. Today Dave worked from home in the a.m., and then went out to Doran before going to work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

First storm of the season

This is what happened at 4am Friday at the end of our street. It was a Douglass Fir. Fortunately did not fall on a house, but snapped the power lines, and we were without power till mid-day Sunday. Dave hooked up the generator a few times to run the refridgerator and the well pump, so we got showers and kept food from spoiling. Our trusty wood stove kept us cozy warm. More storms forecast ahead, and now that the ground is saturated, everyone's nervous about all the rest of the big trees around here.