Small Escapes

Yesterday, I came across some vintage Arches Hot Press watercolor paper. I’ve only ever used Cold Press, so wasn’t sure what to expect, other than a flat surface to work on.

Only have six sheets, but they are large (22 x 30 inches).  I took one sheet, folded it in half, then half again. Kept going until I ended up with two small test sheets, roughly 7 x 11 inches, to play with.

Test Sheet number one was Noodler’s Ink with an old dip pen. Was going to be a family heirloom – a pocket watch burned in a fire (story on that some other time) – but as so often happens with my coffee sketches, once the pen hit the paper, it took off on its own. The result is Watch, Man. (I love commas!)

Verdict: Love this Hot Press paper!!!!!!

watch man
Watch, Man

With Test Sheet number two, decided to try watercolor pencils with a Pentel Aquabrush. Once the colors had *pretty much dried, I felt the need to wander in with a Uniball pen. The ensuing scene is reminiscent of the city of Boston, as seen from a distance.

The things that look like balloons in the upper right-hand corner are notes on the colors. *The mauve (lower right hand edge) was still glistening when I took this picture.

The Escape …

The Squash & the Pottery Vase

Feeling a bit reckless but happy, I signed up for the Slice of Life Story Challenge 2016. Today is Day One. For some reason, I feel compelled to do a Show and Tell.

Most mornings, unless I have to be somewhere else, I like to sit down at my desk with the first cup of coffee of the day and start sketching something. Nothing planned, just me and a pencil and a sheet of paper.

Whatever catches my eye is fair game. A bit of whimsy sets the right tone for the day!

I had an early class this morning, so didn’t have time to sketch. This is from yesterday. I had set up a Still Life the day before and put most of the things away. But these guys looked so cozy that they drew me in.

March 1 Squash and Pot
They Talked All Night (The Squash and the Pottery Vase)

The scribbles to the right, if you cannot make them out, are: “There was something about the vase that inspired confidence, so it was that they talked all through that strange first evening that they met.”

There is a Story Here …

I am walking home from the park when I see a car coming up the street. I step aside, and into a story.

I have walked by this pile of lumber for the past several days, but only now do I notice the padlock attached to a rusted latch connected to the pile of lumber that stands perhaps 18 inches tall but as wide as a mystery, which is to say, not to be measured by you or by me.

But we can talk about it. Endlessly.  Someone had something to hide. Or protect.

Who? What? Why? When? (Where hangs back, having nothing to add to this particular conversation, but ready to leap in, if and when necessary.) That is all for today….

Blue padlock rusty latch lumber pile

Inertia & Nostalgia

Where does the world go when I am not paying attention? Used to be it didn’t matter. Maybe at least that one small thing is true. Or not.

Sometimes I see the world in forms, shapes, and patterns. If I watched more television (what an antiquated word that seems, now) I might know what I meant.

As for you, when you arrive at the ballroom, don’t look back. And whatever you do, don’t look in the mirror.

The loaded question

When someone is beside themselves, where are they? And is it beside or besides?

Turns out to be a crowded field. Just ask the people standing there. Some are beside themselves. A few are reading books. One or two are looking at you funny. *Others are lining up stones.

From the Cambridge  Dictionary:

Beside: a proposition meaning ‘at the side of’ or ‘next to’.

Besides: a proposition or a linking adverb, meaning ‘in addition to,’ or ‘also’.

So you can be next to the babbling brook but also you can be running away from the people in the field. Your choice.

I left Cambridge and wandered over to my bookshelf to see what Roget (1946) had to say on the matter of beside / besides.

Illuminating!  But that’s for another post.

* I’ve been working my way through Lapham’s Quarterly, their Crimes & Punishments Issue (Volume II, Number 2, Spring 2009). They were kind enough to feature Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, which I hadn’t read in years.




We never could tell time …

On the other hand, the general concept of time is interesting to think about.

Or not.

For instance: The day after the morning before.

Is this a trick? Probably. Would that be today?

Yes, we think so. It might depend upon the time. The timing could be off.

If such a thing even existed. If it didn’t, then what would we tell the alarm clocks?


A Curious Case of Murder

My morning started with coffee and ended with murder.

Actually, it’s still morning, but the murder is real enough.

Happened over a hundred years ago at the Moana Hotel in Hawaii: Jane Stanford, the co-founder  of Stanford University, died of strychnine poisoning.

The headline in the Honolulu newspaper was clear: Mrs. Stanford Dies, Poisoned.

Underneath the headline were her final words: “I have been poisoned. This is a terrible way to die.”

So who murdered Jane Stanford? No one knows, really.

What is known is that her murder was covered up and her cause of death was changed to heart failure. Who would do such a thing?

The president of Stanford, that’s who.