Things Are Alive 26

From Anchorage to Cushendall

It’s hard to believe that this is the last drawing in Anchorage. The next time I do my weekly drawing I will be breathing the air in Northern Ireland! This drawing has helped to connect me with our destination and our work there.

Anda’s boat from “On the Shores of Home” was the thing I decided to draw. It seems to symbolize this artistic journey our family is taking. The view on the left is looking across the street at Alice’s house through our front gate. The view on the right is our destination, Turnly’s Tower, built circa 1820. More information can easily be found about the tower on the internet. The artist residency is entitled In You We Trust. I love the title!

So, Bon Voyage to us as we embark on this adventure. And thank you to John Hirst, who offered us the invitation to be artists-in-residence in Turnly’s Tower!

Things Are Alive 25

The Hot Dog Vendor

Today I drew plein air! It was the PERFECT Alaska summer day. Warm, blue skies, puffy clouds, dragonflies soaring, tourists strolling, dogs walking, skateboarders whizzing, and… hot dog carts flaming, sizzling, and sending up puffs of smoke. I was magnetized by the one in front of the federal building at 4h and G. As I drew, I smelled mustard and onions frying. I wondered if they would have tofu pups or salmon dogs. No, but they did have chicken hot dogs, so after I was finished drawing, I downed one, dripping with mustard and saurkraut.

I sat on the edge of the long planter in front of the Federal Building, feet in the planter, behind the bushes, but with a good view of the hot dog cart. I drew the scene to the tune of chattering magpies and singing chickadees playing in the shrubs closeby. The smell of frying onions and mustard provided aromatherapy.

The hardest part was drawing the vendor, who was in constant motion. She was such a lovely lady, and she laughed with good humor to see how she had turned out– not at all as beautiful as she really was.

The end effect on me was to be in a state of open-eyed meditation. I was calm, at peace, and aware of each breath and each step I took on the walk home. I am grateful that when I give my earnest attention to drawing I often “wake up” from the dreams spun by the chattering mind.


Things Are Alive 24

Self Reflection

The theme this week was (again) the mysterious confluence of inside and outside. I drew the window reflections I saw as I sat on a bench on our deck. Our house appears like a tiny cottage from the front, but it is u-shaped toward the back, with a room on either side completing the u– inside of which is a deck. Arching over the deck is a large crabapple tree. Each of the rooms has a picture window facing the window across from it. This is quite a reflective spot! In the drawing it is not so easy to determine what is a reflection and what is “not” a reflection.

The effect of drawing so many layers of reflection and non-reflection was to afford to me a heightened awareness of my own insides. I also felt a visceral connection to the things around me. It was as if I were “inside” of them. I felt palpably “part of” the objects in my environment.

Things Are Alive 23

Sunrise on G Street

This drawing was inspired by the thought: the mysterious confluence of inside and outside. The first day I sat in a third chair on a little platform at Modern Dwellers, a chocolate-lover’s heaven; I drew the scene in the alley outside the glass wall. The second day, I drew the outside of that building, looking into the window I had looked out of– from Side Street Espresso across the street (The tiny chair in the window is the back of the left chair in the “inside” drawing.) The third day I returned to Modern Dwellers with Anda and drew the woman behind the counter.

The high point of it all was the surprise of the rising sun as I sat at Side Street Espresso. I can’t remember the time, but it must have been at least 6 hours after the sunrise I had been up for in the morning. I had a second sunrise on that day!

The moment of surprise, the second dawn, reminds me that true joy is  experienced only in the present moment. When the sense of past and future, and of here and there, converge into the “now,”  the joy I think I have lost dawns again.