October 20, 2014

Memphis Monday - Robert Gordon at Booksellers of Laurelwood

Robert Gordon, who wrote the incredible book Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion, spoke during the Mid-South Book Festival at Booksellers of Laurelwood, and a few friends went to hear him. He was there with Sidney Kirk, who played piano on most of Isaac Hayes's records.

Since I already read Respect Yourself (I rated it a 4: Holy Crap That's Good), I bought his book It Came from Memphis. Can't wait to read it!

October 09, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Italy 2004

Toby and I left for Florence, Italy on the first day of October, 2004. It was our first overseas trip, which meant our first flight to Europe, my first time in a foreign country, and my first real trip with a sketchbook. I mean, I have always carried a sketchbook, and I'd been on plenty of trips with them, but this was the first time I brought a sketchbook especially for the trip with the purpose of filling it up. It was also my first Moleskine! At the time I was only on pencils, so I had my Moleskine, a few 4Bs, and a pencil sharpener.

Our connecting flight was in Paris. Everything was so different! I remember getting us some yogurt for a snack, which at the time seemed weird. It was also my first Coca-Cola Light. Mmmmm. Then we were in Italy. Or did we have another connecting flight? I don't remember now - it was 10 years ago, and it was the first time I took xanax for flying.

There's so much writing in this book, it surprises me. I dug out the sketchbook that I was using before the trip, and realized it was a whole different thing than what I carry now. It was full of notes and doodles, with few sketches from life. So at the time, all of the notes and the writing made sense. Now I guess I save the writing for this blog.

I like to show this book to my sketchbook classes - this last sketch in particular. Compare the shading on it to all of the previous sketches. It's so much better! Something clicked as we stood in line for the Uffizi, and I remembered how to draw. And I noticed it, too - I could tell it was different and better. After that the sketches are bigger and fuller, and I was more eager to make them.

But still sort of scribbly. This is exactly the kind of thing I tell my students not to do - these wishy-washy lines like the shadow at the bottom of this sketch. Do you want to put a shadow there? Then make it look like you did it on purpose, 2004 Self.

Oh but then there's this. Still one of my favorite sketches ever.

These are from Pisa.

These are from our anniversary dinner. It was quite a magical evening in the Tuscan countryside, with a little chill in the air and delicious food.

And of course I made lists of just some of the things that we experienced. Like I said, it was all so new to us. I did a terrible job packing - way too many clothes that were too heavy for the warm weather. I remember being so nervous for weeks beforehand, all while working on a huge project at work, installing artwork at the brand new FedEx Forum. I had hired the now world-famous Virginia Overton to help install the work, and I must have talked her ear off about the trip. But I just didn't understand how it works, going to and being in another country. I have to see things to understand them. But now I get it!

(click on images to see more detail)

(These sketches were all made between October 1 and October 13, 2004. I added the pictures to the book later.)

October 08, 2014

Inside My Vacation Head #3 - GPS Voice

(click on it to read it better)

October 05, 2014

Sketching Workshop in Savannah, and a Late Supply Sunday

This past weekend I made a quick trip to Savannah, GA, to attend an Urban Sketchers workshop that I helped organize with Kip Bradley at the Telfair Museum. It was great! I got to visit with old friends and met so many sketchers from all over the southeast.

Jim Richards led us around two of Savannah's beautiful downtown squares and we sketched and sketched and sketched.

Canson generously sponsored the Urban Sketchers workshop and sketch walk. I love Canson! They gave each of us a sketchbook, as they have for many Urban Sketchers Symposiums over the years. One of the books that they gave us in particular was one of my favorite sketchbooks - I brought it with me to show during the Telfair Museum's family day, which Jim Richards and I took part in on Saturday by sharing our sketches with visitors.

We also sort of accidentally made sketches for over 50 people. I'm not sure how it happened, but it was fun! Here are a few of my favorites.

Then blam! Back home on Sunday.

(click images for more detail)

October 04, 2014

Newfoundland - Day 13, Heading Home

A sketch of luggage signals that it's time to go home! We were genuinely sad to leave. Normally by this time we're ready to be home, but I would have done the whole thing over again!

October 03, 2014

Follow Friday: Jim Richards

Follow Jim Richards - he wrote Freehand Drawing and Discovery: Urban Sketching and Concept Drawing for Designers, and is also an urban designer, illustrator, and teaches at the University of Texas at Arlington's School of Architecture. In addition to all of that he's a really nice guy. This weekend I'm heading to Savannah, GA, where Jim is teaching a sketching workshop. I'm looking forward to sketching with him and all of the other sketchers!

Jim Richard's sketch of the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona.

Newfoundland - Day 12, Urban Sketchers in St. John's!

We happened to be back in St. John's for the Royal St. John's Regatta, "North America's oldest annual sporting event." Urban Sketcher Joy Hecht invited me to meet her at the event for a couple of hours of sketching. That is one of the best things about Urban Sketchers - you can find people to sketch with wherever you go!

Joy was a great host and shared information about the regatta, and boating, and Newfoundland, while we sketched in a cool drizzle.

October 02, 2014

Inside My Vacation Head #2 - Vacation Books

(click on it to read it better)

Newfoundland - Day 11, Heading Back South

Here's one more sketch from Twillingate, with examples of the two Newfoundland flags, which I mentioned in this post.

I used my rudimentary knowledge of the flags of Newfoundland the previous night at the Captain's Pub, when the man seated next to us asked if we knew what the green/white/pink flag was. "Why, yes I do," reply all great know-it-alls.

Toby and I then proceeded to talk to him and his wife for a while. If you know us, you know we aren't the type to make new friends with strangers. But that's what this place does to you - it puts you into contact with friendly people (Canadians in general, and Newfies in particular), and it just makes you feel good, and it makes you want to be friendly, and it makes you want to talk about Newfoundland and what you've seen and what you've eaten.

After this sketch, we got back in the car and made our way back to St. John's, through Gander, past the Road to the Beaches, through Terra Nova National Park, back through the beautiful landscape that takes you to the Avalon Peninsula, and back to the Hampton Inn where we started.

October 01, 2014

Newfoundland - Day 10, Twillingate

We started the day in Deer Lake. It was a Monday, and everyone else in our hotel appeared to be ending their vacation, which made me a little panicky - oh no! our trip is over! But we were still totally on vacation!

We stopped in Grand Falls-Windsor for more donair pizza.

Had to stop at a Tim Hortons to fuel up for construction stops along the way. There was a lot of road construction everywhere, because there is such a limited amount of time that they can work on the roads there. Luckily there are plenty of Tim Hortons for your Timbits fix.

We arrived in Twillingate in the afternoon - it's so adorable! I sketched this from the deck of our hotel - I included it above, too, just to show what a sketchbook page layout sometimes looks like.

This I sketched from the restaurant where we ate dinner. We noticed a family there that we had seen in Rocky Harbour and in St. Anthony - we were all on the same self-guided tour.

It was chilly here, finally. I was so excited to need layers.

Deck of our hotel.