Inktober has returned!

Well I hadn’t planned on participating in Inktober this year, but then on the second, I decided I would after all, but with no pressure this year. No attempt at a narrative which I haven’t time to work out properly.

The pressure to craft un-flawed images is precisely what keeps me from drawing half the time, and also keeps me from experimentation and play, so I’m abolishing pressure! There’s plenty of that at work with deadlines as it is. Here are my first five drawings for this year.

I see from my last post that the entire month of September went by without a peep from me here on ol’ bloggy. That makes me sad, and I miss writing.

The only thing I miss, really, about being a sole proprietor is the bags of time I used to have. Time to allow things to percolate in my mind; to wander for hours in the late afternoon, on foot or on my bicycle. To put hours of time into this and other non-essential but satisfying pursuits, like my calendar projects.

There can be a paucity of time or energy (often both) that goes along with a full-time job into which one is invested and interested. Choosing how and where to spend those valued assets can be difficult.

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VOGUE

Sketch of some fashion type ladies, Vogue-style

Strike a Pose

I bought a new refillable brush pen last night; it takes cartridges of permanent ink like a fountain pen. I did this drawing to take it for a test drive, and I kinda love how it turned out, after some pushing and pulling.

I paired it with a white paint pen and a dash of red ball point, for drama. In the background I was catching up on some episodes of Pose, so fashion, attitude, gender fluidity were influencers— not to mention Madonna’s take on that buzzword a la mode.

Miniature Prints Exhibition

left: Alfama, Lisbon. right: El Poble Sec, Barcelona (line etching + aquatint)

The two 3″ x 3″ intaglio prints that I did after my trip in May, with this call-for-entries specifically in mind, have been accepted into the 4th New York International Miniature Print Exhibition. Very exciting!

I have some time to make more prints from my plates, and finesse them before choosing the best ones to send in for the exhibit.

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to mix things up a little, take a break from the copper plates, so next month I’ll delve into screen printing for the first time since I was in school. Time to work on concepts and sketches for that.

Summer Sunday blues

An etching of the view from the balcony in El Poble Sec in Barcelona

I’m feeling scattered and at a loss. I have a lot that I could be doing, preparing, working on, reading, and yet I’ve been sitting at the computer sort of flitting in and out, here and there— utterly unable or unwilling to choose a project or task, something upon which to focus. It’s driving me mental. Further adding to the frustration, it’s a summer Sunday that could have been a beach day, for example, yet I’ve chosen to use at s a day of getting things done, and still— nothing is getting done.

For now, I’ll offer up these two etchings that I’ve finished recently. They are very small— only 3″x3″ each, and were inspired by photos taken during my trip to Barcelona and Lisbon back in May.

Etching of a winding street in the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon.

Walk the ancient stones

buildings on the banks of the river in Girona, Spain
Apartments buildings on the banks of the Riu Onyar in Girona, Spain

In early may we took a trip to Barcelona, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal; along the way we made some day trips to other cities nearby. Here are a few selects from our day in Girona, Spain. These images are of the monastery, the cathedral, and the remains of the medieval wall that once girdled the city.

What’s missing from these are the charming streets, squares, and arcades of shops and restaurants that add to the reasons for a visit to this beautiful city of rivers and hills. I wasn’t so much focused on photographing those aspects as much as simply enjoying them.

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Time Travel: Girona

A corner around the corder from the cathedral in Girona, Spain

Weeks after the adventure,
I return to Girona,
Walled medieval city
with all the ease of
modernity

And blue skies,
sangria in a gentle square,
and a pocket device
so I can time-travel

See the ancient stones,
feel the cobbles underfoot,
Study shadows and
find secrets that

I missed
the first time.

Shifting shadows and dusk in Barcelona

Barcelona cathedral in black and white
Barcelona cathedral in black and white from our first morning wandering around.
photo of an old document with drawings of a "procession for a good death"
An old document spied in a window in the Gothic Quarter— “procession for a good death”
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Another city of seven hills: Lisbon

The blue church and trolley wires at the edge of the Baixa neighborhood
The blue church and trolley wires at the edge of the Baixa neighborhood

Having spent some hours scanning through my photographs from my recent trip to Barcelona and Lisbon, with side trips to Gerona and Sintra; gathering selects, retouching, etc, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I’m not interested in creating some kind of narrative or linear story of our trip, as it wasn’t linear, and the narrative changed constantly.

So I’ve decided to start with some high-chroma and steep (naturally) scenes from Lisbon, in the Baixa-Shiado and Alfama neighborhoods, and a couple farther afield. The Alfama ones were from our Castelo Sao Jorge day— it was a grand afternoon of meandering and taking things slowly. We also met some peacocks, but that’ll keep til another day.

For now just take in the angles, colors, and alleyways and feel the sun on your face and the cobbles under your feet.

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Where there are quiet streets and loud colors

Old building in the French Quarter, NOLA
church and sunset in the Marigny, NOLA
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A Late Sunday in The Bywater 

There was this restaurant which hadn’t been on my radar as a destination, but the one we’d meant to go to told us on the phone Our last seating is at 8:45 on Sunday, and it was 8:35 already, so.

So we opted for this New American place also in the Bywater. Trendy. When we arrived it was Well, no reservation, give me a few minutes, trust me and after 15 minutes of being ignored by the bar and searching our phones for alternatives, he gave us a table that had been empty in plain sight since we walked in. It’s like they want to make you sweat and make the reservation-rule-abiders feel good and special.

Anyway we had a pretty smashing meal and a nice Alsatian blend and got friendly with our server, who turned out to be a recent-ish transplant, a singer, in love with the city, on that arc, that high note where you’re meeting people and making things happen. We talked with her at length after meal service had finished and she told us about a bar farther out that she liked, so we decided Fuck it let’s go.

Continue reading “A Late Sunday in The Bywater “