Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 31, 2009 Daily Art Page Your Own Stones


A whole month of art journal pages!
Wow! 
It's been said that it takes a month to develop a habit. I hope this month has helped me to develop the habit of starting and finishing an idea in one day and getting it out there.
If not every day, then five out of the seven.
Thanks Misty, wherever you are.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30 Daily Art Journal Feeling the Past


With some bemusement and fascination drawing a portrait from a series of photos I haven't seen in 40 years. What's interesting is that I have owned some of the pictures from the same series.
Sometimes friends tear a dollar in half with the ambition of putting them back together. Lovers break lockets apart, or remove one photo. But I guess most of us do what LL and I did. Share our photos and go our merry ways. Many years later, re-unite and restore the roll of film.

January 29 Daily Art Journal Curiosity


I drew with paint using my non-dominant hand. I've done this before but this page was more frustrating than previously, probably because I was hemmed by page, by multi-tasking (tv and crackers baking) and fact that tree was outside and my back was turned from window. Hate it when I multi-task but persist.
Drawing with non-dominant hand is very useful for drawing organic subjects: trees, limbs, flowers, crowded gardens, etc., anything that requires a loose line that might have to take off on its own suddenly. I am always curious to see what happens with that other hand.

the little photo was ripped from a Corbis stock book. It strikes me that while this image could illustrate joy or some form of exultation, to me it just kept saying work. Good work, where work is experimental and thoughtful. The figure here is working out ways to walk on his hands. He's been at it for hours maybe and in between times, he's thinking. He is curious.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Want to Live Here Episode 49

“And you never opened it?”
I’m not so sure I could have withstood the temptation but Stephen just shrugged.
“I got my own secrets.”
“And who holds them?”
“That’s just it. Me and Abigail were talking once about what you hide when you’re married compared to what you hide when you’re not. I hide my dope in the linen closet but Nan knows it’s there. It’s not hidden from her. Nothing in the house is hidden from her. If I need to keep something from her, I give it to my brother. Not that there’s been much.” He was reassuring on this point, but I nodded as if I understood. “So we were talking about that and she asked me if I’d hold something for her. Nothing illegal and nothing she’d be checking in and out like a library book. It wouldn’t be a bother and if I needed to tell Nan, that was fine. So I put it in my underwear drawer.”
“And now you’re giving it to me,” I said, squeezing the envelope, giving it a little shake, holding it up to the light. "Love letters?"
“I guess you could pass it on to Susan,” he said.
I nodded. “Yeah, I guess I could. In fact, I could just drop it through the mail slot and let fate take a hand... Why didn't you do that?"
"And ruin your fun?" he asked with a lovely little grin.
And then, like so many detective heroes, he kissed me quickly and drove off.
And like so many sleuths, I went to the kitchen and set the kettle on to boil.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January 28 Daily Art Journal Sane


I've quit more than one therapist, always pleasantly and with no regrets. While I've rarely met my "goals and objectives" (finish novel, find self), I've always been calmed when necessary and eventually learned to listen. Once I quit when I discovered I had better things to do with my money. "You're cured," said the shrink. The last one was easy. "I know everything I need to know," I said. "I've been trying to tell you that for five years."
Had it been five years??? That's what too much insurance will do to you.
Art is the only legitimate therapy. Art, gardening, dance, acting, writing, yoga. The answer to neurosis is activity in the moment. Make that mindful activity in the moment.
Oatmeal for breakfast helps as well.

So today, while enjoying another productive day writing about whatever it is I wrote about (oh yeah, service level agreements and billing methods, fascinating stuff) and sifting about the place manifesting ideas, I gathered the couch and then the bag...baggage...get it?

I crack myself up somedays, I really do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27 Daily Art Journal Determined


Unlike Monday, today's time could be (and was) given over to one pleasant and pleasantly long task. My little craft and I floating through the hours and then some. Even dinner conspired, cancelled and leaving me just a little more freedom. Free of irritation, my determination to enjoy a productive day was given me and I, in turn, was productive. 
Yum

January 26 Daily Art Challenge: Worry


omg

Monday, January 26, 2009

January 25 Daily Art Page Shapes: Triangle


Symbol of aspirations, dreams and ambitions.
I went to a acupuncturist for treatment of a chronic facial tic that had grown quite painful.
He said my problem was due to (or caused by) unfulfilled longings. I thought, aren't all longings unfulfilled by definition? 
I took a job with a good bit more money and the twitch diminished considerably.
But it is not yet cured.
I shall have to create a page (or even a book) of longings, fulfilled, unfulfilled and othewise.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 24 Daily Journal Challenge: A Gift




I've misplaced the ability to create a gift spontaneously. Or so I thought. True, I'm stymied this morning by a time crunch. Have to pack and leave for weekend in Blue Ridge. So, instead of a journal page or a separate piece of art, I'm giving my hostess one of the journals I made just a few weeks ago.

I love the coptic stitch and while most of my books are bound with rich red thread from Volcano Arts, for this volume, I chose a beige, wanting the blues and creams of the papers (Ikea sells good-sized rolls of handmade paper in their giftwrap section. Each roll a variety of shades. I took some each from the blue collection and made this.) Today, I will give it to Sarah, who owns Out of the Blue in Blue Ridge, Georgia (do we see a theme here?).

Happily, I hadn't yet chosen end papers for the inside of the front and back cover so this morning I (spontaneously) chose and buggered up, I mean distressed, a Xerox copy of end papers taken from an old children's book. We all remember our Nancy Drew hardbacks, but in a bag of books taken from my mother's attic last year, I found a copy of a Dana Girls mystery. Have no recollection of ever reading this particular series or volume "The Secret of Lone Tree Cottage." The vocabulary is richer and more varied than in the Nancy Drew series.

Friday, January 23, 2009

January 23 Daily Art Page Inspired by: Henry Miller


My favorite bit of advice about painting comes from an artist better know for his writing.
Henry Miller painted impulsively, continually --- and in his bathrobe.

"Paint As You Like and Die Happy," he said. What else is left to say?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 22 Daily Art Journal Crayon


When I was a little girl, I received many boxes of Crayola crayons but never one bigger than, say, the 16 pack. Maybe the 32? What I never did get was the giant box of 64, the box with the sharpener. I don't know why but I got it into my head that this set was too expensive.

By the time I was earning my own money, I'd lost the desire and by the time I'd regained the desire, I was on to bigger and better art supplies. One day I spotted the giant box of 64. It was less than $4, little enough to spend on a whim. I still have that box, as well as a vintage pack of 48 picked up at an estate sale and a pack of 8 that's come to me in the flotsam and jetsam.

Tonight I thought I'd have some fun coloring the way I used to: layering the colors, glazing and shading. And so I did.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 21 Daily Art Challenge - Altered Photograph


Don't think this is finished. the top image, which I managed quite by accident with an inkjet copy and a lot of citrus gel stripper. I thought I was following directions rubbing away with a spoon but the transfer didn't take.
A bit later, I peeled the copy away from the sketchbook and wiped down the page where a vague and woozy image was staining it nicely. Can't remember why, but I laid the copy down again and wiped with a damp paper towel. The result is ghostly and will make a nice background if I can get past how precious I'm finding it.

Meanwhile, I took a busy photo of my little dog, Hazel looking remarkably tarty after a trip to the groomers (they always emphasized her poodle qualities making her into a little cliche.)

Here, I simply wet down the photo and sanded away at the scruffy lawn and busy trees. I always loved this wall, which introduced a lovely old apartment house property in Tuscaloosa, where I lived for a few years.

Ideas welcome for how to finish or proceed. I'd say it's about a third of its way.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20 Daily Art Challenge - Word



Revealed. 
That's means I needed two jpgs. Because nothing can be revealed that has not previously been hidden.

Inauguration at Centennial Park


Just couldn't go to the office today! The idea of watching our most historic inauguration since....when? I don't know....in the breakroom was not to be borne.

My neighbor and walking buddy, Faye and I walked over and stood freezing with hundreds of other Atlantans on the site of the 1996 Olympic Park (where the water rings spurt, near where the bomb went off, across the lawn from CNN...you know the place).


The older I get the closer my emotions resemble the steady pull and push of the tides. Unceasing and essentially trustworthy, accessable as the salt on the stovetop, it's become quite rare to recognize something new but today I felt the rise of a liquid deep between throat and heart as if a spring had appeared, green and blue, reflection, perhaps, of the earth within. Could it be hope?


Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19 Daily Art Challenge - Embellishment


Not always a lie, the addition of extra bit emphasizes what is important.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Want to Live Here Episode 48

“I’m not an idiot!” I spluttered. “Someone saw you in her apartment the day she died. I was trying-” “You did call the police?” asked Judith, her voice soft. “No. I called the operator for an ambulance. They came here. Detective Boker came here the day after. He said he was following up. That’s the only time I talked to the police.” Mr. Eberhard leaned over the coffee table, as if to extract the truth from me. “And you told him I had been in her apartment?” “No! I don’t know. I don’t think so.” Did I know he’d been with her then? I couldn’t have. “I couldn’t have. I didn’t know then. Mrs. M-, Mrs. Mason! She told me. She told me later on the 24th when she came to get her vodka back.” “That was her vodka?”
“Yes. Well, that’s what she said.”

There was silence for several moments. Beside me, Judith stiffened. She glanced toward the kitchen and stood. There’s a mirror in the dining room we could both see from the couch. It reflects a section of the kitchen in which I could Tim’s reflection hovering nervously on the threshold, listening and unwilling to enter. Can’t blame him.
“Were you trying to help her?” she asked.
“Who?” he asked. “Abigail?”
“Yes. I’m assuming you met her on your tour of the property.”
Ken snapped his fingers. “That’s right! I remember now. I went into a lot of apartments that day. More than I expected, frankly. A lot of people were in and happy to meet me, frankly.”
He turned to me. “So that’s what you meant. Jesus, Nora, I was fixing her mini-blinds.” He laughed. “And probably promising new carpets.” Judith and Patty laughed obligingly. I tried but no sound would come.
“Did she recognize you from Belle Vue?” asked Judith.
“I don’t think so. She didn’t say anything. Nice girl. She was making Bloody Marys and asked me to join her. I had a quick drink and left when I saw George drive up. No wonder I didn’t remember. I hadn’t been in there ten minutes.”
He gazed at me for a few minutes. I could see he was trying to work out how angry he still was and whether I should be spared or fired. Judith used the moment to slip into the kitchen and hustle Tim out the back door.
“Why did you spent your time at Belle Vue looking up files on Abigail?” asked Patty. “I just found them when I was filing.” I said, looking her dead in the eye, willing her to go no further. Had I shown her the work order? So what if I had? “You left her files out with the others. I was just surprised at the coincidence.”


Georgia, if anyone doesn't know this, is a "right to work" state. I didn't know that but Judith, much later in the day, explained it to me. "He can fire you any time and for any reason," she said. "Really?" "Really." "But he's not my boss. I mean, he didn't hire me. You hired me." "Then I guess I'll have to fire you." "But I didn't do anything." "Even you don't believe that." "But I live here. What am I going to do?" I'd never been fired before. "Go home. I'll give you a couple of weeks to find a new job. If you can pay rent, you can live here. I won't make you file an application. That's as fair as it gets, Nora." I guess I was an idiot.

January 18 Daily Art Page Pink


Pink. Frankly, I've always liked the color if not the connotations. But then, I'm a pale brunette. It's one of "my colors" so that's no surprise.
Back at the 3Day I heard a lot of women talking about how much they hated it. This opinion was held by my sister-in-law, a blonde who is better suited to turquoise and green. Her hatred of the color seemed tinged somehow with politics and I had the feeling the other pink-haters did too.

There's no fighting pink though. Not on the 3Day and so by Day 3, all the 3Day virgins are pretty inured to it and have collected so many strings of beads, feather boas and shoelaces that pink has gotten under our skin.

We really love it though when, after the finish line has been crossed and our coveted white shirts are on our backs, we look up and see all those other women in pink shirts. In the cult of the 3Day, nothing packs more of a wallop than the sight of so many women, especially those you've walked with, talked with, bitched with and blistered with, in pink. 

At this moment the political connotation of pink changes forever: not pink collar, no pink undies, nothing little girl and fragile about these girls. Pink, here, is the strongest color of all.


My page is a bit of disappointment to me because I could not execute on the idea, based on two memories: the one described above from just a few months ago, to another from 1961 when I took my first faint, in church. Not a religious experience but an interesting prelude to what would become a real talent for the unconscious. And in a pink dress my aunt had made, all skirt and sash and oversized collar. A real confection of dotted swiss.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 17 Daily Art Page Yellow


The cowardice of memory

I Want to Live Here - Episode 47

I parked the car in front of the townhouses. There are four of them in a row facing Biscayne Drive. They’re not the best units in this section but they’re not the worst either. I suppose facing the road, even a quiet dead-end like ours, compromises ones privacy. And of course, it’s in an almost direct view of the office. If I lived in one of these units I would be tempted to lower my blinds as Abigail often did, and keep them closed. Stephen and Nan’s blinds were open, but the bright linen curtains Nan had clipped to cafe rings because she liked the feel of flinging them open along a metal rod were gone. The place looked hollow. Where was Stephen today? I wanted to see him.

Mrs. Mason passed me at the door to Building A.
“I hope you know what’s good for you,” she said without a pause.
“What?” I turned to stop her but she’d closed the front door behind her. Had she been complaining of noise again? Impossible, the complex had been quiet all week and would not fill again until the new year.

Inside the model Judith stood in the living room. She wasn’t alone. Patty, from Belle Vue, was perched at the end of the small chair I used. Her stenographer’s pad, identical to my own, was before her. She seemed to be making a list.
“Hello?” I said.
“You’re back,” said Judith. No smile but a worried sympathy crossing her face.
Patty looked guilty.
“My turn to work here,” she said.
“Oh.” Chagrin, embarrassment (how could that be?) in the form of a hot flush rose like mercury in a thermometer until I thought my face would explode. The silence crackled.
Mr. Eberhard entered, evidently from Judith’s office. We will really need to bring in more desks. Judith walked to the couch and sat, arranging her long skirt, brushing invisible lint away with a light hand. She nodded to me and patted the seat next to her. Drawn, I made my way to it, fumbling with purse and coat, tripping on the beige shag carpet.
Finally, Mr. Eberhard, who seemed to be keeping his temper in check, blew a long breath from his nose, like a worried horse.
I am stalling now because when he started to talk, it was all I could do to hear him. When confronted, I react like a snail. I curl inward and hear nothing but the sound of crashing.
But his first words were clear enough.
“Just who do you think you are?” he asked.
“Uh?”
“Just who the hell do you think you are and what did you think you were up to?”
I looked to Judith but she kept her eyes on the weave of her green tweed. She favored monochromatic outfits. Her sweater matched the lighter shades. Patty kept her eyes on the steno pad but her chin trembled.
“I just had to sit through an interview with a,” and here he consulted a white card, “Michael Boker, a police detective, about my involvement. Yes, involvement, with Abigail Snowe. Someone, a young woman from this complex, had a conversation with him about my visits to her.” He paced the room, stopped at the piano bench and sitting, facing me. “My visits.” He made the word sound like a glass marble, rolling it in his mouth as if he didn’t know how it had gotten there or what he should do with it. “What visits?” he asked and before I could answer confronted me again.
“Do you honestly think I had something to do with that woman’s death?”
I was in full snail mode now and could barely speak. I thought the back of my head was going to come right off.
“I never said so.”
“But you do think so?”
I nodded. I had to. Was I nuts? And then I shrugged, involuntary as a spasm. I was trying, too late, to back away from the whole thing. Where, I had time to wonder, was my integrity.
“You idiot.”
And then, thank God, I got my Irish back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

January 16 Daily Art Page - Red


Red all over. I really wanted to paint today. To just feel the color soak into the raw paper and then, as the glazes built up, feel it skate. Golden liquids on the same fat, manufactured paper I've been using all month. 
Not thrilled. Making art? well, no. I was playing and listening to my instruments while relaxing after a long week. Hardly the religious experience it can sometimes be, but still a pleasure.
Meant to go out but it's tooooooo cold.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15 Art Every Day


Finally got the name of this challenge right!
This page feels too easy to be art but it's something I've always wanted to do: lay stuff out on the scanner and see what I get. Art should always have a little something changeable about it.
These are some of my favorite 'white' things: pearls, feathers, a single glove, animal skelton. Behind it all a transparency of a bird cage I'll be using for the next Random Art journal page collaborative.

I like it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14 Daily Art Journal Page - Green


Lost in the Green
Going to sleep now
It's amazing how much you can get done if you never leave the house, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13 Art Journal Challenge


Orange, eh? I set about to create a collage, something that always seems so much easier than it really is. Challenges always involve some constraint, often time (always time) and often inspiration. I was inspired by a comment/suggestion left by an anonymous reader but time contraints won out. Among the materials I keep color-coded in an accordian file were color Xeroxes of a small artist book. The prose poem is called "Love Letter".

Further constraints include holding lower abs in position learned in Pilates solo session yesterday. So, 20 years of tucked hips was ALL WRONG! Who knew?

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12 Daily Journal Page Challenge


Took a troll through the other bloggers participating in this challenge. Misty Mawn, organizer and Pied Piper has thrown out a variation for this week: monochromes. (Glad those self-portraits are over.) Monday is blue. Used the oppty to scrape some tinted gesso onto this heavy but clunky paper (Pentalic Nature Sketch, spiral bind sketchbook) and develop a wee bit of texture. Then go over it with brush pen. Am fascinated with winter branches...as you can see.
Art journals do want to read with the same interest as a literary journal or a diary. People, readers, want plot. When it comes to visual art, plot means the development of an image. A change in angle or point of view from one page to another. My winter branches are forming a forest and within that forest are the birds that symbolize myself, my friends, my world. So far, the forest is but a few trees but like that other, greater work: Into the Woods, we start at the edge and penetrate. You must penetrate. And that means more trees and darker skies.

(Am reading Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson. Opening chapter is about the primeval forest. No accidents here)

January 11 Daily Journal Page


little late. Company over to watch The Duchess. So much sadder than I'd imagined.
There's a solitary camper outside my window. In warmer weather, this little pocket park is sleeps almost a dozen people, mostly men. This weekend, which was wet and cold (by Georgia standards), there was only this one.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10 Sketch Crawl: Outdoors In at Atlanta Water Gardens.



Very tempted to take a drawing class at SCAD this quarter. I'd like to develop skills in composition and proportion. But work is going to be intense and I'm already committed to meeting one night a week with another mystery writer to bludgeon each other with plotting ideas and reasons why what isn't on the page really is (a fluke visual artists never seem to suffer from.)


So, another art buddy and I decided to meet in Decatur in sketch somewhere. A good idea made better by a timely email from Marilyn Brandenburger, an Atlanta artist and teacher who, with some regularity, organizes a "sketch crawl." Today, members of her many classes, a fellow illustrator buddy; and two members of Particular Women Artists (Serey and me) gathered at Atlanta Water Gardens and sketched for hours on a cloudy, rainy, sort of cold, sort of not so cold Saturday. What a great idea for a sketching rendezvous!

Here's my journal page for today. Not a self-portrait but a great lesson in limiting oneself to a single form of media (6B pencil) and a single support (cheap watercolor sketchbook paper with a tooth so sharp it bites).

I assigned myself birds in order to gather images for the current journal page challenge sponsored by our friends at Random Arts in Saluda, NC. "Sweet Tweet"
Birds, flying, escaping, cages, etc., are much on my mind as I think/pray about LP, who, with her diagnosis and her sister, is flying to Europe next week for a quick adventure before the portal goes in.

Amazing Cloudscape


Last week I received a wonderful gift: a reminder of why I fell so hard in love with the condo I bought with all the impulsivity of a child with her first allowance. It was the view! The endless light. The infinite sky paired with the bulky thud of downtown high-rises---all those horizontal and vertical lines. 

So I'm working from home on Wednesday and I'm really working away (okay, there's a laundry going but that's the equivalent to cube hopping, right?) and the sky is changing so fast I've got to stop and just watch. It's like a chorus line of clouds.

video

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9 Daily Art Journal


What a long week. Gated, I see. Yes, and got the
bit between my teeth as well.
I draw myself a lot thinner than I am, but that's
okay. A little self-deception is required, especially in mid-winter.
til tomorrow!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 8 Daily Challenge


I'm in here somewhere.

This takes some doing when you don't get home til 8, put away groceries, watch remainder of part 4 of Aristocrats (how did we live before Netflix? I may never leave the couch)
and check in. Friend with cancer is going to Amsterdam and Paris for a pre-chemo adventure. You fly, little bird, you just fly.



January 7 Daily Challenge

Because I walk, I see.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 6 Art Journal Challenge


I suppose I should stick a heart in here somewhere....and a mouth.

Monday, January 5, 2009

January Art Journal Challenge Jan 5, 2009



yikes. can't find myself in this at all, except maybe the nostril.
Inner demon?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 4, 2009 Daily Art Journal Challenge

I see that my art journal is also the map of my day and week. Drawing, doodling in today's case, is a form of meditation. I have pushed myself a bit today to draw more than write. 
Can you tell I like grids?

I Want to Live Here Episode 46

Abigail’s minister delivered fifteen minutes of sorrow tinged with some confused warnings against wasting one’s life that raised more than my eyebrows. A slight murmur rolled among the dozens of heads inclining left and right, as if those of us in the middle and back rows were asking, “Did she commit suicide?” Now, that’s an idea that never occurred to me. How on earth could she have thrown herself against the precise edge of her dining room table? Susan was not visible from where I sat, but Kevin’s profile was in view and it looked quite frozen, as if in shock. Once, he opened his mouth as if to object, but shut it again and slumped back in his seat. 

“Does he think she killed herself?” I hissed in Michael’s ear.

He shook his head. “Lifestyle,” he mouthed.

Ah, yes. If there’s one word that epitomizes the generational divide peaking in the mid-1970s, it was lifestyle. Meaningless and therefore useful for all. Abigail’s family minister had appropriated it and charged it with a code that was to mean excess.

She was divorced; she was in debt; she was flying about; and she had been drinking and, in that state, had killed herself. Got it. 

“They still keep insisting she was drunk, but she couldn’t have been.”

“That’s what I hear but that’s not what her family believes.”

After the minister came a hymn led by Susan’s husband. People were asked to speak if they wanted to but after five painful minutes of silence, the Patterson’s man stepped forward and invited us all, on Kevin’s behalf, to a reception at the house on 5th Street.


It was here that I realized Kevin and Michael were more than friends. Judith’s husband took over the kitchen as if he owned it, marshaling a trio of Peasant waiters in crisp blue Oxford shirts and black slacks. A traditional spread of ham and sausage biscuits, salads and desserts had been set out in the dining room on an antique table covered in lace. The waiters swam among guests with trays of bite-sized quiches and champagne. I drank one glass and left.  There was nothing more to learn and nothing more I could do. The realization made me feel like a fool. Judith, I reflected, had been right about me. Perhaps I could have helped Abigail had I been in the office, but I had not been there and that was not my fault. Now I was just being nosy and intrusive, occupying space belonging to someone who really did care about her. I should go back to Arborgate and do my job while I still had it.


I left without saying goodbye to Kevin but Susan was smoking a cigarette too close to my car to ignore her.

“I’ll call you later this week,” she said. “I still need your help.”

“Really? Judith said you wanted to handle it yourself.”

She blew smoke down the front of her navy wool coat and shook her head. “Not at all. I can’t stand the idea of going through everything. If you could do the kitchen and bathrooms in particular, I’d appreciate it. I’ll pay you.”

All the way up Peachtree Street, I wondered why Judith had told me otherwise. 

Was there something beyond Abigail’s involvement with Ken she didn’t want me knowing? What was it and what could I do about it, anyway? 

Suddenly, I was sadder than I’d ever been and, with it, a sense of defeat crept through me. In this mood, I turned left on Biscayne and descended to the complex.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jan 3 daily page


This Moleskin paper is making me draw like a writer. I mean, these branches are calligraphic, are they not? Two friends with cancer, lot of reading, especially The Healing Path by Marc Ian Barasch. Lot of thinking. These branches are just the beginning of a long walk in the woods. These days I could envy the religious among us. Their certainty must be very nice.
Here's today's page, which is not finished because the day has just begun.

New Year New Challenge



A foggy Saturday. Good intentions of a long walk with two 3-Day buddies up in Riverside Park, Roswell was changed to a shorter walk in Chastain Park with one 3-Day buddy has been, by way of illness for one and need to put down beloved old dog while simultaneously coordinating clearing out room of recently deceased mother-in-law for other (GotJunk.com) reduced to (possible) walk in beloved Piedmont Park before or after returning overdue library books and delivering two pairs of slacks to tailor in Ansley Mall. The shoes are on, the jeans less snug than a week ago. Finished the last butterscotch chewie and am ready to take on the new year.

Which means checking out favorite blogs. On Jonna's, I find a daily journal page challenge begun at Misty Mawn. I know the artist but not the woman but check it out. Since 1967, I've kept a journal, but in 2006 I decided enough was enough and bought myself four identical sketchbooks, 7x7 squares from Canson. The good ones, not the almost identical ones with lighter paper.  The following year, I used four books from the Modern Library series, which I altered. Last year, I found four Moleskin wannabees that had fewer pages, meaning I was limited to half a s
pread (one page) each day (the Cansons allowed for a daily spread). The paper is a bit porous, lots of tooth but false tooth. They didn't like watercolor but took Pitt pens very well, with more thirst than I like, however. (Spent all my teaching money on new Mac so was limited on supply budget.) 

I've grown to love the shopping for next year's four books and so visit all the supply stores here in Atlanta (Binders, Utrecht, Pearl, Blicks) and consider using my own Coptic-bound books. 
Thanks to An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory, I decided to go for broke (literally) and picked up a couple of 5x8 Moleskins. These are pretty expensive so I'll have to buy them as I need them. 

I'm handling them with some reverence that I hope will move into more useful point of view. The Pitt pens love the slick paper (again, watercolor doesn't work as well; this time because the paper is too slick) and I've started buying Tombo art pens again because they're water soluble.

Aren't new journals the best thing? Here are my pages so far. I should say that I don't consider them finished. Often, in the mornings when I scribble and color (meditate) on the open page, I'll go back and fill in before sending them out to dry.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I Want to Live Here Episode 45

Her hands had been folded across her heart, a crystal rosary artistically intertwined between her fingers. Someone had given her nails a pearl-pink manicure. Touching her cold skin briefly (was it warmer than when I’d last touched it last Thursday?) and turned away, heading for an alcove from which I could gather my wits and watch.


I don’t know why I felt so self-conscious except that, at 23, I still retained many adolescent ideas. The notion that I was under constant scrutiny was one of them. 

Nor was I completely wrong. Abigail’s Belle Vue neighbor, Rick, had walked in and was staring at me, his eyes glassy with tears held in check. I nodded and turned away, walking down a short hall thinking to find a ladies room. Instead I ran smack into Michael Fish, Judith’s husband.

“Michael,” I said. “What are you doing here?”

It took him a minute to recognize me. Even then, he did not place me at Arborgate, but, rather, as Kevin’s dinner companion.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“Nora Cahill,” I said. “We met the other night at the Peasant and-”

“Of course, Kevin’s new friend.” He offered his hand and I took it in a brief handshake.

“Yes,” I said, warmed by the designation. “But I also work for your wife.”

“Judith?” 

I laughed nervously, biting back an impulse to ask how many wives he had. 

“Yes, at Arborgate.”

“Oh. Oh! You’re the one who found her.” His body turned slightly toward the coffin. We both glanced into the viewing room, catching Kevin’s eye. He smiled slightly and gave a gesture. If he’d had a glass in his hand, it might have been a toast. As it was, he simply waved slightly and smiled as if glad to see us together. His lips moved, mouthing words I could not understand.

“What’s he saying?” I asked Michael.

“Take care?” he said. “I’m not sure. Well, let’s get a seat. They should be starting by now.”

“There’s a lot more people here than I would have thought,” I whispered as we brushed past a covey of uniformed Delta flight attendants. I wonder if they’re like cops and send representatives when one of their own go down.”

“She didn’t die in a plane crash,” he said. “But you may be right.”

“There’s a guy from her last apartment,” I said, pointing to Rick. “I think he had feelings for her.”

“Is he the one she was seeing at Arborgate?”

“No. We think that was the new owner.”

“Ken Eberhard?” He whistled thoughtfully. “That’s interesting.”

“Why? Because he’s married?”

“Well, that doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s been seeing a lot of Judith. You know we’re separated, I guess.”

“I did. I’m sorry.”

“Nothing to be sorry about. It’s amicable. But I don’t like Ken much.”

“Jealous?”

“Proprietorial, probably. I’m a dog in the manger.  Seriously, I’m the only one who worries about Judith. Everyone thinks she’s so together.”

“You’re right. I sure do.”

“Of course, compared to you, she is.”

“Hey!”

“I mean, she’s older and a mother. She’s very in charge but she’s hasn’t always been. That’s all I’m saying. In another ten years, you’ll be just like her.”

“But what is that? Competent on the outside and a marshmallow inside?”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s just that I know her vulnerabilities. I’m afraid Ken might know them,too. I’m not so sure I trust him with her. He strikes me as a predatory kind of guy.”

“He certainly seems to go after what he wants.”

“Exactly.”

“But I think he just wants Judith to work with him. She’s smart and ambitious.”

“She is that. But what about Abigail? From what Kevin tells me, she was a bit of a loose cannon.”

“What does that mean?”

“That she didn’t really know what she wanted but would get all fired up anyway. She was impulsive, he said.”

“Did you know her personally?”

“Not at all. Kevin talks about her, that’s all.”

“Are you guys good friends?” I asked, but before he could answer, strains of organ music hushed us all and the service began.