Category: Uncategorized

  • The Tyranny of Productivity

    The Tyranny of Productivity

    A couple of weekends ago was the State Department’s annual book sale fundraiser where, for four bucks, I picked up The Golden Ring: Cities of Old Russia because I liked the photographs of medieval architecture and thought it might be fun to draw them.  I almost didn’t buy it, fearing I might not ever get […]

  • Jumping Fences

    Jumping Fences

    Hybrids.  Grotesques.  Chimeras.  Today I’m thinking about the drawings of Eduardo Galeano in The Book of Embraces.  Have you read this book?  I love it—its playfulness and seriousness, its range, its voices, and its visions.  It celebrates art, imagination, and the human spirit through beautiful vignettes and whimsical illustrations such as a man with an […]

  • The End of Summer Owl

    The End of Summer Owl

    More decoration than decoy, the owl did not seem to take its job seriously, leaning against the fence like a summer hire in the last week of August.  The sparrows saw a slacker and hopped around under the awning, cracking seeds against the pavement, skittering about the dogs’ water bowl, beating the heat with their […]

  • Child Sense and Clover

    Child Sense and Clover

    I was trying to think of something to draw or do for this blog.  A while ago I’d taken a picture of clover weeds with the idea that I’d make a small painting, but I thought I could do better.  Maybe I’d go to a café and sketch something or just think of something else.  […]

  • So, Donkey Ears

    So, Donkey Ears

    I got such pleasure from playing Pictionary with four ESOL students last week.  It wasn’t the pleasure of playing Taboo, which gets everyone excited, energized by competition and the pressure of a three-minute timer.  And it wasn’t the pleasure of playing Apples to Apples, which gets everyone feeling silly, trying to be clever.  It was […]

  • Paint What You See Not What You Know

    Paint What You See Not What You Know

    I just spent ten days at Vermont College of Fine Arts as a graduate assistant at the summer residency for creative writers.  With equal parts hope and skepticism, I’d packed my big sketchbook and a set of oil pastels, but they never left my backpack.  I did, however, do a little sketching in my journal. […]

  • Seeing Poppies

    Seeing Poppies

    In 2002 I left my job at the Library of Congress, moved in with Mom and Dad for a few months, and then spent the summer backpacking in Europe.  It was a life-changing trip, though I couldn’t point to anything specific.  It’s more that the impact it made was too strong for me to doubt […]

  • Never the Whole Story

    Never the Whole Story

    On Saturday I spent a couple hours with an ice coffee and sketchbook at Java Shack.  After three weeks of nearly incessant rain, sitting outside in a shady spot on a sunny day felt profoundly good. With a brush tip marker, I drew my view from the wrought iron table for two—a parking lot behind […]

  • Covering Reading Girl

    Covering Reading Girl

    The hardest part of preparing Reading Girl for publication has been creating the cover.  At first I wanted to use one of Matisse’s images, and it seemed serendipitous that the title’s namesake was a painting made in 1922, putting it in the public domain.  But a little research quickly suggested that public domain wasn’t that simple.  […]

  • Russian Windows

    Russian Windows

    Kyrgyzstsan’s windows, gates, and doors offered a visual fascination that never grew old.  Their faded and peeling color blocks often reminded me of a Richard Diebenkorn painting.  They conveyed the same nostalgia but without even trying. This is a Russian window on a Russian house in the once-Russian northern region of Kyrgyzstan.  I took the […]