Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Return of the Floating Heads

Wilfred at Carving Paper says, "When I am sitting, I am sketching." I've sort of adopted that as my motto as well.

But last month I decided to sketch while walking at the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Walk, and this is the result.

I have always thought of the awareness ribbons as symbols for causes. I have come to understand, though, that behind each ribbon - whether for breast cancer, soldiers abroad, autism awareness, or something else - there is a whisper of pain and of fear, but also a defiant shout. I admire all those who stride forward in the face of the frightening unknown.

People differ in their experiences and their reactions to them, but they are remarkably similar as well, of course. I don't know if it is because of their exotic differences or common humanity, but observing people is interesting to me, and I am compelled to draw their faces. So here is a sample from last month's sketches, recently colored with watercolors, in my new Strathmore watercolor journal.

Faces appear to be my "default". When I am too busy, or tired, or just lazy, faces are what I draw. At the beginning of this blog (before my discovery of the wonders of watercolors), faces were all I drew. I called them "floating heads". (You can click on the images for larger views).

If you have ever tried to figure me out, psychoanalyze me, or have just been plain curious about who I am, I offer you this glimpse into my subconscious, also sketched in the Strathmore journal. This, then, is my "bar code".

So after studying it a bit, or scanning it in a reader, I ask you: are we the same, you and I, or different? Or maybe, just maybe, you'd rather not think about it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Nowadays when I see a film portraying time travel, I laugh.

It is a knowing, arrogant laugh. Loud and annoying. This is because I am an expert in time travel.

I am an expert in time travel because I have drawn a two-page Moleskine spread outside Starbucks. (Double-click for larger views).

It's not the trip back in time that bothers me. It's the return trip. The return trip in any self-respecting sci-fi flick is imprecise. And I'm okay with this. The travelers return to a date and time a minute, an hour, or a week or two from their starting point. They return to the point of origin, and everything is as it should be. And this is when I laugh. This is when other moviegoers throw popcorn at me.

I didn't have much time to spend during each visit to Starbucks. I added to the pen drawing whenever I returned. But things moved. The first thing I noticed - the potted plants. Everything else the same - only the plants moved. Large plants in very heavy pots. Why on earth would anyone bother to move the &*%^*) plants? Then subtle changes - the tables rearranged, the bench gone. These I could handle. Finally when I returned one day everything had changed. The decals on the windows were gone, and the outside and inside tables and chairs were discarded in favor of entirely new furniture! Tall stilted uncomfortable table/chair combinations outside, and all of the cushy chairs removed inside. The modern definition of progress.

I will not be satisfied until a time traveler returns to find himself standing in a potted plant.

[Segue starts here.] We resist the inevitable changes and this is the source of much of our stress. 100 years from now we probably would not recognize much. 200 years, nothing at all. And xx years ago, my mother was born. On November 7th. Happy Birthday Mom!

Something compels my mom to create art. The same virus I've been infected with. And there is no cure. She will create even if a very few see her creation. Its something she returned to after her retirement. It brings her joy. But she has no blog. So on her birthday, I present her international debut! She works in acrylic, and here is a sampling. The flowers at the top of this blog were painted by her (yes, I am cheap - presenting her with her own flowers), and these. Feel free to let her know what you think in your comment.

And this beauty is hanging on my wall. I stop and look at it again and again.

:: Mom, to me your paintings are happy and beautiful. They portray your joy of life, your enthusiasm, your steady and uplifting encouragement, your compassion, and your love. But since I am your proud and very fortunate son - who loves you ever so much - I am biased, what can I say? Happy Birthday from all of us. And many more.. Keep painting.;) ::