Month: September 2016

More September Sketches

Successfully sketched every day this month.  Early in the month, sketched two or three pages a night, making shapes and shading them.  Over the past week, sketched one page each day.

FRIDAY

A friend emailed a group selfie from his family trip in Sicily.  Loved the classic background and their happy faces.  Just had to sketch it.

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SATURDAY

Sat in the bath and looked long and hard at the faucet and the shower nozzle, at the bed frame and bandanna-covered lamp.  Started to imagine the scene on the page, how it divides into thirds.   That’s me in the tub on the far right, in the bedroom closet’s mirror reflection.

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SUNDAY

My office desk was a mess, as usual.  Had a choice:  Could either clean it up or sketch it.  It’s still a mess.

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MONDAY

Was late, hadn’t drawn all day.  Just about ready to crash, forced myself to draw something — anything.  Then these pens caught my eye, sprouting from the mug like the chopped stalks of a strange garden plant.

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TUESDAY

Parked outside this barber shop before picking up my son from school.  Did a quick sketch, then followed up with a photograph.  Early the next morning, before dropping off my son at school, left an anonymous copy at the barber shop.

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WEDNESDAY

Saw this crow in the supermarket parking lot.  Loved its defiance, its standing boldly on the wires meant to keep the birds off the lamp.  Snapped a quick photo with my phone, then sketched from that at home.

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THURSDAY

When I first thought of sketching stuff, I thought of sketching old Victorian buildings here in San Francisco.  I just love looking at them.  Had a few minutes before an appointment, so scratched this out in pencil, then finished up at home with a photo.

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This has been too much fun!  Can’t wait to start sketching October.

 

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Two More Euro Poems

chinio-abel

Many thanks to Bindweed, an online literary journal, for publishing the follow two poems — two more from my series about my travels through Europe in 1980.  That’s me in the middle, between Chino and Abel, with the eponymous Volkswagen van behind us.

Volkswagen Van

                                               “We never see him.”   —Louis XIV

Grand chateau, once royal court of France

  now packed with peasants on bus tours from Paris

    —and me curled up in a Volkswagen van

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Where once purple kings and sycophants pranced

  dancing with stars on a moonlit terrace

    this grand chateau, this royal crown of France

.

Now hosts a daily deluge—trash cans

  full of coffee cups, littered souvenirs

    and me curled up in a Volkswagen van

.

When one past prince fell ill at romance

  too ashamed to be seen, too embarrassed

    he shunned the chateau, a sin across France

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Like him, I’m alone, a grin with no glance

  never to know a stroll with an heiress

    only the hold of a Volkswagen van

.

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Railway Deli

                       —Train to Venice, 1980

Parents packed with diaper bags; infants, kids

    stuffed like peppers in a carriage corridor

.

Uniformed soldiers smoking San Miguels

    strung-up salamis, olives in a jar

.

I close my itchy eyes, dream of first-class seats

    roomy leather arms, air-con breeze

.

I pop a Coca-Cola, pour bubbles over ice

    prop my tired feet, sip the countryside

.

But eyes blink open, burning from the stench

    thin tin can, narrow wooden bench

.

September Sketches

Got really committed to drawing this month.  Started watching Alphonso Dunn’s excellent art tutorials on You Tube.  Then just started sketching stuff — stuff around the house, mostly stuff in view from the couch:

Looking up…

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to the right…

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to the left…

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Then started sketching stuff at work:

Looking up…

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to the right…

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to the left…

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Then started sketching outside stuff:

Mission & Cortland in Bernal Heights…

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Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park…

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The yellow tinge comes from my scanner…

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Sometimes it happens, sometimes not…

pencil

At first, everything was sketched with a plain mechanical pencil.  Then I got some archival-ink pens…

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I love how the ink makes things pop.  Some shading stays in pencil…

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I can also print things out and add color:

My son’s middle school in crayon…

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Dolores Park, too…

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I like drawing.  It clears my head of words.  It centers me in whatever I’m sketching.  I move my hand in rhythm to my breath, follow my heart, and ignore that little voice in my head that says I can’t draw.  When I can’t ignore it, I just agree, then go on drawing one breath after another.

Three Welcomes (Sorta)

Barcelona Old Man

Many thanks to *82 Review for publishing the following poem in their Fall 16  4.3 issue.

Tres Bienvenidos

                           —Barcelona triptych, 1980

1)  Pensione Viejo

.

Corner room with noon-blue walls

   peeling plaster, thin twin bed

      old wood dresser, stuck dresser drawer

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Across the courtyard, canary in his cage

    old man, too, staring from his window sill

       old brown jacket, old brown cap

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When I bid him Buenos dias

    he tip-taps out his cigarette

      pulls the shutters shut

 

2)  Muchachas no Tocas

.

 Up the Rambla, down the Rambla

   city locals selling country crafts

      wooden tables, rickety stalls

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Spanish girls strut by, thick dark ropes of hair

   eyes tagged only on merchandise

      flowers and seashells, candy and clothes

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I ask the price of a white gauze scarf

   girl behind the table yanks it from my hand

      spats at me in CatalanNo, no toquis!

 

3)  Lluevos no Quieros

.

.Sidewalk table, white-coat waiter

   unfolds a fancy café menu

      basket full of sticky rolls

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I order café con leche, plate of scrambled eggs

   sit back and watch the promenade

      parade of tourists, vagabonds like me

.

.The waiter brings my breakfast

   scrambled eggs over easy

      cup of coffee a cup of tea

.