It has been a long hard day. It has been a long hard week. Here is a drawing of some feet.
I woke up this morning with the beat of “Lost in My Mind” playing in my head.
I wasn’t sure why it was there in the first place, but it became clearer as I listened to the lyrics.
How’s that bricklayin’ coming?
How’s your engine running?
Is that bridge getting built?
Are your hands getting filled?
Won’t you tell me my brother?
The message reminded me of what the midnight muse was trying to tell me a couple of weeks ago.
tend to your garden
all those things you said you would
even now they call
It seems that my inner self is trying to remind me of something that I have forgotten. Not in reprimand nor in judgment, but in subtle reintroduction. A gentle prompting to get back to what I’ve lost sight of.
I’m in the midst of reading Fahrenheit 451, one of the books I picked up at the farmers market a week or so ago, and it has been making quite the impression on me.
This past weekend, I forgot my drawing pen and misplaced my headphones for my trip to NYC, so I decided to improvise — I would read in times I would usually rely on these two. That meant a lot of reading on the train.
Within the novel, I’m currently where Montag is on his way back home after having reunited with Faber. Faber has just given Montag a Seashell Radio in order to give him advice and help navigate Montag through upcoming challenges.
Walking home, Montag expresses:
“Faber?…I’m not thinking. I’m just doing like I’m told, like always. You said get the money and I got it. I didn’t really think of it myself. When do I start working things out on my own?”
“You’ve started already, by saying what you just said. You’ll have to take me on faith.”
“I don’t want to change sides and just be told what to do. There’s no reason to change if I do that.”
Montag’s words to Faber reminded me of my own from two years ago when I first moved to Boston:
“Trusting that I’m in good hands and that he’ll (God) bring me back to life — but I want a new one. Don’t want to return to the old. That would disprove my point.”
The “point” I was referring to was that of autonomy. Now, with being away from home and all things familiar, I wanted to get to a mental space where I knew who I was and what I stood for.
I wanted to make sure all this change was not in vain. To end up in place similar to the one was attempting to leave felt pointless. All Montag and I had left was our dependence on our sovereign source and to keep walking.
This morning I decided to head out to the Somerville Winter Farmers Market to partake in Urban Sketchers Boston, a group that gathers weekly to sketch. I’ve been once before but wanted to get back into it again.
I felt a bit of anxiety as I arrived due to the amount of people that were there, but the sound of live jazz coming from the café helped ease me.
Once in the market’s main area, I walked around to take it all in: fresh vegetables, hanging plants, pastries. My anxiety still lingered, so I went to the market’s second floor to see what else I could get my eyes on.
I eventually found a stand lined with books on sale from the local public library. And there, looking right at me, was a copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 (I had been in search of it up to that point, since I want to use a passage for an upcoming blog post).
Astounded, I picked up Fahrenheit and asked the sellers if I could take a picture of the quote I was looking for. But before I began leafing through the pages, it occurred to me to ask how much the book was going for. The price could not have been better: one dollar, along with everything else.
With that in mind, I jumped to see what else they had to offer. I came across Haiku in English edited by Jim Kacian, Love Poems by Pablo Neruda, and D.I.Y.: Design it Yourself (Design Handbooks) edited by Ellen Lupton.
These were only three out of the nine that I bought. The other titles include:
- Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- The Rolling Stone Interviews edited by Jann S. Wenner
- The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve my City, One Block at a Time by David Sloan Wilson
I was in heaven. Each of these books touched topics that have recently had personal significance. I can’t shy away from saying that it felt as though it was meant to be.
Content with my purchase and with my hands full, I went downstairs to finally see what I was going to draw. I landed on a vegetable stand at the very entrance of the farmers market, trying not to be in people’s way.
I started off drawing the stand, but decided to watercolor a watermelon radish at the very end.
The radish was striking. I drew and painted the radish on-site, but later added the text, which was an idea I took from fellow artist Kate.
I was really impressed with her work. The shadowing within the box and detail of the leaning squash at the top stand out, with the hidden letters adding another layer of interest.
Last week, instead of waking up to make a black out poem out of articles in the New Yorker, I landed on a cartoon.
The original caption read: “But I’m conducting an experiment: will the twentieth cookie taste as good as the first?“
It wasn’t all that great, so I opted to come up with my own:
a. “Would you mind saving some for the kids?“
b. “Really, John?…and you didn’t invite me?“
c. “Those were for the funeral.“
Each one got progressively better. The last one cracked me up.
In moments like these, I share my greatest hits. Things didn’t go as planned in editing a picture I had in mind, so I decided to pick one from my desktop (again). I edited it last year but now made the chance to share it:
The photo’s composition might not be perfect (the man is looking away from the camera), but I like how the image takes in the detail of the cardboard boxes, cans of Diet Coke, and even vapor rising in the back. Not to mention the color contrast.
This is what I call street photography, where I try to capture people in the day-to-day. There’s something about it, documenting the everyday, that I like. It’s one of my favorite things to do.
The house is quiet and the power is out. I surround myself with three candles, their light flickering and wicks crackling. I was supposed to get things ready for tomorrow, but the outage seemed to send a quiet message. I acquiesced.
There have been two instances now where I’ve been asked a question, and I couldn’t seem to find an answer:
- Cual es tu estado favorito? (Which state do you like most?)
- What do you like? Like, what is it that you can talk about for hours?
As simple as they were, I was stumped:
- Uh, I don’t know. I guess California?…but Massachusetts is cool too…
- Uh, anything creative, like patterns…and Austin Kleon…
Things such as philosophy, the concept of time, the cyclical nature of life — are all topics I think of constantly and easily.
But turn the conversation toward me, and I stutter.
All I can think of is the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland and his imposing question:
It’s not that he’s questioning her existence (who are you?) but more so her standing (who are you?).
The attention is now on Alice as opposed to everyone else.
Think, Alice, think. Who are you?
It wasn’t until I got back from California that I realized how much I really appreciate my friends in Boston.
Each one adds their own color and flavor. Hearing their laughs and seeing their quirks again reassured me of this. Man, I’m glad to be back.
I came across BoConcept, a Danish furniture store, last month as one of their employees was handing out the yearly catalog. I took one not knowing what I’d do with it but knowing I could use it for something.
I had already seen Austin Kleon take pictures of pansies and combine them with images of luchadores, so the possibilities were endless.
With Inktober well underway and me feeling stuck with a blank page, I decided to use the catalog as my drawing board. I took that day’s theme (“enchanted”) and came up with this:
I was really pleasantly surprised by how realistic I had made the curtains seem. I tried it out a few more times:
My favorite so far has been the swing.
Because I had trouble coming up with a theme/topic for today, I just Googled a random word generator. That’s how the word “variation” came about (see above).
The same process goes for choosing the page I’m going to draw on — It’s completely random!