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Warm Memories

“Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories.”
Deborah Kerr in “An Affair to Remember”

Today is a rare “snow day” for my little city. It doesn’t happen often, but this morning we woke up to find a blanket of snow that’s still growing, and a lot of people, including myself, stayed home.

Rather than posting photos of the snow outside my window, I thought I’d flip back through an old sketchbook to this little watercolour I did on a beach in the Bahamas, on a warm day with a gentle breeze.

Stay warm, wherever you are!



A page from my sketchbook.  I signed up for a workshop on portraits, it’s coming up later this month and I’m quite excited about it… in the meantime, I thought I’d start warming up by drawing some faces.

My sister’s piano

From the sketchbook

A page from one of my sketchbooks, this was done at a cafe in a square downtown.  There are a few things I’d do differently now, but I sort of like this one!

Sketchy memories

Pont de la Tournelle, Paris

It’s been a while since I’ve completed any creative projects, but when I was going through some boxes of stuff still unsorted from our move last summer, I came across a little (5×7″) sketchbook that I took to Europe in 2000…. thought I’d share some sketches with you.

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I remember sitting by the Seine drawing that bridge on a warm September afternoon. Some girls with clipboards stopped to ask if I would take part in a survey…. a couple asked for directions… all in French, and I loved that I was being mistaken for a local. The collection of Italian food was everything my friend’s family grew at their home, from potatoes to pomegranates… they even made their own wine and olive oil. I penciled it in there, and finished the page while waiting for a train in Villach, Austria. Each little drawing has a lot of memories attached to it… I wish I’d done more of them. I think when you take the time to sit down and draw a view, it really etches it into your memory. The same with taking photos, to a certain extent, but not as much as when you put pencil, pen or brush to paper. I remember studying that bridge closely… counting the windows on the buildings… trying to capture it all.

These are all in France and Italy, which were the first two countries I visited. I was also in Austria and Germany, but had apparently given up sketching by that point. I have hundreds of photos, from this trip and others, and keep meaning to use them as reference for some sketches and paintings.  It’s only been ten years, I’m sure I’ll get around to it one of these days….


I’ve never been all that good at drawing flowers, but I was tempted by some beautiful, huge bird of paradise blooms currently in our home. The result is questionable, but I’ve been having a lot of fun with my watercolour pencils!

Sketching again

Here’s a page from a new sketchbook I’ve just started.  Nothing elaborate… the figure is one I drew last weekend based on the cover of a book (about the Tudors). I drew it on a torn off piece of a paper bag, and today I pasted it into my sketchbook with a few other bits of paper and a doodle.

I spent a few hours this evening with my sketchbook. It’s been quite a while since I’ve made time for drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, or just doodling… fun.  My goal is to fill at least one page per week. Should be doable.

Rear Window


Ready for Inspiration!

This is my painting corner in our new home. It’s on our glassed-in balcony, which is starting to get a bit chilly now… especially in the evenings.  In the afternoons when the sun shines in the windows it’s still pretty nice…. unfortunately that leaves only the weekend afternoons, when I should be getting some chores done. I need to get a space heater, and then I think it’ll be just dandy out there. Before this I lived in 430 sq.ft., so having a place to leave the easel set up permanently feels extravagant!

I love our view. From this spot I can see houses, apartments, office buildings, church steeples, trees, hills, sunsets and even a small glimpse of the ocean.  There’s a rooftop garden, and someone two blocks away with a TV so huge we can tell what show they’re watching. There’s a tower with a clock, “our clock,” that we look at to see what time it is… but have to remember it’s running five minutes slow. There are a few cranes working on shiny new condominiums, and the shabby old disreputable apartment building where we went to pick up some secondhand lamps we bought on craigslist . And there’s the empty apartment in the building behind us that we looked at the same day we looked at the one we eventually moved into…. that other one has a living room like a bowling alley with glass brick and wall-to-wall pink shag carpet.  It’s still empty.

With so much going on out there, I’m sure to be inspired to put something on that empty canvas….. right?  As soon as I can find (or make) some time to spend with it.