Suddenly It Is Days Later!

Clear blue skies and frigid weather today.  I came over here to the apartment to work on the piercing of pages and thinking I would bind some of the several books I am sending off to Australia…but I forgot scissors and the covers need trimmed on the board shear in the studio. So that job is put off until Monday when I get better prepared. But so far fifteen books of two signatures each have been pierced.

The 32 lb paper feels luscious. And I like the fine tether line throughout.

Every day I do marks in the book with black ink. For some reason I forgot to photograph the page after the stacked stones using the stippling method….I will show that page next time. But in doing that page and working on a stacked stone fence, I thought of Shel Silverstein. He had such bold black ink marks for his illustrations but something about the stippling of a stone wall reminded me of his work. I shall have to dig out my Silverstein children’s books and see. Anyway I turned that page and decided to just do different stones.

This type of work takes so much time. And I find that working off my lap is not the best way to do it. The slight bounce of the pen on pages makes it more of a short, although very short, line. These stones all look “furry”.

When I was doing wood engravings on hard maple boards I used this stippling technique with moderate success. The finely grained wood block did not bounce because of course it was on a table. The stippling tool could make nice clean pecks into the hard wood. In that case I was creating light with each mark whereas in this marks book I am creating the dark. A very fine point would be best and done on a solid surface. I may tire of this tediousness sooner than I thought.

Here is this morning’s leaf.

On the reverse side of that leaf is another one that I returned to the more bold line work…I will show that one later. So it seems to me now that I prefer the fine lines used like Edward Gorey did.  And I think that is because it seems closer to graphite which is what I am more used to. The stippling might work more like graphite illustration if I had a very fine point. Rapidograph pens are about the only ones they say work best this way…held perpendicular to the page. All other fine points do not like the pouncing up and down. They are made to be used at an angle. Of course there is always the fine dip pens but I would need to work over a table. I will keep going…but I am sensing some boredom creeping in.

Since all the pens sent to me are primarily waterproof, I might just start adding color….maybe.

And today over here at the apartment I worked on two more pages of the fairy book. Only the final two left to go.

I have not figured out what to do with the printed leaf marks on the folded up angled bottoms yet….maybe a whole long row of flowers.

Once I finish the fairy book I have two more from Lorraine down under that have contact prints in them as well. I might be more adventurous and use black pen in the next.

Ellie of my short story is still waiting in the garden for me to get her moving again. I don’t like to spend too much time with these characters that I make up. I think they have a private life that I am not supposed to be snooping into. I wouldn’t want someone following me around to see what I do next, so why would they? I like to think of them as an overheard conversation in a diner. Just enough exposure to make them real and somehow familiar. I don’t think I will follow her into the next day that she has planned. I think whatever she wants to resolve will be done before she goes to bed.

I like her. I would not mind sharing some of her mediocre vegetable soup if invited. Or maybe I could just lean up against a door jamb and watch for awhile. If I do that then I can take it all in, how the house smells, how she slightly wheezes when she bends over, how the mustard and catsup bottles are always on the table with mismatched salt and pepper shakers and the chipped butter plate, how she, like me, does not bother to comb her hair.

I think I hear her calling and now I have to wait until Monday….

Til later…

Beautiful Spring Day

The weather warmed up so we walked the trail for the first time in quite awhile.

And this knot hole that always makes me want to get back to the fairy book.

The woods have definitely influenced my drawing a day marks book.

An the finished breakfast page.

Yesterday I decided to try different mark making…..stippling that takes so much longer to fill a space but I love how it looks and how it appeals to nervous energy!

I will stay with stones for a few pages because they really lend themselves to stippling. Then maybe combinations.

We just returned from taking garbage and recycling bottles and cardboard to the trash. It is a big outing for Lee. He gets to dump the glass bottles after I show him where, and then help me lift bags of kitchen garbage over the edges of the high bins.  Now he is back at blowing leaves in the driveway enjoying the sun.

Yesterday I spent an hour and a half on the phone being interviewed by a nurse for long term care insurance. Evidently it is something that must be done every so often. It was irritating for both of us when she wanted to ask Lee if he knew his name, knew the president’s name, his date of birth, his age…When he got a touch ornery they let it drop and continued to ask me every question you can imagine. It was compounded by the fact that ten minutes before the caregiver was to show up, her office called to say she wasn’t coming.

So Lee went with me to the printers and stayed in the car while we ran a test run of the pages of poetry. Hopefully later today when we go out to get our weekly take out dinner, we can pick up thirty-two books worth of pages….all printed on a lovely 100% cotton 32 lb paper that I have had in my office waiting for just the right thing.

A friend on Facebook did research on what pen Richard Gorey used. It was a very fine nib by Joseph Gillott. I can’t see myself balancing a bottle of ink and dipping a pen as I work off my lap. But thank you John Parkes! I learned so much more about Richard Gorey.

Gotta go….Lee is now in looking for lunch.

Til later.

Just Keeping Up

It has been several days since I wrote a blog . Now it is Saturday morning, I am eating chocolate, asking on Facebook if anyone knows of a seamstress in the area because it is harder and harder to find time to sew my clothes and I have five yards each of black and natural linen just waiting.

Lee has gone outside to gather leaves or sticks to bring into the garage so I am taking advantage of the time that gives me. It is freezing out there but the sun is shining and that is all that matters.

Yesterday I visited an assisted living home to see what it was like. It was beautiful and almost country club looking. Not quite where I see Lee, or me for that matter, but I am going to look over places that might fit him in the future. They were very kind and spent an hour listening to me and answering so many questions. I am trying to get myself prepared for whatever lies ahead.

The poetry book is finally laid out the way I want it and will go to the printers on Monday if he says he can follow my simple demands. At least I think they are simple.

My obsession with filling in my drawings continues. A friend has sent me an abundance of pens to use. None smaller than a .5 but enough of them to make lots of black sections.

After the bride came doors. Then pillows.

This morning I started the breakfast pages.

I have not got back to Ellie and her kitchen story except to say she is now outside in her garden.

…………..He never went hunting with the men he hung out with in town. He probably wasn’t asked that often. Ellie suspected that he didn’t go because it was one more thing that he wasn’t good at, shooting straight. The men never knew how many guns Gerald owned. And even if he told them, they likely would not believe him. Ellie knew this because one day she overheard one of them say, “Did you ever notice that whenever Gerald clears his throat, the next thing he says is a lie.” They laughed at that because Gerald always was clearing his throat before finding his voice. And Gerald couldn’t keep from exaggerating. A forecast of flurries was a blizzard coming. A downpour instead of showers. Like Ellie, the men would politely wait for Gerald to finish his predictions and then pick up the conversation where they left off.

I will get back to her as soon as I can. Last I saw her she was worn out and sitting on a bench.

Til later…PS Isn’t it great to not have Trump in the public eye?


A Hot Tea Day

Patches giving me the “look” while I draw in my book and keep up with the news. Just two more days and we can start to heal this country. But first we have to clean out the wounds. And there are so many.

I am still looking for the perfect smooth no skip super fine black ink pen for drawing. In the meantime I just keep at it.

A street of diversity.

A wedding procession verging on the bizarre is a good way to use up those heavier ink line makers.

Dressing these two reminded me to think about how much my own clothing choices have sunk this past year. I noticed getting our first installment of covid shots that some people are still combing their hair. No earrings though which I suspect has more to do with the difficulty of doing so while putting masks on and off. The women in the waiting room also had an overall more tidy look about them.

It got me to thinking that I actually choose between three pairs of pants…outer, not under. One that I am wearing now is put on easily by looking where the bigger split in the side seam is. Large slit to the left, smaller one to the right. I sewed these pants myself and thought after seven years, they’d have been tossed out, but no. They are too comfortable. And why mend them if their open seams make them easier to put on?

Another reason I don’t want to mend them is I don’t trust myself to do a very good job of it. The last pair of pants I mended are very, very old heavy linen that did not have pockets so I took scraps of fabric in contrasting colors and stitched it to where I would reach for something. I also thought they flopped around a bit too much so darted the bottom of the legs. The elastic is long gone, but I can still yank the waist tie strings enough to keep them up. And because they are the second of three favorites, I took whatever thread was handy, something more like string than thread and whip stitched the back seam back together. The pants are teal and the string/thread is white. I just remember to wear the longest of the six or less shirts I find myself reaching for.

The third pair is a simple black cotton that just gets looser and looser and makes me feel thinner. Why wouldn’t I like those? So far only the elastic waist has given out but with the side effects of covid times they manage to stay up.

Tomorrow I see my eye doctor for new tear duct plugs and will keep my jacket on. The same when I take Lee to the dentist afterwards. But that jacket is the one I bought thirty years ago and have placed contrasting patches on pocket edges, collar and cuff edges…and of course up the back to make it look stylish rather than needy. I have not succeeded there but it also has my Biden Harris pin firmly attached over the heart.

Wish us luck.

Til later.