Besides working in my sketchbook, I am also hooked on small graphite drawings. These hang at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, Oregon, and are almost strictly images of Our Town … especially boats. Last summer I had a special day when Jeannine, the owner of RiverSea, called to tell me I had sold three of the drawings. What made this very cool was that they were purchased by Astoria’s City Council and presented to our Sister City of Waldorf, Germany (think “Waldorf-Astoria” and you will know the West Coast version of this famous landmark) during our summer Regatta. I still get a thrill when I realize these little guys are now hanging in the Mayor’s office and the City Council halls of Waldorf, Germany.
Because this is the web and you can enlarge these images, please keep in mind that the originals are only 2 inches tall. They come with their own magnifying glass.
I haven’t been drawing much. Instead, I am devoting myself to The Emptiness Project; an act of letting go, even while unsure what that actually means. It began, well, in New York a year ago, though I didn’t realize it until recently, and now that it has a title, I take it more seriously; more to heart.
But, I feel the call for a current page for you, whoever is listening out there in the great beyond. So, looking back I found this, and I look upon it with, well, tenderness. For my town on a dark cold winter’s night. It has been a dark winter, hasn’t it! I am today aware of green shoots pushing through our garden mud. Maybe . . . some light will be coming our way.
Astoria Oregon, even in the dead of winter, is full of so many gifts. That we can be on the edge of the continent – a Columbia River estuarine blend of salty ocean and mountain snow. That the sun is shining on this shortest day of the year. That the hawk just visited our birdfeeder, but the little birds saw him first, so he settles on wire with a grumpy shake of his tail before he flies back into the forest. That on a winter morning we can see dawn reflected off the windows of our neighbor across the river, but the color shows up only in the water; the windows above stay dark-filled. That there are places downtown that invite us in to draw all winter long, maybe even a little pot-bellied fire for warmth.
I love this town. Its gritty, rusty, creosoted and moldy beauty. I wish it a peaceful Solstice, and you as well.
I took me months to finish my steeples drawing. So it’s been with me for quite awhile. The quote on the page is from the Orthodox Liturgy, and has also been with me of late. So this page from summertime is richly Astoria, and summery, as I head into winter.
Oops, I see I forgot to finish my trip, so here are my last scenes of New England as we drove across heading for Albany NY, and the train home. In New Hampshire we discovered Hanover, the home of Dartmouth. What a lovely campus, and we had lunch at Lou’s, obviously well loved by its community. Crossing the Connecticut River into Vermont, we spent a night at Brattleboro on the banks of the river. And the next day, enough time for a picnic in Bennington and an explore of the Old Church, behind which is the graveyard where Robert Frost is buried.
Say Goodnight, Christi.
One of my “main” goals was to explore some of the coast of Maine on this trip, so we set aside 10 days after New York and headed north. It was great; the heat of summer held off, and the New England roads beckoned. I really enjoy this spread because of the stories behind the drawings that come back to me in full sensory remembering. ¶ Encouraged to visit the Pemaquid Lighthouse … We didn’t know lighthouses could be so little! Beach-combing on the Georgetown Peninsula before the summer crowds descended, we had the surf to ourselves. And then we discovered Camden – magical! – as dozens of pre-schoolers were out to sail their hand-made wooden sailboats for their end-of-year celebration. What color, what joy!
But most of all, my day alone to the Cranberry Isles on the mail boat. It was an escape from Bar Harbor, thick with tourists, while Greg explored Acadia National Park. I took “avoiding tourists” to a new high, and I can easily say I had those islands to myself. Back on the late afternoon ferry with Greg to meet me, I was intent on one more quintessential Maine treat. We hunted down a lobster shack, I met my lobster face to face, and I ate him. Can I just say (without offending anyone out there?), I won’t be doing that again … ever.
We’re home and finally a quiet summer to finish up the east coast pages. We left New York and spent 10 days in New England. Such a difference: being in a car, for one! New York was a world of its own, and all around it … an older world it seems. I find New England so very old-fashioned, and when I see the dates of various towns, it begins to make sense.