Friday, January 28, 2011

Thanks for the Input

Ice Crystals on the Inner Surface of the Window Pane
Yellowknife, North West Territories

Based on your feedback, I realize that I may have come across as a touch desperate in my last posting. I admit, I was floundering. But I want you to know I am OK and that your responses helped me. 

I received suggestions and encouragement by email, in person, and seemingly transmitted by cosmic rays from the universe. Thank you everyone, I appreciate each word you wrote and spoke to me. And, like an ice jam breaking in spring thaw, the river of creativity is again flowing.

Some of Your Tips 
  • Take things one day at a time
  • Put the problem out to the universe (maybe I did by blogging about it)
  • Go back to your outline
  • Interview additional people
  • Take a break, the words will come when the time is right
  • Use index cards to make a visual, movable plan, like a mind-map
  • Visit the original source of inspiration - person or place

The hot tips that thawed the jam for me: an I-can-do-it attitude adjustment, a visual map and making a plan for more interviews. By the way, I can tolerate ice jams and cold, as proven by my photo on the right, which I took in Yellowknife on a beyond-cold January afternoon. But I really do prefer the warmth.

What a boost to know you are all rooting for me. That truly warmed me.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Coming at You

Forward Motion

Hope you are not tired of elephants. I found out more about the ears... those funny ridges that I thought were cartilage are actually veins. I guess those of you living in Africa already knew that. Elephants' ears have a profusion of veins. When they flap their ears, the blood running through the veins is air-cooled by several degrees, even more if the ears are wet. As the cooled blood flows back into the head and the rest of the body, it helps the huge beast stay cool in the hot African sun.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Study of an African Bush Elephant

Stepping Away from the Pack

The drawings that I've posted lately are studies based on my own photos. My aim of these straight-forward renderings is to hone both my drawing and my observation skills.  

Last August, I had the gift of watching a herd of elephants at their watering hole in Kruger National Park. In  that hour or so, I took many photos and I learned a lot about their behaviour. But only when I started drawing one - that is slowly, carefully observing and recording the details - did I notice wonderful bits that I had missed before: the wrinkly skin and the way it pulls taut over the hip bone, the prominent ridges on the edge of each large flapping ear, and how the brow bone protrudes above the beady little eye. 

Next time I see an elephant in person, so to speak, I won't miss those wonderful details because I've come to know them through drawing. And that delights me.

One last thing... the photo below shows the herd as they drank together. The lone elephant (above) had just stepped away from this thirsty bunch (below). Maybe she had enough water or maybe she just needed some alone time.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Magic Glasses on the High-Line

Anna in the Highline Tunnel
Pencil on paper, 8 x 10

This profile drawing of my older daughter, Anna, is based on a photo taken by my younger daughter. The three of us were standing on a tunnel-like path that went under part of a building. Long rays of light streamed in from the end of the tunnel and lit Anna from behind creating a strange reflection on her glasses.

The pathway is part of the High Line, a park built upon an old elevated rail bed in Lower Manhattan. The morning was unusually warm for October and we paused in the shade of the 'tunnel' section to cool off.

The "Tunnel" Under the Building

You can see the 'tunnel' under the building in this photo. If you look closely, on the right, you can also see my daughters sitting on benches made of railway ties. Within minutes, a New Yorker hones in with a pickup line. I happen to be crouched behind some tall grasses with my camera seeking a perfect artistic shot and instead, like a spy-mother, I record this moment. The New Yorker leaves before I get over to the benches.