Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shades of Gray

Once a month the Wall Street Journal puts out a glossy, full-color magazine called (unoriginally) VSJ Magazine. It’s included in the last Saturday of the month’s newspaper in subscriptions to the daily WSJ. Filled with high fashion photography and full page ads from companies, such as Tiffany & Co., Hermes, Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, it reflects a reality that is entirely off my radar. I generally pitch it into the recycle bin without looking at it.
Recently, though, I’ve discovered something fun I can do with it—sketch! As a dabbling artist, I have spent untold classroom dollars to utilize the models that art classes provide. Now I am taking advantage of  the abundance of full page photographs accompanying the ads and stories about today’s fashion trends (and trend setters). With more models than I can use, I can practice finding light and shadow on faces and bodies. Here are a few of my October drawings. All are done with a #2 pencil.  Soon I will pull out my pencil box in which I have pencils of varying hardness—so I can eventually depict many more shades of grey. Not fifty, mind you . . . but maybe twelve.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pitter Patter

Hubby in a borrowed  kayak
before the rains
Rain, at last! Not much yet today, but more will arrive by nightfall. Western Washington has endured a shockingly dry summer. Sure, I could have said “enjoyed” instead of “endured, but it’s so unusual, it feels weird. Our “endless” summer started  July 1 and ended today with the first autumn drizzle.

You can almost hear a sigh of content from the flora . . . as the cushion of moisture snuggles up against the evergreen needles and deciduous leaves to bring relief after the more than one hundred days without noticeable rainfall.

The river that runs by our home is lower than we remember seeing it, without its usual intake of runoff. There’s enough cracked mud along its shoulders for dogs to romp when their masters let them off the leash to chase thrown sticks, and the blue herons that regularly stand knee deep in the water as they wait for fish now stand in water only ankle deep. Although our lack of rain is not officially a “drought,” it has affected every living thing.

The weatherman tells us to brace ourselves for a deluge headed our way tonight. Although I hope he’s wrong about how much precipitation to expect, I know I will love the sound of rain on the roof when I awaken in the middle of the night. After all, I’m a native of western Washington.