There are large windows on all sides of this upstairs room at the For Julia and David art community, except the one I share with the next door apartment. This great triangular window follows that slant of the ceiling, starting at ten feet and ending at perhaps fourteen feet, directly across from my bed. A long narrow window continues the view across the top of highest wall. Two 6×8-foot windows form most of the lowest front wall. I am in a bird-and-butterfly bowl. Or, at night, a lightning bowl.
This 2-page vertical slice is my first attempt to capture the lush view from my large picture windows. It features—even I had to squint to figure this out—a squirrel hanging by its tail. I had to overcome huge anxiety to draw this and I didn’t like the result, but it did give me the courage to try even more challenging scenes later on. It also served as a lesson in accepting failure—I couldn’t rip it out because the top page was backed by an earlier drawing. I do like the bottom drawing, especially the clothesline, upon which all the artists hung our wash.
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I just posted my first attempt at sharing my Costa Rica sketchbooks. I find that you may need patience to let the pages come up. I posted five pages this time, to include both sides of the cover, but after this I’ll limit my posts to two or three pages. If the images are to small to read, just double click them and they come up full size.
This is a test to see if my scanned Costa Rica sketchbook pages will come up fast and large enough to read easily online. The original books (there are five) measure 10×6 inches. I’ve tried to make the pages readable with Photoshop but those with dark art will take patience. Please endure. Although I plan to write notes and a transcription at the end, I find slowly trying to make out my handwriting gives one more time to absorb the experience.
I’m amazed, perusing these notebooks more than ten years after I painted and wrote them, that they read quite well, even with no editing. I plan to post my Costa Rica journals a day at a time–each day usually runs 2-3 sketchbook pages for a total of 116 pages—until I’ve finished all thirty days that I was in residence at the Julia and David Artist Colony. You may need to enlarge the pages on your screen to read them. Do let me know how you are finding this experiment and whether you are experiencing any difficulty bringing up the art.
Okay, I lied. I’m not going to quit after all. I tried to interest my agent in my Pakistan memoir piece, but she rejected it before I could even send it—at a mere 40 pages, it is too short for a book. I would have submitted it to The Sun, a wonderful literary magazine that specializes in personal pieces and memoirs, but it’s too long.
How to beef it up to book size?
Why not also include my more delicious wanderings, the memories I go to when life pales? Pakistan would be Section 1. Section 2 would be my Peace Corps years in Eastern Nigeria, which I don’t yet have time to write, but, in a Section 3, I could share, page by scanned page, my three Costa Rica sketchbooks, in which I wrote longhand, in ink, on the spot, right on top of plein aire watercolors, the only sustained freehand art I’ve ever had the courage to do. It will be a little hard to read, and of course I can’t edit or improve it, but it’s interesting and, so far, I’ve never shared it publicly.
So stay tuned: “La Finca de las Colebras” (Snake Farm) is coming soon.
MEMOIR WORKSHOP: Chapter 16, Good To Go, concludes my Pakistan memoir. I may do another memoir about my wild-oats Peace Corps years in Eastern Nigeria, but, first, I have to finish eight or ten mushroom chapters to be added to a new enlarged exciting edition of Great Lakes Nature, recently accepted by Indiana University Press. My 10,000 words and accompanying illustrations are due by Christmas, so this may be goodbye to memoirs until 2018. Thank you all so much for your many kind and interesting responses and memories. I will let you know if this memoir finds a publisher or if, Little Red Hen style, I just publish this memoir myself.