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My mother, who died at age 101 often said in her last few years “everything is past…” and I would tell her that there were events and experiences that were yet to happen. I think of that sentiment now whenever I experience anything new in my life. It reminds me to savor each experience as it happens.

I spent the month of July on a vacation to Vancouver, Alaska and Seattle. The Alaskan part was a two week cruise that included several interesting side trips as well as much beautiful scenery that inspired me and became source material for my art. I took photographs with my IPhone but not as many as I wish I had taken. Now I look back and realize that my memory is the only visual evidence I have of the Alaskan experience. The consequence is that I know my drawing will represent a personal evocation of my Alaskan Experience.

Just one iceberg floating by

Just one iceberg floating by

Mendenhal Glacier in Juneau Alaska

Mendenhal Glacier in Juneau Alaska

I am now firmly committed to drawing digitally. The drawing game of Draw Something has taught me a lot about digital drawing.  I have learned how to manipulate digital drawing tools and I have met  artists from all over the world.  However, recently there have been numerous problems with the game of Draw Something2.  Lost drawings, server crrashes,  and other issues have resulted in my becoming interested in trying out other digital drawing programs.  The app called Sketch Club is the most popular and has been recommended to me by several of my Draw Something drawing partners and Facebook friends.  It has many marvelous features and fantastic drawing tools, although the learning curve is proving to be rather slow for me. Nevertheless, the best thing about this app is that there are so many tutorials available on You Tube and within the app itself.  It also is a social app in that there is a chat feature and there are many opportunities to interact with other people who are also drawing. I have been using it a lot for my Monkey Sidebars drawings.

Draw Something 2 is the upgrade to Draw Something. It is now much more than a charade game. It has become a full service drawing application with a number of drawing tools, including a watercolor brush and a highlighter tool.  There are patterns and a stamp tool as well as a crayon and an air brush tool.  It is possible to draw very realistic and  complex images. The charade aspect of the game is transformed, but there are still many players who want to play a game and do not want to try to draw something in a more advanced way. In addition, there are many people who play the game who do not want to learn to draw.  They just want to play a game on their tablets or smart phones. The serious artists who draw on the game  have created an enormous digital art gallery of their work. Anyone who plays the game has access to all of this amazing art.  Their art can be followed and artists become very popular with a huge public who is also playing the game.  In my case I have at this time, September 2013, over 27,000 followers. That number amazes me.

A consequence of the social aspect of DrawSomething2 is that the many players who are addicted to the game have started Fan Facebook pages where players can ‘friend” each other and engage in activities related to the drawing aspect of the game. Many artists belong to these Facebook groups and are able to display the art that they create in galleries provided by Facebook for the different fan sites.

At the same time, many of these same artists send their pictures to another app called Instagram.  It is on this site that the friendships among the players continue to expand because IG has a system of hash marks (#) and @ signs that refer artists to each other and to similar subjects.

Dahlias

Watercolor drawing part of a series of drawings about flowers.

No one knows what goes on inside another person’s home, even if the “others” are your own children’s homes. My three girls have been married a long time, with grown up children of their own. Those that live in another city are annual visitors to my house and I make the trip and try to visit them at least once a year. The annual visits to me are usually around a holiday where the house is full. Everyone arriving for an intense, sometimes stressful, family visit. The cousins get to see each other and the siblings and their husbands hang out together, too. Everyone is experiences the regression associated with “coming home.” Rivalries and long forgotten issues reemerge. Nothing new gets resolved and after the visit, everyone goes home and I luxuriate in the quiet resumption of my personal life.

Recently I decided to visit my daughter in Florida and stay for a couple of months. This was a first for me as I have never visited for more than a week to ten days at a time. Believe me, it wouldn’t have happened except for the fact that the previous winter had been a disaster for me. I was invited because my family felt I should not be in an icy, snowy city during the winter because the previous winter I fell and spent a month in the hospital.

Florida for two months is not a bad thing. In fact, it turned out to be quite wonderful. Despite my
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Now this is weird. It’s hard enough to type on a computer keyboard and now I am pecking away with just one finger. I have to admit I got tired of the one finger approach so I turned to my computer to continue this story. I had hoped that I could be able to jot down ideas for art as I walked in the park today. It is a splendid day in Chicago. Sun and not too cold. The view I see from the Point is Lake Michigan and down town Chicago in the distance. It makes me so happy to know that I was able to walk here and enjoy the place, the walk, and the park.

I got inspired to come home and continue working on my flower paintings.

I’ve been going back and forth between abstraction and the flowers but I need to finish 100 paintings before I can allow myself to explore another idea.

Yesterday Talia and I visited the new Modern wing of Chicago’s Art Institute. For me, it was visit number six. Each of my visitors to Chicago gets to go on a tour of this spectacular place with me. I’m not perfect as a guide because I am hobbling around and moving slowly because of having fallen and fractured my pelvis this last winter. But my enthusiasm more than makes up for any deficiency in my movement.

Each time I visit the museum I am just as excited by the space and beauty of this new museum as when I fist saw it in May when it opened. Everywhere you look there is light and space. The art is showcased perfectly. Different paintings have been placed carefully on walls adjacent to other works in such a way that they enhance each. Yves Klein’s Blue painting is across from Mark Rothko’s Orange and Yellow painting. You can look at both of them and the juxtaposition makes each color stand out even more dramatically. All the familiar paintings I’ve seen during my many years visiting the museum, starting from childhood when I was a student at the Saturday school, now look fresh and new to me.

Let me say right now that a trip to Chicago just to see the new museum and visit Millennium Park is worth it no matter what the cost. Of course, it is only 15 minutes away from my house, so it’s easy to say that. But, I mean it.

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