Architectural Moments—Quick Sketches When I’m Out and About Getting a Massage

November 21, 2014


Above: Second page spread in a new Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media journal (7.75 x 9.75 inches). I only had a pen and a small mini watercolor set in which most of the colors had been used up (I forgot to fill it). But I drew first with a flat Niji waterbrush, using the leftover mixed dried paint on my palette. Then I scribbled in some ink lines.

This week's posts turned out to be about seizing moments for sketching. I like to arrive early at my massage appointments so that I can relax a bit, and sketch a bit. It's always a good time to focus on structures, to work out ways to capture light and texture. I look at sketches like these as notations.

Sometimes I don't have time for color.

140813_DoorwayNorthLeft: Quick sketch of the Doorway: North location, in a small Hahnemühle pocket notebook. David and I talk throughout the massage and I always make notes about things to watch or see—it's value added!

While I prefer to go to the Open Book location of my massage therapist's office (the Doorway), sometimes my schedule is mixed up and I to go to the north office. It's a longer drive (hence the disinclination to go there as driving aggravates my shoulder problems), but it is still shorter than where I used to drive for massage, and I come home refreshed.

I've had three really great massage therapists in my life, first because of a car accident, and then because of a string of minor injuries and sports related issues. I gave up the first massage therapist because she moved out of town. I'd still be with Sara at Northwestern Health Sciences Univerity's Bloomington Natural Care Center, except that when I hurt my left shoulder last fall I couldn't manage the long drives. (If you live in the southern and western areas of the cities I heartily recommend her.)

Since I couldn't drive down to Sara and I was crippled by my shoulder injury and problems with my other arm, a friend recommended David at the Doorway and not only is he only 5 minutes away, he's done wonders with my neck and shoulders. I have had him save my twice-a-month spots for FOREVER. After just one session I was able to raise and stretch my arm, and his work made it possible for me to log 1,756 miles in less than 5 months while coming back not only from injury but pneumonia (and facing a lot of rain days!). I pretty much think David is essential.

    • Rowan
    • November 21, 2014

    Hello. I’ve been reading your blog for most of the past week and I was wondering if you have a masterpost somewhere for papers that you recommend or, perhaps more importantly, that you don’t, and the reasons for them? The closest art-type store near me is a Jo-Ann about an hour away, so my paper shopping is limited to mostly web stores, and after awhile all of the online descriptions look alike.

    Thanks for your wonderful blog. I have really been enjoying it.

  1. Reply

    Rowan, if you use the search engine here on my blog and enter Papers you come up with tons of reviews of papers that you can read about and see why I like them or don’t like them.

    Other phrases such as “Papers for inks,” “Paper Comparisons” etc. will get to you slightly different lists of posts with reviews of some of these newer tests.

    Also you can click on “Papers” in the category list and scroll backwards through all posts in which I think the mention or use of paper is “significant” in some way to what I was writing about and you can build your own profile on the papers mentioned.

    If you don’t care about my most recent experiments and use of papers you can go to

    That’s part one of a two-part post on selecting papers for visual journaling. It’s an important first part because it talks about avoiding pads, and gives info on where to get samples. All stuff you’ll want to know in your situation far away from stores.

    From that post you can click on the second post in that series (it’s the next post so you just have to use the navigation line at the top of that post to go to the next one).

    In the second post I have a list of some papers I have found work well for visual journaling, and also papers I avoid.

    Unfortunately that is an early post series from 2008 and since then there have been some FABULOUS papers that have come out. Most notably Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Paper. (The 500 Series is an important part of the name as Strathmore makes 3 lines of this paper, a 300, 400, and 500. I am recommending the 500 series—it is a 100 percent cotton paper and perfect for binding, in fact it’s what I was binding with almost exclusively before I injured my shoulders about 2 years ago. Now while I’m doing physical therapy and not binding I use their bound journals containg the 500 series Mixed Media paper.)

    If you want to read about Strathmore 500 Series Mixed Media Paper plug that name into my search engine and you’ll get a ton of posts about it.

    If you want to know about the other new since 2008 papers then following my advice in the the first paragraph of my note to you will get you to them.

    There isn’t one list of those posts all collected as there are so many of them and I write new ones all the time.

    If you are shopping on line I really recommend Wet Paint (which is in St. Paul). They are an excellent independent art supply store (I don’t work for them I just buy 99.9 percent of my art supplies from them), they carry a great range of papers, pack it carefully, have great customer service, give you discounts on quantity paper purchases starting at 25 sheets, great sales, etc. I recommend you check them out. Their website isn’t always the easiest to navigate (it’s being upgraded at the moment) so I recommend that if you look at my posts and find a paper you want to buy and want to get it through them that you call them and talk to them. Someone on the staff will help you with your online purchase.

    Good luck in your paper explorations I hope you find papers that support the way you want to work.

    Thanks for reading.

    • Caleb Hart
    • January 2, 2015

    I would love to get a massage like this. I have been under a lot of stress lately at work and I feel like a massage would help me unwind. I wonder if my wife would like to do a couple’s massage deal. I don’t know if massages are her thing.

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