What Am I Going to Get Up To Now? Trouble?

November 21, 2019
Brainstorming late at night.


We’re months out from my cataract surgeries. At last month’s eye doctor visit we learned more. I’ll write a detailed post about what’s going on soon.

I won’t kid you, it has been a frustrating time. Not a day has gone by since January 30 (when they pulled off the first eye patch) when I didn’t think “What am I going to do now?”

Drawing like I had been wasn’t an option.

I don’t have the knees to go back to tracking with dogs. Let me rephrase that—I want to keep the knees that I have!!!! And if I go back to tracking with dogs my knees aren’t going to last long. Besides, I have too high a fall rate these days!

Late one night I sat up long after Dick had gone to bed and started to brainstorm some options.

I think I might be onto something with these two page spreads.

Now we just need to find a house that has a large kitchen where I can spread out my pans and cake layers.


Sketchbook Used

These page spreads come from a Hahnemühle Travel Journal. These are thick sketchbooks with drawing paper—I insist on painting in them and doing ink wash.  Use the blog’s search engine to find more page spreads from these journals. (I was originally told by Hahnemühle that this book was the Hahnemühle Travel Book; so you’ll find other posts about it under those key words.)

Note: this is not the Hahnemühle Travel Booklet—which is a soft-covered pamphlet. Some vendors call this hardcover book the Hahnemühle Travel Journal. You can go to this page on the company’s website.  As the photos change from the pencil to a view of the books you’ll see the hardcover books. 

These open-flat books are 5-5/16 x 8-1/8 inches and look like a Moleskine on steroids (because these are so thick).

Unlike Moleskine paper this paper doesn’t have a chemical odor. Of course it is also an absorbent paper if you’re not careful—but hey do I care?

I can tell you that these books saved my life this year.

I am not exaggerating.

At a time when things seemed grim this toothy paper welcomed me to make a mess (or not depending on the quality of my vision on a given day).

What resulted is three volumes (I would start another one today, but I have too many journals going right now and you know how I am at the end of the year with pages—more on this in a separate post) filled from January 1 through February 6; March 31 through June 9 (because I missed working in them I had to start another while working in other books); and September 9 to October 12 (again, I missed the paper). When you look at them, if you knew me in my late teens and twenties you would realize they resemble my college journals.

Throwbacks, at a time when the future seems very fuzzy, are incredibly comforting.

I’m going to get back to getting into trouble again. More trouble than before—because now the drawing isn’t keeping me on course. 

But I also know I’m going to have one of these going pretty much all the time—to catch the spillover of my mind.

Maybe you need to take one for a spin. I get mine at Wet Paint in St. Paul. 

  1. Reply

    Heal quickly Roz! I hope you find something that scratches your itch. We need your insight and encouragement!

    1. Reply

      Thanks so much Sue! I hope you have had a good year.

    • Jill Ruspi
    • November 22, 2019

    I am so sorry and empathetic. My ear problems remain unsolved and getting worse, and my recovery from cataract surgery has been far less than successful.
    My dream is to end up in a special retreat home where artists can encourage one another and enjoy the activities my family after 54 years refuses to accept. I know there is one such place but I am in in way the caliber of artist they accept.
    So, when you find your solution please let us all know what you decide. With all my best wishes, JILL R

    1. Reply

      Thanks Jill. I’m sorry that you’ve also had cataract surgery issues added to ear problems. There is no getting around some of these issues. They come and we have to incorporate them into our lives, but how we do that is so “trial and error” that you want to tear your hair out.

      I would like to encourage you to make small changes each day to not wait until you “end up” in a retreat home. There isn’t going to be one, or it will be so costly only the 1 percent will be able to attend.

      I want to encourage you to try something else—give up the notion that your family will accept your art activities. Instead find a way where you can practice them each day, inspite of that, because the doing feeds you and that’s enough. It’s all that any of us can really count on at the end of the day. So even if you take a pencil and some bond paper and sketch for 15 minutes a day in a way that pleases you it will be a reality of creative joy and more real than that dream of the special retreat.

      Look at ways you can carve more time out of your day, away from any family obligations, and claim that time for your creative efforts without expecting or hoping for any positives from the family. They all have their own creativity demons to deal with.

      And if your current situation doesn’t give you any free time at all then have a family meeting and explain that you need some and when it will be and ask that they all respect that (any children over the age of 10 should be able to except in emergencies which would be fine—but define emergencies for the youthful “lawyers” in the family).

      You changing your habits is going to be scary to your family for a host of reasons. But if you do reclaim your time you’ll be living and creating in the present moment and that’s what’s important.

    • Betty
    • November 22, 2019

    Wouldn’t that be wonderful! And they need to allow starving artists, too, because I in no way can afford the cost of today’s care homes. Don’t know what I’m going to do as the time fast approaches – maybe wade out into the ocean!

    • Margaret
    • November 23, 2019

    I can empathise too!!! My eye problem stems from a retina detachment where a kink in the repair job gives me near sighted double vision. Painting is a very hit and miss affair and after three years, my new art style is IMPERFECTIONISM. Maddening for the first couple of years, but now I don’t give a damn. (Well I do, but accept this is my life and just get on with it.) Hang in there, Roz. xx

    1. Reply

      Margaret, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, it’s that doing anyway, with acceptance. Thank you. You keep going too!

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