In Context: Anywhere But Here…

September 27, 2023

Typically when I process my images into bloggable sizes I put them in a folder titled to hint at what I want to discuss in a post containing those images.

These folders go into my “possible blog posts” folder which currently has 663 folders. EEEK I’d better get writing.

Well today’s image was in a folder labeled “Anywhere but here.”

What did I mean by that? What was I thinking? This isn’t something I did months or even years ago. The journal page is from the 19th of this month!

Sometimes the page itself will give a clue. And today it does, sort of—text on the page mentions that I wanted to finish this journal (a Hahnemühle Travel Journal).

And I did finish it. I’d had a single page left in this book for days while I worked in other books.

I had a project going that covered different types of papers and spread across my note/demo/log book; my Winsor and Newton OLD watercolor paper journal that I’d bound (that paper still was gelatin sized, do not use their new version of watercolor paper!); a Handbook 140 lb. watercolor book I’d been doing liner brush tests in and decided I’d better get cracking in it or it wouldn’t be filled by the end of the year and the pages wouldn’t go into the end of year totals; and a grey-lined, commercially bound bookstore journal for people who like fancy books to make notes in (or so I assume that sort of person is the market for such a book as the paper is good for fountain pen and I’m the only one I know who paints in them).

Sometimes you simply want to finish a book. And I remember also on this date I’d seen a post by a friend who was on a canoeing trip and had the newest Wm. Kent Krueger on her lap and all we saw was the book, the front of the canoe, and the river stretching ahead and I remember thinking “my friend really knows how to enjoy moments of intense joy out in the world.” And I was happy for her, and joyous for myself that I knew such a person to inspire me. 

But there I was sitting, and not able to be out and about—so I think that’s where the “anywhere but here” came in.

Of course I would have loved to sketch live birds in the pet store but I am banned from doing so.

Long story and believe me I did nothing wrong, but I think that just as people come up to me at the Fair when I’m sketching animals and ask me if I’m a judge, I must, when sketching live animals, have the type of serious set of face and posture that conveys in the pet store “PETA Spy”; their loss, I like to say in self-consolation.  

And were I not banned I am currently non-mobile so we do what we can.

I pulled up some photos and ran through them stopping to sketch quickly. I’m rather pleased that I haven’t lost my pace, finishing each in 2 minutes. (The last would suggest I took longer on it by the time stamp but I know that I dithered over which photo to sketch next not wanting to sketch a budgie for historical reasons and sentimental turn of mind on this day, but then decided to anyway. So at least a minute of that time passage is not sketching.)

So while the original thought behind the folder’s title is lost, I think somewhere in all this is an inkling.

And if you can’t get to where you want to be there is, still, where you are, plenty to sketch.

And I hope today you get to enjoy some of that plenty. Or perhaps float down a river (before the winter turns them solid), reading one of your favorite authors.

(And returning readers to the blog will notice from the dark, sharp lines, that I finally got a new pen! Now to wear it out!)

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