More Ink Drawings!

Finishing the drawings for An Alphabet of Place: The Little Snake River Valley by my blogging pal, Sharon O’Toole of Ladder Ranch, I felt a little bereft. I’d done some ink drawings before I began Sharon’s project, but never 30+ of them over a concentrated period of time. They were — once I got over my initial nervousness — meditative, challenging and fun. In the back of my mind something else was percolating. When I got an email from Louise, who runs the Rio Grande County Museum, I knew what it was.

A similar little book about Rio Grande County Colorado — my county! No one knows more about it than Louise Colville, and she and I seem to work well together. I suggested it to her and sent her a PDF of Sharon’s book. She loved it. Yesterday I drove to Del Norte to collect my riches (I sold a sign and two packs of note cards) and we chatted about it for a while. It’s a go. She’s going to present the idea to the museum board on Tuesday so I’ve had to ask Li Bai and Tu Fu to share some space on my drawing table. They’re very cooperative beans and said it was fine as long as I kept taking them outside to catch the sun every morning. They also promised to be clean and keep their dirt in the pot.

The board meeting is this coming Tuesday and my job is to come up with a few drawings for which Louise will write the text. Hopefully, we’ll get a grant and some money.

It’s cool to have shouldered another drawing project. A writer inspired Sharon, who in turn inspired me and now Louise. It’s weird. I used to be a famous writer, but now I don’t want the job. Thinking about that, I remembered being in Chicago so long ago when there was an irrational marriage proposal on the table. I was walking through the garden of my erstwhile boyfriend’s parents with his dad, Frank. The relationship with his son was over and his dad knew it, the boyfriend knew it, I knew it but I was stuck there for another 30 some hours. Back at home, in Denver, I had been painting and drawing and pondering the possibility of showing my work. I talked about this with Frank. He said, “I thought you were a writer. Now you’re an artist? What’s the deal there? Why not a writer?”

I told him that visual art was more rewarding. I could SEE it and its effects even as I worked, and it didn’t take so much effort for others to see it. At the time I was writing what I thought was a novel (it was a journal) and sometimes poetry. But then, as now, I don’t think there’s any valid law that says a person can be and do only ONE thing.

Anyway, it’s nice to have more drawings to do. I think my biggest discovery during this pandemic is how much I love making art, just for itself. However, I must now carry Li Bai, Tu Fu, Li Ho, Bai Juyi and Szu-ma Chien out to the garden of the Thousand Aspiring Iris.

Featured photo: Adobe Potato Barn, first “letter” in the little book

31 thoughts on “More Ink Drawings!

  1. You had me at meditative. What an inspired idea and I’ll bet the museum will love it. The beans will, of course, understand being displaced. 😊

    • Yes. I did illustrations like that for a friend’s book and now I may be doing it for my local museum. It’s challenging but mostly technically and it’s good for me as an artist.

      The poet beans are taking over the house, but I spent the day preparing their bean field so as soon as I know it’s safe…

  2. I can understand that logic. I was writing years ago and abandoned it in favor of making quilts, because the results are soon before you. Being one who appreciates instant gratification. πŸ™‚
    Also, I could create a quilt and everyone said, “WOW! Beautiful.” If you say you’re writing, a lot people look at you and wonder “Who do you think you are?” or “So what are you trying to prove?” People have been very encouraging about my painting, too. Still, those unfinished books hang over my head like a scimitar… πŸ˜‰

    • People are the problem. πŸ™‚ Seriously, though, I’ve written my books. Maybe there are more, but I don’t know. The act of making art is more satisfying in the moment than writing but I love them both. But yeah. I told a friend a while back that I was writing a book and she said, “Why would you want to do THAT??”

      • And when you factor in the need for humility, such as conservative Christians often talk about, writing a book is putting yourself TOO far forward. Can lead to insidious pride. πŸ™‚

  3. Li Bai and Tu Fo must be commended for their unselfishness! I’m so enthralled by your art and enthusiasm. I love it. ❀️❀️

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