As 2017 Begins

I have one resolution:

On a daily basis, on paper track the eight daily activities I wish to make permanent habits.
By the end of the year have a record of my streaks of consecutive days doing each of the eight.

Tracking consecutive days of action, participation streaks, works well for me. Miss a day, start a new streak. My current longest streak of the eight activities is 270 days. Wanting to avoid resetting that streak to zero is a powerful motivator.

For the first time I’m also making a bucket list for the year.

  • Walk to the top of Mt. Tabor and return home.
  • Bicycle ride to the east end of the Springwater Trail and back.
  • Make a book, make another. Start with The Saunter Sampler.
  • Fill a sketch book with drawings.
  • Rebuild the raised beds in the garden.
  • Order and Organize the Shop/Studio space, the garage and front of basement.
  • Cook vegan.
  • Visit every wine store within a two mile radius of our home.
  • Go on a Meditation Retreat.

The last item is the most ambitious. Ten days spent in meditation seems difficult. The retreat is also something that you need to apply for and be accepted to.

Happy New Year everyone!

At Sunset

As autumn transitions into winter twilight comes early and dry days are few.

Fritzi was kind enough to sit for what is essentially a self portrait. This favorite time of the year is leaving. We’re savoring the evenings while we have them.

Fritzi at Sunset
Savoring the waning days of autumn

Tree Teaching

colorful tree bark
Tree Bark
Exercise: take a white piece of paper, cut a window into it, pin this to a tree; paint the tree bark visible through the window. Carlos Villa introduced me to this learning tool.

This is especially good to do with watercolors. As you observe and then attempt to replicate the colors of the bark (oh, just simple grey…) you’ll keep finding more and more embedded color. The process is almost hallucinigenic. Each time you think you’ve found the match you see another color in the window.

To a casual observer tree bark is grey or brown or maybe a reddish color. To someone who has tried to paint it the bark is many colors.

Laughing at the Library

Lynda Barry's Syllabus
Lynda Barry’s Syllabus is printed on the same stock as a grade school composition book.

At the library to pick up an eagerly awaited book and as I start to pull it from the shelf I realize “this feels very familiar.”

And it was and is and laughter starts to burble up. It’s just like a composition book used in grade school. This is a book to use for your daily writing and drawing and whatevering. It encourages you to not get too serious. It encourages happiness much more than a Moleskine or an Artist’s Sketchbook.

Some of them, like mine shown here, only have lines on the bottom half of the page to encourage you to draw.

Lynda Barry must be a great teacher – she starts with the fundamentals.

Portland Backwards Summer

Typically people of Portland don’t count on sunny days until the fourth of July. Before then clouds and rain are normal. May will usually have a hot spell with temperatures in the 90s. But from Memorial Day through the fourth overcast skys and days with rain just make for a joke about knowing if it’s time for the Rose Festival.

This year is backwards. It feels comfortable. But hey it’s July! Where’s the sun and heat?

(preparing to eat those words in August.)