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September 2013



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Yesterday's sketchcrawl...

Wine Shop 2, originally uploaded by graphicartepsi.  Watercolor and ink in a Raffine sketchbook.

...turned out to be a lot of fun! I wasn't terribly organized this time, and it was the wrong time in my tips cycle to do an announcement of it. I don't think anything got in the paper, either, so I just talked it up as much as I could...

The serendipitous thing was that my young pottery-class friend, Beth (seen in my Flickr album, here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25146557@N00/97918546/in/set-72057594074139186/) had come to the art crawl the night before--I had JUST been thinking about her, and had sent this picture of her to my sweetie's daughter, because Beth reminds me of her--big eyes, a little Goth, very much into Renfair. Beth lives in the next town over, and she had just happened to run into Keith Bowen, our pottery teacher, and he told her about the art crawl.

It was wonderful to see her! So I invited her to the sketchcrawl, too...and she made it, even after being in a parade the next state over, in the morning!

Christiana (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25146557@N00/460778269/in/set-72057594095439524/) and I were already at it, so we were all plopped down on the shady side of the street, right on the sidewalk, working away.

Funny when a car would start to park in front of what we were painting, and we'd all wave our arms and make smiling-begging faces! We must have been oh-so-wonderful for the tourist trade--but everyone seemed to understand, and move. I guess they can deal with us, once a month!

We have a lot of youthful testosterone in my town, particularly in the spring when people can finally get out of the house. Much striding about town in packs, sometimes loud, sometimes a little threatening, but usually just kids out with not a lot to do.

One gang was rather boisterous, stalking down the broad sidewalk toward us. Christiana and Beth were both tucked neatly up against the buildings, but I'd moved out into the middle of the sidewalk so I could see both of them--sitting cross-legged RIGHT SMACK in right-of-way with all my equipment spread out around me.

So I said "sorry, gentlemen! I guess I'm in your way!"

And they were SO CUTE. They stopped, said "oh, no, ma'am, you're fine!" They hovered around, watched me work, told me it was awesome, touched me gently on the shoulder...it was so cool.

Several groups walked by as we worked, and I said hi to all of 'em, sometimes talking to one kid or another about whether they liked to draw. Funny how just engaging one another in communication works so beautifully. We're all just people.

I learned that a long time ago, of course. I used to be on the citizens' advisory committee of the Watkins Mill Camp for Boys, as it was then (now both sexes, and a bit more problematical, I hear)--it's sort of a pre-juvie place, and it was one of the most satisfying volunteer activities of my life. The kids hadn't been involved in really violent crimes, but all kinds of trouble...and they just ate up the attention we gave them. It was touching and sweet, and we liked to think we offered them something they hadn't had before. Respect, for one thing.

Sometimes they'd do community service with other groups I was involved with--river cleanups, Good Samaritan Center work and such. It was a great deal of fun, and I've had a certain fondness for kids that age ever since. The guys yesterday reminded me of that...

I'd love to draw some of them. One boy was wearing those baggy pants, no shirt, and a huge silvery chain around his neck--and managed to look almost heroic. Another of them had a goatee that curled out from his chin like a quotation mark, and his ball cap on backwards...a quirky, funny look that would make a great portrait.

I'm kicking myself that I didn't ask them to pose!

So all in all, this was a great weekend for shared art...the Friday night Art Crawl itself will be a separate post...


As a child of the 60's, I remember the "problem" kids in my classes and it never seemed to fail that the only time they were not a problem was when they were in art class. There is just something about being given free rein to draw, paint, sculpt, whatever you feel like. You can get some kind of inner peace. Something a lot of kids need.
As my granddaughter says, Art is Hakuna Matata! (No worries)
I spend a fair amount of time with my friend Keith Bowen's students, or I did when I was doing more pottery. Just being able to CREATE was so good for them...I know just what you mean.