Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Kiss Before You Go: An Illustrated Memoir of Love and Loss by Danny Gregory

Artist Danny Gregory lost his wife Patti in a tragic accident almost 2 years ago.  He used his journals over the next year to work through his grief, and this book is the result.  There is some background over how they met and their life together, including an earlier accident that put her in a wheelchair.  There is Danny's artwork and thoughts and feelings about continuing his life without her.  The passage that struck me the most and has stayed with me was this one:

The big things that have changed are not the ones I feared. I thought it would be all about having someone to hug and kiss, a hand to hold, eyes to stare into, maybe just someone who would always get my jokes, indulge my point of view.

But it's all the things that Patti did in her life that were melded into mine that have left me like a one-armed man. Running our house, the practical aspects of our lives, what sort of garbage bags to buy, who to invite for dinner, where to spend the summer, when to pay the mortgage.

Every day is filled with a thousand things we would discuss. How does this shirt look? What should we have for dinner? What do we buy my sister for her birthday? Should we repaint the hall? How do I deal with my boss? Do you like this sentence? Am I a good person?

I'd pick up the phone, send a text or an email, every hour or two, just to stay in touch, to course correct. Now. over and over again, I find myself starting to dial, then I drop the phone, realizing my mistake, that Patti's unable to come to the phone right now, Patti's not home.

I've been trying to share my life . . .

. . . but now it belongs to me alone.

 It is at times heartbreaking and at times hopeful. I rate it 5 out of 5.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Draw & Paint Culinary Herbs - Lesson 2 Revised



I revised my pencil sketch based on a critique from Val Webb.  As usual, I needed to add contrast by darkening my shading. Thanks Val - I like it better now! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller

I don't read a lot of mysteries, but this book sounded interesting.  After surviving World War I, Laurence Bartram learns that his old friend John Emmett has apparently killed himself.  Laurence agrees to investigate for John's sister Mary.  But as one of the characters tells Laurence, "You're dogged but you're not a natural detective. . ."  What I liked about this mystery that was different from others I've read was that it presented Laurence's musings about the case as he learned bits and pieces.  Most of those musings turned out to be wrong, but it was interesting to follow.  There is a quote on the cover of the book that states, "The new Birdsong - only better."  I would have to disagree with that statement.  While I basically enjoyed the book and thought it was fairly well written, it was not as good as Birdsong in my opinion.  I rate it 3 out of 5.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

I like baseball, especially college baseball, but I would not have chosen to read a book about baseball if I hadn't read this review by my son.  Of course, he writes real reviews as opposed to the brief summaries and thoughts I write. I happen to think he's a great writer, but then, he's my son, so what else would I think?

Anyway, this book is about much more than baseball. It is the story of a young college shortstop (Henry Skrimshander) who is about to tie the record set by the greatest shortstop of all time for number of games without an error, when he makes a wild throw and hits his teammate in the face.  This error shakes Henry's confidence and has far reaching effects on several other people as well.  The book is all about hopes, anxieties, secrets, ambition, family, friendship, and love.  That's a pretty wide net for a baseball story.  I found it to be very well written and I rate it 4 out of 5.

Draw & Paint Culinary Herbs - Lesson 2

Val Webb calls this technique a "gentle pencil sketch" because you use the pencil so lightly and build up layers for the darks. I sketched this from a reference photo provided by Val.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sketchbook Challenge - Artist Date

Theme for Sketchbook Challenge this month is Artist Date. I had lunch at Panera for my Artist Date. I enjoyed sitting by the fireplace and sketching.