Friday, December 28, 2018

Hats and Shoes - Symbols of Identity

Hats. I have drawn many hats over the years, and here is a wide selection of them. Most of them are for warmth, but not all. The above hat was a demonstration drawing/watercolor I did for a retirement community art class at the beginning of the month. It is currently my favorite winter hat, with the cheery felt flower pinned to the side.

The art materials are charcoal pencil (which I had always thought I disliked but I have changed my mind) and water soluble colored pencil. Which are called crayon pencils in Canada. People literally ooh and aah when I release the pigment in the colored pencil with a swipe of my water-laden brush. It is a form of magic I admit. 

When I sketch hats or shoes, it seems like a portrait. So this is my self-portrait.

A few years back,this heavy wool hat was a favorite of mine. I do not knit, but am keenly impressed by people who do. This hat was drawn digitally on my art app called Drawing Pad. It was easy to make it look fuzzy.

Another well loved hat, made in Nepal. One year this hat dropped out of my pocket in the library, and I didn’t see it again for months. I shrieked in delight when I saw it on the lost and found hook.

This fall I drew our grandson Wyatt’s hat. He was wearing it almost constantly when not in school. It says atomic on it and has a hockey puck in the design instead of an o. It is my portrait of him as a ten year old.

Five years ago I drew these hats on sale at our local shop. I jokingly called it the first sign of spring in our northern clime.

Three straw hats were hanging on wooden pegs on a wall at our local Historical Society, which is our way of saying town museum. I reveled in the subtle differences in the shapes of the brims, the shapes of the ribbons, and lastly the shapes of the shadows.

Two woven items hang on our wall near the kitchen. On the left is a child’s Adirondack packbasket. In pencil is written Bruce ’46. Which means that this was my husband’s packbasket when he was three years old. His parents and he spent several summers at a camp in upstate New York. His father was a very dedicated and admired counselor. He gained the camp’s ultimate recognition of having a rowboat named after him.

On the right is a straw boater, worn by our two daughters, taking turns daily. It was the headwear for the summer uniform of the British school that they attended when very young. Ages four and seven approximately.

And look, another boater. This one is an adult male version. I drew this assortment of hats, fans,and one pair of shoes at another historical society in Weare, New Hampshire. We people who keep sketchbooks can happily skip right over the “No Photography” rule in some museums.

This is my transition piece, ’cause the rest of this post is about shoes.

And a shoe rack at our daughter’s house. I think she has three more racks just like this now. The number of racks expands as do the number of children she has, plus the number of sports that they play.

My red shoes that I wear when in Canada. Our grandchildren thought they were a bit much at first, but they are growing to like them. Or at least getting used to Grandma with red feet.

A quick drawing of our small front hall. The door is glass and the window next to it is floor to ceiling glass, so you get a really good view of the snowy hillside just outside. My kind husband left early that morning, and left me a warning note.

Speaking of wintery footwear, here is a digital drawing of some native leather and beaded boots from Sachs Harbor, Canada. I spotted them at the Edmonton International Airport in a museum display case.And drew them on the spot as we waited for our plane.

And more shoes, maybe a toddler portrait. Our younger grandson was about two years old when he wore these. I has just finished scraping mud off of them.

And again, more toddler shoes. Maybe about three when he wore these.

I will end my collection with a totally different look. These boots are tall, covered in maple leaves, and not made to be worn. This shoe display was in the window of the Batta Shoe Museum in Toronto, Canada. If you ever get a chance to go there, you must. It was a wonderful experience, although toddler Wyatt had to be removed. I pushed him in his stroller up and down the street. Which is where I saw this display, and drew it while I rocked our grandson back and forth.

One more thing about shoes to mention. First footing. One branch of my husband’s family came from Scotland, the Glasgow area to be more exact. This was about 1900 I think. In the 1960’s when I joined the family, their New Year’s Eve gathering had remnants of traditions from Scotland. We sang Auld Lang Syne, which is about remembering past times, places, and people. 

And the family recruited a party participant to do the first footing, or be the “first foot”. There are the hard and fast rules of what to do at midnight to bring good luck in the New Year. The person who first crosses the threshold must be male and have dark hair. (I read online that this was to insure that the person was not a Viking, known to have blond hair). I think the other customs had been forgotten here in the New World. That is, I do not remember the first footer bringing in gifts such as a silver coin, shortbread, a black bun, some salt, a lump of coal, or a dram of whiskey. Although there was plenty of shortbread and whiskey in the room.

But certainly the tradition persists of wishing everyone a Happy New Year. And so I do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New Hampshire

I’m happy to announce that I will be participating in the Authors Night gathering at Zorvino Vineyards in Sandown, New Hampshire, on Friday January 18 from 6 to 9 PM. Come take a look at my three books, chat about future book possibilities, page through other books by local authors, and perhaps partake in the offerings from the site sponsor.

My three books:

A drawing and description of every one of the 234 towns and cities in New Hampshire.

A motivational book for those just starting out in art, or for those who were once there and are having a hard time getting back.

The product of wandering around Portsmouth through the year of 2017, sketchbook in hand. Bring it with you on your next visit there, and follow along.

Here’s a link to the Authors Night site:

See you there!

New Hampshire

I’m back!

My regular two month visit with family in western Canada, together with preparation for a few local art events, has done a number on my pledge to regularly update my blog.

I’m now back home in New Hampshire and gearing up for the final few weeks of the holiday season. I have of course accumulated a whole bunch of fresh artwork, and I’ll be sharing that with you here in the near future.

Here’s a quick preview. In the previous post I showed a small orange sketchbook down in the lower right corner of a picture of some of my tools. I brought another one of this size (yellow) with me to Canada, and here’s a quick, uncommented video of the record of my visit.

Hang in there, and I’ll be back soon with further artwork and commentary.

But I jumped right back into things once I got home. Yesterday I presented the first of a series of 4 art classes at the Smyth Public Library in Candia, New Hampshire. I am in the process of setting up another set of classes at the library in Atkinson. Next week I'll be giving a talk based on my most recent book, A Small City by the Sea: An Artist’s View of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at a local retirement community.

Stay tuned!