Inktober

We here we are, just past the month of Inktober ( a month in which one does a drawing, in ink, every day of the month).  This year I decided that I would give this a go.   Why?  Well not because I am good at it, rather that I am bad at it, but hoping to become better.  And here are a few of the results.

This was one of the first drawings that I did.  The subject is Wyatt B.  I did a pencil sketch first, then used ink brush pens to make it truly inky.   I’m a novice at the pen, and I half like this, and half don’t.  I think I over-worked the picture, but it does look like Wyatt.

This sketch is of Freya B, done in an extra fine Sharpie, so I don’t think it came out too bad.   I usually draw dogs and I think this may be the first time I ever drew a cat.

This is a portrait of her brother, Thor B.  I did these first three drawings from photos that I took, as I am not fast enough to do animals from life.

As I usually draw pictures of dogs and since there wasn’t a dog handy, I made this from a photo I took in front of a fancy butcher shop.

I didn’t have any interesting photos to work from, so this is what I saw on the nightstand.

Once again I didn’t have a photo, so this is a drawing of part of the living room.  I worked hard on getting the proportions right, but I am obviously not very good at shading and filling in the backgrounds.   Perhaps that is something to aspire to when the next Inktober comes around.

Artists

When I was a young teen (which would put this at a very large number of years in the past)  I loved to walk the 2.3 miles to the local art museum and draw.  What I didn’t love was people coming up to me and asking what I was drawing.  (It would be the thing in front of me.)  So I was careful not to disturb these artists at work, but I did appreciate that they all were taking the time to get out and about and do the work of drawing what they saw.   Well done, random people.

This seemed to be an organized outing for this group of folks, as there was a large number of artists working on the same bit of statuary.

This solitary artist was making a large drawing of a small object (and doing a fine job of it too).

This young woman was in a different part of the hall of statues.   It’s a lovely thing that the museum provides these chairs (I used to just sit on the floor to sketch).

I don’t know why I think this, but I somehow got the impression that this young woman was doing this for a school project.  Perhaps it’s because the statue is so ugly.

This brilliant portrait of Sir Francis Drake was done by a five year old artist.   I wish that I had been this talented at that age.   I did tell her how much I admired this picture too.

Just off a very busy street, this fellow was doing more than a sketch.   He was painting the scene (there is a bit of license taken with the view, the sky was not very blue on that day) and I imagine that it must be hard to concentrate in this busy setting.

So I say bravo to all of these artists.  Out there in public and pursuing their muses.

Pterror at the Tate

One of the advantages of making a statue is that on the whole, a statue is much more durable than a painting.   Paintings need to be forever retouched (painted all over again in the style of the original artist) and fiddled with.   Paintings are rather fragile as well, with just a thin layer of paint over canvas, wood or even paper.   But a statue, well, they are mostly made of bronze and require no more than a light dusting from time to time.   Unless of course they are out of doors, then statues require maintenance from the depredations of pigeons (really, these birds have no respect for art!)  So as these statues are safely ensconced in the Tate, one might think that they would be safe.  But that thought would be wrong.

Whatever this 60’s thing is supposed to represent (possibly the artist has seen the horror movie “The Manster” or “The Thing With Two Heads), I’m sure the artist never envisioned that a pterodactyl might attack it.

And I’m afraid that in this stare down, Pteri wins.

Snakes aren’t much of a challenge for Pteri, especially when the snake is already being strangled.   Too bad for you, snake, now you have two problems.

And of course unconditional surrender is always accepted, and some are wise enough to take this course.

This girl seems to be rather nice, and it is a relief from all this terrorizing to spend a quiet moment  just resting.

Then it’s back to work.  This statue has no chance against a pterodactyl attack, or does he?   Safely protected in a plexiglass box, it’s obvious that someone, somewhere anticipated this eventuality.  So Pteri had had enough fun for one day, and it was on to the next challenge.

Still more windows

I have become fascinated with the bits of ephemera that people use to mark out their interests and affiliations.  And as always, I seem to find the most interesting ones as I am driving along (I know, pay attention to the road instead).  But I do run across some stationary ones in the parking lot where they are easily captured.

This family chose ‘Day of the Dead’ stick figures to indicate their family members, which is an interesting choice, unless they are actually skeletons.

The woman who owns this car came up to me as I was snapping this photo and I had a little chat about my photographic project (okay, I’m sure that she thought I was at least slightly weird).  She said that she got the sticker from Amazon, and that she liked peacocks.   Then she showed me her peacock tattoo (it had a lot more detail).

This one commemorates (probably) a trip to Hawaii and the lovely beaches there.  The turtle (Honu) is a Hawaiian symbol for wisdom and good luck, and Honu can be a guardian spirit (Aumakua) too.   The starfish sticker has all the symbols of Hawaii: hibiscus, sea life and the islands themselves.

Here’s another fan of the ocean, but with a more mythical bent.

And I think that both of these drivers should be very careful when parking, not to get to close to this fellow.   He obviously has a different agenda.

 

Pumpkins

What exactly goes into the flavor of the season, ‘pumpkin spice’?  Pumpkins by themselves have a sort of vaguely vegetal flavor, but pumpkin pies (which have somehow overcome the odds to become an essential part of Thanksgiving) mainly taste of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sugar.

But there are some choices one can make when choosing a pumpkin.

It was a beautiful fall day out in the country (a mere 25 miles from town) and there it was, a farm stand selling every sort of pumpkin for every sort of need.

For instance, here are albino pumpkins for those who dislike the color orange.  I have no idea if they are also white on the inside.

There were also pumpkins for those who find ordinary pumpkins somewhat boring, these ones had an attractive striping to them.

And then there are tiny pumpkins for those who don’t wish to do any heavy lifting (available in regular orange or white).

For those who appreciate a challenge, there are the giant pumpkins, which weigh as much as a small child.  All of these pumpkins will last for a long time as decorations, but these varieties are not really good to eat (unless one is a deer, the ones near my house think they are delicious).   And it is a lovely thing to have a choice.

Sunsets

One of the many ways that people divide themselves (without resorting to a sorting hat) are whether one is a lark (getting up early for the worms) or an owl.  I seem to be an owl.   I have heard tell of the beauty of sunrise, but whenever I experience it I am invariably groggy and half asleep.   But sunsets are a different matter.  First there is that lovely twilight, then the encroaching darkness.  And of course one does not get a spectacular sunset every evening, so it is more impressive when one does.  I don’t remember sunsets when I lived in the Midwest, I think the West has the best.

Like this one at M’s cousin’s, with the yellow to orange colors of the setting sun.

I saw this one over the mesa when I went to visit M’s uncle recently, it started out with just a touch of pink that burst into this lovely glowing spectacle before fading away.

Sunsets can also be more subtle, with just a smear of color against the horizon.

Or like this one, with faintly pink clouds contrasting with the twilight and the lights of the neighborhood.

I captured this view from my living room (good thing the window was clean).

Here’s a recent one, without even a tinge of pink and the mountain hidden, it’s still beautiful.

 

Kitties

When my friends complain that they are stressed out by the news, I have a simple solution:   quit watching the news and watch cat videos instead.  As I do not want to link videos (after all I didn’t create them) to my site I offer instead some cute pictures of my friend’s cats.

The young tom is quite probably a Maine Coon cat.  He has a long lanky body, especially hairy toes, and a long fuzzy tail, all of which are characteristic of the breed.   The yellow female comes from the local animal shelter, so her parentage is unknown.  But she has lovely stripes in her fur and on her skin, so she is possibly part tiger.

As tiny kitties they enjoyed sharing a basket when they got tired of romping through the house, chasing each other and imaginary foes.

When they got bigger it was a matter of one kitty to a basket.

But that was okay, as there is always a box handy.

Boxes are great places to rest in, and one can always bite and fight the box.

And boxes are perfect places for napping.

 

It is hard work being a kitten.

But they do grow up so fast, here he is today, ready  and alert, looking to pounce.

And he keeps getting longer and lankier, just like the breed standard.

She was rather standoffish today, not sure if I was a friend or enemy, so her she is keeping a wary eye on me.   And I noticed that as she has gotten older her tail has gotten more and more fluffy, so perhaps I am quite wrong about her parentage.  Based on her tail, she is possibly part squirrel.

 

Chili today

A reliable sign that it is officially Fall (besides looking at a calendar and the appearance of pumpkin spice flavored everything) is when the chili crop is ready.   There are roasting stands for green chili, and bushels and ristras (chili tied up in string) of the red.

So this is what they look like when they are fresh.

And this is what they look like in a dried ristra.  Well, what happens next?   To use this for more than decoration, one removes the stem and seeds, boils them for a bit in some water, whizzes them up in a blender, strains the pulp, and uses this to make a pot of red chili (or one starts with the frozen pulp from the grocery store which is much easier).

And voila, a pot of New Mexico Red Chili.   Actually, this one is not very traditional, because it contains beans.  A traditionalist would serve  the red chili and beans separately, so that one can put together a bowl to one’s taste.   But I made this particular pot for a reason.

My group of ladies made pots of chili of varying kinds as part of a charity fundraiser (mine is the puny pot on the end) held in a member’s empty barn.   I did try to make this a mild batch, but it didn’t taste right to me until it was fairly spicy (oops).  And the chilis ranged from hotter than mine, to one without any spice (I don’t know if one could even rightly call this chili).

And here is a very traditional recipe, from a cookbook published in 1971 by M’s favorite restaurant in Mesilla, NM.   And what I made was somewhat similar.

The mild-ish was a lie.

But a good time was had by all on a perfect Autumn day, trying all the variations and permutations of this humble dish.

 

 

Historic Buildings

I have friends that bemoan the demise and disappearance of lovely old buildings in their growing cities.   I even do this myself.  But there are also the shrinking cities, and their buildings are there to stay until they fall down of natural causes.   And because they were built in the face of a hopeful future, they were built to last.  Without any love or maintenance, these buildings have survived, putting to shame the plainness of modern architecture.

These buildings both have the same lovely window decorations, but on the building on the right they have at least slapped a coat of paint on things.  These windows are custom made and would cost a small fortune to re-create.

This building is currently undergoing renovation and the owners hope to open in a small way (7 luxury rooms) later this month.  Built in 1898 as a destination railroad hotel and run by Fred Harvey it was part of the soul of the town.   It closed in 1948, had some brief uses over the years, but has not really had any work done on it since then.  A lover of the railroad experience is pouring money into it fixing it up, and it could be part of a renaissance of the town.

This building across the street was originally used as a dormitory for the Harvey Girls who worked across the street.  It has been bought by an assistant district attorney, and is partially restored (well he at least had the top bit done).  It will be interesting to see if these ventures attract tourists (always a fickle lot).

This lovely building was built in 1885, and was a dry goods store starting in 1897.   It is untouched, unlike the building to the east, with it’s ugly tacked on frontage.  But wait, what’s that in the window?

One can see that this building was quite nice at one time, with cast iron pillars in front.   Who ever owns it now might be a bit of a hoarder as it is filled with all sorts of odds and ends.

Yes, that is a life-sized figure of a clown.   Why it is there and where it came from are a riddle with no answer.  But perhaps it will be something to draw in tourists, somehow.

More windows

Once I start noticing a thing, like the white stickers on car windows, I start seeing them everywhere.  Of course the very best ones that I glimpse are the ones I see as I am driving along.  And it would be impossible to pull my phone out of my pocket (the seatbelt holds me securely in place) and snap a picture before the traffic light changes.  Oh well, sometimes these things are just meant to elude one’s grasp.   But I did manage to capture these images on parked cars.

In lieu of stick figures, Star Wars seems to be the next most popular way to graphically illustrate one’s family.  I have seen Darth Vader as paterfamilias, various storm troopers, and this one, with the large war machines,  At-At’s, for the parents and the smaller war machines, At-St’s to show the number of kids.  Must be some sort of fan, eh?

I loved this sticker from the moment I saw them pull into the parking space.   The combination of the cheerful yellow truck and the image of the elephant, it was really quite striking.   (Although they probably don’t have a pet elephant waiting at home).

I saw this one in the same parking lot as the elephant, and I somehow don’t think that it has an ulterior meaning, it was just a pretty thing.

And then there is this creepy sticker.   It’s on a rather nice SUV, but this girl wants everyone to know that she is a scary person at heart.

So we have seen these people’s obsessions, and you see my obsession, taking a peak into their souls.