I always find myself awestruck by fine architecture, the minds that design it and the hands that create it. This may be partly due, I guess, to early observation of my Grandfather, a carpenter, and noticing the respect he gave to accurate woodcuts and joinery.
He sharpened his tools each night after returning home from work to prepare for the next day. And his work each day was performed in concert with a number of other builders, a choir if you will, of craftsmen (masons, plumbers, electricians) whose individual talents merged to create a harmonic structural presence.
So, I think of these things while trying to sketch on a piece of paper a semblance of 'sheet music', from which this choir of Moravian craftsmen harmonized during the early 1700s in Bethlehem.
Christmas eve and Easter morning the Moravian Church has a tradition of serenading the community with a "brass choir". This orchestral announcement of the birth of our Lord and also of His resurrection is carried out from the belfry of the Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem.
It occurred to me that I should share this tradition, although I began the drawing late this afternoon. I'll share elements of this drawing as I progress over the coming days. I'll add silhouettes of the trombone choir as I approach a finish.
Merry Christmas to All.
We made a trip to Boston to celebrate Thanksgiving with Sara's family. Anyone who watches this year's weather map knows the N.E. is being slammed with one "nor'easter" after another, a term unfamiliar to most of us living below the Mason-Dixon line. So, no surprise my computer froze-up with 11 degree weather Thanksgiving morn. Also, no surprise my blood is now thinned to that of a "southerner".
So I guess my computer and I both hibernated while in New England, then New York, then Pennsylvania and Ohio before returning to the sunny south.
I did carry my sketchbook, however, and here is the view from the office/bedroom of my brother-in-law looking out at his frozen landscape. Now after numerous trips to the Apple store and successfully awakening from early hibernation, I'll start posting a few new blogs to tell you how our year is ending.
Here's the last 3 panels of my cartoon - illustrating a real life experience. In case my illustrations need explanation, let me add some details:
From the debris of the fire we salvaged remnants of framing timber, baling twine, and 4 empty fifty-five gallon drums that had once held DDT. My neighborhood buddy, Dick, belonged to the scouts and recently learned lashing and knots. So we both set to work lashing together a framework (we called super-structure) which would sit on top of the barrels. We would hopefully, climb aboard to blissfully float down the creek.
This contraption proved to be not responsive to the navigators, a little tippy at best, which upset our passengers, the dogs. We were all afloat, but not well controlled when my dog decided to jump off when we bumped into the bank. Without his weight for balance, one side popped up and one barrel floated out of position and away.
Trying to reposition ourselves, Dick's dog saw the opportunity and jumped off causing the other side of the raft to pop up and the second barrel floated away from the framework. Without the tension of the barrels, the lashings loosened and framework started to twist apart under our feet. We both fell in laughing and swam to shore while "Super-Structure Raft" floated off, in pieces, without us. Great Fun!
Hope you enjoy the story and my memory of the scenes. Tell me what you think.
This story is supposed to tell itself with pictures, and only a few additional written comments if needed.
Here, after we built a raft out of debris from the fire, the next step was to take it for a test-drive (or "test-float"). Of course, our pet dogs were to go along on the adventure. They weren't quite so eager for the adventure as we were.
... a cartoon, of sorts. Let me explain.
I'm teaching a class at KSU OLLI, for old people like me, a continuing education course titled "Illustrating a Story." It's a new course where students are encouraged to imagine a series of scenes, then sketch it out, like in a series of cartoon panels.
Reviews are mixed - not a raving success; an entertaining exercise without high expectations for creating a masterpiece but possibly to be shared with family and friends in casual conversation.
'Thought I'd share my "rough draft" story illustrating one memory of a childhood experience.
As a "back story", a neighbor's barn burned down one summer night when I was maybe 9 or 10 years old. Debris from Becker's barn was hauled down to the far end of a field bordering the creek where it would be disposed of, probably buried. My illustrated story begins with me and a buddy and our 2 dogs rummaging through the trash to see if there was anything worth salvaging.
Let's see now. Where do I begin today to make my annual list of resolutions, only to begin breaking them tomorrow?
Today is a holy day for Christians. Yesterday, was a holy day for Jews. We all share loss in understanding this senseless tragedy in Pittsburgh.
Although I didn't plan to make a post so soon, I felt this scene bears repeating, sketched from the interior of the Synagogue in Downtown Atlanta, with my heartfelt condolences for individual lives lost, and national innocence lost.
'Just received a message from a Jewish friend in Washington DC area, who ended his remarks with the words "hopefully". We all deal with life in our own way, often deriving strength from the culture and faith of our fathers and mothers, and wisdom from our own years and experiences. In the end, all we can ask for, all we can ask to be filled with, is "hope."
"Tones of gray and sepia color the music of the cello..." a scene of one sitting, quietly watching poison drip into "the body and breast" of a loved one undergoing chemotherapy. When Bruce read this to me, my impulse was to turn away from the thought, unable to conceive of this treatment being worthy of musical accompaniment, let alone poetic depiction.
The image of the cello stuck in my mind however. We shared a visit to an Atlanta Symphony rehearsal where I fixed the image into a sketch. If you look carefully, you see this cello has no strings. The music had ended.
"I lit a fire, the first this year, partly to warm friends in part to rekindle memories...
Morning fires had meaning -- to light your smile, to warm your hands, to comfort your robed body...
Evening fires were different, a luxury of sorts for warmth was already ours; an intermezzo between day and dreams. Logs crackled, embers glowed and sparked a quiet joy, an enchanting time ..."