Thursday, 30 August 2012

Birthday After

I'm 61 now, as of yesterday (a birthday I share with someone dead, someone terminally ill, a startlet--just to name the ones I know), but when my bookmark blew off my table at happy hour at Beer Bros, I still didn't know what to do. It blew through the iron railing, out onto the concrete. First it lodged under a planter then beyond.
Well, now that I'm 61 such things don't matter more than a paragraph. I was reading The Other Walk, essays by Sven Birkerts, exhibit #1 on how to approach the essay in my Expository Writing class. The set of bookmarks I have is what Coteau gave me on the occasion of My Human Comedy, 2008, which is now out of print. (If you want a free copy, just ask (me).) I thought for a minute it might be fun for someone to pick it up out there on the mall, where now it's drifted toward the alto sax busker, who's terrific.
But my newest publication would have to be Hillsdale, a Map, with Jared Carlson, which we're launching Friday, Sept. 7, 7:00, 1855 Scarth in Regina, 3rd floor. We like it, already noting several changes we'd make if the thing ever got reprinted. We printed 100, a limited.
I picked up the shipment from the printer's yesterday, the big day. I've always liked my birthday. In Kelowna last week, my innocent observation that "I didn't expect any kind of birthday fuss" was met with flat-out derision.
But let's blame it on the map, this mood of satisfaction, which would puncture instantly if the Jays manage to blow it in the 9th against Tampa.
Happy Birthday to you too, if it is.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Learning to Draw Victoria and Hamilton

I notice I dress up more when I go downtown. Nothing radical, but I consider my shirt, maybe my shoes.
Yesterday I headed out to execute a drawing at Atlantis coffee shop (corner of that nice British couple, Victoria and Hamilton). A guy from CTV was carrying his camera by the neck of a tripod, legs extended, looking before he set the tripod down at what the camera would see.
At Atlantis I sat facing south. The two crosswalks turned into legs, as I drew, splayed from the corner. I worked on the curb. The look of fabric bunching was all I could come up with. As I'd done before, I'd drawn an aerial view in which me drawing appears, a space I tried to blacken. Man, this one needed help.
I switched to the 3B (for Better Get Good in a Hurry). The crosswalks narrowd at the far ends, but I could stay there until rush hour and never get them right.
Later the 3B came back sharpened and issued this report: "The focus is wrong. Get tight on one crosswalk--white line and a foot or two of pavement." The rest of the drawing was cross-hatched out in the loudest way. I was left with a lane of the pool, end view, which might work, at the pool.
At my table at Atlantis I smelled diesel, glad I dressed for it. I didn't know what to do with the crosswalk now but cross it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"Hillsdale, a Map"

is on the way. It's a real, four-colour, full-sized, limited edition map--real as memory, featuring "65 Points of Historical Interest" and several poems and various design delights created by Regina designer Jared Carlson. We'll have a launch party September 7 at Jared's studio, 1855 Scarth  Street, 3rd floor, 7:00.

For now, if you'd like to order a copy, go ahead! Send $20 and your mailing address to me at Box 24061, Regina S4P 4J8. You'll love it.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Learning to Draw the Pool Again

Closer this time, along two lanes. I drew dangling strokes with the 5B. Lanes turned to tresses or tire tracks. I added water.
Now I'd drawn fabric, two seams. I drew the lanes a darker black and faint lanes crossways underneath.
How to pretend you've drawn reflected light from the Adult Lane Swim Only sign? Pick a new pencil, the F. This creates a far shore or side view of a stool and only after that the edge of a pool, water's edge, water I swam to get there.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Learning to Draw: Concrete Abstract

I’d never noticed the yin-yang of the Safeway sign before. And how many times had I stepped over, without examining, the concrete painted yellow that marked the outer limits of the parking lot. These limits had been built in 1956 (I’m guessing). Now Safeway wants to remodel, i.e. take over the whole strip mall and knock down houses to the south. This matters if time matters. The concrete looks as if it hasn’t taken paint since ’58, or the paint has been beaten out of it, or yellow snuck away in bits one spring fifty years ago and every spring since. Therefore, if I were to draw the concrete I’d have done my bit for preservation and could head down to the FreeHouse for a beer.

Just then a ’53 Chevy painted bright mauve drove by. I glimpsed the passenger—a woman, short hair, those sunglasses seniors wear (top of the list of “things my kids must never let me do”).

According to the photo mounted above a booth at the Mercury Cafe, across the street from the Safeway, the parking lot in its early days held many a Chevy and Ford and Dodge, though none of them bright mauve.

Page 43 of some book might say It’s not about subject, it’s about commitment. Sure, but there I’d be, face to face with old concrete that will soon—I think it’s right to say—be knocked away.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Learning to Draw a Dashboard While Parked on 13th Ave

Soon the dash was just a steering wheel which resembled a pumpkin hollowed in quarters or a pretzel or a lucky charm.
I gave the 2H a turn. Things turned dotty. An attempt to indicate distance beyond the wheel (the space to pedals or my feet) resulted in four sandwiches seen from above.
I decided what the hell I'll see if I can fix it by going  back to the 4B and its original lines. Work was done on roundness, dots disguised as vinyl stitching.
Needless to say--what a useless piece of language that is!--the hands themselves did the best work, pretending to grip the wheel and turn it. Now the wheel was a celtic cross within the ring of a one-quart [sealer? ceiler? cieler?--help!] ring, which I accepted as a step in the right direction at least.
What else should be here but the wheel, I wondered in the end.