My Melancholy Baby

My melancholy baby - thumbnail

Drawing of melancholy fish by Courtenay Bluebird.

In 2011, I was trying to draw every single day because I wanted to be able to draw well. It’s a vow I pick up for about twelve months at a time, and then put down suddenly for the next 36 months. For the entire 36 non-drawing months, I barely sketch a thing. Pretty much all-of-a-sudden I’ll get the throat-burning desire to draw again, at which point I will scramble back into a sketchbook and drink drawing down to the dregs for another twelve months

What I end up remembering when I add something complex into my schedule like drawing, is that there are only so many waking hours a day. (My mother’s been telling me this for years.) As I spend most of my day writing and revising or thinking about writing and revising, what work time I have left over is spent taking and editing digital photographs. (Yes, I’m shooting these things on my phone right now. I have a very, very nice SLR (a Leica)— but it’s not digital. I’m trying—and failing—to save up for a DSLR.)

Whatever personal time I have goes to my family and cleaning and eating and a little socializing with y’all. Sometimes, though, I have a moment and I draw something. Usually an illustration like the one you see here: a sketch that is not technically great on any level, but I try to make something coherent. And while I try to draw, my mind drifts over to a dream what my life might be like if there were another six hours in the day. I think I would draw more if I had a little more time to do it, but I’d probably work more. And that’s the truth.

If you had an extra handful of hours in the day, how would you spend it out? I worry that I’m too much like 30 Rock character Jack Donaghy:

    “I saw it, Lemon— my whole life passing before my eyes. Neil Patterson pitching me the rotating microwave tray. Me personally coining the phrase, ‘What’s the upside?’ Participating in Hands Across America. And all the time I’ve been on this earth I have only one regret— I should have worked more.”*

*Source: The website 30 Rock Quotes.

SKETCHES of THINGAMABOBS and PHOTOGRAPHS of WHATNOTS: Under Bluebird Blvd.’s art category, you can see some of the drawings I did in 2011. Also, if you’d like to see how I shoot on film, head over to Bluebird Blvd.’s photography category, and cruise back to around pages 7 through 11, where the print photography stuff is heaviest.

Everything Is a Continuum, You Know?



So, it has been quite a while since I’ve done any drawing at all. I cracked open a brand new sketchbook for our Alaska trip.

This rough drawing is the first time I’ve picked up a pencil in six months. My last drawing was probably “Vic improves his mind.”

This sketch also ties into Wednesday’s post about the rest of the Talkeetna portion of our trip!

Our Sunday Best: Auspicious Beginnings

English: 1892 (June 27) use of postal statione...

Dear 2012— How are you? I am swell. Glad to see you've arrived safely!

Every year I make the same resolution and I break the same resolution.  My yearly resolution is to write more letters.  That’s it.  The sum total of my New Year’s ambitions.

While I’m cool with the resolution making of others, I’m on the fence as to whether I’m going to make, and break, my annual resolution.

Meanwhile, I’d love to share with you some folks who put their shoulder to the wheel of a passion for a subject and followed this passion with due diligence.

These auspicious beginnings have made for extraordinary art.

I first saw Ayun Halliday’s “East Village Inky,” a tiny, hand-drawn, small print-run comic book at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. A lot has happened for Halliday in the interim years of the last decade— her husband became famous for a hit Broadway play, her regular comic became so popular it lead to book deals, and then books.

Halliday writes and draws with equal virtuosity.

She’s also talented and a hard-worker, and I love that. Go join in Halliday’s fun here.

Gertie’s New Blog To Better Sewing is a site I came across last summer as I was trying to talk myself into relearning how to sew… again. (Still hasn’t happened, but you’d think Gertie’s good cheer and natural talent would have done the trick.)

Here’s why I make that statement: Gertie started teaching herself to sew only a few years ago when she picked up a vintage Vogue New Book For Better Sewing from the 1950s. As you can see from her blog, which is right here, she took classes, kept reading, and has become somewhat of a couture fine-sewing icon. She’s so generous with her knowledge! Love that.

I love dance; I studied dance seriously for more than half of my life. (Yet another activity I am trying to talk myself into studying again. Dance is transformative.) The most current rising star of the ballet world is Misty Copeland. She is a classical dancer from the tips of her toe shoes to the top of her bun.

What makes Copeland unusual in the contemporary classical ballet world is that she’s only the third African-American female soloist, ever, in the history of American Ballet Theatre.

I know, I know. I’ve been shaking my head over this subject for years.

Copeland takes her mission seriously, and you can see that on her website. She only wants to do classical ballet because that puts forward her passion as a dancer and her reality as an African-American ballerina. Did I mention also that she is beautiful, heartwarming, and elegant? That rocks.

Finally, let’s discuss the letter-writing, shall we? — I want to write more letters. By hand. It’s a dying personal art form. (Plus, it’s so FUN to send and get stuff in the mail! Squee!) But, I’m still not sure if I’m going to resolve to do it.  Count me as undecided.

But if you want to write letters, here’s the coolest thing I discovered last summer:  This pair of friends, Kathy Zadrozny and Donovan Beeson, have decided to fix all that by creating the Letter Writers Alliance.

Although there are a few groups trying to do the same thing, the LWA offers a very inexpensive membership service with two simple tiers– with one you get stuff and with the other you don’t, but with both, you are introduced into the community of letter writers and pen-pals with a degree of high style.

If you miss letters, the LWA will help you fall back in love, and give you an automatic opportunity to do something both beautiful and personal. And isn’t that a win-win for the New Year?

Do you write resolutions? Do you keep them? How long do they last? As a big believer in auspicious beginnings *and* the power of hard work, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. And, as always, thanks again for joining me here for the Sunday Best.