We are back in Mississauga, outside Toronto, in the home of the same friends with whom we started our travels last April. We’ve been hanging out here for several days, and have made it into the city twice to visit other friends. I am accustomed to jet lag manifesting itself as an irresistible urge to sleep during the day; this time, it shows up as the near-impossibility of going to bed anytime before 2 or 3 AM. So rather than sleeping too much, I am sleeping not quite enough; but that’s fine. I think our travels are training my internal clock to be less picky. I am definitely more flexible than I used to be about bedtimes and mealtimes, and everything in between.
Here’s a view of the Vancouver area from the plane window, last week:
As I was telling Erik the day after we arrived, everything appears so unchanged around here that I almost feel like I never left — except my clothes are all different. (Erik: “Riiiight… your clothes are the only thing different about you. After a year of traveling!”) After months of novelty, the familiarity is comforting. I’ve been writing in my journal and making lots of sketches of our friends’ cat Sabrina, a regal creature who often deigns to recognize lesser beings such as myself.
When I was drawing Harry the dog, I said I’m better at drawing cats. Sabrina is making me rethink that. She is all shimmering grey fur and big green eyes, and she doesn’t like my scrutiny (nor the sound of the markers over the page). In other words: she is a challenge.
This page includes the neighbors’ cat, Bianco, who is every bit as fluffy and active as Sabrina.
Yesterday was Victoria Day. We had afternoon tea with our friend Jen (the Toronto food blogger, you’ll recall), and then did some shopping and walked around the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
In the evening I sketched our host friends’ kitchen, using grey for the built-ins and black for everything added: personality on a standard backdrop. The “portrait” feels so intimate that I enjoyed it just as much as drawing a person. Maybe I’ll do more of these kitchen portraits… or try other rooms, though I think kitchens are most revealing precisely because of their juxtaposition of standard and custom, public and private, individual and family.
In a few days we’ll drive down to the Finger Lakes area of New York to relax with family for my youngest sister’s graduation. She’s ten years younger than me, so for her to be finishing college feels like a milestone for all of us! We’ll be in New York for about a week, and then it’s back home… but not for long, perhaps?
I had thought we might settle in the Bay Area for a few months at least, decompressing, seeing friends, working. But it looks like our plans are changing. When the Bay Area sublet we were looking at didn’t work out, I felt I had had enough of browsing apartment listings, and decided to turn to my communities instead. And I decided I wouldn’t limit us to a California location. I put a note on Facebook, and because friends responded, we are now likely to spend two weeks in New York City in July, and possibly — if everything works out, which I fervently, fervently hope will happen — three months in Boston in the fall.
awsom ! realy waow ! great drawings…. nice article I enjoyed it !
Greetz from the chocolate, beer en fries country Belgium !
Thank you, Tina! I hope to visit Belgium someday!
Oooh, I just love it when you get all spontaneous….so nice to take a break from all the detailed planning your travels have required. I do love your sketches of the kitty….and the kitchen is delightful in it’s detail. ❤
Hee. Our travels seem to be getting more and more spontaneous as we go, and I’m loving that too! Thank you for the good words on the sketches as well — I’ve got a few more coming. 🙂
Nice idea with the kitchen sketch!
Thanks, Angelina! I’m really happy with how it came out, and when my friend saw it, she said, “That is exactly my kitchen!” 🙂
I love that kitchen drawing; what a great idea to bring the personal to the forefront simply with a change in color.
Thank you, Lisa! I suppose it’s not just the color change either, but the value (lightness/darkness). In one of my watercolor books the author says the most important thing for beginning painters is to try to get a handle on values; I think that’s one of the best things to come out of all these black/grey sketches, is that I’ve had to try to get more out of values rather than pure colors. Good practice!
LOVE the cat drawings!
Thank you so much, Jason!! I’ve got a few more of those coming, including a rather odd series of her sleeping (hard to sketch a motionless grey furball).
I love your sketches!!! And no surprise, the kitchen sketch is my favorite. 🙂 Sounds like you have many exciting things on the horizon!
Hee, thank you!! It’s one of my very favorites too!
I hope we have many exciting things coming up… yesterday afternoon we had a moment when our Boston possibility seemed irrevocably and suddenly squashed, and I was so disappointed! But that might have been a false alarm so… there’s still hope. 😉
I love the cat drawings ! So simple and elegant.They remind me of a famous japanese painter who worked in Berkeley but can’t remember his name right noe
Thank you so much, Carla! Cats are such elegant and elusive creatures. If I lived in Kyoto I think I’d regularly visit this cafe just for the chance to draw its residents. 🙂 Hmm, the only Japanese painter I can think of who worked in Berkeley is Chiura Obata (one of my favorites!), but I’ve never heard that he did any cat paintings!
Yes! he painted a rabbit for a little girl in the audience and I was the little girl! I have the sketch.
Oh I think I remember you telling that story before! How incredible!
[…] “Hmmm, it’s time.” I’ve begun a series of kitchen portraits, inspired by the one I did a year ago of our friends’ kitchen in Mississauga, and I think they’d be appropriate for this […]