Our life in Boston, with sketches

Although we still think of ourselves as travelers, we are here in Boston to work, not to explore, and my blog posts have reflected this. I was telling a dear poet friend the other day that I think Boston might be a creative incubator for me: not necessarily an inspiration the way Kyoto or Paris were, but a place to hunker down and percolate. We’re living in a former industrial neighborhood and all the worn brick makes me think of things constructed here in the past.

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It’s just occurred to me that my percolating frequently seems to be writery, as if I can only go inward with words, whereas visual art feels more outward to me. After a month of almost exclusively verbal creative activity, I’m beginning to feel the tug of the sketchbook and paints once more. Likewise I’m feeling ready for some more outings. Strange how these things work in parallel.

I’ve been taking an “anatomy for artists” class in Cambridge. The first week we drew a plastic teaching skeleton. It was supposed to be a fairly technical drawing but mine came out looking like a portrait.

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There was also a model that week, Debra (Deborah?), but I didn’t get to finish my sketch of her head.

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Later that week I practiced more head-and-neck sketches, with Erik’s assistance. They don’t look exactly like him, but they could be a relative.

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The following week we worked on the shoulders, arms, and hands; our model, Barry, is a champion triathlete — hence the muscles!

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The anatomy class is fun and it’s making me a little more rigorous about measuring everything, even when I’m sketching buildings or landscapes rather than people.

Here I am in-progress with a self-portrait; you’ll see that another day.

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Today I took myself out a couple of blocks away to Fort Point Channel, where I sat for an hour. The weather has been peculiar lately; on Friday it rained, on Saturday it was sunny and warm, on Sunday it was chilly and damp, yesterday it was very warm and very windy, and today again it was sunny but not too warm. Very good sketching weather, in fact.

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If you’ve been reading my blog since last December, during that visit we were along the western edge of Boston, and now we’re on the complete opposite end, on the east. We’re quite close to downtown, but strangely enough, we haven’t ventured there much. We often go to Chinatown, though; it’s a mile walk from us, which makes me happy for reasons that are mostly, but not solely, culinary.

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Twice a week we walk to a farmers’ market and do our grocery shopping, and this makes me think happily of our visits to the marchรฉ in Paris. Recently there’s been a delightful art installation of 1000 pianos around the city, and there are three of them right near this market. Erik is the experienced improviser, but I’m willing to contribute my bit. The other night we were waiting to meet a friend for dinner in Chinatown and we played at the piano there while middle-aged Chinese folks took cellphone pictures and shooed their little kids away from interrupting us.

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When we walk home at night from Chinatown or any other point in the city, we cross over Fort Point Channel to a welcome of lights.

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