Watercolor sketches

Volunteers at TLR

Still a highlight of my week, after 6 months of almost weekly visits, is The Living Room, a day shelter for at risk and homeless women and children. I’m a volunteer artist there, recording visual stories, making friends with the women, watching the children play, getting to know some of the unique challenges of living without a home.

Yesterday I hung out in the small building where all the clothing, toiletries, bedding and other donations come in. The two volunteers there allowed me to take up precious space while I sketched their story.

 

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In the hour I was there a steady flow of donations came in and the phone rang with offers of even more.

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It was quite a job, keeping track of it all, sorting and organizing. And I know from hanging out with the women who take advantage of this program, that these free items not only sustain them, but lift their spirits when so many other parts of their lives are not working for them. Being able to dress their children up in cute outfits, to bathe with fragrant toiletries and put on make up and dress in “new” outfits and jewelry, helps them to feel that at least some of the world is on their side.

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#oneweek100people2019

There’s still two days left in the 100 people in One Week sketch challenge! The social media air waves have been filled with speedy people-sketches. Maybe it’s getting a little much? Nevertheless, since I’ve been busy in my own way, here’s some samples. Whether or not I get to 100, who cares? Certainly not me.foolsvol2_3

The lovely lady in the Fool’s Parade towering over us and waving her flag. (done from a photo of course!)

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If you live around Sebastopol you may recognize this guy – a fixture in the community, always dancing around with the manic look in his eye.

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And one last Hubbub Club musician in the signature colors (and hiking shoes).

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Bob (my husband) was learning a new book binding method and let me use this tiny one for my 100 people. The newspaper was a good source of faces that day. I did two of Attorney General Barr because the top one didn’t reveal the tilt of the head and other signs of stress. I almost got Netanyahu’s smirk, but need to learn to exaggerate more!

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Lurking in the Whole Foods dining area here. The paper is smooth so the paint sits on the surface – actually pretty fun to work with as the colors creep into each other.

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I’m using fountain pen with brown ink here, and discovering the fact that I can no longer see clearly across a room without my distance glasses and can’t focus on my sketchbook and brush without my prescription readers. Time for graduated lenses, but until then. . .messy sketches.

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The black thread is a bit distracting, but I love this little book because I can feel free in it!

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Another day at the restaurant at Cornerstone Gardens. More sketches (not people) from there later.

Land and Me – Fire Sketches

Before this month ends tomorrow I want to report on the fascinating interactive performance event called The Land and Me which was held at the DeTurk Round Barn on March 2. It was an opportunity for us to have the first public showing of our entire body of fire story sketches (120 in all!) at an interactive event, created by artists, musicians, dancers and thinkers! It featured live music, dance, poetry and participatory performance, all packed into about two hours.

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If you haven’t been to the DeTurk Barn, it’s a real gem owned by the city and rented out for events. It’s not out in the country as you might expect, but in a small park near Western Farm Supply just west of Hwy 101 in Santa Rosa.

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To give you a feeling of the inside of the barn, here’s a panoramic shot I took with my iPhone! We were all standing around the balcony calling out lines of poetry and releasing the slips of paper to float leaf-like down to the first level.

 

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Carole, Bettina and I came early to install our show called Sketching Fire Stories: Artists are Second Responders. The sketches date back to right after the devastating firestorms of October 2017 when we dedicated our skills as visual journalists to telling the stories of the people, places and events that so severely impacted our community. Rather than use a camera, we traveled to many of the affected sites armed with our pens and watercolors and sketchbooks to record our impressions of the scenes and personal stories. Other artists joined us and we later archived the sketch stories in a body of work to be shown to the community in various venues.

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The Land and Me project, designed by two gifted Bay Area artists, Carol Mancke and Trena Noval,  afforded an opportunity to share the project and talk to interested people about it. We hung the sketches on clips on the round walls of the barn and had binders of more sketches on tables for viewing. Some people spent time looking at each of the hundred or so sketches and took pictures. . .like this Press Democrat reporter who quietly snapped dozens of pictures.

We were glad to represent the impact of the firestorms on the land and people of our community for the Land and Me project. It was and is our heart-felt offering for the healing and rebuilding of our community.

The event featured multiple layers of activities and artistic expressions.

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You can get a glimpse here of the range of activities at the event. (If you can’t see the slideshow, try this link)

For more information about the project and the contributing artists visit the Facebook page.

And if you’d like an opportunity to view the Fire Sketches, we will be presenting them again in August in a six-week show downtown Santa Rosa sponsored by the S.F. Parks and Rec Dept. More on that closer to the date.

You can also view some of my firestorm sketches on my website and Carole Flaherty’s  on her website. As well you can see sketches from the events surrounding the first year anniversary of the fires, Sketching Fire Stories.

Beatles Sing-a-long

I arrived at Coffee Catz in Sebastopol at about 2:40pm on Saturday, 10 minutes after the monthly Beatles Sing-a-long had started. The room was packed with Baby Boomers belting out the lyrics, accompanied by my friend David Klotz with alternating guitar and piano, along with another guitarist. I squeezed onto the end of a bench at the back, next to a young couple who had their heads together doing chemistry homework, seeming oblivious to the loud singing. I think they were the only people under 50 in the crowd.

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Clearly this crowd was composed of regulars, because not only did they know all the songs (myself included of course), but had learned gestures to go with some of the lyrics.

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There were songbooks available for people who wanted to sing all the verses. We all know the refrains of course.

Afterward I talked with a couple of ladies who had come from Marin and Napa Counties for this event.  They were old friends of David Klotz, who moved here from Berkeley and was quickly embraced by the Sebastopol music scene.

Next month instead of the Coffee Catz singalong there will be a Beatles Night at the Sebastopol Community Center April 12. Should be fun!