I hadn’t done a Margaret Mondays in awhile, and then I found illustrator Sally Nixon on Instagram. She has a character named Margaret who seems to have randomly shown up one day, and kept coming back on Mondays. I love a Margaret who has a dog named Nora Ephron and reallys digs donuts.
I was looking for pen and ink drawings on Instagram because I started drawing again, and I am fascinated by hatch and cross hatch marks. Sally Nixon creates a wonderful atmospheric world from black lines. She mentions “netflixing the hell out of the X Files” to encourage the atmosphere, which Stratoz and I started watching this spring, for the first time. It’s definitely affected my dreams, though not with the same artistic flair as Sally Nixon.
This last one isn’t a Margaret Monday, but I love the quilt ~ reminds me of another my loves.
This orange notebook is my reward for getting my tax organizer to the accountant. I love the way the cover picks up different shades. In 2004, I took a drawing class at the community college, as part of my year of experimenting with different mediums, on my way to making mosaics. I was one of those “I can’t draw” people until I read Betty Edwards Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and that book gave me the courage to take a class.
I slowly stopped drawing as I became engrossed with mosaics, but I came across a book on Urban Sketching at the library, and suddenly I was ready to draw again. Then I heard Danny Gregory on NPR’s Here and Now, talking about drawing as a way to connect with your own creativity, and the present moment of your life in his book Art a Before Breakfast.
I have been sketching each day, and for those moments, I am practicing seeing what my subjects look like, not what I assume them to look like. I find my mind races ahead with judgements like, “Those wheels are perfectly round because wheels are round” or “This is too hard to draw.” It is a relief to go back to looking at what I am sketching, and follow the contours.
Another photo from my and Stratoz’s trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum, of Marsden Hartley’s Sextant. I knew Hartley’s name, but as as poet, not a painter, from my days of writing poetry and going to school for an MFA. The sextant reminded me of Stratoz’s drafting tools, many of which came from his father, a draftsman(who learned Autocad in his 60’s so he could keep working), especially the compass. Both a sextant and a compass have a moveable limb, and can measure angles, though sextants are for navigation, and compasses for drawing, but both are a way of finding our way and knowing the world. Stratoz made a video of his doodling, which starts with a compass. His stained glass arose from a desire to take his doodles and incarnate them in glass. I love watching Stratoz draw, as he spins the paper, and the lines blossom.
Here is a poem by Marsden Hartley, which originally appeared in Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936). Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1920.