This week’s Every Day Matters challenge is to “draw a souvenir from a place you’ve been.” This is a Tibetan Bell. I’ve never been to Tibet. My father bought it for me at a street fair in Jack London Square in Oakland on one of his rare visits from the many places he lived in the U.S. and Canada. I loved the sound of the bell and he was happy to buy it for me.
I’ve been missing him lately–sometimes when I’m drawing I get glimpses of the amazing cartoons he used to be able to draw on command and wish I could talk to him about drawing and art. He and my mother both painted for a few years when I was a kid and both were talented photographers. I highlighted my mother’s paintings from the 50s here a few weeks ago, but all of my father’s paintings were thrown away by his second wife when he left her for his third wife.
Searching my house for souvenirs to draw, I discovered that my only keepsakes represent different periods of my life and the people and pets I’ve loved. And even those are few: my grandmother’s pearls and glass butterdish, a spice jar with hair from long gone cats and dogs, the books my father wrote, my wedding ring in a little box I painted blue, a folder with my sons’ grade school essays and drawings, earings given to me by friends and family.
Of course I have my journals, drawings, photos and paintings–those are keepers of my memories too. But I wonder what it means that I have no souvenirs or tchotchkes from places I’ve been. Maybe just that I don’t like to dust.
Ink and watercolor in WC Moleskine. I know I said that for a week I would stop painting when I was 75% done, but I was too tired again tonight to notice, and so put in the background when I should have stopped. It was a lot prettier with just a shadow and an all white background. I did stop painting the bell before I thought it was done so that’s a little progress. I’ll try again tomorrow.