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Subway Drawings & Feeling Like a Zombie

Silly Pose on Bart, Graphite 8x6
Silly Pose on BART, Drawn later at home, Graphite 8x6

Riding our subway known as BART the other day, I sat down beside a young man who was talking to his  friend in the next seat. I asked if they wanted to sit together and they made a joke about not liking each other (actually it was a racist joke that shocked me  at first when I thought they were serious—they were of different races ). So I sat down and took out my sketchbook like I usually do. The guy beside me insisted I draw his friend and his friend immediately struck a crazy pose for me to draw.

I said I only had 5 minutes before I was getting off but they egged me on. I drew as fast as I could (in ink—what was I thinking!) and was making a pretty bad job of  it—talk about pressure! Then I had to get off and we all had a good laugh about the bad sketch (see below). I asked if I could take his picture and he agreed, continuing the pose as I quickly snapped a photo with my iPhone and then jumped off the train as the doors were closing. Here’s the photo that I put on my computer monitor across the room to draw the sketch above in my sketchbook last night:

Quick Photo of Silly Pose
Quick Photo of Silly Pose

And here’s the original sketch done on BART, along with a few others from this week:

Now, about feeling like a Zombie… I’ve been doing prep this week for a colonoscopy this afternoon. I’ve had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, except sugary clear liquids and the gallon of “Go-Litely” (hah! what false advertising!) and very  little sleep due to drinking the first half gallon last night and then “Go-ing” all nite, thus the only “Litely” was my sleeping! And for the three days prior, I was told to eat none of my usually healthy diet: no vegetables, no fruits, no whole grains. Just white bread and meat, basically. The procedure isn’t until 2:00 so until then, I’ll be under a pile of blankets in bed trying to get warm and watching a movie on my laptop.

Zombie signing out…

7 replies on “Subway Drawings & Feeling Like a Zombie”

Dear Jana, ‘Do hope all your suffering in prep will have been worth it when you get the good news that you are physically fit. When you get that good news, celebrate with your favorite food. You’ll deserve it!
The subway sketches are great. Surely, you made that guy’s day by drawing his portrait. I’d like to have your skill for on- the- spot art. I’ve dabbled, joyfully, all my life, but at age 63, must ponder and plod for my images and colors.
I’m working on an acrylic for my sister-in-law’s birthday, of the Bradford on Avon foot bridge. (She lives in Bradford on Avon , Wiltshire, England) Suddenly, I’m experiencing something akin to writer’s block in acrylic form! I can’t seem to capture the reflections in the water. Had I more skill, I wouldn’t be intimidated this easily! I’ll attend an artist’s workshop at a UU church in Marietta, Ohio this weekend, where someone may give me that charge of courage that I seem to need.
Your blog has been so inspiring. I can’t thank you enough!

Be well. God bless. Sandra


Oh poor Jana, I understand! When I did that prep I was told that the Go Lightly liquid tasted better iced. It didn’t, and I got so cold chugging the foul stuff that I got a case of the chills along with the other excitement. I suggested to the nurse at the clinic that they should advertise the procedure as a spa treatment and provide fluffy robes, scented candles, and soft music, but she didn’t seem amused. I hope everything went well and you are back to the land of the living by the time you read this.

Thank you for the bright tulips; spring has not sprung in the midwest.


You are all over the place with skill. Your pen and paint drawings a very illustrative while your paintings are lovely and emotional in quality. Most artists settle into a niche, do you see yourself doing that?


That’s a brilliant question (and thank you for the nice comment). The answer
is: “probably not”. If I could settle down into a niche, especially one I
was good at, I’d probably be able to be very successful commercially. I was
on that road with my watercolors. Originals and prints were selling well, I
was invited to show them, they got published in a book and have been used in
various ways in print. But I just love variety and a challenge and learning
new things. I sketch all the time, but get inspired and carried away with
various other art forms, as well. I guess I’d rather have fun and keep
growing rather than settle down to get really good and be known for one
thing What about you?


if you’re worried that your spatial/perspective (whatever) comes out a little warped**, i believe the exercise of “drawing the shadows” (or whatever that is called) is effective. i suspect you’re already past learning by “tracing” over photos.

** I mean warped only in terms of your intention … because otherwise, being “expressive” might require “warping”.


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