Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

Valentine Window at Sala, Berkeley, ink & watercolor

I spotted this store window and loved the mannequin’s attitude amidst the cupids, hearts and flowers at “Sala,” a little shop in North Berkeley. I’d parked in front of the shop to go to my son’s Superbowl party. Then I left before halftime because I just couldn’t sit and watch more rude commercials about beer and junk food when I could be in the studio. Before I got in the car, I had to stop and sketch the window.

Love the One You’re With

As the old song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.” Back in the hippie days the song encouraged us to hookup with whoever was handy. Of course we know how well that era turned out. But there is one person we’re always with who it’s good to love, and that’s ourselves.

I used to dread Valentines Day; afraid I’d be alone, or afraid the “one I was with” would somehow disappoint on that portentous day. Then one year I was alone and I had the best Valentine date ever.

I took myself out for a Valentine’s date. I went to a book store that had a pretty café inside and spent the evening gathering great art books from the shelves and devouring them over a latte and sweet treat at the café, picking one book to buy as a gift for me. I also came across a funny kids book, “Play with your Food,” which I read to a bored little boy who was waiting for his mom to finish shopping. We both had a good laugh and the mom was grateful for some time to herself.

Full page in sketchbook

Full page in sketchbook

Since then I’ve had many other fun dates with myself, when friends or lovers weren’t around. One New Year’s Eve when I’d made no plans because I was supposed to be taking my sons to Yosemite, but it hadn’t stopped raining for two weeks and we’d decided to stay home (which was a good thing because Yosemite flooded and people were stuck there for two weeks without fresh food or working bathrooms) I went to a café that stayed open late and sketched people coming and going all evening. One of those people was a tall, dark, handsome artist who was out doing the same thing. He asked to join me at my table and we had a fun evening of sketching together and then a few months of interesting dating

I imagine this all might sound weird to those who enjoy fancy dinners out and expensive gifts of shiny bling but I guess that’s the point of loving yourself. You get to pick! If you want bling, get yourself some bling. If you’d rather have books or draw in them, make it happen!

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Category:
Berkeley, Ink and watercolor wash, Shop windows, Sketchbook Pages
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Join the conversation! 19 Comments

  1. In the maelstrom of Hallmark must-haves…this is a refreshing post, Jana.
    We don’t do Valentine’s day with quite the same fervour, but I gave it a nod on my blog 😉
    Love the face on your store model. Oh, yeah!”Don’t mess with me, baby!”

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    • I loved her threatening expression too. By the way, I visited your blog and loved the frog sketch especially. For some reason your blog address doesn’t appear in the space provided when you leave a comment. Do you enter it? It would be good to so that others can pop over there from your comment if they wanted to. Jana

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  2. Oh lovely piece, perfect for valentines day.

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  3. Great post Jana. Just remember, this is a manufactured holiday, meant to prop up the sales of cards, candy and dinners out. Just try to have a good day, OK?

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    • Well really, when you get down to it, aren’t most holidays manufactured? Whether by businesses, government, or religions? Maybe that’s why my favorite holidays are birthdays and new years, which even though they just celebrate an arbitrary division of time, they are good to use as a time for reflection and celebration. I used to do the scrooge thing for all holidays, but now I just think of them as another opportunity to sketch! Jana

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  4. Perfect post! When I was single I decided that I wasn’t going to wait around for someone to take me to the places where I wanted to go. So, I took myself there instead. I always did nice things for myself on holidays. I have been married for awhile now and still take care of myself. You have to like yourself a lot to be home with yourself all day! I still go out to lunch or to places that I want to visit. Takes much of the burden off of my husband for having to “entertain me” when he gets home.

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    • Libby, I think that’s an excellent observation: that entertaining and treating ourselves takes the burden off of others to do it! And that’s a funny thought, that you have to like yourself to hang out with yourself all day. Makes me want to do a bit of self-improvement since there are many days when I’m not the most scintillating of companions! Jana

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  5. I absolutely love this post! This is among my favorite. Not only is the drawing terrific and a lovely red to match the season, but the sentiments are something I strongly believe in. I am married for fifteen years, and my husband and I have an agreement. We don’t buy cards, flowers, or candy. I usually make him something to put on his desk. And for the past several years, he has made me some overcooked, brownie wafers (I know it’s weird, but it’s one of my favorites!). I think we’re responsible for our own happiness!

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    • Hi Raena, I agree totally! My friends and family and I make those same deals for Christmas — our gift to each other is not having to gift each other! I used to have a favorite kind of cake that I liked best when it was a bit stale, so I understand enjoying slightly off-kilter desserts! Congratulations for making a marriage work for 15 years! That is a rare and special thing to celebrate! Jana

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  6. Thanks for your post, Jana. It hit home for me. As I sit here in my studio, single, listening to the rain outside, I felt encouraged by your post. Your words are so true, “Love the One You’re With: You.” When we old hippies start losing the ones we love, your words give us something to consider. Thanks!

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    • Thanks for writing Bonnie. I’ve not experienced that kind of loss yet, but I know it’s in my future. I can only imagine how hard it must be and the kind of courage and strength it takes to find one’s way again afterwards. Thank you for the reminder of how precious my dear friends and family are! Jana

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  7. So refreshing, Jana – you nudged me out of a very bah-humbug mood!

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  8. What a lovely post and a beautiful sketch! Happy Valentines to you!

    Just in case you didn’t get the pingback, I have given you a Sunshine Award for bloggers because you are an inspiration. You can get it here:
    http://pencilscribbles.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/sunshine-blog-award/
    and, if you wish, post it on your blog :).

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    • Thank you Alex for the nice note and for including me in the illustrious group of people to whom you passed the Sunshine Award. It means a lot to me. Just so you know though, I made a decision some time back to not forward on award memes and the like due to time constraints. I hope you don’t mind. Thanks again, Jana

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      • I don’t mind at all. I think you have made a wise decision as usual. I struggled with indecision whether to play the award game or pass. I decided to do it this time because there are people in the blogging world that I wanted to acknowledge, you being one of them. I am not sure I will do it again, it takes time as you said. I would do better if I were painting… Or drawing… or cooking soup :).

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  9. That’s a lovely post and a refreshingly positive and natural response to this saccharine pseudo-holiday (yes, it’s infected the UK also). I remember, when I first read one of Julia Cameron’s books, feeling hugely validated because she actually recommends taking yourself for little treats and outings – she calls it taking an Artist’s Date – so I had someone to cite to friends and family who were telling me I was just self-indulgent!
    And I love the picture of the belligerent clothes-horse in the shop-window; such a vivid contrast between all the sugar-pink and rose-red and the floating putto, and the dummy’s stance and expression.

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    • Funny you should mention Julia Cameron’s Artist Date because that was exactly what I was doing. I was faithfully working my way through the Artists’ Way and that was indeed an “Artists Date”. I loved that process and kept up the daily pages for quite awhile and keep meaning to start them up again. I have continued to do Artist Dates though as a regular part of my life and am so grateful for learning to do that! Jana

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