I used to start my mornings by drawing images from my dreams but got out of the habit some years back. I got inspired to start again after seeing Nina Johansson’s project of drawing from imagination daily in a Moleskine daily planner. Her strangely beautiful pages are skillfully drawn scenes from a vivid imagination. I loved her idea of using a dated journal so I bought up a pocket-sized yellow Moleskine planner and started drawing my dreams again every morning.
I was pretty rusty at first, but with each drawing I’m feeling more confident about mostly drawing without references or props, and without worrying about accuracy. I’m using a variety of pens including Pitt Artist Brush Pens and their new PITT Artist Pen – White pen that works really well. I’m throwing out all the other yucky white markers I tried before.
The paper in the journal is thin so there is a little show-through from previous pages but the Pitt pens are great at not bleeding.
Sometimes if there are no visuals from the previous night’s dreams or I wake with a migraine, I draw what I’m feeling or something else related to life, like the two above, the migraine image on left and the reminder to eat on time (to help prevent stupid migraines).
Odd, the food items that appear in my dreams, mostly stuff I don’t eat.
From time to time I’ll post my favorite dream sketches here, but if you’d like to see them as I draw them, visit Drawing My Dreams Daily on Tumbler or my Instagram page, which I’m using to keep daily posting simple (no computer, just iPhone shots of the sketch).
I needed a new dust mop, a tube of silicon adhesive and some exercise, so I put them together and walked to Pastime Hardware, a large family-owned hardware store that has everything, including their famously helpful employees.
The sketch above actually closely resembles me when I’m out walking, with my green backpack that is so comfy, even when loaded with junk, my nifty purple cap, and old green shorts.
On the way to the store I called my mom on my iPhone, getting that task done as well. As she told me tales of her adventures with her new, and first computer, I stopped to draw some cacti I spotted along the way.
My last stop was at the video store to pick up a copy of Local Color which never came out in theaters in Northern California and is finally available on DVD. Then I walked home with the mop over my shoulder feeling like I should be whistling a little tune.
I used to love feeding the birds and seeing my little customers flocking to the feeder. But one day I thought I saw the wood chip ground covering moving under the feeder. When I looked closely I saw it wasn’t the tan bark moving, it was dozens of mice! By feeding the birds I was also nourishing a growing army of mice with all the seed the birds scattered!
I called “Vector Control” (a euphemism for the county rat patrol) and an interesting female rat inspector came out and inspected. She told me the only way to get rid of the mice was to stop feeding the birds and that for each mouse I saw there were 50 more I wasn’t seeing. I was sad to stop feeding the birds but it was better than the alternative (which included multiple mouse traps, even sadder).
Meanwhile, the spilled millet seed grew into a lovely, tall, feathery bush under the feeder, which I left hanging in a bit of wishful thinking that one day I’d be able to return to feeding my feathery friends.
A couple years pass, the feeder and bird house remain empty and the millet bush continues to be a pretty garden feature. One day I notice something odd: wasps are buzzing in and out of the feeder and have built a nest inside it. I learned that while wasps do not pollinate like bees, they are still beneficial because they eat insect pests in the garden. I decided to leave them alone and enjoyed watching them care for their babies (larvae) in the nest.
Wasps eat potential garden pests including the venomous black widow spider. Adult wasps eat only pollen and nectar (or your soda at picnics). They only hunt for meat (insects, worms, your barbequed hamburgers) to feed their larvae. Wasps nests have only one purpose: to ensure the production of young. At the end of the nest’s cycle, every member of the nest, except emerging queens, dies.
I guess things got a little crowded in the nest because the wasps started hanging out at the neighboring empty bird house too. Then one day we had a scorcher of a summer day. The temperature in my usually cool and foggy neighborhood by the Bay was in the 90s (f). The clear plastic bird feeder turned into a greenhouse and cooked all the wasps in the nest. So sad. All those poor little larvae, all that building and hunting and gathering of food.
But it wasn’t entirely wasted…
The stalks of tall millet grass made a perfect ladder for the gazillions of ants who live in my garden (and don’t even get me started about the ants and their nasty aphid ranches). The ants were streaming up the grass onto the feeder and having a lovely dinner party of roasted wasp.
And because my garden is well stocked with ants and aphids, I am, in a way, still feeding the birds. They still flock to my garden, but now they eat the ants and aphids off the rose bushes and it doesn’t even cost a penny in bird seed.
I’ve been away from my blog this past week, for a number of reasons, including setting up a new computer, an extended family member suddenly hospitalized in a coma with no brain activity, plus other more positive family events.
So in this brief intermission, here is a page from Costa Rica’s Zoom magazine I received recently. My sketches illustrate an article about Leaf Cutter Ants (amazing creatures that live in Costa Rica). When the editor was looking for illustrations she came across my sketches on my blog and asked for permission to use them in the article. It’s fun seeing them in print:
(Click image to enlarge)
I’m looking forward to some solid studio time for the next two days and getting back to regular posting. Meanwhile, life goes on…
As second place winner in the International Fake Journal Month contest, I won this amazing t-shirt from Roz Stendahl, the inventor of IFJM. I tried to sketch myself sketching myself myself wearing it. I didn’t do the t-shirt (or myself) justice, but I do like the way the bird and I both seem to have the same expression! THANK YOU ROZ! I love it! (My IFJM posts are here and here.)
I’ve been having one of those crises of artistic self-confidence in my drawing the past couple weeks. I’m not sure if the drawing difficulties are real or I’ve just somehow allowed that nasty internal critic out of his cage and back on my shoulder.
I know the cure though: put him back in his cage and do a whole bunch of drawing until he is so bored he falls asleep for a nice long summer nap. And I’ll start by drawing HIM! Here he is now, safely back in his cage and starting to get very sleepy….