Thanksgiving is an autumn harvest holiday, celebrated by eating as much of the harvest as possible in one day. It’s also a time to consider all we have to be thankful for. When I published blog post #1000 last week, that milestone also made me pause and reflect on gratitude.
One important thing I’m grateful for is you, my wonderful blog readers/friends who give me so much encouragement and support and who so often say exactly what I need to hear when you leave comments.
Thank you for your inspiration, humor, advice, encouragement and for taking the time to share a few moments of your day with me. I treasure the friendships I’ve made via blogging. Some have led to in-person friendships, others have remained virtual, but all are incredibly valuable.
Along with the rewards gained from sharing my work and my thoughts, blogging has helped me to improve and grow as an artist and has led to many artistic and personal discoveries along the way.
I feel so lucky to live in a time when artists around the world can share, inspire and learn from each other. So I offer up a thousand thanks to all of you!
A few blog stats: Since I started JanasJournal in May 2006, I’ve published 1,103 posts, which received 10,120 comments, and almost 1 million “hits.” Meanwhile WordPress’s excellent spam catcher has caught and deleted 90,000 spam comments. Whew!
On Monday night I completed another sketchbook and three years of sketch-blogging. Cathy and I had dinner at Cactus Taqueria on Solano Avenue in Berkeley and sketched the other diners. Then we started walking to see what else looked like fun to draw.
It was cold and foggy outside, and the lobby of the old Oaks Theatre looked warm and inviting so we walked in and asked if we could sketch. This confused the woman working there who had nothing to do but sit and chat with a younger woman. It was a Monday night and they were showing a French movie and it was a bad French movie and so there were few customers. She told the manager we wanted to sketch (with a tone of voice that implied we might be deranged) and he said it was fine.
We sat on carpeted stairs (the only place to sit except the already occupied bench) and sketched the popcorn machine directly in front of us. At first it seemed like a stupid, boring subject, but within minutes I was captivated by all the odd mechanical bits inside the machine. Oddly, despite the strong scent of hot popcorn, the machine was completely empty.
At first we sketched listening to the inane conversation of the two women which even they seemed bored by. They left and the manager came over and asked us whether drawing can be learned or if is just an inborn talent (definitely can be learned!). Then he wandered off and we listened to him being lectured to by a customer (inspired by the movie she’d just left?) about race, culture, history, and her philosophies on life, while he listened patiently, saying “OK.” I jotted down a few of her pronouncements on the sketch.
Three Years of JanasJournal.com
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About a year ago, I received an email from Croatian poet and author Sonja Smolec, asking for permission to use one of my watercolors on the cover of her new book of poetry, “White Lilac Love.” Of course I agreed, and was delighted when she sent me a copy of the book.
A week ago I received an email from Sonja telling me that her publisher had held a bookcover contest and her book had won! The 73 poems in White Lilac Love weave a beautiful and tender love story with all the soaring emotions from hope to despair to true love along the way. One of the poems was so evocative and full of wonderful imagery that it inspired a painting (in progress — more about that later).