April 26, 2011. Here's a little page documenting the sketch outing with cartoonist Boris Zatko last week. When I sketch with someone, I often try to watch now and then how the other person sketches. Some people enjoy fast sketching, large motions with the pen, and capturing impressions with splotches of watercolor, whereas Boris, like myself, was interested in looking at and recording the little details of the structures before him. The great thing, as we discussed, is that each person has his or her own particular style of capturing the same scene, and the styles often reveal something of one's personality.
April 23, 2011. I dusted the pollen off my scooter today and headed out into the fields. There were tractors everywhere, churning up the soil, and these fields of buttercups under pale blue skies. I landed on this spot and enjoyed again the most amazing spring I can remember since living in Germany.
April 22, 2011. The internet still amazes me. Through posting drawings online I was able to meet Boris Zatko, Swiss cartoonist and children's author, who also loves sketching outdoors like myself. We spent the afternoon together in the Barfüsserplatz of Basel, sketching this same scene and planning our next sketch crawl. We briefly discussed sketching over at the botanical garden, where the giant "corpse flower" was blooming for the first time since its germination in 1993. [see story and photos]
[PS: See Boris' post.]
April 20, 2011. Well, I might just meet my goal of making a sketch every day of vacation after all. Today my daughter and I headed down to Zurich to meet up with a good friend of hers from Sweden who is visiting her brother in Zurich. The art museum is free on Wednesdays, (I wish the parking garage was free!), so we took a tour of that and enjoyed seeing a few works- enjoyed the impressionists of course, as well as some amazing works by Giovanni Segantini, an artist I greatly admire. After the museum I found this spot on the corner of Bahnhof St. and Augustiner Gasse, enjoying a seat in the shade, as it got up to 23 C today.
April 19, 2011. I don't remember the weather in April ever being this beautiful. I took my scooter up into the vineyards above Tannenkirch today where I sketched this little scene. You can see the stork nest on top of the church tower there in the distance, and I watched a grey heron fly by.
April 18, 2011. My daughter returned from Uganda, full of stories and emotions. Through her stories and photos we attempt to experience those events with her. The children were amazed at her white skin, blue eyes, and blond hair. They tried to wipe the whiteness from her arms. She, in turn, was amazed at their joy in spite of poverty, and their hope, despite their surroundings. She again learned that our happiness has very little to do with our material possessions, but has everything to do with relationship to each other and the creator.
April 15, 2011. Sometimes I can't figure what I like better, walking or sketching. A great day is a day I get to do both. Yesterday I took this path to the village of Wollbach, where our school will be located next year. It took me just under an hour to get there, which is a fine commute on most days. A good breakfast together, a strong cup of coffee, then a good morning walk to work makes a good start to any day. As a teacher, it's pretty important that I show up with a good attitude, and a morning walk seems to get all the kinks out before the flurry of the day begins.
April 14, 2011. I spent some more time up at the Kandern cemetery today, as you can see. With Easter coming in a couple of weeks, I am thinking about death and new life more and more. All around us, for the past several days, these woody, lifeless stalks have been coming to life, bringing every color under the sun to what was for so long a dark and gray world. The Creator once again is reminding us of the promise of new life. Easter is a celebration of the end of death's grip and the resurrection of God's Son, providing life after death for us.
April 13, 2011. Another day of glorious low-budget vacationing. My son and I took a sack lunch to Basel, sat on the Rhine and philosophically talked about the difference between the exciting, yet brief waves of a speedboat that passed by, and the deep, long-lasting waves projected by a slow-moving barge that moved up the river. So many analogies there. We came home and I sat in the cemetery to sketch this little scene, a reminder of the brevity of life, and the importance to love those God put in your path today.
April 12, 2011. Happy Anniversary to my parents today- thanks for all you taught me through your example...taking care of people, being a peace-maker, being faithful to your spouse and your job and your kids, making the right choices, even if it isn't popular, pursuing truth, rejecting compromises, and marching to the beat of a different drummer. May God bless your marriage in the years to come.
And I goofed around with some acrylic paints today. I didn't have the colors I needed, so there's some gouache mixed in there too.
April 11, 2011. An early morning sketch on main street in Kandern this morning... a beautiful day, nice to be off work. Time to get some errands done, taxes paid, hedges trimmed, laundry done... looking forward to having a picnic dinner with friends this evening before the rain comes tomorrow.
April 10, 2011. My first day of spring break, Carrie and went down to Basel for a couple hours. I took along my sketchbook and sketched these three locations, the top two took about an hour each without color and the bottom one was a real quickie while waiting for the bus. The greatest thing was meeting another sketcher on the street. We traded sketchbooks and I was amazed at the quality of his work. It was very inspiring to meet someone who really knew what he was doing!
April 8, 2011. I sent my daughter off to Uganda early this morning, where she'll be helping a team start a child sponsorship program at an orphanage there. She'll be the first one in our family to travel below the equator. Spring break starts today for us, and there's good weather outside, so I hope to get a few sketches done of local scenery. I was experimenting with gouache tonight, so here's the result. I think I like watercolor better, but I won't give up yet.
April 6, 2011. I've been feeling really tuckered out the last few days. It's been another long stretch of teaching and we have just another couple of days before spring break. I think I'm going to just sleep the first day of vacation. My daughter is preparing to go to Uganda to work at an orphanage. Last year at this time she was at an orphanage in Tajikistan. I did this sketch today at lunch time- changed the background to something simpler to focus more on this dry fountain in Sitzenkirch.
April 5, 2011. I didn't quite capture the bright yellow of the Forsythia out our kitchen window today. It's a sure sign that spring is here, along with the trees on the hillside white with blossom. I've got an itching to get outside more and do some sketching to capture God's amazing colors of spring. Of course, my nose has its own itching with all the pollen blowing everywhere!
April 4, 2011. I've drawn this before, but here's the view looking out the window while sitting at my desk. Up on the hilltop is Sausenburg ruins. The castle was built back in 1246 by the Counts from Hachberg, traded hands here and there, and was eventually destroyed in 1678 during the Franco-Dutch War. The hike from this point up to the ruins takes about 35 minutes if you're really walking fast. I used to do the hike almost every day after work for exercise. This is my last year teaching at this building, and I am going to miss this beautiful view.
April 1, 2011. As Mark Twain once said, "The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year." I like Mark Twain, a cartoonist with words. Here's yet another sketch of local scenery, attempting to capture the hills around Sitzenkirch.