On Thursday evening, after an appointment at the Jewish Hospital in Cote-des-Neiges, J. and I found ourselves wanting something to eat rather than driving home in the rush hour traffic. We entered a small Moroccan restaurant and sheesha bar -- not a usual place for us -- where we lounged on cushioned banquettes, ate delicious kefta and poulet grillades, drank mink tea sent to our table by the observant manager, and shared a sheesha for two hours amid the Arab men and a few women who were talking, smoking the sweet apple-soaked tobacco, drinking coffee, playing with their phones and computers, and casting an occasional eye at the Arab music videos on big screens. It was uncharacteristic for us, and deeply relaxing, and we thought about this cold city and mixed-up neighborhood where, as in old Damascus or Jerusalem, the Hassids and less conservative Jews and Arabs and Christians actually manage to live together in peace.
These are the last flowers that were blooming in a pot on our terrace, and I don't even know what they are - some sort of salvia, maybe? They're tiny and purple. I cut the last of them and brought them inside one evening earlier this week. Yesterday we saw the first snow flurries, so it won't be long.
And here's a jar of comb honey, some tea, and some almonds. I guess I just wanted to make things hard for myself - drawing thick honey with wax in it, or a cup of tea, using a fountain pen, is not exactly easy! Some kind of wonky circles here, but I like the drawing anyway.
I'm not interested at all in making illustrations, or worrying about accuracy: as a commercial artist and graphic designer I've done enough of that for one lifetime. What I'm after in these drawings is the impression of things, a feeling, and an interesting arrangement of shapes -- and the ability to capture that quickly and freshly, without making a drawing that looks labored or fussy. A true sketch. Looking back through my sketchbooks I can see a lot of progress since I started doing this regularly, a few years ago, as well as a lot of experimenting with different media and styles. Nothing feels "fixed" (and I hope that persists), except that the practice is becoming part of my life; I enjoy it, I'm happy when a drawing works out well, and I don't get upset when they don't. And I like having this different sort of record of my life. Drawings bring places, people, events and emotions back to me in a way that a photograph can't, probably because of the time spent doing them: there's an awareness of yourself as part of a particular scene that persists along with the marks that your hand makes on the paper. Anyway -- it's been worth the effort and a lot of bad drawings to get to a point where it feels like fun.