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April 30, 2019


Oh Beth -- these are gorgeous.

What I love best, I think, is your drawing of the tiles. It's exquisite, as I'm sure the whole book is.

I love these images - and the ways in which you have rendered them. Thank you for these, and for sharing the process - I wanted to go out and buy you a beautiful piece of paper ... It's a wonderful idea to use the best paper you can to make your own sketchbook...

Thank you, Rachel!

Thanks, Jean -- I like knowing what you liked best. Those tiles were incredible, and when I saw the one with the birds I really wanted to draw it.

Thank you, Jan, both for your words and that generous impulse to buy me some beautiful paper! Don't do it thought, because actually I have a drawer full of top-quality watercolor paper -- it's just a question of using it, or, moreover, of turning some of those big uncut sheets into a portable format. A good rainy-day project, maybe!

Thank you for helping me to re-see Lisbon. And for being so open about your way of seeing and remembering. I know how transforming it is when words and music go together, and it's lovely to find words and drawing/painting accompany each other -- even though I can make neither music nor painting.

Charles, thank you -- you are very good with words, though! I'm glad you enjoyed my blog post and that it helped you to reconnect with Lisbon. There were so many other places that deserved to be sketched or painted, so I hope I can finish those final ten pages in my little book. But the larger questions were more important, and always seem to be when I'm traveling: how can we heighten our awareness of a place and "see" it better; what do we bring to it (because each trip, like each reading of a book, is unique because of who we are at the particular time of encounter); how are we changed by it. Drawing has proved to be as useful for me as writing in thinking through these questions, perhaps because it requires a reflective slowing-down that's quite different, for me anyway, from the act of photography. Getting caught up in whether it's a good drawing or not is sort of a distraction, and side-issue. But I'm afraid I can't avoid that one either -- perhaps there are two parts of my brain that get activated and then fight for attention!

These are lovely Beth and I'm so glad you're pursuing the idea of filling this sketchbook and of also starting a 'serious' (it's ALL serious!) project with words/images.

There is something special about drawing/painting/writing on the pages of a blank book which is totally different from the activity of creating a single image on one sheet of paper or canvas etc. This is why I love the book form so much. Not only can you hold in your hand a whole series of interwoven pages, but there is the magic of opening a spread, seeing the image gradually unfold, then turning another page and another. Don't stop!

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.