NaNoDrawMo is almost here!

It’s almost November. That’s the month for the writing challenge… NaNoWriMo.  For us sketchers, there is NaNoDrawMo https://www.flickr.com/groups/nanodrawmo/

From the “about” for the flickr group:  “Loosely defined goals are for each participant to produce 50 individual works/drawings between Nov 1 and Nov 30. You can always do more than 50 if you’ve got it in you! That’s just the minimum everyone should be shooting for.

You do not have to be good. There is no quality requirement. The idea is to force yourself to practice by setting a high quantity goal. Also, it’s not a competition (except with yourself). Any medium is OK, as long as you can get it onto Flickr somehow.”

In a search, the flickr group comes up first.  But there are also hashtags on Instagram, Tumblr,  Twitter  #nanodrawmo

This time, I’m going to give myself permission to do some sketches from my photos.  And then there is the usual Urban Sketching and Sketchbook Skool homework.  It all counts!

BTW, I’m home from Michigan.  Too busy catching up today to sketch.  I even skipped “Drink and Draw”, which I’ve not done before!

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Roadside American

This was a good sketching day.  I sketched from early morning to almost sunset.

Of course, there was  several hour break when I went to Flint to visit family.  We had a delightful visit in the home of my cousin and his wife. Other cousins came as well.

Since I didn’t need to be in Flint until 1pm, I went out in the morning in search of sketch targets.  I had information from Roadside America and was seeking the weird and unusual.

First stop was a small Twin Towers memorial on private property but viewable from the street.

The traditional Episcopal red church door caught my eye and I stopped for a quick sketch.  By 11am it was warm enough to stand outside.

After the visit with my family it was pleasantly warm and there was some daylight left.  I drove south of my home town to sketch a couple oddities at the same place.   Roadside Attractions listed the Big Steer.  But not the “Cool Moose”. The sun was setting as I finished the Moose.

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Home town

The morning is again clear and sunny, though rather chilly.  I drove around town and stopped to look at the home in which I grew up.  It doesn’t look as it did when I lived there.  The newer owners have re-landscaped and added new siding.

The stone bar b que my father built is still there.  Actually, my father, with help from his family, built the house and later the addition!

I drove out into the countryside and found a good example of an older barn and silo to sketch.  This is on Attica road.

Sketched this in the Mixed Media Strathmore Visual Journal sketchbook, which Roz Stendahl recently reconfirmed is the series 500 paper.  It is very nice paper.

A few more photos are here.

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Final leg of the trip

The next few days until I fly home on Wednesday afternoon will be spent in my hometown.  I have an event today (Sunday, 26 Oct)  and then I’ll see family and more friends.  But on Saturday (25 Oct) I started the day still in Mt. Pleasant.

Dawn seems to come later here.  It’s not fully light until at least 0800.  So I dallied a bit in the room before checking out.  Then I drove out into the countryside.  I found a large grain elevator in tiny Rosebush, north of Mt. Pleasant.   This little farming community only has a couple businesses but a huge grain elevator because farming is the biggest business in the area.   I sketched a part of it as the whole thing was overwhelming and would have taken more time than I wanted to spend today.

I looked around Mt. P a little more and then left about noon.  But not before having another Cornish pastie for lunch!

I got off the freeway in Lapeer, the county seat.  Then I drove the 13 miles along the old highway to Imlay City.

I haven’t been back to my hometown in 12 years.  There are a lot of changes, as is expected.  Many of the businesses with which I was familiar are gone.  But there are new ones.  I don’t know the overall tally.  It’s a very small town.

One of the saddest losses is a home business.  This was a beautiful, large, field stone home that was also a dental practice.  It burned but looks like it may be being restored.  I hope so.  Maybe someone will know the story of what happened.

All photos are here.  

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More Nostalgia at CMU

In exploring the options for the next stage of my trip,  I thought I would drive on Friday to Mt. Pleasant where I attended undergrad at Central Michigan University.  Then Saturday, drive to my hometown via the long way around to E. Lansing to stop at Michigan State (MSU), where I went to grad school.  Fortunately I checked…. the University of Michigan vs MSU football game is at MSU on Saturday!  It’s a huge rivalry and warrants avoiding the town that day.

Instead, I stayed in Traverse City until about noon.  I heard about a new complex so went there.  It is called Grand Traverse Commons that has renovated the main building and some of the cottages of the former State mental hospital.  It closed in 1989 and was in danger of being town down.  Renovation began in 2000 when a company bought the
property to develop.    I was there for a couple hours.

It then took about 2.5 hours to drive to Mt. Pleasant.  Once there, the weather was a much warmer 59 degrees.  I wandered the north part of campus but didn’t go into any new buildings.

Then I drove around town, noticing what was different and what was the same.  I found some of the many places I lived…. I moved about 10 times during my college days!

Loads of photos are here.

While driving up and down the “main drag” of commercial Mission St., I saw a Big Boy restaurant that actually had the iconic Big Boy Statue in front.  So many of them no longer do.  Though California used to have Big Boys, they closed before we left 14 years ago.  I
don’t think I’ve seen one in WA.  They are still all over Michigan, though.  So I had to make a quick sketch.  I’m reminded of Chandler’s obsession with road side attractions.    The Big Boy is almost one of those.

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Nostalgia Tour

While my home area in Washington State has constant rain, heavier than usual, I’ve enjoyed 3 days of perfect sunshine here in Michigan!   This is another day based in Traverse City.  My first stop this morning was to attempt to see a Tall Ship just outside of the city but it was locked up.

So on to my nostalgia tour. First stop, Interlochen.    This is a world famous summer arts camp which, during the school year, is an Arts Boarding School.  We used to camp in the state park right next door when I as a teen ager.  I would walk a path through the park
into the campus and hang out.

My parents couldn’t afford to send me to the summer music camp.  But we would attend performances.  Though I as a flute player, I didn’t hang out around flute areas.  I hung out in the dance building, watching class and rehearsals.  Today, I found that building exactly the same as it was 48 years ago!  The class room has a beautiful view of Green Lake, with windows on three sides.

What seemed odd to me today was that I could just walk on to campus and sit in a classroom.  No security.  No checking at the office for a visitor pass.  Very different from public school!  Maybe because they are in the remote wooded countryside of northern Michigan they figure it’s not an issue.

I sketched a Pan sculpture.  The air here is so fresh and scented with pine.  Ahhhhhh.

Next stop, Gwen Frostic‘s studio.    To me at 20-something, she seemed old when I met her in the late 1970’s. She was born in 1906 and died in 2001.   She was a nature artist who
worked in linoleum block prints.  Her shop produced her prints on all sorts of paper products, using old fashioned Heidelberg printers.

I shopped and bought some cards.  I also did two sketches.  Her building is a work of art in itself.  It has nature inside and out but, unfortunately, has deteriorated since her death.

I met and talked with the current owner, Greg.  He said Gwen gave $11 million to Western Michigan University.  There was no money for upkeep of the building as she intended it to rot away and return to the earth.  However, she was not mindful of her fame and artistic legacy that others want to keep alive.  They are still using her carved blocks and those Heidelberg presses!  They are trying to raise money to restore the building.   The income from the business is not enough to do so.

Inside the building was a small waterfall with a pond.

She was ahead of her time with a green roof in the 1960’s.

My final destination was something new.  I do not think I’ve ever been to Sleeping Bear Dunes on shore of Lake Michigan.  I made a couple stops and finally found some dune.

I’ve been experimenting with paper.  The studio interior of the pond was done on Arches cold press 14o #.  The other two are Fabriano cold press, also 140#.  I’m not sure I really like either of them.

Lots of photos are here.

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Color tour on the peninsula

It was a colder morning than I’ve experienced in many years.  It doesn’t often get to 29 degrees in Seattle!  There was a very heavy frost to scrape off the windows of the car, even at 8am!

After breakfast, I drove off for a color tour around the Old Mission Peninsula, north of Traverse City.  Because it was so cold, it was a clear, bright, sunny day.

I did 3 sketches before 1300!  But none the rest of the day.  The 1st and 3rd were drawn on location but colored once I was inside and warm.  The 2nd was drawn from inside the warm car.

The first sketch was a classic Michigan barn.

Next, the view of Grand Traverse Bay from a hill on the Old Mission Peninsula.  In the foreground are the vines of a winery.

Finally, the Mission Point Lighthouse, which was the furthest point of my drive.  It’s very near the 45th parallel, which is half way point between the Equator and the North Pole.

I made a lot of photographs, which are all here.

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Clare Michigan

After arriving at Detroit metro airport and picking up my car, I drove straight to my friend’s home in Clare.  Ann and I were college room mates and have kept our friendship over the intervening 40 years, though we live so far apart.

The rental car has so much electronics I had some difficulty figuring it out.  Initially, I couldn’t get the gas cap open!  But I’ve solved that mystery.

The autumn color in the trees is very pretty on the drive north and around Clare.

While Ann went to teach a class (Tai-chi), I went in to Clare to see a place I’d read about that is also listed in the quirky website, “Roadside America”.  It is Cops And Doughnuts bakery.  It has been a bakery since 1896.  However the business was near to closing in 2009 before being rescued by a group of local police officers.  All 9 members of the local
police department banded together to save the business.  Since then they’ve be recognized with many awards.  I’m told that during tourist season, they serve 8000 people a week, have expanded to 3 store fronts in Clare and have 21 official “substations” throughout Mid-
Michigan.

I liked the sign that is a police badge surrounded by a doughnut….

I sketched this outside at a table in 40 degree weather!  Here is my sketchbook to prove it.

An example of the fall color

Brilliant color in the sun!

All the photos from the day are here.

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Sewing Academy Sunday

I’ve been traveling the past 2 days, having left early Monday morning (20 Oct) for Michigan.  I’m behind in my blog posts but catching up in the hotel room tonight.

The final day of the Sewing Academy at fort Nisqually.  I must admit, I was a little bored during all the fitting sessions.  I’m just not there yet in my understanding of the period clothing.  So I sketched one of the fittings…..

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Pending flickr problem

I have 3 days of posts pending because flickr has suddenly eliminated the ability to share photos, which is how I put my sketches here.  Stand by.   I am on a trip to Michigan.  The autumn colors are beautiful and I’d like to be able to show them to you.   I’ll keep writing my posts in draft and at some point you will see a flood of them once flickr fixes the problem!  Grrrr.

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