I had a slow start today after a busy weekend, but after doing some printmaking this afternoon, I got back over to the library to paint. Our main library was built just as Memphis got serious about public art, and I love the glass sculpture that hangs in strips down the inside of the front window. I climbed up to the fourth floor and got a table looking sideways over the main atrium so I could get a little of it in the sketch.
The weekend started with our urban sketching group meeting at the Flying Saucer downtown. We all sat along the counter in the open air window on the south side. It felt very European, and we had views down towards Beale Street. I love going out to draw with a group -- usually my work is much more solitary.
The weekend continued with a quick overnight trip to Huntsville to call with my sister. Her cousin rode with me, and we all had a great time together and at the dance.
After getting back Sunday, the day was hot, so I followed through on the plan I'd made earlier to go spend a hot afternoon drawing at Yo-Lo. Once again, drawing sitting at a table (instead of on a hard sidewalk in the sun) and with a dark chocolate frozen yogurt topped with fresh blueberries at my elbow was a luxurious session. I'm going to be a little sad when the heat breaks and I have no excuse to search out indoor places. I might have to do a second view of Yo-Lo before that....
I did manage to get out and do one sidewalk drawing Saturday morning before the urban sketching group. I'd done a similar view across the fold in my sketchbook, but I wanted to try it again on one solid piece of paper so I can include it in my Memphis show at Playhouse this fall.
I finally got the rest of my beach pictures scanned in. (The larger ones require a trip out of the house to visit a scanner with a large bed.) Above is the view down into the pool from our third floor balcony. I loved staying on the third floor -- it gave us a lovely view as well as privacy both through the windows and on the balcony. I could sit and play my banjo without being eyeball to eyeball with anyone. Most people didn't even notice.
The above two are from my favorite morning's painting. I took my kayak out to a tiny, kayak-sized beach Elmore and I had stopped at the day before. It is surrounded by sawgrass from land, so it truly is solely for small boats like ours. Elmore wanted to do a three hour training paddle, so I headed back to this tiny beach with my art supplies to paint the scenes I had spotted the day before. It was a lovely, restful morning, but there is also a great feeling of accomplishment when you paddle yourself somewhere, paint the view, and then paddle yourself home again.
We left the island on the 6:30 am ferry, and it's a two and three quarter hour ride, which is lovely -- it cuts off driving distance, and you can sit and have your breakfast, play your banjo, read your book, or sketch on the ferry. I enjoyed hanging with the family and doing a little drawing at the same time before we hit the highway in different cars to different destinations. A lovely ending to the week.
An equally lovely coda to the vacation was a stop in Lincolnton, NC on the way home. We spent the night with our nieces and nephews, and I went out sketching the next morning while Elmore finished his coffee, checked his email, and relaxed before we hit the road again. Lincolnton is a lovely small town, just oozing old-fashioned Americana, and I can't wait to go visit and do some more sketching there. This one is a Methodist church in town that I've admired every time we've visited. Hopefully I can paint some more there soon.
Not only was it quite hot yesterday, but I was a little stressed out from my volunteer job, and sitting peacefully among rows of books suddenly appealed to me. I headed for our main library, a fairly new and quite lovely building (except for the escalator in the middle of the main floor, which is completely wrong in a library). I found a quiet table by the windows and enjoyed doing a sketch, and then I found a couple of wonderful books at the second hand store on the way out. All in all, a pleasant afternoon's work.
After the Farmers Market, I headed to my letterpress mentor's workshop for another lesson and to pick up yet more type, cases, and other goodies she has been showering me with. (Fortunately she's liked my paintings for years, so I have things to trade her that I know she really likes.)
On the way home, I stopped at Burke's Bookstore, our locally-owned new and used bookstore in Memphis. I'm on a quest lately to single-handedly preserve the viability of the printed word (we hit six locally-owned bookstores on our recent trip and patronized all of them), so I got my book club book from the local place. Then I decided to paint in the funky Cooper-Young neighborhood that houses the bookstore. It's a little too far to be on my regular walking circuit, but it's a great part of Midtown.
Sunday was Di Anne Price day at Huey's. We have a regular group that meets to hang out and listen when she plays, and this Sunday I took my paints along as well. I'm working on a series of my Memphis places, and Sundays at Huey's are an important part of my quality of life.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
Get occasional studio email updates.