Just Walk Away

Paris cobblestone street“Just Walk Away”
Ron Dawson walking down Cobblestone Street in Paris, France

Is there anything more delightful than cobblestone streets? They are amazing to photograph and look at. They add character and charm to any city or town. Their unique look offers a vintage feel to even modern areas.

But oh my word, have you tried walking on them for any length of time? Make sure you have good shoes with a lot of support because they wreck havoc on the body. It’s hard to make a sure step and your body is constantly compensating for the change in size and shape of the stones.

Did you know that the offset way they are fashioned actually creates a louder sound when driving down the street, whether in horse and carriage or by car?

Want to know why?

So pedestrians can hear you coming! Now isn’t that a brilliant idea. Certainly might’ve helped me when I got hit by a car while crossing a crosswalk.

FUN FACT: Technically, this is a granite sett road, characterized by the rectangular shape. But it’s more fun to write and say cobblestone. The way to tell the difference is that cobbles are small or large pebbles rounded by water so they are distinct from the rectangular quarried stones pictured here.

What is Art

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“What is Art” Visual Journal Page
Office Supply Tag, Alphabet Stamps, Tim Holz Distress Ink

Inside the “art” flap on the front of the tag are the words “journaling.” I needed to answer both questions for myself as I began the process of what others would call art journaling. I’ve avoided art journaling for years, not because it didn’t appeal to me but because of the expectations I conjured in my mind around the name. Words can carry powerful meaning and symbolism to liberate or enslave.

Art is something that artists do… good artists who can draw and sketch something from nothing at a moment’s notice without any practice. They are gifted and talented from on high or by a muse who whispers ideas to them at night. They are other and ether and certainly not me.

That was the mental construct I built around art and since I fit none of that description, anything I did related to art seemed like a second-rate attempt to be something I wasn’t.

I’ve since revised the definition, but am still working out the exact languaging of what art means to me, as well as redefining the definition of artist and journaling as well. The definitions are loose and open, and will likely evolve with time.

For now, identifying and releasing the definition of art provided an opening in my life and creativity that is working well for me.

The Long Journey Home

Paris Cobblestone Streets

Rue de Paris
Cobblestone Street in Paris

For two years in a row I’ve planned a coffee date with my daughter to complete Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook.

One of my favorite questions she asks is the title of your life for the previous year… 2013.

For 2013, my title was “The Long Journey Home.”

2013 brought me back home physically… my native home of Seattle, Washington. A place where I flourished and found joy again. Joy that had been absent for far too long.

It was just a two week visit in November, but it was the beginning of a new season that will continue to unfold in 2014.

The journey is far from over, but I feel that I have found my center again and for that I am truly thankful.

Hannah Hichman on Fakes

“I’m tired of glossy, retouched, plastic, overdubbed, laugh tracked, advertised experience. I want crude – straight from the soul.”

Hannah Hichman

Hats On Pencil Sketch

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Watercolor paper. No. 2 pencil.

The sketch is mine, but the idea is not. I started browsing a fashion sketch how-to book and used this sketch to practice one of the example drawings.

Most of my sketching is done that way… sketched from my own hand, but the idea is usually strongly influenced or a copy of something I see.

For some reason with my drawings I’ve never been the type that comes up with my own pictures. As long as I can remember (back to age 4 or 5), I used to love to trace coloring books or try to draw them on my own then color them. I didn’t like coloring directly in the coloring book. It was almost like I needed the original form to be from my own hand, even if it was a copy.

Interesting.

View From the Top of Montmartre

Parisian Streets

Montmartre
Stomping Ground of Artists in 1920s Paris

This view, from the top of the hill, looking down on Paris is mesmerizing. I can see why artists, painters, illustrators, poets, writers and musicians from all walks of life converged in Montmartre in the 20s.

It’s away from the hustle of the city, isolated by the long hike up the hills, and provides breathtaking landscape for constant inspiration.

This one image from my inaguaral trip to Paris holds a special place in my photo collection. I’ve even made this image into an iPhone case and a set of Parisian cards.  It captures a look and feel that I had always expected to find in Paris. I wasn’t disappointed.

Creative Word Doodle Dangles

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Sketch paper. Micron .1 Black Ink Pen

Opening to creativity again led me to find Doodle Dangles and Zentangles. I’d never heard of them before, but what an interesting find. One google image search provides an abundant source of ideas and inspiration.

Combining the dangles and zentangles is even better because it’s fun, easy and feel a lot like the doodling I did in junior high and high school during math class. They are generally colorful and bright, but I liked the simplicity of the paper and pen on this one.

Hiding From the Rain

Paris Rainy Day

Hiding From the Rain
Montmartre, Paris

Caught in a downpour, this Parisian woman is still incredibly chic as she hides from the rain. While others around her were ducking and hiding, she sidled down the sidewalk with grace and poise… everything you expect from a fashionable Parisian woman.