November 29, 2012. I have no idea how well Google translate works with Russian, but I gave it a shot. I was working on something for my students tonight, as we'll be talking about how people celebrate Christmas in other countries. I visited Russia for a week several years ago, and remember the icy cold wind blowing across Red Square. Here's a drawing of Grandfather Frost and the Snow Maiden.
November 28, 2012. I was hanging out with my wife at a coffee shop in Castro Valley tonight, trying to sketch some of the people around me. The guy with the pony tail was carrying on an interesting conversation... something about faith, I believe, but I couldn't catch enough of the content to make much sense of it, and it wasn't really my business anyway. At first I thought he was sketching, as he had a large sketchbook type thing in front of him, and several kinds of pens and pencils. But then I realized he was working things out with a calculator, and he was maybe a teacher or something because younger people would come up to him and discuss other subjects I couldn't make heads or tails of.
November 24, 2012. I'm at the end of a great Thanksgiving week. Lots of good time with family and friends. My first Thanksgiving with my family in 16 years. As we went around the room saying what we were thankful for, a few tears of joy were shed, reflecting on God's amazing provision for each one of us the past several years. And when I say, provision, I"m referring more to the provision of love and relationship than I am material provision. As the world around us seems to make fewer and fewer references to the existence of God, I want to all the more acknowledge the goodness and grace of God in my life and the life of my family. I heard a radio announcer make a statement this past week, "No one in the world represents the spirit of giving more than Santa Claus." Absurd. Scratch that. Instead, "No one in the world represents the spirit of giving more than God, in sending his Son to die, in order that we might live." (Sketch was done this morning in Gardenhill Park, La Mirada.)
November 19, 2012. My daughter came home from college for Thanksgiving, and my dad flew up from Long Beach for a few days to see our place in Hayward and surprise my son for his birthday. It's been great having both of them here. Yesterday, my dad and son went to a Raiders game and my daughter and I hung out in Oakland until it was over. I found this spot to sketch, and was able to sketch most of it until a few police cars showed up and apparently were making an arrest. I felt like it was time to move on, so we took off. It's always a bit awkward sketching in neighborhoods. People get suspicious.
November 12, 2012. I should have never included the eggplant. They are great for eating, but not for drawing. I don't know if I'll ever try to draw an eggplant again. The persimmons are brilliant fun, but the onion was resistant and the eggplant deplorable. Once again, I was rescued by the invention of the cropping tool.
November 11, 2012. I thought I'd do a sketch of Gabi Campanario today, the founder of Urban Sketchers. He's been a big inspiration to so many sketchers around the world, and it was great to finally meet him up in Seattle last summer. Yesterday was my son's birthday, so his grandparents drove up from Fresno for the day and joined us on a scavenger hunt, which ended with him finding a BMX bike, another great find on Craig's List.
November 8, 2012. I will admit, these last few months have been hard. Saying goodbye to our friends in Germany, seeing our daughter head off to college, and leaving behind 15 years of memories in one of the most beautiful places in the world sometimes leaves me frozen in my thoughts. The people, the experiences, and the memories I have now as a treasure. And each one, a gracious gift of God, never to be taken for granted. And so my challenge, now, is to cherish the past; but at the same time, embrace the present, knowing that each new day is another gift from above.
November 7, 2012. (night sketch in Castro Valley, CA) Mick Jagger sang, "I can't get no satisfaction" and Bono sang "I still haven't found what I'm looking for." C.S. Lewis once said, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." How many bleary-eyed mornings have you woken up without a clue where it's all leading, and who's pulling the strings on the whole operation anyhow? The weekend surge of adrenaline didn't seem to last beyond Monday morning, and the expectation of finding that whatever it is that will somehow pin the blue ribbon to your dreams ends up smashed on the floor. Some of us have to remind ourselves to stop trying to get there. You already are there. You don't have to go anywhere. The one who made you is the one who loves you. And that's enough. If you have him, you've already got everything the world is running after. And this planet, with its corruption and greed, is passing away. You were made for another world. "We see but dimly through the mists and vapors; Amid these earthly damps, What seem to us but sad, funeral tapers, May be heaven's distant lamps." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
November 6, 2012. It was another warm November day today in the Bay area, as many people celebrate the election results that are coming in. But cooler temperatures are expected tomorrow, and storms are predicted beyond that. I was checking electoral votes while sketching my son doing his homework tonight. Like I said last election, I never put my hope in politicians. Psalm 146:3 "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save." Leaders come and go. Kingdoms and nations come and go. The world has the same basic problems today that it had a thousand years ago. Like I say every four years, "My hope is in you, the Maker of heaven and earth."
November 4, 2012. Yet another sketch video- this time from Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco. My son and I took a day in the city, and the weather was wonderful. People were swimming, kids were building sand castles, and musicians were keeping the atmosphere festive. And it is November! Imagine that. We grabbed a cup of clam chowder and played some quarter games at the Musée Mécanique. My favorite feature there was an early animation devise called a praxinoscope.