Knoxville, Tennessee has many attractions, including two grandsons, a well-preserved historic downtown area, cardinals, mockingbirds, and syrupy thick Southern accents with the down-home expressions to match. My current favorite: “Butter my buns and call me a biscuit!” However, what I’m hearing mostly are loud, emphatic, “NOs,” because one grandson is a red-headed two-year-old. And that, my friends, is why I haven’t been keeping up very well with my posts.
I’ve asked myself over the last couple of years why I hardly ever sketched for so many years – the answer is now crystal clear. How quickly we forget. You can sketch a bit with one child under the age of six, because they can sit beside you and offer suggestions, or better yet make their own art, but just give it up when there is a two-year-old in the mix. This one has the attention span of a gnat, and apparently his crib is a portal to the Planet of Evil Twins – sometimes we have the angel twin, sometimes the evil twin gets beamed down in his place. Look away for one split second and your watercolors have become lunch, or you hear a shriek of “MINE!” and your own sketch has become collaborative mixed media with crayon… pictured below was a rare moment of concentration and angelic quiet:
Taking care of the boys has been exhausting fun, and not a total loss for sketching. The older boy, recently turned 5, is a great companion on hobbit hunts. He gave me the specs for several pages of scary critters, then we tried a side-by-side demo of drawing a dragon “as heavy as cement.”
I also took advantage of the nanny and snuck away a couple of times to the Town Square for a bit of solo sketching. The weather has been delightful and the leaves are still suprisingly green, making for deep shadows in the square that I intended to add later, which never happened; and the second sketch never really got off the ground but it was a fascinating subject. If I get a chance to get back down there, I will focus just on the sculpture of the three women – as I was leaving I got close enough to read the inscriptions about the women’s suffrage movement in Tennessee. Very inspiring – we owe our foremothers a huge debt, in so many ways.