Saturday Sketchday and Solidarity

Today I had my almost-bi-weekly sketching jaunt with my friend Jane. Today we decided to head to one of our favorite places for a little brunch before we headed out to sketch. It turned out to be a little cold for a lot of outdoor sketching so we settled in at a new café with coffee and our sketchbooks for some chit chat and doodling.

I adore these days with Jane and spending time devoted to just art. We talk about process and discuss the things we’re trying in our studio. We’ve made a plan to take a class about gelatin printmaking. Jane has convinced me to join one of the area arts groups and in person classes may be a byproduct.


After Jane and I parted ways I made a little side trip. In solidarity with my buddy Connie of DirtyFootprintsStudio I did a little urban recon and took a few pictures. Mhmm, say what you will, but there is something to be said about going where other people don’t and where you’re told you shouldn’t.

Sometimes art pushes boundaries. To me that is what photography is all about. I have a friend who breaks into warehouses and takes pictures of the decay. His work blows my mind.

The thing is when you go places where regular 9 to 5 people don’t go, you see stuff they don’t see. Abandoned buildings house vagrants, addicts and parties held by teens checking out from reality for awhile. The signs are clear as to what is going on, party leftovers, a user’s “works,” burnt spoons, candles burnt to nothingness, near fires, cigarette burns on furniture, ash burns on floors, empty liquor bottles, vials, baggies and little balloons. None of is pretty. It’s sadness in a physical form. There is beauty in the dirt and decay but there is nothing beautiful in the downward spiral.

We can stick our heads in the sand about what we want to see or not, but some of us open our eyes and mind to the beauty in the decay while being wonderfully and horribly aware of the inherent sadness involved in what we’re seeing. Sometimes the sadness can bring tears to our eyes, but we’ve got to be aware of the truth.