Painting the Town

Much as I like the little town of Winslow, action central on Bainbridge Island, it becomes a pass-through place for us, a quick stop for bread or soup at Blackbird Bakery on the way to or from the Seattle ferry.

The first-ever “Paint Out Winslow” event last August, sponsored by Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, sounded like a good idea. Many real “plein air” painters participated, balancing brushes, palettes, and oil paints at their stations around town. And I meandered, making little watercolor drawings about my day.

Winslow 1

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Most Mysterious

Evolution designed high privacy settings for our minds, with all our thoughts potentially secret. I keep thinking that’s really true for Lady Baby – my most mysterious person.

A two and a half-year old offers tantalizing hints of her thoughts, has language enough to make it known she thinks a lot, but isn’t always inclined to explain herself. (I suppose I will never know why the polar bear had to wait for its baby.)

A while back her mom sent a playground photo of Lady Baby posed between two hanging poles that wiggle unreliably, one foot on each. The text of Lady Baby’s comment read: “Baby Boy [a favorite doll] taught me to do this, and I said Baby Boy thank you for teaching your mama this cool trick.”

Clearly, I could have chosen Baby Boy as the most mysterious person I know. In a FaceTime conversation, I learned more about Baby Boy and his father Nick (who is himself a teeny tiny baby). Nick drives a jeep. He and Baby Boy have a house on Sesame Street and a cabin in Prudhoe Bay. Baby Boy doesn’t go to the cabin “much,” and when he stays home, Lady Baby takes care of him (she is his mama you remember). They have a dog named Quesadilla, and when I inquired if Quesadilla were boy or girl, Lady Baby told me twice, “Quesadilla is a grown-up dog!”

Lady Baby is such a rapidly changing comet. This month she’s this, but by next month she will know more cool tricks and be able to talk about them even better, should she choose to.

On a Labor Day visit, I learned that Nick had left his huge motorcycle parked on Water Street in Port Townsend, so he could go shopping, and that he also drove the ferryboat and made announcements on board, “on the microphone.”

Does the question about mysterious also imply there is a solution? Solving the mystery of a child might be the very definition of raising a child. Figuring them out. Watching them figure themselves out.

Maybe it’s the mystery of how all this development of imagination and language happens so quickly that astounds me – two years ago she was a “teeny, tiny baby” and so limited. Now she is such a person with relationships, likes, dislikes, and passions for pickup trucks and baby dolls.

And maybe the grandparent role makes me think about time, about how I won’t know how her story comes out. If I can’t know the end, the story stays mysterious.

LB collage

 

 

 

Do You Know About Skillshare?

On its website Skillshare offers series of project-based video classes about design, business, technology and more, presented by experts in their field. You may buy some courses outright for $19 or buy a monthly subscription for $9.95, and take as many classes as you want. Skillshare provides some classes focusing on creativity and innovation for free, and often offers a free trial month.

Skillshare knows that we learn best by doing. This year I’ve been working through classes in InDesign and Photoshop. I made the little booklet I posted last week for The Workroom as my project in Anne Ditmeyer’s InDesign class. Each time I look at her videos I learn something, and in the last month Ditmeyer has been offering helpful critiques of class projects.

Some classes lend themselves to just watching, like Jack Zerby’s “Fundamentals of Design: How to Think Like a Designer.” Zerby whips through a cogent, concise overview of design principles in videos that total less than two hours, lighting on concepts like visual hierarchy, type, and color. By revealing a touch of designer fairy dust, he makes one look anew at the designed world around us.

But best of all, a few weeks ago, a Skillshare email offered “Creative Non-fiction: Write Truth With Style” by Susan Orlean. Wow. If you are interested in writing, any kind of writing, this is a gem.

In 14 short video lessons, each so well-crafted and organized, Orlean traces her process, using as example a piece she wrote some 20 years ago: “The American Male at Age 10.” She’s funny and engaging – and so generous with the details of how she works. (More here about Orlean and the class from the Skillshare blog: http://blog.skillshare.com/eight-things-we-learned-about-susan-orlean/)

For the class project, Orlean suggested a 750-word piece about “the most mysterious person you know.” I thought about it all the time I watched the videos (I rationed myself to one a day while I worked on Frances’s adventures, though I often relistened while painting).

I’m a long-time fan of Orlean, from her New Yorker articles to “The Orchid Thief” – and I was thrilled to discover this class. And her prompt does make you consider your cohort.

Who is the most mysterious person you know?

 

Mysterious Hat

 

The Workroom – A New Session

The Workroom – a sure sign of autumn – the dates are: begin 8 September and end 17 October. Below is a little “booklet” describing The Workroom, and more information, including testimonials from past participants, is available on my website http://www.katygilmore.com. The cost is $60 for the six weeks.

Questions or to sign up, please email me at herspiritsrose@gmail.com.

Having made the blog a sort of Workroom with the Frances project, I’m even more convinced that it works to be accountable. I’d love to see you there!

The Workroom Project ID fourth iteration

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