Sunday, 31 January 2010


Unfortunately for the male members of my household, I am once again in kokeshi love. Which means all my projects are kokeshi doll-based. I'm about to start some amigurumi projects involving kokeshi boys and girls. And of course, there's the constant looking at Japanese kimono prints and drawing pictures like this. Now, if I could only learn to make real kokeshi dolls too. . .

Saturday, 30 January 2010

mind the gap

Friday, 29 January 2010

JD Salinger, 91

Last night's news decided what my one a day would be today. My writing hero, creator of my all-time favourite literary characters, died last night at the ripe old age of 91.

This sketch is my tribute to him. I know it's not perfect, but the process of drawing this picture was my way of showing him my gratitude and admiration. Danny Gregory wrote in his beautiful memoir, Everyday Matters:

'I caressed what I drew with my eyes, lingering over every curve and bump, gliding around contours and into shadows. No matter what I looked at in this way, I saw beauty and felt love.'

This is exactly how I felt while I was doing this portrait, the same feeling I get every time I draw my children's pictures. I never thought I'd feel the same way drawing someone I never met. But the looking and the seeing that went into this picture made me know him a little bit. I saw how thick his eyebrows were, how lovely and straight his nose was, how his long eyelashes cast shadows around his eyes. I saw the meticulously slicked back hair, the wisp of a smile, the youthfulness in his eyes. I saw, with relief, that he had once been a happy man. And this young, successful, possibly happy man is the one I will remember, not the old recluse whom people were always trying to draw out of hiding. Rest in peace, Mr Salinger, no one will hound you anymore.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

one a day

This is my post-New Year resolution: to make something each day. That something can be a picture, a sewing or crochet project, or even a cake. Anything that can be made with my own fair hands.

I started yesterday.

I sketched this from an unsuccessful attempt to get Sofia to pose for a proper portrait just before Christmas. She refused to smile and just stared sullenly at me as the photographer kept trying to persuade her to smile. I bought a copy anyway because I thought she looked cute even if she was glum (and also because I felt obliged to, having wasted fifteen minutes of the photographer's time with my uncooperative little one).

This is today's one a day:

I had a quick search through old photographs to see how Lucas looked when he was the same age as Sofia is now. I can't remember him being this young and sweet. He's lost the baby fat now, and would definitely not be caught dead making cute faces at the camera anymore.

An extra thing for today:

Banana chocolate cake, with walnuts. Made with the help of my able assistant, whom I had to stop from mixing all the ingredients at once, but whose cheerful demeanor and excited shrieks when the oven bell rang after the cake was done totally made my day.