Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

My  "Zuppa Soup Collage", inspired by 
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Collage allows you to stir in anything you want.
Arrange & re-arrange, add & subract.
How did our Family Book Group members like Granny Torrelli Makes Soup? Unanimously, "Loved it!" (doesn't always happen with this group of discriminating readers). This novel, (which I heartily recommend to adults as well as children), has so much: Loveable, honest characters, humor, sadness, poetic language (in Italian & English!), wonderful structure, great cooking scenes, & sensitively presented themes about love, human imperfection & forgiveness. Loveable Rosie, learns from her immigrant Granny's stories & from her understanding, how to manage life's sometimes difficult situations & feelings in relation to friendships . 

After the discussion, during the art-making we, young & old, 3 generations, informally shared situations in our own lives & cooking stories that the story evoked. I had given out a list of Granny Torrelli's Italian words & expressions, so a lot of "Tutto va bene!" & "molto good" & "zuppa" could be heard, as well as a lot of laughter.

Sharon's  inspiration for the book is on her website (click HERE). Sharon also has the blog, "Words We Say". 

"When I learned that my daughter was expecting her first child, I began thinking about what it would be like to be a grandparent. In remembering my own grandparents, it seemed that most of my memories of my grandmothers swirled around kitchens and food. There was something important—more important than the meals being made—that took place in those kitchens, and I wanted to explore that. I kept seeing images of my Italian grandmother, with her elfish smile and quick wit, and those images evolved into the character of Granny Torrelli." ~Sharon Creech

The world would be a better place if everyone had a Granny Torrelli like the one in this small gem of a book!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

City Sketching

Portland view looking toward Congress from Commercial Street
Click on image to enlarge.

I was recently sketching city "environments" in Portland. Drawing architecture is fairly new for me. I understand the theories, but have been timid to try them. The "Portland Show 2014" at Greenhut Gallery  (Click HERE) has some brilliant cityscapes, especially "Portland from Munjoy Hill" by a former teacher, David Campbell. Such mastery of perspective & color, such provoking points of view, such focus he has as he works from observation over the course of several years on one large canvas!!  
My original sketch, with Uniball pen & Prismacolor pencils. Click on image to enlarge. 
Scribbly & rough, but, I'm motivated, because I love observing these scenes. I like that I'm more willing to make mistakes than I used to be.
This book fell into my sphere recently, at just the right moment! I'd seen it in a bookstore in Cambridge. Sketching taught by an architect!! Paul Laseau says we are like detectives as we explore scenes that attract us, scanning, continually seeing more. Our drawing process affects what & how we see.

Laseau says we must keep practicing to keep skills honed: eye-hand coordination, perception, concentration, relaxed awareness...And keep exploring the visual work of others, especially masters. It is what David Campbell has been doing, perhaps, throughout his life.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Celebrating Arrival of Spring in Harvard Square: Photos

Harvard Square, Cambridge, facing Harvard University. 
A great place to celebrate a (FINALLY!) REAL spring day! 
Entering Harvard Yard from Mass. Ave.
Surprise! An artist who was also part performer
as he interacted with his passing audience.
He's a graduate student and 
he's going to paint various other Harvard views.
Signs of Spring on a New England college campus!
Who belongs to the little bike, I wonder? 
(Sharon, you probably have the story!)
Great public transportation in the whole Boston area.
Tiny transportation waiting for bigger subway transportation.
Transportation that is occupied displaying flowers.
All the flower shop doors are open! After months of gray:
Here is COLOR!!
 People are buying pussy willows like crazy!
More transportation that is taking a break with its rider. 
Benches are filled with folks reading...
 Everywhere people reading...
Aaaah, reading by sunlight with a cool breeze...
Maybe the readers bought books from one of the 7 or so book shops in the area.
 (There used to be many more. Then came the Internet...) 
One of the remaining bookstores is Schoenhofs Foreign Books. 
Founded in 1856, it's the largest foreign language bookstore in America.
Learning materials in over 700 languages & dialects & 
fiction & non-fiction & children's books in 50 languages. 
All over Cambridge you hear so many languages!
While I was browsing the French children's books 
the nice bookseller put French music on for me. 
Did you know that April 2 was International Children's Book Day?
Out of Town News is right in the heart of Harvard Square.  
It almost went out of business due to the advent of online periodicals, but
in 2009 a new owner saved it. And I am thrilled he did. 
 Folks on this fine day are reading in outdoor cafés...
And chatting.
 These guys are eating & chatting too. But not reading...
If you stop to carefully look, they are really pretty.
This sunny day reminds me that soon it will be summer hat season.
For an authentic Panama Hat go to the gorgeous Goorin Brothers Hat Shop,
a family business established in 1895. And they have a nice selection of 
pretty feathers for your cap (for a pretty price, though).
 Don't forget your sun hat when you are hanging out in the park at Harvard Square,
listening to music (& reading or chatting).
If you & your spirit have never done that, I highly recommend it!