Thursday, May 21, 2009


My favorite little neighbor. She reigned like a little queen over a neighborhood gang of boys, and stopped by often to ask to play with a highlighter, or colored clay, or to drink my water, which she seemed to think was different from her own water at home. I got her to sit still for a little while and made this quick sketch of her, shortly after she began first grade.

Then she drew me. Very promising, I think. I like how she got my glasses, and my sandals.

Markers and Gel Pens on Paper

Monday, May 18, 2009


Another moment. I was sitting in a market, bored, waiting to meet someone. The market was full of men who watched me curiously, and so, as a strategy to avoid conversation, I sat on a stool by a woman's sewing shop and began this drawing of a young girl who was sitting nearby. Called to my appointment, I never finished. This person, who I met, would change my life, but of course I didn't know that then, trying to capture the girl's face quickly before some older sister called her off on an errand. And then someone did call her, and someone called me.

So here is the unfinished face of a child whom I never met before or after. And here is the moment before everything changed.
Ink on Paper

From Ghana with Love

A sketch is a moment in time captured on paper. These drawings were made during long quiet days in Ghana, where I lived and worked for two years, and where I learned a lot about how to relax and appreciate the day. The drawing above captures a sudden rainstorm seen through a tear in the patchwork curtains over a barred window.

Below, another expat friend, inside her bungalow, sitting and talking late into a warm evening while her dog sleeps on another chair.
Her dog, Jaro.

Ink, Markers and Gel Pens on Paper


Sketches of monkeys done at the Baobeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana. The Black and White Colobus Monkeys live high in the trees and scorn anything human. Mona Monkeys hang out in the thickets near the ground and around garbage dumps, picking up discarded people food. When I was watching, the juvenile monkeys were 'babysitting', sitting in the upper branches of a bush where the babies played, while their mothers were all off doing their own thing.
Ink on Paper

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Potty Training

I made these illustrations to put together into a book to send to my two-year-old niece, H. She was in the midst of potty-training and my sister requested a good picture book that would simply show all the steps she needed to learn. They are living and working in West Africa currently, so the story is very specific to H's setting, environment, and family. There were no words to go with the pictures, H not yet being very proficient at reading.

The first page illustrates the woeful times that have befallen H and friends pre-potty training.
H begins to think about other possibilities.

H is very excited and decides to plunge into a world without diapers.
H didn't have the advantage of a kiddie pottie. I did want to let her know that, in an emergency, a bucket could also do the trick, as her gecko friend demonstrates.
Waiting. The baby is H's little brother, C, a future potty-trainee himself.
Kids always take too much. Luckily, Mommy is on hand to help.
Now the joy of flushing! Everyone is very proud of H, and gecko, too.
Sanitation is always important. Soap and water.
Now H and gecko can feel very grown up in their big kid underwear (which my younger sister and I included in the mail with the illustrations). And the process can start all over with C.

Did it help? I like to think so. At any rate, H seemed to like it, and is by now an old pro with a potty.

Marker, Colored Pencil on Recycled Paper


My Nyepa. Endlessly patient, posing yet again, although I think he was tired and would have preferred to take a nap.

Ink on Recycled Paper

Life Drawing Class

I attended a life drawing class that was open to the community. I haven't drawn in a session using a model since school, and I forgot what it was like: intense concentration as the model shifts through one, two and five-minute poses. After a half hour of those, a ten-minute pose seems excruciatingly long. It’s hard work, representing a proportional figure in charcoal, ink, oil pastel on colored paper, over and over for hours. I forgot about the cohesive sort of camaraderie that develops between students, teacher, and model, by the second or third hour. During breaks, we chat, as the model munches carrot sticks. By the end it’s much more intuitive, and I’m exhausted, the drawing coming faster and easier and more complete.

Ink on Recycled Paper