What is a true eclectic to do when her passions lead her in different directions?
This is a blog for the unfocused, the round pegs in the square holes, the short-attention span types, and all those who just can't bring themselves to join the ranks and adhere to a single category of activities or interests...whether sketches, drawings and comics, fixing an old farmhouse in Oregon, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Felix, Caught Unaware (04-29-11)

Felix is my daughter Valérie's hyperactive cat, so here he is...in a rare moment of inactivity.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

High School Memories (04-28-11)

When I was in high school in Belgium (the equivalent to 8th or 9th grade), I had a Biology teacher who had a serious style and fashion problem. She was frightful-looking, cross-eyed, with long stringy hair, glasses, and buck teeth. She was clearly middle-aged, and yet, hope springs eternal, she wore mini-skirts that revealed more than anyone would want to see of her her knobby knees and chicken legs.

I can't begin to relate how much of s trouble-maker I was in that class... I sat in the back, with the class clown and his acolytes, and we disrupted the entire class on an ongoing basis. The poor woman, whose humble ambition was to get the class to dissect a frog, never got a chance. I lead our group in loudly objecting that it was cruel and unusual treatment of animals. Small animals. Like poor little frogs, wrenched away from their little ponds, to end up in a stupid classroom, cut into pieces, all for nothing. Why did we have to do this? Could we just draw the frog, and be done? I didn't give a rat's... about dissection; I didn't give a rat's... about Biology either for that matter. Etc.

We never dissected any frog. In fact, we never did anything else than riot in the class.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Woman's Hair (04-27-11)

Here is a nice little drawing done with a Pitt Marker pen. They take a lot of time to get used to, but some of the results ate quite satisfying.

Shakespeare and Molière (04-27-11)

Actor Tim Mooney came to Mt Hood Community College to perform two one-man acts, Shakespeare and Molière. I really enjoyed how he effortlessly changed from one character to another.

Actor Tim Mooney (with autograph removed)
Not an easy task to draw someone gesticulating... So I worked on the sketch above, but also did the quick movement thumbnails below.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Drawing at the Canvas Bar (04-25-11)

On Monday nights, the Canvas Bar has models who pose for artists. This was a struggle for me because I couldn't get over the "dress" the model was wearing, something that looked like a cheap beach straw mat with long strands that hung on the side.
Model wearing a stupid looking straw wrap

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More on the Complaint (04-21-11)

It takes me some time to make a decision, but here goes.

Inasmuch as it would be easier and simpler to just forget the whole thing and to move one, I still owe it to myself to stand up against a situation in which we were clearly prejudiced, perhaps even willfully. I would have no respect for myself if I didn't try to do something to correct the situation.

So, yesterday, I went to file in Small Claims Court in Oregon City, not only against the ex-owner, but against her agent as well. There was too much aggravation over this transaction, and the agent ultimately had the responsibility to to corral her seller, and to make sure that the disclosure form was truthful and thorough.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Comics Fest (04-17-11)

This is the first time I ever made it to the Stumptown Comics Fest. I found it intimidating, even discouraging. It was like a gathering of clickish people who all knew each other, an exclusive event for exclusive, cool people. I had my Maxine's BD book with me, and was met with dismissive or bored glances when I tried to engage some of the hip publisher representatives who were there; I guess if I were in my 20s, things might be different. As it was, I felt like a fool with my little drawings.

I ran into Theo Ellsworth who had a booth featuring his illustrations and books, and I also saw Kalina Wilson, another artist from the Portland Urban Sketchers whose sketchbooks I admire.
Theo Ellsworth's booth

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meeting with the Accountant (04-16-11)

A dreaded annual moment: meeting with our (quite likeable) accountant. To me, there is nothing more boredom-evoking than a calculator, but Craig C. apparently thrives on making sense out of the stacks of paperwork I present to him.
Not my idea of fun...

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Visit to the Hospital (04-15-11)

Our daughter Moso had to go to the Emergency room because she felt some discomfort in her eye. I drew these sketches while I waited for her.
The sketch above was done surreptitiously, because I didn't want to get in an argument with the parties involved, but I liked the pose of the big (tough-looking) girl sobbing in the arms of her (tough-looking) girlfriend.

Hospital waiting room
It turned out that Moso had a tiny metal shards in her eye! The doctor tried to remove them unsuccessfully, but at least we found out there was a problem indeed. (Good thing we went to the Emergency room after all...).

Historic Inventory Presentation (04-15-11)

The Oak lodge History Detectives organized a community event to present the variety of architectural styles of the houses in the area. Driveing through the McLoughlin Blvd./Hwy. 99 wasteland, one would never guess that there are some unique properties in this area (mine included). I recognized some of the photos I took, and that was pretty cool.

Presentation by Jane Morrison

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A trip to the Immigration Services (04-13-11)

I went downtown to the "US Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services" (how things change, and how they remain the same; it used to the Immigration and Naturalization Services); while waiting for my turn, I drew this sketch of other people waiting.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Disappointing Evening at Little Bird (04-12-11)

The Portland French Alliance had organized a dinner at Little Bird for native French speakers and, to my great disappointment, it turned out that this event was attended by the usual Americans who:
1.) think that their high school French from a bazillion years ago has somehow made them fluent in the language
2.) spent a year in France at the turn of the previous century
3.) love anything and everything French and proclaim it enthusiastically
4.) are super-boring.
No offense, but once in a while, I'd like to have a conversation in French without having to patiently wait for my interlocutor's thoughts to surface in their consciousness and painstakingly materialize into coherent French conversational words, without biting myself to not correct the other person when they invariably butcher the French grammar, without cringing internally at every sentence because it's so painful to control myself... Gosh, think whatever you want. Since I live in the U.S., I just want to have a meeting with other French native speakers once in a while, and that's that.

View from the mezzanine
Anyway, let's talk about the food. Another reason I was looking forward to this dinner is that I had read lavish reviews about this restaurant, and especially about the hamburger they served. So, after carefully studying the menu, that's what I ordered. Bummer. My hamburger, although juicy to the point of dripping onto the plate was overall dry in the mouth and left me with the feeling of having swallowed a cannon ball.

Conclusion: a disappointing evening.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pie and Music in Oak Grove (04-09-11)

In conjunction with the work that has been started to fix up the Trolley Trail and make it bike and pedestrian friendly, there may be new activity coming soon to the sleepy downtown Oak Grove area. A new business  called Pieandjam had a pre-opening meet-and-greet gathering, with pie tasting (delicious crust), and music provided by Stumbleweed. I gotta admit I like bluegrass almost as much as the blues.

Great pie and great music

Friday, April 8, 2011

So she's playing with us... (04-08-11)

Our previous owner's response, dated March 9, was not surprising, yet it was stunning because of the bad faith it revealed.

There was nary a mention of the photos I had sent of the water pooling against the foundation when it rained, nothing about the omissions on the disclosure form, but, rather, some vague statements where our lady:

1.) claims to be defenseless: "...as a single woman living alone I had no particular ability or experience to know more than I disclosed." We are in fact dealing with a commercial real estate agent who must be experienced enough since her name consistently comes up on at least seven consecutive pages of Google searches.

2.) says that since we had a house inspection, all is well.
3.) has the nerve to claim that she did all required repairs to our satisfaction.
4.) congratulates us for doing the excavation: "...from the photos you included it appears you have done a great job of getting that area ready for planting and I am sure it will be lovely."

I contacted our real estate agent, to inquire if there had been any contact from the ex-owner's agent, and his inquiry generated a polite certified letter addressed to us, where the other agent tells us she appreciates our keeping her "in the loop" and asks us to keep her "informed of all future correspondence."

The same day, we got another copy of the ex-owner's letter, this time via certified mail; the only difference this time around was that she didn't use a fancy calligraphy stamp with her name and address on the envelope.

I am going to give some thoughts to my next move...

Monday, April 4, 2011

A French Bistro in SE Portland! (04-04-11)

St Jack is a new restaurant in our old neighborhood that opened recently, and oh... how very good it is!
I had already stopped a couple of times for pastries at the adjacent bakery, but this time, Gary and I went for Happy Hour. I sat in a blissful daze the entire time: the mussels were excellent, the music was old French standards. It felt as if we really were in Paris (well, all right, if one disregards the mispelled sign on the wall...)

Gary; no, he doesn't have a lazy eye...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Static Portraits (04-03-11)

The following sketches, done while watching my church's conference on television, are borderline caricatures. The reason they look like caricatures is that television is a static setting that allows little or no motion on the part of the person filmed; so when people talk, they tend to exaggerate their facial expressions...

I didn't have time to finish this one...

Self-Portrait in the Dark (04-02-11)

This was an exercise to see how intuitive sketching works (that is, it was drawn in a room with barely any lighting)... Not bad after all, since I drew myself look quite a few pounds skinner!.. Heheh!
Who says wishful thinking is counter-productive?!

Dance Poses (04-02-11)

Here I basically just focused on the motions of people as they were dancing at Rotture, not an easy task when people move pretty fast when they dance to a beat and it's dark all around. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shopping to Make Up for a Rotten Day (04-02-11)

I needed my signature notarized on four documents. Easy enough... Well, it wasn't that simple after all. After going the local branch of out bank, and finding out that there was no notary present, I was sent to another branch 15 minutes away, where there would be, I was told, no waiting. I got to the second branch, to be roughly told by one of the two notaries present that it would be a long wait. And it was. It took 30 minutes to finally talk to her. The documents in my possession all contained one paragraph in French, with the same text written in English underneath. Only, the woman did not feel "comfortable" notarizing my signature because of the French text. She wanted to know what it meant. I was stunned. Since when do notaries busy themselves with interpreting the contents of a document?! Despite pointing out the translated portion to her, she wouldn't budge.
The branch supervisor told me that the other notary was willing to look at my document. Fair enough. However, before I could talk with her, I'd have to wait till she was done with her customers, a couple with a young boy and a wailing baby. So I waited...40 minutes before her customers were gone, wailing baby and all. By then, I had developed a massive headache. Yes, this notary would sign my document. But only if I showed her a copy of my marriage certificate (which in 30 years of marriage, I have never had), or a Belgian passport with my maiden name on it, and a birth certificate. I had no choice. On the way home, my head pounding as I was driving, I called Gary, to ask him to locate my old passport. Something was wrong with the Bluetooth and the phones once again, because there was screeching metallic-sounding interference, with Gary's voice coming through the noise, asking "... passport? Where? I can't hear..." I got home and staggered out of the car, me and my headache. As I opened the door to the kitchen, Gary handed me the passport and birth certificate, and he told me that I had no patience. I snapped back that I have all the patience in the world! I just waited one hour at a bank, to get no service! With the passport and certificate in hand, I turned around and got in my car, to make another 15-minute trip back to the bank.
After close examination of my passport, and after I provided an impromptu translation of the birth certificate, the notary finally relented and certified my signature. From start to finish, the entire process took four hours!.. (and when I got home, I realized that I was missing a sentence on each, nullifying the entire effort).

So, to make up for my bad day, and because I needed clothes for the warmer seasons (I never have any problem finding winter clothes, but hardly ever find any summer clothes that look flattering), I went to Macy's, and they had some big clearance sales. I bough some sleveless blouses and a pair of jeans, and a flowered top that would look gorgeous in a 1920s style outfit...