I'm trying to figure out what makes a really good blog, and what makes a really bad one.

Standing in the checkout line at the supermarket today, I couldn't help seeing gossip magazine headlines screaming out unflattering details of the not so private lives of certain media celebrities. That led me to think about reality TV, which is at least partly about being unfiltered. Then I thought about diaries and journals, and the popular profusion of their publication for anyone to see, in the guise of literature. And of course on the other side, contemporary concerns about increasing breaches of personal privacy by governments, businesses, and intrusive or voyeuristic individuals.

 For now I'm just going to throw the question out there. There is a dizzying spectrum of subjects and approaches out there in blog form these days, for all kinds of audiences. What makes you visit the ones you go to regularly? And if you participate with comments, what moves you to do that?

roses in the yard, 5 1/8" x 8 1/4" 2B graphite and watercolor pencils


A picture is worth ten thousand words

That's the actual quote. Not a thousand, but ten thousand words. So maybe I should just shut up and post the drawing I did outside on the patio this balmy morning, but I can't. I have to at least say how despondent I felt when I got out of bed at 5:15AM, and how the simple wonder of forms and colors and textures emerging with the nascent early light, and my allowing my knotted self to begin to respond was like crawling out of a black, sweltering cave. My wife says that she writes music to save her life. It sounds melodramatic but I really get it.

a smooth Dublin with plateaux rim by my friend Larry Roush, drawing 5 1/8" x 8 1/4"

 detail of the pipe


Warm up chair

During the winter of three and a half years ago, I did a series of twenty four drawings of the same chair in our living room over a period of a couple of months. It is an oddly proportioned and, it turned out, a difficult form to draw accurately. This morning, I returned to it because it beckoned to me from the shadows. I thought it would be easier and that I'd use it as a warm up for the day's work, but like before, it tells me that I have far to go before it will acquiesce to being merely calisthenics.

this morning

three and a half years ago after the thirteenth attempt

the strongest of the 2007-08 group



All through the night until just a couple of hours before dawn, it rained. A steady, soaking in kind of rain. Then it cleared off, and the world is different. Because of water. Not that we're in a drought, but the trees and shrubs and flowers, the houses and sidewalks and streets feel freshened and radiant. Not a day to be under incandescent light. It's a morning to drink in life and to be grateful for it, a day to smile with wonder at the brightness of creation.Hydrangea after the rain.

detail, Derwent watercolor pencil and 2B graphite


Dread and dark delight

When I sat down at my computer at 7:30 this morning to begin drawing a kitchen in AutoCAD, I knew that I would finish two projects, start another, then end my designer day with another drawing of the crow. His pinion feathers overlap the frame of my monitor, so he's been lurking in my peripheral vision while I've been at the computer for the past three days. The compulsion to draw him with controlled violence is there all day, along with the dread that all I'll do is just lose control and scribble incoherent black furrows into the paper until I break the pencil or hurl it across the room in rage and frustration. But then I get down to it, and I walk that jumpy line between skilled delineation and wildly thrashing energy, and the experience is at once full of stress and a dark delight. When I'm done, the release is only a momentary sensation. I'm going to do it again tomorrow. And I'm already dreading it.