Why a pig with purple for today? The pig was one of my best friend’s favorite animals as well as the color purple. Twenty four years ago today my best friend died.  With the arrival of February eighth again come memories of that loss. I wanted to put something in my “One Sketch a Day” book that would reflect upon her.  Something that was joyful – she had a great laugh. I thought about a landscape sketch of the fresh snow (she jogged in whatever the weather; she would have liked that) or about going to her grave and sketching there. But it dawned on me I had a Breyer model of a pig and that made the most sense in keeping with my goal. I’ve tried to make him look alive and not plastic. It would have been great to have a live pig to sketch from but none were accessible in the city of Milwaukee today (this writer smiling).

I do not write this to garner sympathy, by the way. I wish she did not die so young. I will always wish that.  And that it was one of the most painful experiences of my life but a person goes on quite incredibly…never forgetting though and wishing it had turned out differently, but also being grateful for the blessing of time with a good friend, too short though it was. So let’s go forward reader (Leah did not like pity parties)….I have more sketches to share….


February 4 – February 7 represent some of my favorite creatures – ravens and penguins. The little stone Native American raven fetish I purchased at a shop in Durango, Colorado.  The shopkeeper told me fetishes choose their buyer. I am not so sure about that. Of the miniature raven sculptures for sale, it was the most affordable to me and it did represent the bird well but…a sculpture choosing a person is a wonderfully fun, mystical thought.  It did bring back a memory at Glacier National Park. I heard a raven call in the distance so I imitated him. Within a couple of minutes, a raven was in the tree above the cabin looking down at me.  The two students who were with me at the time got so excited. “Professor the raven came to you!”  Now I am not sure if it was thee raven I called but when I called again to this raven above me, he looked down at me with what I could swear was a bewildered look then he quickly flew away. Perhaps I tricked the “trickster” as known by many indigenous cultures.

I do not have any stories connected with penguins but I still dream and hope to get to Antarctica or South Africa someday(or both!), in which case, I will most likely see many then. For now, visits to the zoo will have to do.  I love that the zookeepers know each penguin by name and can identify them individually (which can be challenging with birds).


You will notice I am posting this in reverse chronology – giving you the most recent work first, which I believe is stronger than the previous. I have realized the longer I work into this sketchbook, the more meaningful I wish the pictures to be. I spend more time on them, even though initially I was going to limit myself with 2-5 minute sketches. I also realized on February 2 that from a technical standpoint colored pencil looks best on this paper and I can create greater depth.  More colored pencil to be used.

What to say about the above sketches….study of human hand bones created during my anatomy class…stuffed toy of my godchild that she cuddled with on her sleepover at my house….and a vintage rooster pepper shaker which has a decidedly animated, screaming expression on both sides.


January 27 – 30 reflects my sin. I forgot to sketch on January 29!!! I could not believe it. A “One Sketch a Day” with a missing sketch.  I considered how to make up for it. My twelve inch, 49 cent, T-rex ceramic sculpture from the thrift store seemed like a good idea to remedy it.  He would take the blame for my sin. He took my book away from me for a day – darn T-rex!  You can never really trust a dinosaur. Thankfully, he did not devour it.   I made Day 15 and 16 a combined illustration moment.  Day 13 is my sweet faced dog, Annie. Day 14 was made during a faculty meeting (I was paying attention, really).

By the way, here is the T-rex.Image


And for the last picture to post today, days 9 – 12. Day 9 you have already seen. Day 10 – a moon jelly since I had been working on a painting of moon jellies (which I sold I am happy to say!). Day 11 – a quick study of Annie before bed.  And Day 12 – a cave cricket from a photo at Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park.

That’s my “One Sketch a Day” update. Happy writing and creating!


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