Drawing Big Heads

Our kids have been visiting for the holidays but it is almost time for them to return to home and jobs and university. I’ve been enjoying sketching partly for the reminder after they are gone and partly because there is something wonderful about really observing them now that they are grown up.

Claire 2016

Of the many challenging and inspiring Sketchbook Skool lessons and instructors, Lapin’s Big Heads in SBS Stretching really struck a chord with me. Just by suggesting that we begin a portrait with the eyes, he helped me to capture the faces of the people I love. I admit the sitting very close and staring intently part probably limits this technique to people who know me pretty well, and my likenesses improve if the subjects will actually hold still (I’m talking about you, Husband and Son).

Peter 2016

Coincidentally, I discovered that I –  like Lapin – enjoy using paper with a grid pattern. I love it for writing and notetaking, but never drew on it until my father gave me one of his old only partly used Pentalic Traveller’s journals with gridded paper this past summer. I loved the way the pattern added some depth to my drawings but once it was full, I went back to using plain paper sketchbooks. However, one of my New Year’s Resolutions (don’t judge, I still love making resolutions and I figure that at least for a few months I’ll be doing the good things I always dreamed of!) is to use up the loads of stuff I already have – including my, oh, TWENTY SIX (!!!) new or partly used notebooks. I am currently using an old Moleskine 5×8 journal with gridded paper and I am totally hooked on the interplay of grid and drawing. And in a further coincidence, Lapin and I also share the dilemma of how to find more of our now discontinued notebooks; this one is so nice to use because it predates the big Moleskine Paper Switch.

Sally 2016

If you haven’t happened to come across Lapin’s work yet, you can find him on Instagram @lapinbarcelona or check out his blog at les-calepins-de-lapin.blogspot.com


How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

1. Discovering that it had been so long since I’d written a blog post (or, indeed, even logged in to the site) that I’d irretrievably forgotten all of the necessary log-in information. While I found this both embarrassing and annoying, I’m trying to take some comfort that you have to be determined and smarter than me to figure out how to get Gmail to cough up a forgotten password. Anyway, the upshot is this shiny new place for what could have been here: http://reallycantstandstill.blogspot.com/

2. Heading to the mountains in search of some sun. It’s been cloudy for 27 days straight and we had a stretch right around Christmas when the high temperatures never got out of single digits. Luckily, we live right at the beginning of a big uptilt toward the mountains and somewhere between 15 minutes and 40 minutes (depending on the day and the direction) drive brings us above the clouds and into brilliant sunshine. The improvement in our moods is reason enough, but sightseeing is entertaining too.

Sun so bright we have to squint!

Sun so bright we have to squint!

The Letter B?

The Letter B? It was our best guess.

Sometimes we go to Aparan just for the bread!

Sometimes we go to Aparan just for the bread!

Cold clothes

Cold clothes

Descending into the fog

Descending into the fog

Back home in the fog

Back home in the fog

3. Finding love all around. (Once you start looking for hearts, you just can’t stop seeing them).

  1. HeartShapedSteak


    Another heart!

4. Skiing. There’s barely enough snow and it definitely isn’t a luxe resort, but there’s sun and things to witness both scenic and amusing.


Not so much snow but more than enough scenery

You’re not really a hipster until you try skiing in leather boots

5. Running. Remember I said it was cold? Yep, sometimes I looked like this; I wouldn’t have been able to keep it up without these:

Smartwool Socks

Begone Frozen Feet!

And this sweet reward might have helped too:


Christmas beer, Christmas tea

Alas, sometimes this happens:



Sadly, tomorrow means back to work and back to routines, but I’m going to try to hang on to the last shreds of the holidays by focusing on the sparklies.

Christmas sparklies

Christmas sparklies