When I lived in Newport for two short and expensive years, we didn't have a designated driveway, so this led me to walking almost everywhere to avoid losing my coveted street spot. I would walk after work in the summer all the way to First beach where Brad played volleyball, I would walk to the library in the winter and down to the bars to meet friends at night. Although I don't miss the high cost rent, I do miss my wonderful walk-able area. Something is just not the same about walking around a suburban neighborhood- there's no mystery, no secret alleyways, coves or caves, just women in jogging pants carrying their dog's poop bags. I decided my New Year's Resolution would be to start walking regularly again, but in different locations where I can find that mystery. Yesterday on Martin Luther King Jr. Day I decided to drive to John H. Chafee Nature Preserve which leads right out to the ocean where you can see the curving arc of the Jamestown Bridge. To make these walks even more interesting I decided I would not only take photographs, but record sketches of each walk. I am calling these adventures Walk-Stop and Draw!
I set out with my backpack equipped with a sketchbook, some drawing materials, and a water bottle- in retrospect I probably should have dressed warmer and packed some emergency supplies just in case I did something stupid while walking alone, like slip on ice and break my OTHER wrist-next time!
The cold air felt refreshing as I walked down the icy path laced with strips of white crunchy snow over the trampled grasses. I passed quite a few people walking with dogs and family and finally made it to the ocean where I sat on a little bench and sketched for as long as my brittle hands could hold the pen (about 3-4 mins). As I was about to turn around and call my first walk a "trial run", I heard a voice calling out my name. It was two of my work friends from my last job. We decided to all walk together along the length of the beach, over icy rocks, tiny seashells and broken wooden steps all the way past the Jamestown bridge. We only stopped when it became physically impossible because of the tide. We snapped pictures of graffiti under the bridge and icicles hanging from washed up trees. My "trial" walk turned into a very cold and long hike that felt like an unexpected adventure because I was with friends .
Winter has been typical New England-style with periods of rain, snow, ice and an occasional 70 degree day thrown in just to confuse you into thinking that spring is just around the corner (it's not). I have tried to keep art a main focus when I am not planning projects for my fourth and fifth graders. Before Christmas my art-making consisted of gift-making and messing around in my sketchbook. I was out of commission for a few weeks after a nasty slip on the ice that left me with a broken wrist- on my dominant left-hand. Now that it is January and I am (mostly) healed, I have gotten back into creating for myself, my newest piece being a Venice scene that brought me right back to those charming water-logged canals. I have also kept Italy in my thoughts by cooking some of my favorites that I tried- including Cacio De Pepe, perfect winter comfort food!