Santa Barbara Courthouse Sketch

I had to be downtown and had the luxury of time to kill, so I sat on a stone wall to make this 5 inch wide painting.  I really enjoy the way shadows reflect the blue of the sky on the plaster walls.  It was a bit of a sprint… every 15 minutes, the bell tower would tell me how long I’d been painting and when I needed to get where I was going.  Time flies…


the point

You can’t daydream
     and sharpen a pencil on
     a rough, damp, streamside boulder
at the same time.
It takes too much concentration
     not to shatter the brittle graphite cone
     with a careless stroke.
But it is worth the effort!
You get a much different point:
     roughly worked wood,
     smelling of fresh cut cedar,
topped by a scratch black pyramid of carbon...
This is a point more appropriate for writing about
a natural canyon with spirits whispering through willow trees,
     the culinary uses of wild plants and ground squirrels, or
     for sketching the observed mating stance of a dragonfly
     doing geometry homework.
Conveniently, this rustic point feels quite at home out here
      in the woods where pencil sharpeners are seldom found-
           and okay, I admit it...
           I forgot mine at home.