Monday, February 7, 2011

Sketchbook Sunday - Music City edition

This Sketchbook Sunday is coming late because we just got back from a weekend trip to the mountains. It was a lot of fun, but a 4 hour return trip with squirmy kids in the car pretty much guaranteed that last night I was flopped in a chair halfway watching the Superbowl instead of in front of my computer.

The City of New Orleans

While scanning in all my sketches I realized that this week had a bit of a musical theme to it. This week I downloaded the song The Stranger by O.A.R. and I absolutely LOVE it, I've worn a metaphorical groove into my itunes playing it so much. But really cool music always inspires me, one of the things I would love to do is illustrate songs. A great song always tells a good story and there are many that I think would make great picture books. The City of New Orleans is one of them. It's just filled with fabulous images of the train traveling, the people riding on it, and then the larger future they are all riding into. There was a book version released in 2003 which was beautiful but a classic can always use an update. I've illustrated it in my head many times but never had the guts to sit down with pencil and paper and make a go of it because, frankly, the drawing trains part is intimidating. But this week I sketched out something that could be a title page:


Where Are They Now? (some of them are at your child's preschool)
Of course there are many unusual and disconcerting things about being a mom.

And of course there many unusual and disconcerting things about being a working mom

But I think there are a few unusual and disconcerting things that can only happen when you are a working mom in Nashville:

Like when you see the object of your twenty-something indie rock club-hopping crush pulling his Toyota Sienna (complete with Parents Choice endorsed car seat) into the parking space next to yours during morning drop-off. For a moment, that night of drinking and dancing rakishly close to the stage flashes through your mind. Surely he doesn't remember that night, or you, or your brazen glances as he crooned into the microphone . . .

. . . apparently not, since he just removes his ultra hip-dressed self and child from the minivan, smiles sympathetically at your toddler's screaming fit, and strolls into the building - while you can't even squeak out "good morning."

I don't know which is weirder - being tongue tied in the face of a crush I outgrew years ago, or having my school-girl fantasies of meeting said crush arrive in such a ho-hum way. Back then I imagined it a little differently: him in a leather jacket and sunglasses, leaning against a red Porsche (bought with the advance from his newly minted record contract); me accessorized with a cocktail and a smashingly witty opening line. Neither one of us was carrying a diaper bag in this fantasy. Alas, years later, far from swapping thinly veiled innuendo, we are aggressively angling for the same parking spot and using the same fake-bright voice to wheedle our children into their classrooms. Of course I'm sure he leaves to go lay down some smokin' hot tracks in a sultry-lit plush sound studio somewhere in the neighborhood, whereas I go home to my drawing table and coffee cup in suburbia. Nowadays I can stutter out "hey" as we pass at the schoolhouse door. And watching anyone struggle with the same craft projects and mat covers in the pick-up time rush would reduce even Mick Jaggar to just another dad. But I'm still glad that our kids are not in the same class nor have the same friends. . . I'll never have to come up with that smashing opening line at a princess birthday party. . . and maybe, if I squint just right in the rearview mirror, the red taillights of that Sienna will look like a Porsche.


It's got sliding doors, built in parking sensors AND a gramophone
When we bought our new van last week, it came down to a choice between one that had the power sliding doors and one that had the MP3 outlet. Clearly we chose appropriately, but what to do about playing my itunes in the car? Apparently in 2007 Chrysler wasn't convinced that digital music had outpaced cassette players so they still made their T&C touring edition with both a CD player and a tape deck. I am endlessly amused by the presence of this tape deck, but obviously am plotting to replace it with an auxillary option. However on a recent trip to Target I found out that, although no one has listened to a cassette tape in a vehicle since 1993, they STILL make devices to play advanced media through your car stereo using a tape player! Everyone of a certain age remembers doing this with CDs - you got the little tape with a cord thing to attach to your Sony Walkman. So for $14.99 I am now set to play music downloaded from the cloud on my 2007 car stereo via 1979 technology. Struck by the irony that as long there are cassette players there's no end to what we can blast in our cars, I drew this:


On mountain time
I took my sketchbook to the mountains fully intending to capture the majestic beauty of the Smokies. however the weather had other plans and between the rain and fog and cold I pretty much ignored what I saw off the deck. But I did do these few little pieces. We were there with 4 other couples and kids, ranging in age from 5 years to 5 months. Here's the youngest as he was watching me draw him instead of the mountains:


Then I started doodling around with some more moon ideas. Here's an industrious cow whose had a slight malfunction in her attempt to get over the moon:


Finally I have to show this sketch that the Small Fry did while mommy was drawing. I beleive the inspiration for this may have come from the night we arrived at the cabin. At 10pm it was raining and the roads were completely covered with fog. Anyone who has ever done in driving in the Great Smokey Mountains knows we're not talking about wide, straight, well-lit roads either. So as we poked along at 15 miles an hour plotting every turn on the GPS, the Fry must have decided we needed a map out:

1 comment:

Marty Qatani said...

Mary... I love the perspective of your train sketch. Great music always puts me in a drawing / working mood as well. City of New Orleans is one of my favorite tunes from my youth. Actually used to be able to play it on guitar too... (kinda sorta).

Marty