…Back to School

And work.

Detail of a loose prismacolor pencil linework sketch, on orange-brown kraft paper, with gouache-like color added digitally.

At the end of June, having been on a treadmill of production since September previous, I decided that I was going to give myself a break and take some vacation.  As a sole proprietor in a profession where there are no guarantees of work (especially in this economic environment), and where work rarely appears on the horizon much more than a month in advance, taking time off often feels risky.  A week not working is a week you don’t get paid.

The impulse is great to just keep working, because you don’t know when it will end and you have a nagging fear that you’ll find yourself without any work. But the risk is also that you never take a break.

After nine months of steady work, I needed some time off.  The kids were just out of school, weather was promising, and so I took a figurative pen and drew a line straight through the months of July and August.

The kids will only be young once, and I am certainly not getting any younger myself, so I really knuckled down and made a commitment to keep the two best months of summer for myself and my family.  For the most part, it worked.  I did take a couple emergency jobs for a client with whom I have a long relationship, and we did about a dozen images for two separate jobs at the end of August.

In addition to some camping and beaching it, we went as a family to New York City.

statue of liberty from below

The Staue of Liberty, from below.

We’d been planning the trip since March, and my wife was savvy enough to reserve four of the tickets to the statue’s Crown that were available that day.  Of the 20,000 people on average that visit the statue each day, only about 200 are allowed in the Crown.  Tickets need to be reserved a few months in advance.

Only there for a couple days, we visited Times Square, the Empire State, Rockefeller Center, and the Statue of Liberty.  We cruised through and along Central Park, scoped the Brooklyn Bridge, and sought out the “World’s Best Cup of Coffee” (to no avail, alas). The boys, who are too young to remember September 11 2001, wanted to see the Trade Center.  We visited the site of the rebuilding effort, and stopped in next door at the firehouse.  Both of them were finally able to at least understand where the Trade Center was, and to begin to understand the scope of the events.  They may not understand it all (who does?), but they do now understand where the towers stood in relation to the city and our hotel, how at once large and somehow small it all is, and that it is all ‘real’.

I finally got a chance to do some painting, too.

10x20 detail from a 20x60 canvas

Detail, about 5x8, from "Black on Red", 20x30

I had some other painting to do, too.  Spent a few weeks, mostly full time, building a porch I’d designed about a year and a half ago.  I never had time to do it, as I never set aside any.  This was a big reason for carving out time this summer from my illustration work. Here’s a shot of it primed, before finish painting in white.

This summer's magnum opus. A new porch about 12x14, clad inside and out with 1x10 vertical grain cedar claps, mitered. Decking of 1x4 mahogany with basket weave at the corners.

Day trips were the goal, and so we  camped in Vermont, with a day boating on the lake as we’d done the previous year. We spent a day at Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, where dad begged for someone to ride the Yankee Cannonball with him.   Went as a family to the Cape for a couple nights, where the kids indulged in seemingly limitless pool time. And we visited a cousin in New Hampshire for the day, on his boat, and relaxed at his beautiful place which overlooks an incredible view.

Wakefield, New Hampshire

The trees already had a hint of change to them then, and only a couple weeks later, the boys headed back to school.

There’s business to tend to now, including updating my website, and hopefully a little more time spent keeping up with the blog now that I’m back in the studio. Time to get back to work…

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2 Comments

Filed under Self Commissioned, Uncategorized

2 responses to “…Back to School

  1. Lyle

    After working 9 months straight, you definitely deserved a nice long summer holiday! Glad to hear you had a good one. I’m definitely looking forward to following your blog again.

  2. KC

    Welcome back. Look forward to seeing what you’re up to next.

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