GREAT GIFTS

If you are looking for a great gift, let me suggest that you add either Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea, or Evening Wine along with your favorite coffee, tea, or wine.

Just last week I was in the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, and I saw a woman with Afternoon Tea on the table beside her plate in the museum café, where she and a friend were having lunch.  I went over to her table and asked her where she had found the book.  She replied, “A friend gave it to me for my birthday.  I just love it!  But, I am not sure where one can buy the book…”

I could see that she enjoyed the book, because she had it stuffed full of art pictures, recipes, notes, and other memorabilia.

I then let her in on the secret that I knew where to find the book, because I was the author!  She was so excited, and asked if I would be willing to sign her book…

Recently, another woman I met said that she loved reading the books and looking at the drawings.  Then, she added, “And, I just love to hold them in my hands…  They are just the right size to hold…  They make me feel good just holding them!”

I tell these two stories, because they make the point that recipients will cherish Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea, and Evening Wine long after other gifts are forgotten!

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FIRST BOOK SIGNING

The first weekend of December I have my very first book signing in a book store!

When I heard the publishing date for Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea, and Evening Wine, I knew immediately where I wanted to have my first book signing—Book and Games in Walla Walla Washington!

Walla Walla is regularly appears on lists of most beautiful small towns in the United States.  And now that the vineyards and wineries surrounding Walla Walla produce some of the best wines in the world, it has become a major destination for those who love wine, food, and scenery.

And at the very heart of Walla Walla and its surrounding vineyards and hills is Book and Games.  Many an afternoon I have spent browsing and buying in the store or across the street in a local coffee shop looking at Book and Games, drawing it.  Book and Games is the backdrop for most of the social activity that takes place in Walla Walla.

Part of what makes Walla Walla’s main street unique, and the place of so many activities, is that the street has a slight bend right in front of Book and Games.  The result is that rather than looking down the street at an empty horizon, the street serves as a natural stage and backdrop.

I have included one of the several drawings I have made over the years of Book and Games.  If you are planning a trip to Walla Walla check out the online site, http://downtownwallawalla.com. You will not only find things to do in Walla Walla, but you will see a street car show, with Book and Games as the backdrop, just as I described it.  And if you make it to Walla Walla be sure to visit Jannelle and the wonderful people at Book and Games.

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HOW I DRAW

How do I draw inside busy coffee houses, tea rooms, and bistros?

People who see my drawings often wonder how I make drawings in the middle of a public space, surrounded for the most part by strangers.  Do the people I draw know that I am drawing? Do I have a way of hiding the fact that I am drawing?  Do I ask permission to draw?

When I first started to draw in public places, all of these questions were mine as well.  I decided before I ever began drawing publicly that I would not ask permission from the people I draw.  The reason is that I do not want to draw portraits.  When we sit for a portrait, we become self-conscious, stiff, and our persona changes.  My goal is to capture the moment and the spirit of people, not to capture a perfect likeness.

At first I thought I could draw people without them seeing that I was drawing.  I drew in very small sketchbooks, with a single pen.  I soon discovered, however, that people quickly surmised that I was drawing.  So I went bold.  I place all of my pens and markers on the table in full sight. What I discovered is that people immediately figured I must be an important artist!  My problem then became that people would begin to “pose” themselves in the very self-conscious postures I was seeking to avoid.

My strategy now is to first sit and observe the room and find people who are engaged in talking to a friend, reading a book, working at their computer, or staring out a window.  These are the subjects I am really seeking anyway.  I find that people who are engaged in the present moment almost never notice that I am drawing.  If they do, and seem uncomfortable, I move on to someone else. My goal after all is not to draw the interior of rooms, or even people, but the moments that make up daily life.

Drawing people engaged in some activity also makes drawing easier.  Otherwise, they move and change their positions so often that they are almost impossible for me to draw.

Often, before a drawing is finished, the subject or subjects will notice me as they get up to leave, and will come by and ask to see the drawing.  Most are amazed by my scribbles.  To anyone who asks, I send them a copy of the image.  One of the main reasons I draw in public spaces is because I enjoy making contact with other people.  Doing art in my studio, isolated from other people, is difficult for me.  It is not art that I seek to make, but rather life as art.

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HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Four years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop drawing for my own amusement and therapy, when a friend suggested that my personal scribbles deserved a larger audience.  At the time I was drawing in local coffee shops.  The idea intrigued me, particularly as others in the coffee shop would tell me, “If you publish a book, I will buy it.”

Not knowing the first thing about publishing a book, I found a book that explained step-by-step how to find an agent and get a book published.  I followed the guidelines religiously.  I was, after all, a professor of religion and philosophy—my day job even now.

This past week has been very exciting for me.  From the isolated world of teaching a few students each semester, I have ventured into the larger world of tradeshows and bookstores.  What fun!  I have always loved books and bookstores.  Now, I am discovering the interesting people who own and manage bookstores—people who love stories and ideas!  The very best of friends…

I feel extremely privileged to have first made many friends through the process of drawing, and now find myself participating in an expanding circle of friends through bookstore owners, and soon through those who purchase Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea, and Evening Wine for themselves and their friends.

If you purchase the books for yourself or friends, I hope you will post stories and pictures of your own favorite coffee shops, tea rooms, and places where you enjoy evening wine.  Hopefully, my scribbles, beyond adding to the enjoyment of your favorite beverage, will inspire you to create your own work of art or writing on coffee, tea, or wine.

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LIVE MUSIC AT LE PICHET

“He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.”
- Martin Luther

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Latin Saying

“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one’s present or future thirst; the excellence of wine; or any other reason”
- Latin Saying

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Lord Byron

“Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil.”
- Lord Byron

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