Archives for posts with tag: Quiet

The Visitor

There are times when you want to forget it all: global upheaval, the structural inequality of America with its systemic racism, and all the myriad injustices that pervade 21st-century life. So how to escape and instead engage in the gentlest theft of all?

I do it by arming myself with a sketchbook and finding a scene, person, or object to document on a page, usually for a half hour or less. The process of capturing the lines and shadows of your subject—of stealing a small moment—is the best way for me to connect with the present. It feels meditative but also vexing; sketching is not an easy process, particularly in an unforgiving medium like pen, which can be as precarious as a tightrope act. (One stray mark can wreck a drawing.)

These quiet sketches are the underpinnings of my life. They are a validation of, and a reconciliation with, the world. In this way, they provide a tonic to the anger and revulsion I tend to feel toward current events. Sometimes what is in front of you is a marvelous event in itself. For example, a velvety midsummer peach.

G_The Promise

Or a reading woman visited by a sparrow. A scattering of autumn leaves on the sidewalk.

Harvest or Loss

A vanishing neighborhood.

Vanishing Capitol Hill

The mere practice of observing objects or people in detail is an empowering, enlightening one. It makes you realize, “Hey, look at this world around me—I’m so lucky to witness this beauty and to move amidst it.” Focusing on the micro makes the macro, as problematic as it is, suddenly and surprisingly worthwhile. The art that comes out of it is merely a fortuitous byproduct.

Snatching these moments is the only kind of thievery I know of that offers its own redemption.

In order of appearance:
The Visitor, 4×6 in, pen and ink, 2011
The Promise, 4×6 in, colored pencil and graphite, 2010
Harvest or Loss?, 2.75×3.6 in, pen and ink, 2012
Vanishing Capitol Hill, 2.75×3.6 in, pen and ink, 2014

All pieces are available, from December 11 through February 12, 2015, at Ghost Gallery in Seattle, WA.


I’ve been truant in writing, having been enveloped in a maelstrom of activity.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I sit at the window and listen to the polyrhythms of the rain, which imitate bass, toms, and snare. The cymbal hiss of a passing car.

This random percussion barely conceals a widening silence. 

The stillness inside a storm. 

I listen with concentration and patience. And I look through the window panes spangled with silver droplets.

First at the rain itself and then, after a great while, at the brightening skies beyond.