Thursday, September 26, 2013

Big Catch-Up Post: Family Reunion

It seems like a much longer time ago, but last Saturday my husband and I went to a nearby coffee shop in the morning after doing some grocery shopping for the family reunion we were hosting, beginning that afternoon.  We arrived at the same time that a city council candidate's rally was forming in the main room of the coffee shop, as shown in the drawing on the right.  (The drawing on the left is of a very exotic bloom on a common philodendron plant that was languishing in a plastic pot in the semi-dark near our table.) We went home, and the wild rumpus began!

The reunion participants were our three sons and their families, two of which live far away from us and rarely visit at the same time.  So this was a great treat for all of us and especially for all seven of the cousins who didn't really know each other very well (except for Maya and Nate and Abby because Maya had gone with us to see them in New Jersey last July).  One of the most fun outings we had was to the UNC Botanical Gardens, where a stream rushes by near the trail, over flat rocks, forming perfect pools for  attempts at boat building out of leaves and sticks.  I sat on a rock and tried to draw everybody, starting with baby Abby at upper left.  There were many false starts to my drawings as no one EVER stood still except for the three New Hampshire boys who were sweetly willing to actually pose.  On the left is five year old Barnaby doing something with a stick, and on the right an on-the-fly drawing of four year old Nate, NOT posing but poking a leaf with a stick.

 Two more New Hampshire boys, nine year old Luca posing on the left, and eleven year old Tallis reaching into the water while sitting on a big rock in the middle of the stream.

Nate's mom Kerstin asked me to design a makeup kit for her, so I did this drawing to show her what I was thinking of.  On the right side of the page is a slow and careful drawing of Nate's gumby-like skeleton that I bought for him.  He decided the skeleton needed bandages in order to become a mummy, so he wrapped it in a silky ribbon and told me where to sew buttons on.  Then he wrapped a rubber band bracelet around its neck.  It looks sort of like a very thin Roman emperor in a bright pink toga.

One sunny morning Tallis and Barnaby and I went up on Jones Mountain in search of clay to make paint from.  As we were walking we saw a little toad.  Tallis and Barnaby caught it and gently held it so I could draw it.  On the other side of the page, guest blogger Nate drew a cat sculpture he saw downtown at Malaprop's bookstore.  He especially like the golden star hanging from its neck.

Nate found a stuffed animal that we thought was an owl until someone pointed out that it was actually a penguin.  So "Owl" became "Powl", and was featured in much play during the week.  On the right is Nate sitting uncharacteristically still, watching  Dinosaur Train.

A few studies of children's hands as well as one of Abby's hand.

And a bonus piece, not a drawing, but a photo of the cousins:  Jacob, Barnaby, Abby, Tallis, Luca, Nate, and Maya, just before we set out for an afternoon of walking around downtown and going to Jones park.


  1. Hi Gwen, thanks for this post. I have followed your posts about drawing and they are fascinating. I liked specially this post because it shows your gathered family and your grandchildren. It warms my heart seeing family reunions that work. Reading about Owl that became Powl made me smile!
    Thanks for sharing these pieces of your life, it is so inspiring.
    Great weekend!


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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Lucia! I loved the name change for Owl to Powl, too, especially since it was made by a four-year-old!