May Day, A Look Back


I was in the middle of the  A-to-Z challenge last year when I stumbled upon the International Fake Journal Month, and “met” Roz Stendahl.  I wished I had seen it before the A-to-Z — it sang to me.  I am happy to say after doing it I want to do more, and not wait until next April — in other words, I think I have found a “thang” I want to do, to make into my own, and to transform into a creative medium for myself.  For that, I think Roz.

I am in the middle of massive numbers of kidney stones in both kidneys, and so my work schedule in our business has been a bit different.  I do what I can.   Being in pain and sleeping on and off due to staying up all night sometimes was a boon in this instance.  I could not sit at the computer, but I was able to sketch in bed or on our studio sofa.

I chose this trip because it is a trip that Mitchell and I wish we could take.  We are writing a book, and some of it is set in this part of the world.  I changed the nature of our alter egos a bit from reality.  With mine, I was an architect and left that profession at 30 for the world of art and writing.  With Mitchell, if the man had known he wanted to be a historian I think he would have — or an architect.  So I let that be who we were, architect and history professor — instead of furniture conservators.

My goal when I started was to loosen up and get into a groove, integrating my years of architectural drawing back into my art.  I had to nearly walk away from my attention to exacting detail, but now I wanted to bring it back in, but differently.  To keep up with time constraints I had to stop thinking so much.  This daily drawing of architecture (place) was very good for that.

And I had not thought about architecture much in many years, mostly because Oregon has little good architecture, and what they have they want to tear down.  Michael Graves died during this “trip” and I grieved the man I was exposed to and learned from and admired, and also realized that the incredibly daft town I live in wants to tear down the first post-modern highrise built, out city building.  They changed it, then blamed him for the changes to his design THEY MADE, and now they want to tear it down and build some other uglier building.  Trust me, I see what passes for public buildings here and 99% of it is horrid.  They don’t see the art in architecture, they don’t understand cutting edge, they don’t understand the dialogue of space.  I learned to look the other way after a year of living in Oregon.

Finally, I didn’t count on how I am sorry I can’t share this part of me with family (other than Mitchell) as they don’t get it.  If I had been on a real trip then my close circle would have read every post or email, but this is something they just won’t understand!  So last night when Mitchell and I were watching a Rizzoli & Isles whereby parents and close friends didn’t know the murdered girl well, and had no idea the creative things she was into, I totally identified.  Not with the murdered part.  With people knowing only parts of you.  For me, this is not because I won’t share.  I think it is due to limited interest or not understanding.  I don’t take it personally, just know that my life is very compartmentalized.

W15 4 1 IFJM 003My notes during the month as myself about the process!  NO fakery!

1 April
In pain from kidney stone and couldn’t sleep even with drugs.  I worked my insomnia into my journal!  Jai was asleep on my bolster and so I draw him with that exact expression (he was annoyed at me playing with his feet earlier) as if he were on our suitcase.  Drew all night.
I am shellacking today, just one table, so going up and down to the finish room and will be able to journal more today.  Will take advantage while I have it.

I think I will simply add to it as I have time and let the time of day dictate what I say.  I may do 1 entry or 6 entries — little ones as I have time.  That is, after all, the way I like to journal — keep it with me and just do it as I have time.

W15 4 2 IFJM 006 BANNER2 April
Also had trouble getting to sleep due to pain but took a whole percoset so finally drifted off.  Wrote while I waited.
Several things about yesterday.  I filled up FIVE pages, and panicked.  Mitchell has been looking over my shoulder while I researched Italy and made many suggestions last month.  I have files on images and places.  I CAN SEE THAT THIS WON’T MAKE IT ALL INTO THE JOURNAL.  No time and limited pages.  I want it all to fit into this journal.  So I did a timetable today and allowed 2 pages of layout per day, cut back on locations we’d planned, and now feel better.  I still have a few pages left IF I can’t do it while I am having the lipotripsy.
I also had my Goulet Pen order arrive yesterday and worked it into the shopping in Italy today!  Of course, that store may not REALLY carry my inexpensive pens but I don’t care.  Close enough for me!  And I can use my new green ink in the journal!

W15 4 3 IFJM 011 BANNER3 April
So much stress about the pain from the kidney stones.  Doing this fakery is helping me forget the stones — not the pain, but it allows me to let go of the nerve-wracking worry of the procedure down the road.
I also realize I am doing things comfortably.  I need to break away and do what is uncomfortable.

W15 4 4 IFJM 0094 April
I finally created an image I love.  It has the looseness and yet has enough detail.

W15 4 7 IFJM 005 BANNER7 April
It is true that Mitchell and I two peas in a pod, connected and loving, and that our creativity together brings that to the fore.  I had not planned on this eking into this journal, but I am not resisting anything.  He is worried about my pain and my surgery, and so this journal is fun for him too, and I’ve included him in where we go and what we see.  I love that we changed our plans together in real life and in the journal, but can’t discuss that — too personal.

W15 4 8 IFJM 006 BANNER8 April
I realize that this is helping me to further reconnect with the architect and the designer I left behind to become an artist.  Maybe I can reconnect these parts to be a better artist.  I use the architect in me daily to solve problems in our conservation business, but I have suppressed her in many ways to loosen up when making art.  Especially doodling the lovely cross in the wall today, I remembered how I love the simply ink-on-paper.

W15 4 11 IFJM 00211 April
I am enjoying drawing this way, creatively, and am also thinking about architects and Urban Sketchers.  The games, the snootiness, the separateness — all things I want no part of, and perhaps it is because so many folks who are running USk are architects.  I know great fun architects, but so so many have sticks up their butts.
I personally find USk to be boring in its rules for me creatively.  I’ve done hundreds of city drawings and want more now.  This fake journal is bringing that home.

W15 4 13 IFJM 002 BANNER13 April
It has taken me this long to loosen up.  Wow.

W15 4 17 IFJM 003 BANNER18 April
I notice that upon going back I like some images that I didn’t like so much and don’t like others that I thought were good.  Judgement is a fickle woman.

W15 4 20 IFJM 006 JAI BANNER20 April
Surgery.  I had a lot of time before the surgery as they scheduled me in the afternoon.  I drew like crazy, and sat and painted too.
That morning I woke to find Jai snuggled so far into my arms as if he knew.  He doesn’t normally try to sleep with me like that — a second skin.  I was afraid of the surgery and I know he knew it.  Our guys are family.
And I AM afraid of the surgery.  I don’t like pain, but I also am aware of the risks of going under.  Doing this journal has helped me to avoid confronting the fear, but now it is her.
I turned Jai cuddling me into an entry about the pension cat.  The stupid thing was I placed it on the opposite page.  Oh well.

W15 4 21 IFJM 007 BANNER23 April
The stories of the Camino were variations of stories I have heard or are about me, turned into fiction.  Two readers realized this from other posts.
Seriously painful days, and so I was lucky to do anything.  Medical doctors LIE, and had I not had Mitchell around I would have been in danger due to the lack of truth they told.  I am taking my healing into my own hands now, and with better sleep maybe I can heal.  Barbarians.

W15 4 25 IFJM 00725 April
I love working in whatever way I feel like working without the silly constraints of a few groups which, in other circumstances, I would like to play in — my creativity needs to be free and open, and this includes most challenges I play in too.  Pencil, pen, watercolor, whatever, in whatever order I want to use them.  I am over college, thank god/dess. I play in it for the camaraderie, and if that is stuffy, then poo on all that too.  I am loving IFJM and its participants.  I am making decisions to move away from some other groups, tho none that Jorge put me into.

W15 4 26 IFJM 00328 April
Looking back I want to blacken in the trees in this image.  I probably will.  My journal, my way.  And finally, a lion I LOVE!

W15 4 28 IFJM 002“Memory is more indelible than ink.”
Anita Loos, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Turns out, not so in my case.  It is why I journal.
I forget details.

And I really need to clean my desk.


Moleskin 8×11 watercolor journal, Pentalic HB woodless pencil, De Artramentis Document and Super5 ink, and Daniel Smith, Holbien and QoR watercolors.

All my International Fake Journal Month posting are copyrighted.
It is unusual for me to not do Creative Commons but there is a reason.
My images/blog posts may be reposted; please link back to dkatiepowellart.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
This entry was posted in art journal, journal, memory, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to May Day, A Look Back

  1. susanissima says:

    How wonderful that you took time to write notes, and now a reflection of your journey. This project so resonates with you, it seems. Have you considered a similar journal for your own city? You live in such a vibrant part of the PNW and I can just imagine how gorgeous that book would be!


  2. joantav says:

    Great reflections, Kate!!! I like that you incorporated bits of your life into the journal. I also love that you and Mitchell collaborated on parts of it, just like it was real life. I know doing something with as much depth and detail as this takes a tremendous amount of research and prep to find information about the places and images to work from when doing the sketches. The previous fake journals I did were like that. If you ever have the time you can check them out on my regular blog ( ). There is a link to them on the right side of the blog. Congratulations on completing the blog!! I am amazed with all you went through that you kept up so well.


  3. Dan Antion says:

    Thanks for the look behind the scenes!


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