Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Welcoming the American Mariner

You know me and my preoccupation with Great Lakes freighters. Especially now that I have spent hours over the last few weeks sketching the Maumee.

I have been missing the Maumee since it shipped out. But this evening, my ship came in! My new ship, that is.

It is the American Mariner! This Web log is no stranger to the American Mariner. I have seen it before. When I worked for The Buffalo News I even got to interview its captain.

But tonight I saw the ship as I have never seen it before! 

I went down to the Outer Harbor to get in my 10,000 steps. At about my 6500th step, I hear this big loud horn. It was a foghorn! I did not realize that at the time. I just knew it was a kind of horn I had not heard before and it must belong to a big, big ship.

One woman called her son to ask if he knew about a freighter coming in. I appreciated that her son would know about this kind of thing. But he did not seem to know.

I said, "Well, something is out there. There is a big ship ready to come in."

Sure enough, after a few minutes there it was. This big, graceful shape on the horizon, beyond the breakwall. 

Someone told me it was the American Mariner. That is the biggest ship to come in to Buffalo. I know that because of my story.

Long story short, a whole bunch of us, most of us strangers, wound up gathered on a hill by the lighthouse, watching the American Mariner come in. Here is an amateurish picture I took. I think the phone put on the flash. The pictures my new friends were taking were a lot better, I am sure.

It was so much fun! It was like being in heaven. These people were my people! They knew all about the Maumee which I had been drawing. They recommended websites and Facebook groups that could hip you to this kind of thing. They were as much in awe as I was as we stood on this hilltop and watched the huge ship glide into the Buffalo River. Night was falling and lights were blinking on.

One gentleman marveled that he thought that the American Mariner was flying the Buffalo Sabres flag and the Buffalo Bills flag.

That was when I contributed my one bit of knowledge, going back to my story.

I said: "The captain is from Buffalo!"

And a shout went up as my new friends delighted in that new factoid. I was so proud to have contributed something because they knew so much.

What a wonderful evening -- darkness falling, the city skyline twinkling, the loud hum of this gigantic ship passing by, on its way to the Cheerios plant. Right now it is docked right where the Maumee was. 

I am going to go visit it.

And draw it!

Friday, April 9, 2021

Farewell to Prince Philip

I am saddened to hear of the death of Prince Philip. Howard told me this morning. He yelled down the stairs about something while I was making breakfast and when he does that you know it is something important.

That is too bad. I will miss Prince Philip greatly.

Prince Philip of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluckberg. I love it how Prince Philip is being referred to simply as a Greek prince, you know? Yeah right.

This web log will not be the same!

Looking around the Internet, a bad thing to do under any circumstances, I am depressed by the people wishing him ill in the hereafter. I know little about the private life of Prince Philip but nobody else knows anything either. I have said a prayer for him and I wish him the best.

Can I have a mass said for Prince Philip?

Why not?

Anyway beset by nostalgia I found myself looking back on his prominence on this site. 

The list of gaffes -- i.e., glaringly politically incorrect things -- that he said.

The times when my mother would be concerned for his health and I would fib confidently: "Oh, Mom, I read that Prince Philip is better." Sure enough he was better! That was what, five or 10 years ago?

The story my friend Stephanie sent me about the island where Prince Philip is a god.

When Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth gave Pope Francis a bottle of whiskey. What a perfect gift. So British. Anyone else would be tied up in knots, thinking, what do I give the pope? A rosary? A statue? No. This was perfect.

There was even the time I noted seeing a portrait of him in Toronto at the Royal York.

So much history we share! How could I have ever become so involved with Prince Philip without ever meeting him?

The poor queen. I feel bad for Queen Elizabeth with him gone. 

Prince Philip was one in a million!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

My Easter chocolate


I love that today was Easter Sunday.

Just the shadow of Lent lifting ... Yesterday I said to my brother George, that is enough for me. I do not need ham nor do I need chocolate. Although today I had both!

The chocolate I had was after Mass. Actually I had two chocolate treats after Mass. One was a milk chocolate cross that my friend Susan was handing out when we were milling about the church afterwards. Susan works in an honest to goodness chocolate shop! And she was handing out chocolate crosses.

The second chocolate was quite the experience. My friend Meghan in choir turned up today unexpectedly -- she is out of town a lot -- and we went after Mass to the Public coffee house, in the Hotel Lafayette. 

At Public I asked at the counter for the most fattening coffee they had. The clerk laughed.

He said: "This must be because of Lent ending!"

I said: "Yes!"

He said other things too but masks make things hard to understand so we will have to leave the conversation at this. Long story short, he guided me in the direction of a rich latte so I got that. Then I saw these chocolate bars. One was 100 percent cacao! And no sugar. None!

I ordered that one! That is it below. It has this great brand name, Raaka.

Meghan and I were sitting on this couch and she ate a breakfast sandwich and then I invited her to sample the chocolate which she did.

We agreed that the chocolate was rather uncompromising. However I just might develop a taste for it. I told Meghan that will be a new identity of mine, chocolate connoisseur. Next time I am at Public I am going to try another bar. It was Bourbon Spiked, something like that.

The chocolate was perfect for me at this point in time because I have been flirting with the Keto diet and it does not spike your insulin, being pretty much fat, as far as I can determine. It sustained me through a long walk on the waterfront, during which I sketched the Maumee again, and then just sat on the docks, watched the geese, feasted my eyes on the water, and just enjoyed life.

Easter Sunday.

The happiest day of the year!

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Adventure of the Seven Churches

Last night I visited the Seven Churches. It is a wonderful and mystical Holy Thursday tradition!

 Typically what happens is, you go to Mass at the church of your choice, and then you visit six other churches. Technically you visit the churches for Adoration although you do end up doing a lot of visiting and chit-chat too, in whispers of course. 

This is the fourth time I have done this. The first time I did the Seven Churches it was with my friend Oscar from church. Like most great adventures it almost did not happen. I had a migraine that day and I had told myself I would not do it. But Oscar caught up with me in the parking lot after Mass and he said if I could not drive him, he could not go. Oscar is a med student at UB and you know these students, they have a way of getting you to do all these things you would not otherwise do. Anyway, I went.

And what a life experience that was! There is just something about doing this, I do not quite understand it. It gets to you. The churches are softly lighted and people are praying and whispering -- and Our Lord is there in the Altar of Repose. Oscar and I knelt at each altar and he sort of led our prayers, in Latin, in English, and in Spanish because that is his native language. People were walking in and out of every church. And here in Buffalo even non-Catholics and atheists like to get on board and visit the churches just to look at them, and they are respectful and somehow add to the mystique and the community feel. I remember that first year as just so beautiful.

I loved it so much I decided that year I wanted to write about the tradition for The Buffalo News -- and the next year, 2018, I did that. I also visited the churches in 2018 and 2019 with friends from church. Our church, St. Anthony's, always has a kind of informal caravan making the rounds.

This year I just ended up going by myself! 

Our Mass was at 6 p.m. and it went late, past 8. This made it a challenge to make it to six more churches because some closed at 9, others at 10, and I do not know who stayed open after that.

So, pedal to the metal. I went to the Cathedral first. I had never included the Cathedral among my Seven Churches and I am happy I did! Their Mass was finishing up and I hung out in the back and waited it out.

Just to see them darken the church, it was haunting. Then my old friend Oscar materialized along with some other friends from church and he shepherded me into the chapel where the altar was. I do not think I would have found it otherwise.

There were candles lighting the way. It was so beautiful. We knelt on the floor and prayed and then we left the church and went our separate ways. I went to St. Michael's, which as you might remember was the scene of my great Confession adventure of 2008.

Leaving St. Michael's, I hastily headed to St. Louis. I heard the church closed at 9 so I had to hustle.

At St. Louis I ran into a group of guys from church who invited me to carpool with them. It was nice of them and I wanted to but I did not want them to have to return me to St. Louis to get my car, so again I went my own way. We set up loose plans to meet in Polonia because rumor had it the churches out there were staying open later.

I drove out Broadway, as they say. The guys were heading to St. Stan's but I saw Clark Street and there was Corpus Christi, at the corner of Clark and Kent, we kid you not. The narrow streets were packed with cars. It seemed half the city was here.

Beautiful Corpus Christi. 

You could just stay there forever, you know? 

But time was flying. A quick prayer and back out into the night I went. Next I did St. Stan's. 

St. Stan's stands out on my list this year because, I realized later, it was the only church where I actually -- well, I hate to say this but I am not sure I ever actually prayed there. I ran into some people I had not seen in a while and I met some new people and I am afraid I just gabbed! Even wearing a mask I can get into all this trouble! Anyway, that was Church No. 6.

One church to go. What to do? What to do??? It was only about 9:30 but those minutes evaporate pretty quickly if you do not have a plan, which this year I absolutely did not have. At St. Stan's I had run into my friend Olivia -- our paths were crossing constantly throughout the evening -- and she said she and another friend, Daria, were headed to maybe St. Adalbert's Basilica. The "maybe" was because not one of us was at all sure where St. Adalbert's actually was. All Olivia knew was on a street called Stanislaus Street, wherever that was. Get this, St. Stanislaus is not on St. Stanislaus Street! But St. Adalbert's is.

Now I made my one strategic mistake of the night. Because I did not know my way to St. Adalbert's, I thought I would follow up on this secret dream I had of getting to Blessed Trinity. That is this stunning massive church where two years ago I remember they had fashioned an altar of transcendent beauty. I got back in my car and headed downtown toward Main Street.

Then I thought: Mary, you can't do this. It was 20 minutes to 10 and Blessed Trinity would be closing at 10. That was what I had read. So I did a U-turn, pulled over, and in desperation consulted my phone about St. Adalbert's. The phone said I was three minutes away! 

It was not easy -- the church was on this narrow dark street, and at first I was waylaid by another church that turned out to be the hulking, reproachful ruins of Transfiguration. I had to circle the block to correct my mistake. But finally, I was there. I saw a bunch of cars, which helped. There were so many people doing the Seven Churches that you could almost just follow the herd. This magnificent Eastern-looking church, St. Adalbert's, suddenly just appeared like something out of the ether. I could almost hear the angels singing. I ran up the stairs and there were these ladies greeting people at the door.

I said, "Church number seven!"

"Good for you!" they exclaimed.

Normally I hate when people say "Good for you" but I was so happy I had pulled this off that I did not care. That is St. Adalbert's at the top of the post. Here is another picture. For most of the churches I snapped just one picture but at St. Adalbert's I could relax because it was my final church.

At St. Adalbert's, by the way,  I ran into the guys from our church who had kindly invited me to carpool. It was not their last church. But I told them, it ain't over till it's over. I think some of these churches were staying open later than they had stated.

I also think however that your chances of visiting seven churches in a time crunch greatly increase if you go solo. You do not have to consult anyone when you need to make a U-turn or change plans. You need not deal with anyone who has his or her heart set on one church or another. And here is another thing, you go with another person, and what do you do when you look at the clock and know you need to move on, but your friend is kneeling deep in prayer? Answer me that.

So I learned a thing or two -- and -- well, as always, the experience was, in a way, indescribable. You have to try it to understand. Good Friday -- today -- blazed with sun, even if the temps were in the 20s. As I was walking around the park this morning, my mind kept going back to last night, and that dark, hushed feeling.

It is haunting!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Back to the Cheerios plant


Today I went back and again sketched the Maumee, which is fast becoming an old friend. I sit with the Maumee in the evening until the ship's lights begin to blink on.

The people around the docks are getting to know me too. One gentleman yesterday told me that the Maumee's presence is a kind of first to him. He said that he could never remember a ship wintering here as the Maumee is doing.

I confessed that I had a thing for these freighters. He asked me about it. He said he was a sailor. Look at me, down on the docks, talking with sailors.

It is the best I can do to draw the back end of the ship, pictured above.

I do like that picture, I have to tell you. I had a nice smooth pen to draw it with. These Microns, they kick around my purse and my car and they do not stay nice for very long. Part of the problem is the caps. The Micron makers blew it with the caps. The caps come off too easily and are lost too easily. 

I lucked out today and had a wonderful time drawing the smooth outlines of the ship, inking in the windows of the Cheerios plant. I was sitting right down by the water, on the steps of the dock.

The beaver, or whatever creature that was, was not in evidence today. I was disappointed.

But I did entertain myself with the drawing. The evening was lovely and as if to welcome me, the Cheerios plant began piping out that sugary Cheerios aroma.

After the drawing above I turned the page and tried drawing the whole ship. It can be done, I can see that. You have to start with a long swipe up, as if you are drawing with a calligraphy pen, and then you just have to take things from there. I have a good start. Tomorrow mayhap I will post what I did.

Mayhap, listen to me!

I am becoming a salt.

Arr, arr, mate!

When I was done I walked back to Wilkeson Pointe and sat down on the beach with my friend Ryan who was already there. Ryan was relieved that the beaver was not there by the river and so he had not missed anything.

The grain elevator lighted up as the daylight disappeared. Again I had the feeling that I hated to see the day end. The ice is melting. One of these days the Maumee will be gone and this episode of my life will be over.

But not yet.

I think I still have a few days!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Mysterious River Creature Down By the Docks

I hated to see the sun set today. That is it up above! I took that picture at Wilkeson Pointe.

I hated to see the sun set because the day was just so lovely. 

Today I returned again to the Maumee. That is the ship wintering on the Outer Harbor by the Cheerios plant.

I was down there drawing and this is what I need to discuss. There is this animal there! I saw this animal the other day while I was sketching. It was swimming around. There is this area by the pier where the boat owners dock their boats...

... and all of a sudden the weeds that covered the water, I saw them moving. Next thing I knew there was this big animal undulating this way and that. It had this big rear and it would splash and dive beneath the surface and come back up but never to the extent that I could see it clearly.

I did know that it was not a snake, I will tell you that right now.

It was also not a fish. That is what I thought it was at first.

Also, it seemed benign. It seemed happy, going this way and that, some fat happy animal.

Today I was back there again. ... 

I was on the docks. I used to draw on the shore but I have graduated to drawing right on the water.

And I turned around and ... there it was! The creature!

It was maybe two yards from me. It was a little bigger than a cat. I went to grab my camera and take a picture but it moved fast and splashed back into the water with a big belly flop.

Then I saw it swimming around. It had these little ears, I do believe.

After conferring later at Wilkeson Pointe with my friend Ryan I do believe it might have been a beaver. That was the closest we came to figuring this out.

Here is a picture of a beaver from the National History Museum. 

This is what the animal looked like although to be honest I did not get a good look at its tail. Which, that would be vital to positive identification.

Here is a video of beavers swimming that looks like what I saw.

They are playing Bach in that video. How about that? Today is the birthday of the great Johann Sebastian Bach! Surely this was all meant to be.

Ryan is going to go with me to the docks, with luck to get a look at this animal in person.

This is funny, no one wants to go with me anywhere to be with me when I am drawing. But bring in some animal, and everyone is into it. They want to see this creature!

As do I!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Adventure on Broadway: The Colored Musicians Club

The Colored Musicians Club on Broadway and Michigan holds a special place in my heart. So it was a treat to draw it.

I first got to know the club years ago. It was before I worked for the Niagara Gazette, that is how long ago it was! I worked for the Niagara Gazette before I worked for The Buffalo News.

I was working nights next door to the club at a printer called Buffalo Publishing. I would do typesetting and put together wine menus and -- this is how long ago it was -- I would paste up big newspaper ads for AM&As. My sister Katie worked further down the street teaching at St. Ann's. We would joke about working on Broadway! But anyway.

There was this sign in the building next door, a red neon sign in an upstairs window, reading "Musicians."

I said, "We have to find out what this is about." No one I worked with seemed to know. So one day I went over there and tried the door. Here is a closeup of my picture so you can see. That is the door, on the left. It was locked.

I rang the doorbell. A buzzer sounded and I went in.

There was this long narrow staircase and I went up it. At the top of the staircase was a door and I opened it. And that was how I ended up in the Colored Musicians Club. 

That is how everyone ended up there!

That is how we will end up there again once things return to normal and we can live like normal human beings.

My friends at Buffalo Publishing and I all began frequenting the club on our dinner breaks, to the extent that our boss eventually put out a memo addressing the situation. The memo said, "Any employees visiting the CMC should work all through your shift and take your break at the end." I always remember the memo abbreviated it like that. It was just such a pervading thing in the office that everyone went there. We would drink Rum and Cokes and Lupe the bartender would make them strong.

Here is a picture of the picture in progress.

Sketching the CMC I thought back on all that as I drew in the street light, the bare street corner. I had so many adventures at this place over the years. 

Good times.

Monday, March 8, 2021

The Maumee and me

The freighter called the Maumee is docked down by the Cheerios plant. I believe it is spending the winter there.

It is parked next to the Cheerios plant and it is surrounded by ice! The ice is melting a bit but it is still very much there and ducks and ducklings are waddling around on it.

I noticed the Maumee a few weeks ago because I am always on the lookout for these Great Lakes Freighters and I love to monitor their comings and goings. Looking on Boatnerd, a site I love, I was excited to read that the Maumee was built in 1929. Alas, it turned out that was a different Maumee. That Maumee was scrapped not long ago. This one dates to 1953.

Here is the correct Maumee on Boatnerd. Ships typically go through a number of names and this ship was originally called the Reserve. I love the scholarship on Boatnerd! "The Reserve sailed on her maiden voyage from the shipyard April 22, 1953 upbound in ballast to Superior, WI for a 18,571 ton (18,869 mt) load of iron ore." Boatnerd is amazing. Every writeup tells you everything the freighter in question hauled, all the names it had, why it was named what it was, where it went, all the collisions it got into, which tugboats hauled it to safety, where it was repaired, everything.

The Reserve had also made a voyage in 1952 so, you figure that one out, I cannot.

This evening down at the Outer Harbor I found a little walkway across the river that gave me a decent view of one end of the Maumee anyway. Looking on Boatnerd I see that the photographer there, she did not do much better. It is hard to get a view of the whole ship because they are so massive.

However I was fortunate to get where I did. I had not realized there was this area where there are platforms going out over the water. I went out on one walkway and took this picture looking back where I had come from.

Then I found this adorable set of steps!

The steps headed down to the ice and signs warned you that the water could be electric. I am not making this up! Needless to say I stayed prudently up near the top.

Conditions were not ideal, but I had a wonderful time sketching the Maumee, not worrying about it, just having fun and feeling so lucky to be where I was. The sun came out and shadows appeared on the grain elevators. The air smelled wonderful, like spring. A crewman appeared on the deck of the Maumee and walked along its length. The ship's lights began to flicker on. I was thrilled. I am in love with lake freighters. I do not know what it is! Everything about them, I love. 

I would like to work on this drawing. I think I could do something good. Today I had not planned on doing this sketch and all I had with me was my long and narrow sketchbook, 5 by 12 inches. I would like to use a bigger piece of paper. Another thing, I was thinking maybe that in this case it might be interesting to branch out from pen and ink and try charcoal, or marker, or something, I am not sure. It is just that pen and ink is a kind of delicate medium for this massive freighter.

Well, this ice is not all melting anytime soon so with luck the Maumee will be with us a while.

And now that I know my way around, I will not be a stranger! Me and the Maumee, we are not through yet.

Friday, March 5, 2021

The unpredictable walk in the park


Spring is here. I can tell.

The other day I heard the mourning dove. At first I thought I was imagining it but no!

Then one day it was warm enough so I could open the window for Jeoffry.

I have been walking in the park and the light is different. Today I took the picture up above because I loved the look of the trees against that dramatic sky. It was cold and windy and you can tell from the clouds.

This being Buffalo, conditions vary wildly from day to day. There was one day a couple of weeks ago when we had been buried in snow and the park had not been plowed and what was supposed to be a 45-minute walk wound up being three hours. Ha, ha! That walk in the park was no walk in the park! 

Here are some pictures from that unforgettable day.

Wow, those pictures are cool! They are simple black and white. Even though I was taking pictures in color. That is how you know you are dealing with a classic Buffalo winter day.

The next day the sun was out and all was different.


I have never known life to pass as quickly as it is passing these days, I am not sure why that is but it is. Thanks to Google Photos I see that the dates were Feb. 16 and 17.

I am already nostalgic!

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Sketching in the snow

Today on my way to Candlemas Mass I stopped and sketched Tempo. That is a restaurant occupying a beautiful old mansion on Delaware Avenue.

Is that correct, to say Candlemas Mass? Is it not just Candle Mass? Well, we say Christmas Mass.


It was fun, drawing Tempo. It took me out of my day. This is funny but I think the right way to draw a building is, you sketch in the shape, then you fill it out. I do not normally operate that way. I started in this case at the upper left hand corner of the drawing, and then I worked my way down. Always in ink, too, so you do not erase. If I worked in pencil I would always be erasing.

I was thinking, that all through my life, when I have done crossword puzzles -- any puzzles -- I have always worked in ink as well. My mother always used pencil. She used to try to reason with me because sometimes I would end up having to cross things out, and it would turn into a mess. But doing a crossword in pencil is no fun! The fun is writing in ink.

I am an ink-stained wretch!

I will have to finish the Tempo sketch and post it. I could take it only so far. No. 1 I had to go to Mass. Secondly, it was snowing and the window I was looking through, the side window, was getting snowy to the point that I could not see. I rolled it down to take the picture.

After Mass my car was covered in snow and I had to brush it off.

An observation on this year's Christmastide: It began and ended with snow!

On Christmas Eve we got our usual Christmas Eve snowstorm. I came out of Midnight Mass at, yikes, about 2:30 a.m. And my car was buried as was everyone else's. Heavy, wet snow. Buffalo. Got to love it!

Now on Candlemas evening I came out of the candlelit Mass and my car was again covered in snow. Not as bad as after Midnight Mass on Christmas, but still.

We have not gotten much snow in the interim!

Well, it is all worth it. Mass tonight, it was about two hours long, but when I came down from the choir loft for Communion, I was just overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. The church was dark and lighted only by candles. There were candles arrayed all over the high altar and the people in the pews were holding candles. It had looked beautiful from above but it was even more beautiful below.

Mozart and Beethoven and Palestrina must have gone to Mass in such an atmosphere!

I took this pic shortly before Mass but it does not begin to describe it.

Most people go through their whole lives and never experience anything like this!

And on top of that we had a white Christmas.

The start, and the finish!

Monday, February 1, 2021

The Candlemas compromise

Not to shock anyone, but I do believe I have officially the last Christmas tree up in our neighborhood. 

This year, I have to say, there were more contenders for the title. Especially along the "better" streets, like Nottingham and Middlesex, I saw trees up well into mid-January.

Some of those houses still have their lights up in the trees outside, which I love. And they have their wreaths up as well. But the trees are down. You know what, they were probably real, and real trees have to go out to the curb at some point. I sort of forget that. Good for those folks on Nottingham and Middlesex, keeping the season as it should be kept.

However. Tomorrow, Feb. 2, is the ancient feast of Candlemas which marks the end of the Christmas season.

After Mass the tree will have to come down.

OK, I will give myself till the next day. It is just that this year the tree is so pretty. I really worked on it. Just the other day I was rearranging some ornaments.

Let us look on the bright and twinkly side. I am very happy that last year I initiated my own new personal custom of leaving the lights up year-round. After they come off the tree they will go up around the windows. Like last year!

That is a nice compromise, is it not? 

I sort of miss them around the windows, anyway. I was tempted to leave the lights up around the windows and get new lights for the tree. But then I thought: no. It has to be an exchange. Otherwise when you take the tree down you are losing something.

I refuse to be a loser.

Let there be lights!

Sunday, January 31, 2021

This year's Alleluia


Today being Septuagesima Sunday we followed the ancient custom of burying the Alleluia. You bury the Alleluia because you do not say the Alleluia during Lent. And Septuagesima Sunday is the start of the pre-Lent season.

Let me break for a gripe. It does not seem right and just that we are heading into Lent, I have to say that. What with the virus and everything we have hardly gotten to celebrate Christmas. The inner time clock is off, you know? There was hardly any Christmas and yet there is Lent.


Still Lent is on the way and so we had to bury the Alleluia. And I followed the by now ancient custom of lettering the Alleluia that would be buried at church. I have written about this before in other years. Every year I make the Alleluia and every year the church loses it.

Fie on the church, fie!

However. I sort of do not mind making the Alleluia all over again because I keep improving it. The Alleluia up above, I made that first this year. But then I just wanted to do it over. I was listening to Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate," which ends in the famous "Alleluia." And after I had listened to it twice, I sat down and did a new Alleluia. And I thought it was better.

It was more free!

I liked it so much I put it on Redbubble.

You can get it on coasters.

And on a laptop case. 

Or on a T-shirt.

Isn't that great? Maybe it is a good thing after all that they lost my earlier Alleluias.

However. That still does not make it right. Before Mass this morning I took the Alleluia out of my sketchbook. Which, may I point out, it was on a huge piece of paper, 18 by 24 inches, something like that. I added a penciled note on the back. I put my name and phone number. And I wrote, "Please do not throw out." 

We will have to wait to Easter -- when the Alleluia is resurrected -- to find out if my note did any good.

I bet I do not see it again!

Friday, January 1, 2021

The first ink sketch of 2021


I wonder how many artists all over the world are resolving to draw at least one thing a day in the new year of 2021.

That has to be a resolution going back to cave man days! I mean when people would draw those cows and things you would see on the walls of caves.

Well, I really do plan on doing this. And so on the way home from Mass this morning I stopped on Elmwood Avenue and sketched what you see up above. It is the former parochial residence for the old Immaculate Conception Church in Buffalo's Allentown district.

When I was in my early 20s and just starting out in the job market I worked at Interval International, a time share exchange place. I used to go to Mass at Immaculate Conception because, I discovered, it was not far from my workplace.

Of course the church ended up closing, like so many of our other churches. But at least it is still standing, and so is the old rectory I drew, built in 1895. I looked up the year. That is part of the fun of doing all this drawing, I look up everything I draw, and I learn.

Here is a picture of my sketch in progress. It looks like a big doodle!

That is the fun of working in ink. You cannot second-guess yourself. You just keep drawing, la la la la la la la.

I worked on my drawing for a little longer but I had to stop eventually because I was in what my parents used to call Food Emergency. I needed lunch so bad my hands were shaking. The Mass had gone on for almost two hours, way longer than I had expected. When they start Benediction you know you are there for the long haul. Anyway, I took the picture home and dressed it up and put it up on my gallery website. Then I got out this notebook I have and made a note that I drew it, and put the date.

I realized it was exactly a year ago today that I sketched Holy Angels Church, on Buffalo's West Side. That church has closed now too. Sigh.

But on a brighter note, forward we go!

What if I really do follow through with this plan, and do 365 drawings? At least 365. Looking at my diary from last year I see there were some days when I drew none but some days when I drew three or four.

I wonder what 2021 will bring?