New beginnings, new challenges, new opportunities…
Earlier this year, I enjoyed reading Doc, a fictional account of the life of Doc Holliday written by Mary Doria Russell, based on her meticulous research of the Southern gentleman and his cohorts, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson. In the chapter titled “Roughing the Edges,” the following words from Doc struck me:
“And paid or not, there is considerable satisfaction in the exercise of a hard-won competence…”
While Ms. Russell was referring to Doc Holliday’s facility with cards, one could apply this to any skill honed by patient practice. Related to this idea are these two lines in Verse 3 of Tao Te Ching, a classic text written in the 6th century BC by Lao Tzu.
“Practice action without striving
and all will be in order.”
What this means to me is that, rather than thinking about what we might receive or attain for doing something well—to the best of our ability—it is the doing for its own sake that is the reward.
On Sunday morning, as the Seattle Seahawks were overpowering the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands of New Jersey, the Seattle UrbanSketchers group was meeting at King Street Station for its monthly sketching session. Not finding the newly renovated and beautiful interior of the main waiting room in the station to be of sufficient interest, I wandered outside for this view of CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders FC. Designed by Ellerbe Becket in association with LMN Architects and built between 2000 and 2002, the stadium is home to the loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium, 137.5 dB, set during a Monday Night Football game against the New Orleans Saints on December 2, 2013.
It’s really cold here in Seattle and until it warms up enough to go out and draw, I will continue to post a few images from Rome. Although It feels good to be home, my mind still wanders occasionally back to Rome.
Just off of Via del Pelligrino as it leads away from the Campo dei Fiori is a dark archway, the Arco degli Acetari, which opens onto this quiet courtyard. It is perhaps one of the more photographed places in Rome; you see it on postcards as well as on numerous Flickr sites. I’ve passed by it many times and decided one morning to stop and try to capture the medieval quality of the space. This line drawing cannot do justice to the picturesque, colorful courtyard with its greenery, stairs leading off in different directions, shuttered windows, and tiled roofscapes.
I leave Rome tomorrow for Seattle. While it has truly been a privilege and a pleasure to have once again taught in the Eternal City, I’m looking forward to returning home. Before departing, I want to share just a few more drawings.
If I absolutely had to pick a favorite building in Rome, it would have to be the Pantheon, which is ideal in its conception and outlook but also attractive in the way it has aged and adapted over the centuries. I’ve drawn the Pantheon many times before but this time I decided to capture an aspect of the structure that rarely gets noticed.
These are two interior views of the Pantheon. The first was done quickly in 2000, while the second took about an hour to do on a recent cold and rainy day, when the idea of sitting inside and drawing felt strangely welcoming. It’s always difficult to convey the way the spatial volume envelops you but the challenge was worthwhile and rewarding.