Wandering...

It's been a weird time lately. I think it's healthy to just need to slow down and get away from things-even if it's just for a few hours. Last week, after yet another doctor visit, I just got in my car and started driving. I wasn't sure where i would go, but I headed west. 

still looks like this!

still looks like this!

Somehow, I ended up in Dover. I've always thought this was a cool looking town. A little run down, but with it's hills and old buildings, it always had a certain feel to it. I remembered a little art store i used to visit back in the 80s when I first really got interested in becoming an artist. One click on my Waze app and there I was on Myrtle Street at the Joe Kubert School. Still there!

Joe Kubert Art store in Dover, NJ

Joe Kubert Art store in Dover, NJ

I went inside and looked around. I think it may have been a different space. But there is always something so great about the smell of art supplies. I almost bought another sketchbook, but I'm determined to fill those I have first. But it was wild to think that i was just a kid the last time I was there-dreaming of being an illustrator and now returning as an author and illustrator. 

Didn't take a pic inside but found this on the web.

Didn't take a pic inside but found this on the web.

It used to have this great little metal sign, which has been replaced by a vinyl one. Ms. Lombardi does not acknowledge ugly signage. So let's keep the memory alive...

After leaving there, I decided to keep going-this time to my old haunt of Mendham. I took long winding roads all the way and once I got to town, all I could think was just how teeny the town is! Before I could even blink, I was in the center of town! I hung a right and drove by my old grade school where I spent 5th to 8th grade. I pulled in front and just stared at the building-remembering the hallways, the classrooms but most of all...art class! Again, it looked teeny. But when you are only 11, it is your entire world.

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I then drove back to the center of town (funny because it's about 2 blocks in nyc!) and decided to lunch at Mendham's big attraction "The Pub". I ordered a glass of chardonnay and then looked around wondering if there was anyone there I knew. I've lived a lot of places and left there in '89 but you never know.

Went down easy. ;)

Went down easy. ;)

After a tasty lunch (crab cake special) I drove down Tempe Wick Road and by Jockey Hollow Park. That is a great place to slow down. I used to go there all the time to look at the deer. Has a lot of history-most notably where Washington's troops camped. 

Here's a moment from that time in history. I'm old, but not quite that old so you may be surprised to hear I did not actually take this next photo.

And speaking of old. I celebrated a birthday over the weekend. Here is the scene from Cuban Pete's-a fun place in Montclair where you feel like you are in Havana for just a moment. Or at least as long as it takes you to finish your plantains. 

No Place Like Home!

I really love old homes. I love their detail, history and coziness. I've been drawing lots of homes the past year. Below are some of my illustrations with various types. I love to drive around and wonder who lives in certain houses. Sometimes I wish i could ring the doorbell and ask to see inside. lol! I'm guessing that wouldn't be appreciated.  I spent a lot of time pondering what sort of home my first character lived in and enjoyed researching the little houses I love in Northern Massachusetts. That will always be home. A little trivia: the "43" on the (Lovey) bunny homestead was the number of my childhood home. I love putting bits of my childhood into my work. They show up in odd places...

Whether it is a rooftop flat in the city, a classic A-frame or mansard roofed house high in the Alps, I love putting homes into my work.

Whether it is a rooftop flat in the city, a classic A-frame or mansard roofed house high in the Alps, I love putting homes into my work.

I love all the tiny cottages by the sea and the craggy coastline in New England.  And yes, a small obsession with Mansard roofs too!

I love all the tiny cottages by the sea and the craggy coastline in New England.  And yes, a small obsession with Mansard roofs too!

These are the sort of homes that remind me most of home. I grew up in New England and still have a fondness for those cramped little streets, packed full of tiny A-frame colonials. I love everything from the weathered shingles and shakes to the doors, bay windows and picket fences.

These are the sort of homes that remind me most of home. I grew up in New England and still have a fondness for those cramped little streets, packed full of tiny A-frame colonials. I love everything from the weathered shingles and shakes to the doors, bay windows and picket fences.