Over a long weekend we had a family gathering to celebrate a graduation! Before traveling to spend several days together with everyone, my wife and I spent time in the Portland Japanese Garden. Here’s one of the photos my wife took of me in the act of drawing some of the 300 year old bonsai trees that had been cared for by multiple generations. I shared the finished sketches here. We’ll visit this garden again soon. It was satisfying to see so much caring there!
Then the next day we drove 2 hours to Olympia Washington to be in town for our great nephew’s graduation from Evergreen State College. Since we were a day early we found a bookstore… Turtleman Used Books!
It is a tiny bookstore with a carefully curated selection by a wizard named Murlin! He was fun to talk to. And the store size was perfect as we were tired from driving and found the store refreshing. Here we are with Murlin.
When I was in the nonfiction art book section I met a young actress aged 9. The actress said hello to me first and said she liked the arts, was currently acting in a play at school and wanted to learn more about coloring with color pencils. There were several books on the topic on the shelf a bit too high for her to reach. I got the books down, handed them to her and we discussed the merits of each book. One book on colored pencil techniques was one that I have a copy of at home. I told her that and details about what I liked about the book. She decided to buy that title. I asked about what play she’s in and she replied “Pippi Longstocking”. She asked what I did in the arts. I said that I liked to draw and paint and that I currently have a one-person art exhibit on display. She tilted her head, looked puzzled, and said “Oh. Well, I’d better go pay for this. Bye”. I said goodbye and nice talking to you. Later I drew her portrait in my sketchbook.
These are the books that we got at Turtleman Used Books. 👇
The next morning at the hotel I drew in my sketchbook again…
Here’s us later in the day with our graduate! We’re so very proud of him!!!
We were a family of 20 people taking up two whole rows in the audience! (Our 21st family member was in the grad class of 2023!) Our niece, the graduate’s mom, said we were one of the largest families there!!
The headline speaker at commencement was the comedian Josh Blue who was hysterically funny, witty, kind, encouraging and delightful!! Another speaker spoke about how there have always been groups that abuse the climate, abuse people, abuse truth, etc. so we focus on how we respond, how we repair and how we keep hope alive. The speaker talked of how constantly, in every era, we need hope keepers, artists, writers, all kinds of people with the imagination and vision to see us through the hard times. We are all seeds…. This quote was referred to by all speakers. 👇
Heres a look at the neatly designed (I majored in graphic design when I was in college) 2023 commencement program with our graduates name in it. The font was easy to read and all the ceremony details were direct and straightforward. The college campus was beautiful, too, and it was also easy to navigate with walkways and lots of towering evergreen trees. The ceremony itself was warmhearted, encouraging and best of all there was closed captioning and a sign language interpreter! In every way the college showed that they really did want to include everyone! Anyhoo, here’s the program…
….and they had the most awesome “fight song” ever!! The song is printed on the back of the program! When it was time to sing they all sang loud and proud!!! 👇
In case you don’t know what a geoduck is…
After the commencement was finished we went to a local restaurant Basilico Ristorante where the 21 of us had a 7 course Italian meal together!! The food and wine were incredible!! Family members stood and made toasts and speeches and shared stories! The graduate stood and gave a great speech in response! All evening long there was conversation and so much laughter!
Here’s the toast I wrote and illustrated on the spot.
It’s wonderful to be with caring family and to remember that indeed we are seeds and all of us can keep hope alive and growing in ourselves and each other! We’re in this life together.
See you next Monday.