She Sure is {Life Drawing} in Charcoal

I may have mentioned before that Pratt’s Draw-A-Thon is steeped in Tradition. In that tradition, I have two iron clad rules, and one is ‘Friends don’t let friends use charcoal’. I’ve spent the last decade softly smiling at the freshmen who are required to attend this blessed occasion. They are fuzzy. Like in a camera obscura kind of way… You can see them, but you can’t really see them. They are covered in a thin layer of black dust. They look ridiculous. They look like this:
The crazed look in their eyes kicks in at about 4am. This year however, I was without Sandra, and so I was wooed by the racoon-rimmed eyes of a small sophomore sprite who had doused herself in ebony powder and was attacking her sketchbook with earnest. Knowing full well that charcoal sketches always look just plain awful and there’s no way to glean anything actually happening with them, I was sure her work was going to be horrid, but her sketchbook was beautiful, so I had to ask her where she got it. She’d picked it up in Florence on a study abroad program. I braced myself for her dirty, dark sketches and was instead floored and impressed by how beautiful they were.
“Here, wanna try some?” she reached out her hand to share a broken stick and I was pulled back to a particularly lovely day on the bleachers in high-school. –OK…. Just a little… I thought. So here are my charcoal sketches from a long night, in which I made new friends, with kids and with medium.

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#LaterGram

About last night. 🦌💛 Crawling home on all fours after celebrating at the epic Puppy Par-tay my brother and sister-in-law put on for my dog nephew, Milo tonight. It was everything and more, complete with a bone-shaped swimming pool. #dreamtheimpawssibledream 🤘#livewithnoregrets We otter go exploring more rivers. 😍
#lifeachievementunlocked A Mama said there’d be days like this😍
Totally alone in the Natural History Museum’s Hall of Mammals for hours! Hashtag Blessed. It’s 1 AM. Do you know where your mini gummi bears are? 
#fairgame #latenightinthestudio #goodbyeoctober We’re celebrating today. I opened my eyes to Matt  crowing, “Amber! Wake up. They made it!” We have been following the inspiring pilgrimage of my mom @incredimombo & sister @prilliegirl_shakazoozoo via text & @instagram for weeks. They set out to trek across Spain a month and a half ago. This morning they walked their 500th mile and crossed into Santiago. Having read a lot about their journey before they set out to do it, I felt concerned at their determination. The Camino is not easy. It requires walking 10-20 miles a day 7 days a week. You have to carry everything you need on your back. The toll is physical, mental & spiritual. Many prepared and experienced hikers do not make it to the end of the journey the first or second time they attempt it. ☀️ So we’re dreaming impossible dreams and celebrating too. It would seem today is a good day to set out to do the impossible. When we moved to Utah I was sure I’d been too spoiled by my childhood on the ocean and my twenties in Brooklyn, to ever find anything to love in the desert. I fully planned on dying of boredom. I don’t know what I’ll do when we outgrow this little Wasatch apartment of ours! Watching the Sun kiss the mountains goodnight from our tiny balcony is beyond description. This picture doesn’t begin to do it justice. Home again.
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