It has been my habit in past years to take a vacation from the studio the last two weeks of the year. The only difference this year was that vacation was three weeks instead of two, and I added writing to the list of “forbidden activities”.

Apparently, drawing was also on the list because at about 9 p.m. on December 31, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t done any sketching in December. None. Zip, zero, zilch.

Neal and I were at a restaurant at the time and somewhere between giving our orders and getting the appetizers. What to do?

I unrolled the silver and borrowed a pen from Neal (I didn’t have my purse) and proceeded to “doodle” on the paper napkin ring until the food arrived. I don’t know for sure how long that was, but probably at least 15 minutes.

The result is this pen-and-ink drawing. Not too bad for a last minute, spur of the moment effort!

By the way, that little speck to the immediate left of the tree… that’s supposed to be a bird. That may be something I need to work on in 2014.

Original pen & ink drawing of a mountain scene

The moral of this story is that you don’t need expensive tools, a lot of time, or ideal circumstances to make art. A ball point pen and a piece of paper is it.

Even if it a napkin ring.