Sketch: The Pond at Fort G— With Duck

I like to cross disciplines by way of increasing my total artistic intelligence.

So although I consider myself a writer, lately I’ve been sketching a lot as well. Whenever I am sitting idly and waiting for something, somewhere, I pull out my sketch book and pencil – or in this case, the only pen I had in my purse.

We’d been having lunch at the pond and while Scottie took Johnny around to the beach or the playground, I sat on a bench, swatting at fire ants and sketching. It increases personal integrity. I mean that. There’s something about the attempt that makes you a little more whole, a little more steady, a little more true to truth. Above is the landscape composite I did on the last day.

Later on I turned many of my brief sketches into a series of preliminary possible illustrations (such as the one below) for a picture book I’m working on. I’m hoping my brother-in-law, a developing artist, will help me to turn them into regular color illustrations.


  1. Hi Alana,

    Please forgive the presumption of a comment that has nothing to do with the original post, but I recall having had a former brief conversation with you, when as yet you were not so fully convinced of your Orthodoxy, and I was still a translation consultant in Kazakhstan. I suddenly stumbled across your new and improved blog again, and remembered. All I want to say is, remember always and in every way possible the utter centrality of Christ. I am more and more convinced of the hypocrisy and meaninglessness inherent in vast tracts of every domain of professing Christendom, and the corresponding genuineness of a believing remnant within each of those unimaginably diverse groups. Whether you’re Orthodox or Protestant matters little, I suppose, in comparison with the matter of God-originated and Christ-focused yearnings that stir up in all good soil those impulses which prove themselves in a timely and sustained bearing of fruit, through an honest understanding of the passion and victory of the Christ. Follow him. Hard. For he has already (I presume to believe) apprehended you.

    I hope I am not amiss in styling myself your brother in Christ (although a Protestant),


  2. Nathan! It’s good to hear from you. And thank you.

    Of course I would still consider you a brother in Christ. Actually, I prefer Orthodoxy partly because it allows me to do just that. When I was a Baptist I’m not so sure I would have been able to say what you’ve said here – God bless you for your catholicity of spirit.

    I hope that I have followed Christ here and will continue to follow him through those paths of the heart that constitute the race we all have to run. I do believe that wherever the true name of the true Christ is truly regarded, he condescends to be among men, however few are gathered there. I even dare to hope that he is present, unrecognized, in mercy, in places where men do not know his name.

    Unfortunately I have not yet suceeded in writing about Him. Ever. My skill with words has not come so far; on such a subject I would only be prattling. So, even though you are correct about his “centrality,” on this blog I have to content myself (as far as religious subjects go) with talking about why I made the move from Baptist to Orthodox and what the experience is like and how it has bettered me as a person and as a Christian.

    That’s why I have to keep reminding myself and readers that I count as true friends “all who confess Christ the only-begotten of the Father, and through him worship the Holy Trinity.”

    Go with God.


  3. I like these sketches, and always admire those who can draw things they see – even in their mind’s eye. I remember reading something when I was younger that Flannery O’Connor wrote about her writing craft – (and I can only paraphrase what I am remembering) that a writer must see the world with an artist’s eye in order to write about it. She meant that when she looked at something, she tried to really *see* it, as if she were going to sketch it, so that when she wrote she wasn’t remembering just a generalized feeling about a scene. I like how vivid her stories are, and I have to credit her with making me really *want* to look at what I see.


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