Leaf – an exercise in patience

I was sitting on the New York City Highline last Sunday, enjoying the fine weather and the way the light fell through the birch trees.

Birch Trees Highline NYC

I sketched a quick water colour postcard before moving on to a bar to eat pizza and watch the Giants get stuffed in the NFL.

Later in the day I got to thinking about the leaves on the trees and decided to draw one. The outline took just a minute and then I began to fill in the cell structure of the leaf. This small piece of work took me a long time, around three and a quarter hours in all. Some of the leaf was filled in at my desk in the teeny apartment I’m renting in NYC, the rest was inked in at various cafes and bars. After about an hour I confess I had a ‘wish I’d never started this’ moment, and I persisted. I’m pleased I did – the finished result has exceeded my expectations and will be a gift for Carole when I get home.


Here are a few work in progress photos

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Love’s Great Adventure

I took a trip to the High Line earlier in the week. It’s a disused high level railway line remodelled as a walkway/park, a simply stunning piece of urban renewal. You get to see Manhattan from a new perspective and the details in the paving, planting, seating…well everything really, are a credit to the designers and team of people who keep it looking great. Cue some pictures:

The Details

The Art

The Ads

As I walked along the High Line I became increasingly aware that all the places to stop and sit were designed for more than one person, and that pretty much everyone else walking around was with someone else. I sat down just for a minute, 3,500 miles from home and I’ve rarely felt so alone. I’m having a fantastic trip and missing Carole and Keira enormously too.

I loved my visit to Ohio, it was outstanding. The people and the atmosphere and the sharing and learning was great. And Steve Browne’s ‘Hey Doug, let’s go hit each other!’ line to me at the carnival on the second evening will forever be my favourite invitation to play.

I’m loving my visit to New York City. Places revisited, new experiences, I’ve met up with an old friend and seen some lovely people in real life for the first time too. And tomorrow promises to be an interesting day as the New York office of Thomson Reuters gets to experience an unconference, UK style.

I’m loving the online time too – sharing photos and ideas with people here in the US and back home, and Skypeing with Carole and Keira most days has been wonderful.

And I love my family. I’m just about ready to go home.


The Longest Time

This time tomorrow I’ll be airborne and on my way to Ohio for some useful fun. I’m very excited and a little nervous too, you gotta love the adrenaline rush right 🙂

Carole and I took the time to go for coffee earlier today and we were talking about the fact that we’ve not yet spent more than a couple of nights apart in just over twenty years of marriage. All that is about to change – after tomorrow morning the next time I’ll see Carole and Keira will be Saturday 29th September when they meet me at Heathrow Airport.

The girls are planning all kinds of fun stuff for while I’m away, meals with friends, play dates, you name it – it’s going on. And we’ve had our Skype practice run too – them downstairs, me upstairs – there’s something quite surreal about video conferencing with people you currently share the same house with – lots of fun.

The Ohio State HR conference promises to be a great experience and once I’ve given my talk (conveniently planned in for the first afternoon – thank you to a wonderful team of organisers and schedulers!) I’m sure the first few days of my trip will pass in a blur, before I head towards New York City on Saturday 22nd September.

I’ll then be in The Big Apple until I leave Friday 28th. I’ve some good fun things planned, like the Thomson Reuters unconference on the 26th and I will visit the High Line and take a look at that too. Maybe I’ll take a trip out to a baseball game – both the New York Yankees and the Mets are in action. I won’t have a clue what’s going on – but it could be a fun way to spend an afternoon.

My default position is a social one and I currently have quite a lot of time to myself. So – if you’re based in New York City and you read this, please get in touch – it would be fun to meet up if you can spare the time. And if you’re not in New York City but you’ve got some good tips on stuff to see and do, I’d appreciate that too.