It has been so long since I posted here I couldn’t figure out how to do it. My last post was at the end of October of last year, so close to six months ago. It feels more like a year to me, in part because of our molassas-slow new reality.

That post was The guilt, angst and joy of research, which helps explain the reason for my disappearance: Research!

I’m having what I consider a non-productive day: I’ve not written or edited a word. Resistance rules!

I’m fond of the French word flâneur, meaning an idle person who strolls about without object, who putters around, in other words.

Paul Gavarni, Le Flâneur, 1842

I’m especially fond of the verb form flâner, which means to stroll. Flânerie is the act of strolling, and that’s the kind of day I’m having. Distracted, easily side-tracked by shiny objects, unofficially off-track.

Or is it?

One of the things I came upon this morning were the animated portraits I made some time ago through My Heritage. It’s meant to allow people to animate photos of family members (which I found just a little creepy), but enchants me when used to animate historical portraits.

For example, based on a close-up clip from this portrait of Princess Elizabeth …

Elizabeth I when a Princess c.1546

… I made this charming animation:


Needless to say, I then had to make animations of most of my cast of characters.

A word of caution however

“Flaneuring” (our household verb) can also lead to overwhelm. In rediscovering these animations, I found I had computer folders of desktop contents five layers deep. It’s like an archeological dig.

Unexpected joys

The drawing above is a self-portrait I made for a delightful course on The Art of Sketching: Transform Your Doodles into Art by Mattias Adolfsson. The Domestika courses are professional, very well done, and really inexpensive. I find them irresistible.

I hope wherever this finds you that you are finding unexpected joys in our life of confinement. I have more to say, but I’ll leave this short—an icebreaker, if you will, after a long silence.

As one might have said in the 16th century, Has’t a valorous day.