Sketch Personal Memories Part Two

In March/April 2022, I took an online sketching class at GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, PA. I was looking for an opportunity to get myself back into drawing. My eye problems of summer and fall 2021 into early 2022 had shaken my confidence in my ability to see well enough to do pen and ink drawing, and I thought a regular schedule of sketching would be good to start me moving again.

The class was a lot of fun, the instructor was great, and my goal was met – I did a lot of drawing and I enjoyed myself. I’ll show you what I worked on in a series of posts.
Thanks to my instructor, Zoungy Kligge, and my classmates for a good experience.

I continue with the images I made for this session of class, in which our assignment was to sketch personal memories. In doing so, we record feelings in tangible form.


This picture depicts our family’s stopwatch. Between the ages of 7 and 17, I was a competitive swimmer, starting out in a summer league and by the time I finished competing, I swam for a team participating in national-level events. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, before there was electronic timing, every family had a stopwatch to record their swimmer(s)’s splits and times as they watched in the stands. And, since all meets were hand-timed, that also meant the official timers (three to each lane and volunteers from the host club or spectators, usually parents) used their own watches.

The watch was run by my mother (my father was unreliable at starting or stopping it; you could not trust his results). I can picture her sitting in the stands with the other parents, holding a heat sheet and timing every heat. All the parents ran their watches all the time. In every event somebody’s kid was swimming, and if you wanted to keep up with the rankings as the event unfolded, you had to time the heats yourself. You timed their kids and they timed yours. This was especially helpful when you got excited at a close race and forgot to stop or start the watch.

When my mother died, I asked to have this watch, and it is here at home with me. It still runs perfectly.

8 thoughts on “Sketch Personal Memories Part Two

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      So much has changed in swimming, like everything else. Even at the end of my time touchpads were just starting to be used. I have worked as an official in swim meets in more recent years and call me old fashioned but it always seems less exciting with no timers leaning over to get the time, and results available immediately. A pool deck crowded with timers and finish judges somehow gave the meet more of an atmosphere of action. And of course now no one needs their own stopwatch.

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    I love the range of tones and the visual texture of this still life. It suggests the “vintage” nature of the stopwatch which, in turn, communicates its importance to your personal history.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. Just holding this watch really takes me back so far into my history, and when I get there the feelings are so strong and vibrant as if all of it just happened. A lot of nostalgia and sadness, especially for all the people who populated that world who are gone now, but I also have so many happy memories and I feel lucky to have had those experiences.

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