Looking (very hard) for a silver lining

I’m looking very hard for a silver lining today. If this post is a bit jumbled and rambling, it’s because I feel that way. I volunteered to be clerk at the Presidential Elections yesterday. A day that started with leaving home at 5:45 am and getting back home at 9:45 pm. You’ve seen how the day turned out on news channels and social media everywhere.

But I looked at my sketchbook early this morning (Yes, I drew in every little bit of downtime. Drawing keeps me sane.) and it tells a very different story. Of people coming out to vote in a democracy. Of older people (our polling station was at a Senior Living Center) with really serious disabilities determined to vote.

Pictures are my first language, words don’t work so well, especially today. So here goes.


A voter remembers volunteering many years ago, stops to share a story and say thank you.voting-story_87


Carissa is 17. She volunteered all day as a part of the team. If enough 17 year olds care this much, it can’t be all bad.


Kennedy was his first president. He felt his vote made it happen then. He’s voted ever since.


Dorothy did her homework, and read up on every measure (on a 3-paged, double-sided ballot in Santa Clara county, we had a lot to vote on.). Then she lost her ballot and her glasses. So her assistant, standing by her wheelchair for almost an hour read her through every measure so she could vote.



His hands trembled so much I wondered if those lines he drew to connect the arrows even counted as lines. But he took his time and filled in his whole ballot. And then thanked us for I don’t know what.

That’s my silver lining for today. If you can articulate it better than I can, please leave a comment, because it helps.

About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, reportage, san jose, Silicon Valley and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Looking (very hard) for a silver lining

  1. Barbara Parisien says:

    Your sketches and comments help me to be happy today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not seeing the silver lining either – but you prolific sketches are amazing – they are silver indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lynne says:

    beautiful, suhita… thank you…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan Wilson says:

    Democracy in action–loved your thoughtful sketches. We do live in California where the vote was almost 2 to 1 for HiRC. There’s lots to be grateful for and lots to work for going forward.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    Thank you for your service to our country yesterday, and for this truly beautiful post today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Andrea, I volunteered as a way to 1)Do something. I am a green card holder, I can’t vote 2)Keep away from endlessly refreshing my browser and posting online for weeks before yesterday. It helped. A lot.


  6. Lee Kline says:

    Lovely drawings. I think the silver lining is that those who feared this Presidency have not much to worry about and those who support it will be disappointed. The congress is so full of dysfunctional folks, that Trump will have as hard of a time as my man the Prez did with them. I wanted HRC, but it did not happen. So, we’ll see.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. jaybird1937 says:

    Your sketches are amazing all by themselves, but in light of our recent election results, they’re healing. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pete says:

    I was shocked though not surprised to hear the results this morning here in England, but I’m heartened by your sketches of decent people, however they voted.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nicola Durrant says:

    I love your sketches Suhita and they made a very sad day a little more easy to stomach.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Caroline Brown says:

    lovely drawings. I feel like I’m walking sideways today but thankfully had to teach a sketch class in the botanic garden. we will keep hope alive. and keep drawing!!

    On Wed, Nov 9, 2016 at 1:39 PM, Sketch Away: Travels with my sketchbook wrote:

    > Suhita Shirodkar posted: “I’m looking very hard for a silver lining today. > If this post is a bit jumbled and rambling, it’s because I feel that way. I > volunteered to be clerk at the Presidential Elections yesterday. A day that > started with leaving home at 5:45 am and getting back ” >

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My silver lining is that Hillary Clinton will, God willing, not be a target for an assassin. Other than that it is simply my own spiritual test to hold onto compassion, wisdom and respect for the office of the presidency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judith, I never saw it that way( about assassination), and I hope it never will be like that, with Hillary or Donald. Like James says in a separate comment, democracy means you can vote in and vote out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope it will never ever come to an assassination for ANYONE but it did cross my mind about Clinton when I heard all the inflammatory rhetoric and responses. I pray that good will come from all this upheaval and the lessons we all will learn from it.
        Your sketches are wonderful and the stories you tell with them fabulous.


  12. James Hobbs says:

    I’m feeling your pain, Suhita. Most of the world is. But it’s great to have these drawings of the day. Democracy is a wonderful thing. It’s how you’ll vote him out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James, thank you. I draw without thinking. By reflex. Amazingly, when I look back at them, they tell I story I missed. So a big vote for YES on urban sketching. and yes, voting in means there is always voting out. always the best way.


  13. Your sketches are fantastic, they tell a story of the people and their desire to vote. A memory of the day. A sad day. This was my first election after holding onto my green card for 30 years. Wondering what is next!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for finding that silver lining and sharing those souls with us in sketches. The art making ALWAYS helps to make sense of life events that seem to make none at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. lynnefairchild says:

    Suhita, Your drawings, as always, are beautiful and so animated, and they really give me the feeling of a polling place. What strikes me about your story is how committed to the act of voting these people must have been, because it took so much for them to get there and to do it (shaking hands, poor eyesight, limited mobility). It must have meant so much to them to vote. So what you contributed is at the very heart of democracy to me, that people have a voice and that their voice is counted. That it was not the outcome that I wanted, if I am to live in a democracy, this is the process that I accept and embrace. So, in answer to your question about the silver lining, I think the silver lining is that by you being there, you let these people know that what matters to them does matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Louise Brewer says:

    I like this….it is very beautiful, heart warming, and teary.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Marina Grechanik says:

    Great human stories, Suhita! Sketching is always our silver lining. Your stories remind me that people are the best thing we have, and there are always good people around us. Hold on!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Rene Wojcik says:

    I really enjoy your sketches, especially the stories with them. Those stories make your sketches more alive. One question, what size sketchbook are you using? I just purchased a B&S Alpha size 3.5″ x 5″ which is the same size as the pocket Moleskin.


  19. Suhita, the silver lining is reading the stories of your sketches. So much respect and humanity shown in your work, on a dark day when we all feel, even those of us outside the US, that respect for women, gays, immigrants, muslims and African Americans has been lost. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Annie says:

    Your sketches, words, and your volunteer service were joyful for me this morning, thank you so much. I hope you heard Hillary’s wonderful, positive speech this morning, with its hope and calling us together for an America that will always have its better days ahead. And I thank you for your caring, about helping voters to vote, about all of our lives. We’ll keep up our hope for the future of all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: From a Sketcher Friend | D.Katie Powell Art

  22. Moved me deeply. I posted it here, am sending my folks to read and see it. (You might want to get a reblog button….)

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ann Sisel says:

    I too feel as you do. I am 71, a sketcher and painter and worked the same hours at the poles that you did but in Minnesota. We are a blue state but not by much. I watched a woman in a wheel chair with a broken foot come in and cast her vote. We were thanked for our service, and we worked hard to be fare to everyone. We can only hope there is less hate in Trumps vocabulary and he tries to work together. It will take lots of prayers from this end.
    Ann Sisel
    Artist from the Twin Cities, MN

    Liked by 2 people

  24. tom hoffmann says:

    My plan is to be more like Suhita!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Virginia Hein says:

    What great reportage, Suhita! Wonderful that you did this–and your report goes to the absolute heart of what our democracy really means. I see the silver lining here, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Genie Geer says:

    The artists I know in person here in the US, and on the Internet world-wide….we all are still very stunned, shocked, scared and sad. But I will hope for a silver lining as well. My mom always used the silver lining phrase in times like these! It might become a jumping off point for artwork….

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Pentool says:

    Stunned also but in 4 years we can clean all of this up with many lessons learned on all sides. And take comfort in the fact that pressures from the voting public and opposing parties will keep things mostly in line until then.

    Along with all the hate spewed in this campaign, the hatred towards the media was incredible. One of the most important foundations of this great country is freedom of the press.

    Many of them are in dire financial straits. Do something patriotic today and subscribe to a national newspaper of your choice. Our country needs this now more than ever.

    Wonderful art, Suhita. And thank you for your service at the polls. With only a green card…..you are an inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pingback: Aftermath |

  29. TheArtistOnTheRoad says:

    Wonderful reportage Suhita! I love the quick people sketches you do while out in public. Your work is always inspiring. I too am devastated by the election results. I wrote a bunch more for this reply regarding the election but decided to delete it because it’s your work that is the silver lining. Thanks for showing a bright side in these dark times. Sketching will get us through!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Richard. thank you. About deleting, just write it, it’s fine. Like I said in reply to another comment, this is my brave face. my best one. but mostly I am mad and sad. and I so don’t get it. Also, I think seeing and reading views different form what the electoral map looked like is important. Not only to those in the country that voted and think differently from what the result looks like, but also to others outside the country.


  30. itzann says:

    If you woke up this morning in the USA, you win…..


      • itzann says:

        I just feel that the USA is the best country in the world, so anyone who lives here (that is, anyone who wakes up in this country, and goes to sleep in this country)….is a winner! It was just a quick way of saying that we should be thankful we live in this country, and be thankful for the good things we have…instead of whining, crying, protesting, rioting, wearing diaper pins…no one respects that. I am not trying to be hateful; I am just saying that so many people in this country benefit from and are served by the military, the police force, teachers, doctors, nurses, sanitation workers, religious institutions and on and on….and yet all they can do is find fault with their country, and denounce our president-elect, before he even takes office. If he doesn’t make this country better than it already is, then everyone can exercise their voting rights in four years, and select someone else. And, to keep this art-related, I do very much enjoy your blog, and have considered taking your class on Craftsy. Seems like 100% of the artists whose work I follow, have posted on facebook about their dissatisfaction with the election outcome….so I am trying to understand that and not feel like an outcast amongst those people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Itzann, this post wasn’t meant to sound like whining. In fact, it was a very personal first hand look at democracy at work. As to why I find the election result sad/scary/disappointing: I won’t be addressing that here unless I can address it as art. And yes, a lot of the artist community leans the way I lean in this election: but that shouldn’t be a reason to feel like an outcast: the election results showed that a really substantial number of people lean both ways. And both sides seem totally confounded by the other sides views. Thanks again for your comment. It’s good to hear views form all sides.


  31. itzann says:

    Suhita, I did not intend to suggest that your post was whining. I understand that you are unhappy with the outcome of the election and were posting your thoughts along with your art. I don’t want to sound like I am whining either. But I guess my take is that people who feel sad, fearful, broken, disappointed, etc, must also feel that those who voted for Donald Trump are not righteous, decent or good people. Wouldn’t that logically follow? Also, we weren’t choosing between two saints in this election, ha….! Well, with that said, Craftsy has a good Black Friday sale, so I will head over there and sign up for your class.


    • I hope I never suggested that I am making that leap: My opinion of Donald Trump the man is NOT my opinion of every human being that voted for him. I am puzzled, I am sad, I am worried about the danger of his opinions ( on women, on immigrants, on the environment) becoming okay to voice and have. But I can’t imagine that half the country is that despicable. So I’m going to try and work on art projects that support causes that I feel are worth defending and leave it at that. Many thanks again for the conversation. And i hope you got the class while it was on sale. I check in regularly to comment on projects and answer questions there.


      • itzann says:

        Suhita, thank you for your response. I sincerely hope and honestly feel that Donald Trump will not do anything to take this country backwards with regards to the rights of all of us. In my opinion, both candidates had their share of “despicable” traits! If he fails to be a decent and fair leader, he will definitely be voted out in four years. I guess my thoughts were influenced by what I have seen on other artists’ blogs and Facebook posts, where Trump supporters are looked upon with distaste, so I am glad to hear that you don’t think that way! I am in my sixties, and have been through a lot of elections, but this one was certainly unique in a lot of ways! I certainly hope that all people see improvement in their lives over the next four years. And, yes, I was able to purchase the class during the sale and have been through the first lesson, and am enjoying it a lot!


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