Back in May, I posted a still life I made many years ago of a cabbage and potatoes. This drawing is its distant cousin.
I drew this from a photograph, and like the lake of two posts ago, I find it provides a good practice for some drawing outdoors that I’m hoping to do — en plein air. But it also has the same basic forms as the earlier still life. Indeed, I was thinking of getting some potatoes and inventing a landscape from a still life perhaps?
One of the wonderful things about drawing is the way it lets you take imaginative journies. I can vicariously visit the rocky outcropping by drawing it from a photo. And I can travel there even with some potatoes too? I don’t necessarily need a travel agent to find a locale that’s very bucolic and peaceful where I can bask in the warmth of the sun.
The drawing one makes from life is often sloppy. Well, sometimes life can be sloppy. Nature is often sloppy with leaves and branches going this way and that way. I can’t recall where I was or when I drew this, but I can see that I was in a hurry. Yet I was able to grab a lot of specific impressions of the place and its colors. Something of the mood, too, of the bare trees — and perhaps a cold day — comes across in the form of a bracing sense of air — and ambiguous contrasts of solitude and almost frantic energy.
One of the wonderful things about working outdoors is the sense of connectedness you get to the moment, the specific time of day, the temperature of the air, the sense of the air around you and the emotions inside you.
The water is a mirror, the first mirror. Narcissist might have bent over this glass. When water is very still, you can’t tell where the surface is. You can wonder if it’s a few inches away or several feet. I saw a pond like that once — in the middle of the forest — so still that its depths seemed only eternally to elude my touch, and it seemed also to resonate silence, an anechoic chamber of liquid rationality. This place was still. This place was so quiet.
I have some favorite things that I like to draw, this pond is one of them. I’ve drawn and redrawn it many times. I play it like a tune softly on the piano, noodle around with it, and its music is all rests and no notes. It’s not even a real drawing in the usual sense, but is just me making marks along the page, tossing virtual pebbles into the water, skipping them and waiting for ripples that never happen, that never come, for no echoes sound in this pond that is eternally still.
The clouds float by above and below, forever. Water vapor above, liquid water below. Mirror of light. The air will always seem to vibrate with an aqua-blue vibe. The marks, the restless marks, caught my nervous energy and fix it into a picture where I can look back and see Nature meeting me. For we’re here in this place, this grand and stunning place, and Nature waits upon us to notice.