My lovely moment in the sun!

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I called my mother and told her I was a featured blog on WordPress.  She said, “I don’t know what that is, but congratulations!”  So… that was certainly fun!  My computer is well-fed and happy now with stats.  The whole family was gathered round the computer screen — well, for a few seconds anyway, and then they had other stuff to do ….

But, hey!  Thank you WordPress readers for your clicks!  Y’all come back soon!

More Fast Landscape: Pochade

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Pochade is a French word for a fast sketch in paint.  And more than that, it was in some ways the basis for the transition in French 19th century art from the formal, smooth and illusionistic are of the Salon to the more brushy, spontaneous painting we now know as Impressionism. 

Everybody made pochades, but typically they were a stage to something more finished.  Then a generation of artists decided that the pochade had much innate beauty in itself. 

My pochade will probably get worked over — perhaps into just a more layered pochade.  But I present it here during part of its stage from idea into being.  Here’s one of my tributes to fifteen minutes!

Catch time when you can.

More Fast Landscape: Repetitions

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This painting actually bears little resemblance to its reference photo.  It’s a distant cousin from its source.  I will be going outdoors again (someday, alas!) to paint in front of the motif.  But until that happy day, I work from photos and alter them to suit my whimsy.

Painting landscape by whatever means is great practice for dealing with Mother Nature’s more urgent and changeable moods.  But it also reminds you that art is art.  In the final analysis I must persuade the spectator that this water and these clouds are like the ones he carries around in his heart.

Meanwhile, I have done this landscape before.  Using the same photo, I produce different pictures.  It is as though I visit the water again on a different day under different skies.

More Fast Landscape: Water is a Mirror

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Anything with water in it seems very psychologically suspicious to me!  Water is Nature’s great big mirror, and all landscapes with water strike me as sideways alllusions to Narcissus! 

Look into these waters and see the waves in my mind!  Cause I’m deep!

But, really.  Blue is such a rich, luxurious color.  We are all wealthy beyond our dreams on a day when we stand beneath a deep blue sky.  I make this series of landscapes in my apartment studio from photographs and imagination.  Sometimes the weather outside has been frigid and grey.  But indoors its 72 degrees, humid and mild beyond measure beside the river bank of my thoughts where many singing birds sound out their bright chorus.

Fast Landscape

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During the last several months my schedule has become one of almost constant interruption so I’ve been tinkering constantly with ways of trying to hold onto ideas.  Last paintings that I tried stalled because just as I get “fired up” I have to stop and turn my attention elsewhere.  For a time I was hardly painting, taking refuge in drawing (admittedly NOT a bad refuge) and other things (reading, study).

Well, I still have a large partly begun canvas on the easel — and I’m NOT giving up on it.  Far from it.  But I did sit myself down one day and gave myself a heart-to-heart talking to (I find that an integrated personality is highly over-rated).  I decided — or me, myself, and I decided — that any painting is better than none.

What’s more I have tons of materials left over from some old projects that I no longer need for their original intended use.  I decided that I was going to crank out something.  Whatever it was, some of it was going to be fast and free.

It’s better to be painting than not painting.  It is better to be making line and color decisions than no decisions at all.  I decided that I’d rifle through old photos — better working from photos than not working at all — and I was going to paint whatever I could — whatever I wanted to — I was throwing caution to the winds.

Needless to say, I’m beginning to really have fun.  And I’m getting more jealous of my painting time than formerly.  Sometimes I’ve got fifteen minutes.

By golly, I whip out the brushes.  Fifteen minutes is fifteen minutes!

Look Into My Eyes

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In the previous post, I displayed the whole drawing of which this is a detail.  I like to look closely into my own drawings.  I like seeing stuff enlarged.  All the small lines of thought fascinate me.  It’s a good way to think deeper into what your doing.  All the hatchings, all the little smudges … isn’t life like this?  All fuzzy with texture.

This isn’t a self-portrait.  It’s a detail of a drawing I made after a Raphael portrait.  However, I do pout like this sometimes when I don’t get my way.

Sending Oneself to School

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Like a musician playing scales, I have been thinking lately about how much I need to PRACTICE!

I might have told you that some years back I went whole hog and purchased the Dessins d’Ingres : catalogue raisonné des dessins du Musée de Montauban .  When you see how much Ingres drew, it makes you feel guilty as hell!  Jealous, too!  And awe-struck.

Well, I’m way outta my league, but I have been inspired to draw more.  And that book renews my faith in the virtues of copying.  Ingres copied gazillions of images by other artists.  (He also put to paper every visual idea he ever had, I think!)

Thus, in that spirit I made a quick morning drawing after a Raphael portrait.  She’s got a little bit of Picasso around the eyes … maybe a little subliminal “copying” going on in this drawing along with the literal.

Cezanne’s Mountain and its Imitators

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I’m in mountain mode.  Inspired by a topic created at Bénédicte’s blog, I have been thinking about mountains and how to portray them.  They have been a favorite subject of mine before, and it’s fun to come at them again. 

I decided to begin by making a little pochade after Cezanne’s famous Mont Ste Victoire.

Meanwhile, others have had their minds on mountains too.  Actually, I think these are supposed to be “towers,” in some cases even radio towers?  But towers and mountains do have much in common, so the drawings by children at my kid’s school help me think how I might paint this subject.  Here’s one sample:

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Drawings “After” Corot

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Today I made a fast drawing after Corot’s portrait of Laure Sennegon (plus tard Mme Baudot).  I have been thinking of all the ways I might recharge my batteries, and certainly one of the ways is to restudy works that I love.

My daughter decided to do a version of the Corot portrait also.  Hers shows more of an indebtedness to Matisse.  Also, as you can see, she chose an interesting if ephermeral medium for her drawing.

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Drawing Horses

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I drew horses today.  (And I even got some work done on my still life!  You can read about that lament in previous posts.)

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Drawing horses is something I did just for fun.  (I decided that I needed a big dose of fun, since I was becoming old sober sides.)

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I played around with the color quite a bit.  I guess you knew that.  But certainly they are “horses of a different color” just like in the saying.