I Really Do Have A “Secret Bunker”


My lovely Washington DC studio that I mentioned in a previous post really is secret.  You’ve never heard me mention it before, have you?  And it’s very highly fortified.  If President Bush had wanted somewhere else to hide Vice-President Cheney when he needed that undisclosed location, or if President Obama needs somewhere to hide Vice-President Biden, well, I’ve got just the place.  To enter my studio, one must go through many heavy, very solid doors, then one wanders through a spooky, narrow hallway past a surveillance camera, after which one winds upwards in a concrete stairwell.  (Sorry, I can’t tell you which floor is mine.  It’s Top Secret.)

In fact, getting into my studio involves a process that’s a little bit like this:



Practicing, Measure by Measure

fish measure 15

We just returned from my kid’s orchestra rehearsal.  While she plays, I draw.  Well, I draw when I can concentrate to draw.  The conductor is mesmerizing.  Sometimes I just watch the rehearsal in a wonderful trance. 

But today I drew.  Indeed, I made the drawing above.  It has an interesting origin.  It’s a copy of a portion of a drawing that I’m using as a study for a painting in progress.  Got that?  And the source drawing is itself the result of a composite image made from lots of separate pieces put together and reworked into a new format.  Hmm.  Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, listening to the rehearsal played a role in my decision to make this drawing.  I realized that I could do with my images what these young musicians are doing at orchestra practice.  I could take my image apart — measure by measure — and practice it again and again in order to understand the music of it more completely.  Also that by drawing and redrawing the same figures, I could gain a fluency and naturalness.  Perhaps something of a musicians phrasing could play a role in my picture.

Will I become eventually a fish virtuoso?  Who can say?

Wonderful Down Town DC

Washington studio 2

Most of my fish I catch  from the pond of my suburban Maryland studio, but for a big drawing I decided to visit my much neglected studio (in my secret undisclosed fortified bunker — and you think I’m kidding!)  in the Nation’s Capital which I share with another artist, the owner of the lovely still life on the left.  Today Washington DC was partly cloudy and humid with a temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit at noon.   The breeze coming through my windows was magical.   The light was exceptional.   And I was a very, very happy artist.  Spent my day just doing my thing, drawing my fish.

Hope you had a great day, too, wherever you are, whatever you do.

Pure Imagination

My kid is a member of the tech crew for the school play Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  She’s been going around humming this tune by Anthony Newley all afternoon.  Here’s a fine version by Troubleclef.  A lovely creamy musical thing to fill ones thoughts with — and not so many calories as real chocolate.  Though actual chocolate’s pretty wonderful too.

Life in two dimensions

koi ink drawing

My fish have lost their substance.  Sometimes they nearly lose their very fishness.  Without color, swimming in thought, not water.  Without blue.  Fluidity becoming line. 

They became lines.  Line fishes.  Bendy.  Aiming.  Curvalinear.  Unsubstanced.  Black lines.  Thin lines.  Intentions. 

Gestures of upness and downness and all aroundness. 

They used to be fish, but now they are records of my handwriting.