Small Fry

small koi drawing adjusted

Sometimes I pass the time with drawing, as for instance when I sit through my daughter’s orchestra rehearsals.  Drawing while the orchestra practices is “my knitting.”  Knitters have real knitting.  Drawing is my knitting.  I must say, though, it’s hard to concentrate on drawing sometimes during the rehearsals because the conductor is very entertaining.  And the musicians are amazing.  It’s fun to watch them at work.

But drawing is fun, too. 

My koi drawing gains me an audience of my own.  People are unaccustomed to seeing artists are work so whenever I draw in public I usually attract a small audience. 

They come.  They peer into my koi pond, frozen in time.  My line and color fish are almost as entertaining as the real ones.


This particular drawing is very small, quite unlike most of the koi drawings I’ve been making lately in which the fish are nearly life size.  The small scale gives them intricacy.  They are every bit as loosely drawn as the larger fish, but they feel more detailed.  These guys are gold fish sized.

They are guppies. 

Small fries.

Drawing Them

horizontal koi smaller

The koi of my drawings, they link me to so many other things.  Like my daughter’s scribbles when she was a toddler.  Like the nympheas drawings of Monet (yes, he made drawings).  The hatch marks of Degas’s pastels.  The impetuous and slightly wacky, yet still beguiling drawings of Joan Mitchell. The dreamings of Emily Kame Kngwarrey. The tire tread marks my car makes in the muddy drive way.  The slug slime trails we find on the porch steps in late summer.

The line follows more paths than an artist ever intends.  What are the larger implications of my gestures?  Do the fish mean something?  What am I trying to communicate?  Does anyone know?

The fish swim up toward the surface and then they dive back into their own murky depths.