Bene drew some clouds and said something about them.  And I’ve decided maybe I ought to go draw some clouds too.  But while I’m rounding up some clouds, I thought I’d let these guys draw clouds.  And I’ll just comment on theirs.

Super! Magnifique!


Invention is the Mother of Necessity Fille

attrib to  A Carracci

It started out with Necessity.  She was invention’s mother as in you need something, you make something.  She was like some mothers who say, “go make something of yourself.” 

So Invention did.  Invention made so many things.  And then we got used to the things and decided we couldn’t live without them.  (We’re like that with computers now — remember back when we didn’t have computers…?)  So, soon the inventions are necessities, which in turn become mothers to more inventions. 

Got that?

It’s a classic mother/daughter resemblance.

I found this image in my book on Annibale Carracci.  I used to not own a book on Annibale Carracci, then someone invented this particular book, and it became my necessity, and I couldn’t live without it.  And I don’t.  I bought a copy — where I found this picture — which now I share with you.  Actually, to be picky, it’s only attributed to Carracci.  But what the hey?

We should all be making something like this.  It’s very modern.  Faces looming out of landscapes.  Feeling the inspiration yet?

Copying the Old Guys

after Carracci

This drawing is “after” Annibale Carracci (1560-1609).  Carracci, however, made his drawing in pen and ink.  Mine is conte crayon.  Sometimes it’s interesting to copy other artists — especially old dead masters who can’t come after you with accusations of copyright violation.  And sometimes it’s fun to really “copy,” trying to get every i dotted and t crossed as best one can manage.  I call that aspiring to Xerox machinedom.  Or you can alter the copy even as you copy by some method of deliberate interpretation.  So in this drawing I chose the conte as a meta-tool to imitate the ink wash drawings that Carracci also made in abundance. 

That’s a bit convoluted, so let me redo that:  I copied his pen and ink (line drawing) using a soft medium (conte crayon), but I used the conte in a manner to imitate (somewhat) Carracci’s ink and wash techniques (that he used in other drawings). 

That would make my copy officially a double whammy.  (Or a double header.  A double something ….)

My Diebenkorn, My “Berkeley”

my diebenkorn 2 rotated

Blogger June Malone posts a copy she made after an abstract Gerhard Richter watercolor, saying that she wasn’t sure she understood Richter’s abstraction, but that copying one taught her more about achieving depth and richness of color in the watercolor medium.

It inspired me to pull out my copy after Diebenkorn above.  The original, Berkeley #57, painted the year I was born,  lives at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  There’s a great many differences between my copy and Diebenkorn’s original painting which I’m aware of even though I’ve never seen the actual painting.  I’ve seen enough Diebenkorns to know that his oil painting’s surface is very textural whereas I kept the acrylic paint I used to make my copy fairly thin.  The scale of the paintings is radically different.  Diebenkorn’s painting is 58 3/4 inches square and mine (not truly a square) measures 18 x 24 inches.

However, like June, I found the practice of copying an abstract painting very intriguing.  My approach to copying Diebenkorn, not withstanding the paint, is rather more like a drawing in feeling.  I drew his lines and shapes, felt my way through the image’s forms, and ignored (of necessity) the layerings that I know exist in the original.  Also, my copy has a lot of “me” in it. 

Copying his painting was somewhat like taking a short walk with him in a Berkeley of imagination (I’ve never even been to California).  And while we walked, suffice to say we had a brief and pleasant chat. 

Diebenkorn’s painting is abstract, having no identifiable subject matter.  But it contains many feelings about natural forms, some of them landscape .  Equally it has many touchstones to early European and Euro-american painting: indebtedness to de Kooning, for instance, and through de Kooning more remotely to Picasso.  The SFMOMA site has some videos of Diebenkorn being interviewed and working.