In full air, in broad daylight, in airy spaces, in the intervals between diaphanous shadows, I was wandering through pebble beds planted with sentinel cedars and well-trained Japanese conifers and branching-low horizontal blue-grey shrubs rimmed by round leafy yellow somethings.  Better, more clear to know their names, but I only know the shapes and colors.  I wanted a theatre that I could fasten into a picture.

Mine has not been an innocent eye.  I have an agenda.  I’m looking for something.  I have the template inside my head and would squeeze my landscape into it were it at all possible.  It’s out there somewhere.  I’m stalking it.

I need longer days.  In the past I found time stretched out broadly, elastic mornings that floated with airy sounds, blended into afternoons spun out, suspended along bands of clear light like threads of a spider’s web.

There’s a patient, waiting creature for you, the spider whose day is an eternity of resolute ambition poised.

There’s more time inside the minutes than I’ve been perceiving of late.  My sense of time has weakened perhaps.  Get glasses for the eyes, listen more intently for sounds to articulate, but of time’s discernment I’ve lost the requisite careless, idle manner that sees it most minutely.  Time has overflowed the banks, and I try to wade back to quiet pools of it, shielded narrows, stilling eddies flattening and reflective, silkening out like a mirror clock into whose depths finally one peers and sees rich darks and the lingering thought.  I want time that advances in predictable, rational concentric arcs.

I wanted to empty myself of cares, become literally care-less.  An experiment for daylight.

As for my drawing, I thought I might choose the easiest subject.  Is that fair?  That’s not “cheating,” is it?  Is this a test?  But what motif would that be, the easy one?  This is not an easy test to cheat.

I tell anyone who will listen (that would usually be a smallish group indeed) that fatigue is a good teacher.  Learn to play when you are tired, even sometimes when you’re completely beat, for in the times of exhaustion many new possibilities open to which ordinarily we are stiff to refuse.  But when sufficiently tired, one is unable to resist.  Sometimes one makes noble progress by the virtue of a heavy weariness.  As the time ripples out and stills and the glance is available a steady, lasting lingering second.


Garden ingenue

Oh, to combine the knowledge that comes through experience with the desire that beginner’s feel!  When you first fall in love with life, things look so radiant and grand.  I cringe sometimes when I find someone trying to teach the young to be “sophisticated” about art.  I have to bite my tongue to keep from shouting, “leave them alone!”  A young heart already knows how to love in such a big way.  One shouldn’t mess with that.  I remember the brightness of my youth when art was a big, unanswered longing!  If only I knew even a smidgen about drawing or color or anything!   I moaned, as spurned lovers do.  I bungled along led solely by desire.

One can suppose oneself to possess a lot of knowledge when you’ve been following an occupation a long time.  I know how to mix the colors now and all that stuff.  But I am always seeking the keen-ness of first love.  I spent the day doing drawings en plein air.  There’s really nothing like Nature to take you down a notch or two.  I can suppose I know whatever I like, but it’s hard to draw things outdoors where life capriciously changes from second to second.  And I’ve gotten rusty too from neglecting Mother Nature (and doesn’t she know!). 

I decided to pretend I knew nothing.  I’ve been looking at the how-to books lately, and I imagined I was in the plein air class of one of the authors.  “Simplify! simplify!” he tells me.  Okay, I’m cool with that.

The sky is blue, the grass is lots of kinds of green.  The shapes — oh the shapes are so weird — and light and shade changes them while you watch.

grateful wanderer through the big outdoors

Finally!  I began my much longed for return to drawing en plein air.  I spent much of the late winter doing landscape indoors from photos and have longed to encounter Mother Nature again face to face.  Mother Nature can be very capricious when she spies an artist drawing in the landscape, but she was so kind to me today!

Nonetheless, it wasn’t slugging about with a backpack over hills and dales — not for me.  No, it was more like a delightfully pensive walk with a few tools round the sparsely visited park.  And the one above I did while sitting in my car having lunch.

Getting Real

I’ve felt a craving for realism lately.  Don’t know quite how to satisfy it.  I’m not ordinarily a realist painter — or, let’s say, that those who are committed to realism in art would probably not count me among their number.   I usually walk out to the edge of realism, but I never quite jump in.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s because realism is “too hard.”  Perhaps I lack some fundamental skill.  Or is it that something else holds me back?

I don’t know.  The problem with realism (for me) has to do with reality.  I find that reality holds surprises that aren’t well advertised.  Take as just one instance the problem of locating an object in space.  In realist art, the objects sit where you’d expect them to be.  But when I’m painting I’m so aware of things moving around — and I’m talking about the still life, mind you. 

When you stand in a slightly different place with respect to the set up, everything moves.  Okay, I could tape an “X” to the floor.  Actually that’s kind of a cute idea.  I might actually do that.  But even when you’ve got your “X” there’s all kinds of problems — if, say, you’re painting something that you have to look up to see parts of it, look straight on to see other aspects, and look down to see other features, well hey — that’s a composite.  This can happen when you’ve got a large still life set up (it’s a well-known problem with painting a person too).  How do you combine the views in a satisfactory way?  The sense of wholeness your mind lends to the scene differs a bit from what the eyes see.  How does one invent the fiction that the mind believes? 

Or take something more basic.  You can be looking at just two objects together and studying their contours relative to each other.  What the right eye sees is very different from what the left sees, and sometimes you confound them.  Sometimes one becomes very conscious to the two positions the objects occupy, which is magnified by their being plural, by each object having another thing with which to contrast.

Well, yesterday when I was craving some realism, I drew a single pear.  That calms things down a bit.  I’ve got a cold.  I’ve got all I can handle.  I dont’ need any more problems.

The Vector

I’d like to say the Claritin was winning, but actually it was rather easily vanquished.  After that I gave Sudafed a try.  My virus wasn’t impressed with Sudafed either.  It doesn’t surprise me.  This virus got its start at an elementary school.  Elementary schools build the toughest germs you’ve ever seen, and my kid’s school’s factory has been working overtime.  Fortunately, middle school’s siren song is near (if I survive that long).

Today’s en plein air picture comes from looking out the window.  Achoo!  Achoo!

Suffering for Art

I’ve been looking forward to working outdoors some with the warming season.  My plans hit a little snag however:  I caught a cold.  So today I work en plein maison, which would be something I just made up, and it’s the opposite of en plein air.  Working en plein maison on a nice day means pushing a crayon around in a desultory way while remaining at all times within arm’s reach of a coffee cup and a box of Kleenex.

Here’s two efforts at drawing, done from pictures in books.  Van Gogh said you have to suffer for art.  Tell me about it.  Achoo!  Slogging right along …


Sometimes the key is to count.  To make many, to make merry, count! In music you count the beats or the measures.  You can count the number of drawings you make and become prolific.

As you replay an idea, you can change it a little.  Variations on a theme works with a line as well as with a melody.  Yesterday was my day to take a break from other things, and I found myself too fatigued as well as too lazy and distracted to make much sense of the daylight.  So I picked the charming ceramic Spanish guitarist off the shelf and played a few riffs off her shape.

I decided to be as lazy in my drawing as I was in my head and let the pen lines venture where they willed.

Some of the drawings got a little crazy.

I turned her this way and that, then she began to sing as well as play.

Sometimes your art should be play!  Why be so serious?  Sometimes a glass of wine — or perhaps just as intoxicating a cup of tea! — and let the pen lines play havoc with life!

I always have a few games to make my fingers dance — to escape the leaden moods — to wind my way back from the forest of duties into some quiet, airy place composed entirely of lines — folding and coiling lines!

Count!  Dance, sing, tap the beats —  measure, measure, clap and step until the music stops!

Many Versions of Me

The me-of-yore you all know so well.

My recent arrest photo when I was caught selling forgeries of a pink eraser on the international conceptual art market.

Me during my vivid Blue Period (move over, Picasso).

The “yikes!” me when I learned that our hamster had babies (nine!).

This is a pensive me when I was  39 years old.

And this is my basic everyday self, when I’m not in jail, not dealing with overly fecund rodents, and not feeling “Blue.” 

Naturally, you all want to see more of the myriad, many facets of me (I’m deep), but you’ll just have to wait for another post!!

My day at the beach of thought

I needed a day at the beach real bad.  So I went there in imagination by drawing my favorite object of nature.

This was mostly a left-hand day, too.  I wanted to be very carefree.

Looking for all the angles, I turned my shell upside down.  I think.  Actually, I’m not sure it has an upside.

Looked at the lines.

Looked at forms and shadows.

Tried one path and changed my mind.


And then I had to go home.  The beach of the imagination has less sand than a real beach, less of a wonderful breeze, but it still has magic.

New Thought piece (a super bargain)

Since conceptual art is all the rage, and since I figure I could use some extra cash, I have decided to offer occasional thought-ful pieces (get it) to the public for sale.  Now, whereas I offer my “representational” art for very reasonable prices, I must in the interest of joining the conceptual art bandwagon offer my thought pieces at unreasonable prices, keeping them more in line with the global art market.  Nevertheless, astute collectors will find that my unreasonably priced conceptual pieces are still a Walmart bargain compared to everything else that’s out there.

Above, for sale (not sold in stores) is a pink eraser, pictured with a lovely largish rock.  One instantly remarks upon its exquisite scale.  (The rock can be purchased separately.)

Considered from the perspective of thought, I guarantee that thought-for-thought you’ll get more thought-for-your buck here.  I can beat anybody, anywhere, when it comes to price.

This pink eraser is available for only $499,999 (US dollars).  Yes!  You read that correctly!  How can this be true?  Compared to conceptual art anywhere else, you’ll never find a pink eraser for bargain prices like this again.  This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime sales event.

This pink eraser has erased my mistakes, and it can erase yours too.  (It’s interactive upon purchase.)  I have created positive and negative energies with it — which is to say, to all the in-the-know types out there, that I’ve rubbed and smudged drawings with it — not just erased!  It has, as one critic so aptly phrased it, “carved away the marks in a progressively evolving visual experiment.”

It’s a fine pink color.  Has an impecable provenance, having never left the artist’s studio — well, except for a few brief occasions when it was borrowed by the kid and later turned up in a pile of stuff along with some previously missing socks, pairs of scissors and tape dispensers.

It abounds in subtlety and nuance and has all its most recent ….  (Oops, actually I’m typing from text for another post.  Sorry.) 

In the image above, you see it being attacked by a spider.  Gentle collectors should not be alarmed.  The eraser is not harmed; the spider is not real!  I merely provide a virtual glimpse into the deeply profound and myriad scary facets of the pink eraser’s more complete significations through this adventurous image!

Purchase of the pink eraser can be accomplished using either a check or major credit card.  (However, bad checks will be returned with a $30 punishing fee.  And, that said, frivolous buyers are heartily encouraged to send many bad checks.) 

Please allow 4 – 6 weeks for delivery (in the United States — make that 4 – 6 months everywhere else).  The artist will gladly contemplate other offers if rendered in cold hard cash using crisp and true American money. 

To see previous conceptual art by this artist, click here.  And especially here.