black lines and the white of the paper

I’ve thought sometimes that I ought to write a whole post in “tags,” or to put it another way, I’ve thought that writing the tags that are supposed to gain you traffic sometimes turns into an exercise in automatic writing or in free association.  Sometimes it happens that I like my tags as well as the post and secretly hope that others will notice them.  Paul Squires, that great Australian poet, was a great connoisseur of tags.

You can draw in a haphazard way, thinking idles line-thoughts to yourself, drawing  reflexively.  You can dream in line or can, daydreaming, draw things that are not there, but are there.  Wool-gathering the velvet ink path, scribbling, doodling, improvising a black line riff in a minor key (whose sadness is permanently mysterious) (Paul smiles).  Watching the beauty of the black ink line as it flows away from the pen nib and seeing the white of the paper grow luminious as lines create dark.  The smoothness of the paper, the fineness of turning pages, the simpleness of handling the pages of book.

A new koi pond

Work on the new koi pond got off to a good start.  I’m doing an experiment with this one, having made the underdrawing with colored pencil over which I’m using Caran d’Ache water soluble crayons in veils of color (like water color).  Some of the early pencil lines will show through from beginning to end so there should be a different feel in the picture’s texture.

Early on the colored pencils have an open, airy look like a drawing made by spiders spinning colored lines of web.

But by the time today’s work was done, a new pond was beginning to appear.  Still lots of work ahead, of course.  Lots of wonderfully enjoyable work ahead.  I’ve gone fishing.  Again.

Rearranging the Fish Pond

Yesterday was cleaning day at the studio, a task which I accomplish not with a broom but a ladder.  Time to take down a finished drawing to make space in the drawing corner for a new drawing 58 x 48 inches in size.  Reaching the wall is the goal.

While I was taking koi drawings down to rearrange them for storage, I momentarily had a rather large pond developing on the floor.

I spread them out so I could see how the fish got along with each other.  And the I folded one pond over the other while I was moving things to fix the new space.

It was raining outside.  Water outside, water inside.

The last occupants (below) of the drawing space got their last changes, and now they’re tucked safely away.  And I’m making a new pond.

I have an admirer!

Georgia, who is eleven, found my artwork at this blog and selected me as an artist to study for a school project — an event about which I feel wonderful pride.  One reason I began writing my blog was that I hoped to reach the “young artist of the future,” whoever that might be, and to offer encouragement to anyone who comes along who loves the visual world and wishes to explore it.  (My other reason is of course to reach wealthy collectors who will buy up all my stuff.)  Anyway, Georgia copied my drawing at the post “Doll’s Day Off.”  My version is below.

I think it’s marvelous the way Georgia has translated my colored pencil drawing into watercolor.  “Translation” is a very old practice, one that may have some support from the ancient art of rhetoric where it was lauded as a particular way to copy while at the same time transforming a thing.  The way she uses the watercolor medium is very bold, placing colors of paint with firm confidence.  I also admire the way she has rendered the leaves of the plant with delicacy, achieving an admirable sense of atmosphere and space.

So, there you have it.  I’ve got an admirer!  And I’m as pleased as can be!

Koi Rethought

I got new paper for drawing koi.  It’s texture is different from what I’ve used before, and the size is a “middle” size, smaller than what I’ve recently become accustomed to in my “big koi drawings,” and all these changes collectively make doing these drawings seem very strange and different to their author.  Perhaps they do not look as strange to others as they feel to the artist.  Yet whatever the degrees of difference, I find a renewed appeal in visiting motifs I’ve drawn before and finding that the material resists me.

This second drawing is one I already posted.  I reworked it a bit.  It’s also on the new paper.  These feel like sketches for the large pictures.  When you make drawings around the size of 50 inches, a drawing of about 25 inches feels like a sketch, as a guppy in relation to a grown koi, perhaps….

A detail follows.

Today’s Catch

Back at work on the forth of the large koi drawings.  I start out not knowing quite where to recommence, but soon I’m swinging crayons around again and am enjoying myself immensely.

Here’s the picture as it looked when I stood back to judge the whole.  Koi drawing number three hangs up high to the left.

In the detailed shot, you can see that these drawings get very scribbly.  That’s what I adore about crayon drawings. 

Someday when all the various koi drawings are reunited, it’s going to be wonderful to compare them.  But for now I draw them and stash them away.  Only have one little corner of wall to use as my drawing board, so it sees a lot of turn over. 

I have a big pond.  Lots of fish.

Habitual Delight

In between times, it’s good to have something that regularly provides delight, and for me it’s the koi.  I have to take breaks from them sometimes and draw other things, but then they are so delightful to revisit, and I strike out in search of some new thought to find in the old pond.  It’s part of the rhythm of work, like waking from sleep, like pauses during the day, like holidays in the calendar year.  Things that predictably recur and new things that surprise. 

When I first began doing art, I never would have guessed I’d draw so many pictures of koi.  But they are my “abstraction,” my excuse for dealings in pure color and pure line.