Flowing Blue

The river flows with water, but here flows with blue.  Smeary blue crayon.  Sky catching. Some of the blue gathers over the entire space, flowing from the river into the sky, from the sky as reflections into parts of the trees.  The blue that is air, the blue that is H2O, true blue that has flowed into my brains.

Thought management for artists

pencil drawing after Bonnard


You have to find out what works for you — sometimes down to the very fine detail.  Should you stay up at night and draw into the late hours?  Should you get to bed early and rise with the dawn?  Do you need coffee to get started or a very cold bottle of water?  What kinds of notebooks are appealing?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to spend a day going round with a small notebook drawing random sights?

Or perhaps you do that all the time, and what you need is to choose some very complex image and work at it relentlessly.  Do you work from life?  Make drawings from memory?  Have you investigated things that artists did in history and apply them to contemporary motifs?  Do plans and schedules keep you on track?  Or are you the sort of person who needs to feel spontaneous?

Whenever something isn’t working for me, I try something else.  Sometimes I just start drawing in medias res because I’ve lost the thread of my ideas.  Then I find that just moving my hands jump starts some thought process, like a dream remembered, and I rediscover the thing hidden in my mind.

First Go

I got this far and stopped.  For one thing, I had to get to bed.  It was late.  But I felt that something special had begun to happen.  I have to get back to this drawing, but I stopped at the threshold of the moment when I first saw whatever magic it is that I long for.

Looking at it this morning, it looks familiar to me in a new way.  When I first drew this motif large, I had stopped in a similar place.

I have drawn these guys before several times.  And I am getting at something.  I don’t know what it is.  But big or small, it intrigues me.

I had done a large practice drawing (above).  I had done a small practice drawing (below).

I had got this far with a large one.

Then there was another large version.

And now I revisit it again.  I never get tired of repeating these same motifs.  And just making the lines holds a fascination for me that I cannot describe.

Doing this motif now small again, nearly the same size as the reference photo, drawing all these little blues lines, and watching the fish emerge — it has such a quiet beguiling charm over me.  The lines themselves are so mesmerizing.

Who invented the ballpoint pen?  Oh, I would embrace you — whoever you are — that you have brought me such joy!  God bless you …