Renoir painted a vase of roses, which I know only from a book. His “Roses mousseuses” of 1890 (now in the Musee d’Orsay, Paris) has enchanted me from the first day I encountered it. I know it must be a thousand-fold more lovely seen in real life. I copy Renoir’s flowers every once in a while to reexperience their magic, to feel the full force of the enchantment.
This copy appears in a small Moleskin notebook, done with Uniball Signo gel pen.
When I draw my koi, I must “hatch” them, drawing the dense parallel lines that go this way and that. I love hatching the fish. The colors get woven, one color layer atop the next. The effects are mutable, changing before your eyes.
To hatch the colors means being ready for surprise. You never quite know what the color effects will be. And yet it’s thrilling seeing the color changes happen as you watch, and the not-knowing gives you joy.
Moving the pen very fast, getting started in the morning. I look to my old familiar vase of flowers, the ones I always do again and again, and I draw without thinking too much. Let the pen follow the gaze. Look and react.