Something prompted me to draw the koi in pastel, a material that I haven’t used in a long time.  And I am making the drawings on a smoother paper than one typically uses for pastel.  And it happens that the fine Sennelier pastels I’m using are very crumbly.

It changes my relationship to my intentions to be using materials that impose so many demands of their own.  You think this, it does that.  I thought to place a color “here” and watched as the crayon crumbled under the pressure of my gesture.  Everything has become subject in an unknown degree to whimsical accidents such as a cake of pigment that breaks along an unseen mineral edge in response to pesky laws of physics.

It is abstract art.

I had decided to use pastels today for the sake of the unpredictable.  I decided to amuse myself with drawing, to have fewer specific expectations.  I am sent back in time, back to when I was short on experience and tall on desire.  So I’m drawing, and I’m just watching what happens.

I’ve sent myself back to school.


Taking the notebook along

During a recent visit to the National Gallery of Art, I paused a while in front of a George Bellows portrait to make this small drawing.  Bellows’ paintings are extraordinary in their color.  A large selection of drawings are included in the exhibit as well and show Bellows using tonality in very dramatic ways.  So in making my small drawing, I sought to emphasize the contrast between lights and darks — not only in imitation of the painting I was looking at, but in terms similar to Bellows’ own drawings.

This was just a quick drawing.  I want to go back and spend more time in the exhibit over a succession of days.  I plan to take a notebook along with me.