The honey jar is a clock and its facets tell the time. You can draw the honey jar anytime, day or night, winter or summer. And the sum of its faces are time spelled out in a recondite facet language of photons bouncing off flat glass surfaces. Now, I don’t pretend to be able to read this clock — nor do I know what its time tells. I only know that it provides a place to watch — a kind of scenic overlook — from which one gets glimpses of the Cosmos.
The colors in the facets are astonishing. I do try to paint them. But even in drawing them, though they aren’t recorded, I did see them. And these drawings that are etched in the mind — they do matter. Take heed what you look at, notice what makes you stare, or what images send you off into reveries. For they were etched into the drawing tablet of the mind, stored like accounts in a bank.
Do choose good things. Store up fine images in your mind. Think ahead like the bees who make their honey. Like squirrels who prepare for winter, find things to remember and put them somewhere where you can expect to find them again. And those memories will also be kinds of clocks, like the facets of the honey jar.
I have never yet been to England. Perhaps someday I’ll go. Until then I have to be satisfied with the England of my thoughts. And my thoughts have been amplified by seeing England in photographs. And recently an acquaintance I’ve never met, another artist, posted photographs from his en plein air group. So I decided to join the group vicariously.
It’s better to do landscape directly from nature, though the old masters usually made their landscapes in their studios. Degas claimed to believe that landscape painting out of doors was a vice. Of course he had a remarkable visual memory and could make his landscapes par coeur like those great Japanese and Chinese painters of old.
Well, I don’t mind using a photo now and then. If God hadn’t meant for us to use photography, He wouldn’t have nudged our species to invent the camera.
Draw any way you can. Just draw.
I would have posted sooner but I was busy battling spiders during significant portions of the last 24 hours. (Don’t ask.) Happily I can proclaim that so far the score is Aletha – 3 — Spiders – 0.
Anyway, before the spiders’ debacle, I had begun drawing faces again. Inspired by Julia Kay’s Portrait party as well as by some interesting books, I decided it was time for some more faces made with the blue ball point pen. I used photos from Julia Kay’s Portrait party even though I’m not participating officially in that large and now famous group.
I try not to let anything keep me from my art, but sometimes we have to bow to life. I could have decided to use the blue ball point pen also to make some more spider drawings — as a way of seeking cure for my incommodious arachnophobia. But the picture of each spider smeared so unfortunately upon the carpet would not make for happy art. The third one was returned to the wild, where he’s learned a valuable lesson.
Just when I was making progress … alas. I was trying to like them, and unfortunately they sought rather unwisely to reciprocate ….
I got a new set of pen nibs yesterday. First time I’ve been nib shopping in over two decades. Inspired by something I read, I decided to use a calligraphy pen for some of my drawings in the interest of finding different textures of line. I am assuming that the annoyance of having to keep recharging the pen by dipping it into ink will be worth the difference that’s available. And I’m sure it will be. I really am. All artists’ materials have their advantages and disadvantages. With this calligraphy pen, you have an extra step and the delay irritates a little — and yet from the experience overall one learns not just new techniques but how to be more patient. So all in all, it’s worth the effort.
The drawing above was made using one of the famous blue ball point pens — this particular ball point pen lays down extra bits of ink at unpredictable moments and gives the drawing an accidental element of rhythm that I like. The drawing below was made using the new calligraphic pen, and it takes a beat away whenever the pen runs out of ink.
So one pen gives you an extra note, and the other pen adds rests. Is a very musical sort of drawing, if you ask me ….
As with most motifs I draw, I redrew the cat several times. I used a photo (not having an actual cat anymore) and made several very different drawings from the same source photo.
So, I guess we’d have to call them “mistakes” given that they do not accurately reproduce the photo. But I love my “mistakes” — they turn one cat into several, each with a different mood.
Cherish your mistakes, artists, and be sure to make as many of them as you can! Il faut refaire la même chose dix fois cents fois. [You must redo the same thing ten times a hundred times.] Mr. Degas said it! And we must do it!
I haven’t had a cat in a long time, but sometimes I just need to draw one anyway. However, when I did have a cat, I often got this look. Some cats can get annoyed at their humans so easily. Evidently, patience is just not part of their package.
I’m just a human! I couldn’t help it!
(Try not to annoy the cat.)
I try to run a full service blog, and whenever I learn about a good art website I link it here. Consequently if you ever want to go art surfing on a rainy day, remember my sidebar. Recently I went through all the links to check their status and I eliminated ones that had expired. I also rearranged things a bit to make them more organized. But everyone likes different things, so you have to explore on your own to find whatever suits you. However, I can assure you — whoever you are — that there’s something here for you because I’ve assembled quite a variety of sites over time.
From time to time, I’d like to feature certain ones that I think are especially noteworthy. Today’s candidate is the Rembrandt van Rijn: life, paintings, etchings, drawings and self-portraits site. It has good reproductions of the major paintings and also an excellent selection of drawings and etchings of good quality and resolution.
I’m always encouraging people to copy old master pictures for the sake of all that you can learn. Thanks to the good quality of these images at this Rembrandt website, you can observe the varied techniques Rembrandt used, Rembrandt that always intrepid 17th century art explorer. Copying drawings in imitation of his specific techniques and materials is one thing to try, or copy images translating them to other media (like maybe into blue ball point pen — just sayin’) or find your own motif and work directly from life in emulation of the ways that Rembrandt teaches through his imagery — these are all possibilities. And no doubt you’ll think up other possibilities of your own.
But here’s a great site for study and for pure enjoyment.