a glorious procession of days

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Outdoors, drawing ideas about the garden, some of which might make it into a painting — or not. But my eyes see the color and the brain has got to be learning something. So some of it will seep into a little landscape I began this week, my little pochade of the backyard.

Huysum our new dog snuck into the drawing, having found himself a piece of wood to chew. He’s still a puppy and has all those little shark teeth itching his gums as the big dog teeth begin to poke through.

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A new dog, a pencil and notebook page, a glorious spring day all conspire toward making the heart glad. I’m the day’s stenographer, swimming through time, in this little patch of earth, here to follow the angles of shadow on buckets and barrels and the sinuous lines of the squirmy puppy in the bright light.

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Chasing down the stray thoughts of life’s dream

Aletha Kuschan's Weblog

I used to paint flowers this way.  I got some from the yard or bought them at the store.   I put them in a vase.  And I painted them.  It was very straightforward.  After a bit, the flowers had all changed positions (they move around a lot more than one would think), and since I didn’t know how to paint something unless I was looking at it (that’s still essentially true), I had to be firm in deciding what I was doing.

Once the flowers or their shadows and colors have moved around enough to confuse my composition, I had to call the picture “finished.”  Since speed was the skill I needed, I learned to see and decide quickly.  My technique was all about finding a visual shorthand for whatever aspect my idea I wanted.

The paintings varied, they looked different, because I deliberately tried different things.  Different colors, sizes…

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Tracing paper is not just for tracing

Tracing paper is not just for tracing.

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You can draw on tracing paper too. You can draw directly on it as you would draw on any other sort of paper. The difference is that you can see through it. So when I place the tracing paper drawing on the cartoon, I can see what flowers will be covered up by the addition of a new flower. It will help me sort out the imaginary spatial relationships of the flowers in the bouquet relative to each other.

Drawing the flowers on the tracing paper rather than tracing them from the drawings I’ve made (or from the sources that I’m raiding) gives me yet another opportunity to rehearse their forms.

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I will have depicted each of the flowers several times by the time I make my painting, and these rehearsals are part of the rationale of this approach to painting. Having practiced them before, I’ll have a different level of preparation.  And I enjoy really learning these forms. It’s musical. It’s like practicing a piece of music.

All this process is part of creating the cartoon for a flower painting that’s in the pipeline, which I wrote about before HERE.

Balmy morning of the painting

I woke this morning with such a desire for work.101_0377 (2) The only problem I ever have is deciding what to work on but this morning I opened my eyes to the thought of finishing the garden picture, the one with the clouds. It was as though I woke up in that scene. The exhilarating light, the balmy air, the intense blues and greens, exuberant growth of plants.

Desire to finish the garden picture was aided no doubt by a little landscape I began a day or so ago.  I paint it from memory, drawings and imagination though the scene is right outside the back door.

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All through the painting session I was popping out of the chair to look out the kitchen door. Throughout the hours I made drawings of the yard, then would paint a little from the drawing I made until blank areas in my mind prompted me to get up and take another look again.

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With each prominent question, I’d go back to the door make another little drawing and I worked this way throughout the afternoon until the light changed so much as to render my questions moot.

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The weather is identical today to the weather when I began. So I might work on the little landscape before resuming the painting of the garden. It was the former that drives this renewed desire to resume the latter. The day is young so I’m not yet sure what I’ll do.