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The whole painting at present

Not sure when it will be finished or what it will look like. The painting doesn’t really have a logical conclusion. I have discovered that I could just keep changing elements of the scene from now until forever.

Not exactly a welcome insight. Of course, “forever” has a pragmatic correlative. The painting is probably near to its final aspect. And I have enjoyed the doing thus far and continue enjoying the changes — and the studies and versions in other media. They have been great fun.

These stages are what happen when you climb pictorial mountains.

My Cheat Sheet

Sometimes I have a little drawing off to the side while I’m painting. It’s there so that I can talk to myself, as it were. I rehearse in thought — and with actual tools — aspects of the painting that I’m going to be changing. It’s like a visual “to do” list. Sometimes I have written notes too.

I go back and forth between these alternative versions and the actual painting. The purpose is not to spare me from making mistakes. The painting is fluid. It changes. I accept that readily enough. The cheat sheet is more a matter of discharging thoughts. I have these ideas about maybe this, maybe that, and the ideas are more quickly traced through more direct tools — these being my notions of immediacy — everyone is different.

As a river has little tributaries that pour into its current, these alternative tasks are just what they are. They are part of the enjoyment of the moment.

portion of the painting roughly corresponding to the cheat sheet, detail of a landscape in progress

Abundant bright air

Drawings are vicarious experiences of nature. There’s the nature out there. Also there’s the nature in here. Nature from the inside is sometimes a landscape. And one of the landscapes that I particularly enjoy is the one that is spacious.

This one is doubly spacious because the water mirrors the sky so you get some sky twice. And actual sky and water are pretty similar anyway.

Oh, and then there’s the blue. Blue is the best.

The Favorite Place

The favorite place is nice in real life, but it’s really marvelous in art — more particularly in the process of portrayal. As the picture of the favorite place unfolds and emerges, the sensation is different than being there walking and enjoying the open air. Imaginatively it’s keener than in life. Or, rather, the life experience that I find so arresting comes about from watching bits of pigment attach to paper. The smears, dabs, scratchings, the contours, hatchings and whatnot are all so lovely.

The materials are beautiful. The colors are beautiful. The experience is so immediate and so close at hand.

Above is a detail of a drawing. The whole drawing measures about 8 x 10 inches. I’m drawing with the marvelous Neocolor1 crayons. What wonderful tools these crayons are!

Sentinel Tree

I started this painting ages ago. Reworked it in fairly recent times. And it’s been rephotographed.

It’s brightly colored. I love the crepe myrtles, marvelous trees. I cannot get enough of drawing and painting them.

Seems an apt choice for today. Happy summer solstice, everyone.

In the marvelous open air

Rearranged my schedule today to take advantage of the amazing weather. Beautiful, clear, low humidity, mosquitoes somewhere else visiting relatives, only beautiful clouds above — I decided to make some drawings from life of the most local neighboring trees using the latest box of neocolor1 crayons.

The colors I’ve been putting into my paintings from memory and imagination were in full force, and I got a chance to study them directly.

Such a glorious day! Hope yours was wonderful too, wherever you are.

The Medium’s Influence

Each medium requires you to think a little differently. Each has its particular virtues. Thus revisiting the same scene using different tools can offer sources of invention.

This drawing measures about 15 x 12.5 inches, drawn using neocolor1 crayons and colored pencils.

Sometimes the details suggest possibilities for new motifs.

I have a painting of the whole scene in the works, and I’ve been experimenting with a small painting of just the foreground shrubs — which have abstracted into variegated green ovals.

I suppose in time I will have come to know all these various ovals pretty well.


The US Arboretum

has a marvelous collection of bonsai trees. Visiting the arboretum today I made this small, quick pencil drawing of one miniature little forest.

Uncanny beautiful weather in Washington DC today. Both the bonsais and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

New Crayons, Recurring Motif

Each iteration the shapes are a little different and the scene changes appearance and yet remains fundamentally the same — like walking by the same place on different days.

And I got a new box of crayons. A thirty count box of Neocolor1.