I saw an ant

oil pastel of fir garden whole image wip

On the weekend past I took a long walk.  It was mild when we started out, but it got hot quickly as the sun rose higher.  Finally we had to rest under some trees to catch our breath in the heat.  I looked in the leaves of grass around me while I rested.  I saw a humongous ant, one of those big monster-like ants, a muscle ant.  It was gradually heading in my direction patiently traveling on flattened leaves under the grass canopy.

As ants are wont to do it took a meandering path.  I was prepared at any moment to get out of its way as it came closer to me.  But with much watching it never did get close enough for me to need to move.  It seemed as though it would, but then for some cause it turned back upon its path and went back toward the direction from which it had first appeared.

I think I am somewhat ant-like in my travels with my art.  I have several projects going at once.  I try to be more focused but it never works.  Instead I juggle many things.  It is part of my ant-nature.  That’s just the way it is.  Thus I pulled out this drawing above, something I found in the pile, only a sketch when I found it, and began reworking it.  It’s a study for a painting.  I need to resume that painting too.  I have a pile of things to finish.

I travel a meandering path, but somehow things get done.

 

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on the easel

landscape on the easel

I have been bit by the landscape bug again.  I am still working on my myriad projects — various still lifes that have appeared on this blog in recent weeks — but, you know, sometimes you just have to paint some landscape.

Here’s the block in.

the big sheet of paper

Where Fishes Swim in Clouds 42 x 51

Here’s the big drawing of kois swimming in a basin of blue Neocolor crayon.  It measures 42 x 51 inches and it’s on watercolor paper.  I mentioned in the previous post that I tested using acrylic varnish as a coating to seal the Neocolor, using a little test drawing.

Soon I have to apply that procedure to this drawing.  It’s going to be a bit of a nail biter.  Wish me luck!

crazy stuff

abstract vertical garden

Well, the embossing at the bottom gives you an idea how small this drawing is.  It’s a wild and wacky landscape, drawn quickly using Neocolors on stiff watercolor paper.  The materials are identical to what I used for a large koi drawing.  I made this drawing because I wanted to test rolling out a layer of acrylic varnish over it to seal the Neocolor.  I needed a fast trial picture.  A successful test means that I next apply the varnish to a large koi drawing, one that measures a whopping 42 x 51 inches.

It seems to have worked.

abstract vertical garden detail small

The varnish makes it harder to photograph (and I have suboptimal conditions as I write), but it seems to have created a sturdy acrylic coat and the dense pigment hasn’t prevented the acrylic from grabbing the surface.  I rubbed as much crayon as I could into the paper, leaving bits of impasto and texture deliberately so as to give the procedure a proper test.

Now I have my work cut out for me, to apply the same varnish to a humongous sheet of paper.  I’ll post that drawing next.

filling in the blanks

basket of oranges

Going through some things in storage, I think I may have found some more oranges to include in The Big Painting.  I had drawn a half circle near the bottom of the painting just like Bonnard without knowing what would go there, if anything.  It was previsionary perhaps because soon after I stumbled upon the ancient picture above, a little basket of oranges that I painted many, many years ago.

100_2452 (2)

Seems like a contender!  We’ll see …

big painting on july 31 in morning (2)

 

seashell as landscape

seashell study for 18 x 24 ptg

The craggy, complex surfaces of the seashell are so mesmerizing and beautiful.  It’s like a landscape of beautiful mountains.  I never tire of drawing the seashells, studying their intricate forms.  Master artists the little fellows who build these shell homes.

I decided to turn one of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot drawings into a painting.  And the first elements of the painting are blocked in.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot painting start

But I have been unsure about aspects of the seashell, and since any excuse will do, I made the drawing at the top of the post as a study.  It’s on Canson pastel paper, 16 x 12 inches and is drawn using Neopastels.

The drawing that forms the basis for the new painting is this one:

ginger jar honey jar and seashell

But I’ve also started drawing another version on the same size sheet (24 x 18 inches) in which the objects slightly smaller.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 2nd drawing further work

I work on the second version sometimes late at night.  It gradually comes along.  But though I felt this desire to do the second version, I knew I still wanted the objects to follow the size of the first drawing.  So there are many versions.  There’s also the drawing inside my brain, the one that is the neurological composite of the variations!

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 3 pictures together

Many versions.

Another earlier version —

seashell ginger jar honey pot sennelier finished (4)

The pictures multiply ….

first stages of version number three

seashell ginger jar and honey pot new version in progress 2

I am working on a third version of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot picture.  This one’s on 24 x 18 inch Strathmore pastel paper.  I have been striving to get the relationships of the objects more accurate in this version.  The objects are also slightly smaller than they are in the first version I made of this same size.

I think I like the larger objects better, and it’s probably the version I’ll use when I do the painting.  But the relationships in this one are more careful.  And it’s still in the works, of course ….

It’s hard for me to break out of a motif.  I fall in love with the objects.  Like Miles, I fall in love too easily ….

History of the motif below:

Version one: 24 x 18 Neopastel on Strathmore Pastel paper; version two: 16 x 12 Sennelier on Arches Oil paper.