pond drawing three!

underpainting drawings pond with lilies 1

Not really a drawing — I had so much fun making the scribble drawings for the painting that I decided to continue the process on the painting itself.  It will all get covered up.  It is, nonetheless, an energetic way to begin.  I used acrylic medium to thin down the paint, to capture more of the character of the “ball point pen lines”. The canvas is 20 x 24 inches.

second pond drawing

pond with lilies 2 drawing

Here’s another quick thinking-out-loud drawing made with the Bic Velocity pen, well smudged.

I love, love, love, love, love drawing this way.  Totally carefree.  Just see something, put a mental line around it, and a physical one to parallel the mental one.

It’s like sight reading in music.  Once you start, you keep going.  Make mistakes, but don’t mess with the rhythm.

slenderest bit of idea

landscape drawing idea

A ball point pen provides a lot of freedom to think out loud about where things are.  I like to look at things and just “take notes.”  It’s like wandering around in the scene and the pen lines are foot steps.

warm dream garden

fir garden motif pen 2

I love the cool blue lines of the Bic ball point pen and the miniature world of drawing.  Art makes possible the dream-like convergence of dissimilar things.  Lines offer complete freedom.

I like revisiting warm summer during the cold of winter even if only in thought.  Brrr!  It’s so cold today!

a happy chaos of flowers

Oct 1 flowers 3 (3)

I have been painting a lot lately so much that I haven’t had time to blog about it.  And nearly all of the paintings depict flowers.  The painting above measures 30 x 40 inches.  After having painted so many flowers in vases on tables, I wanted to do something amorphous.  The theme of amorphous arrangements is one that I’m just beginning to explore, and there will be others besides the one above.  Indeed there’s an even larger painting in the works.

I still paint the flowers on table tops, of course, and one of the recent pictures is a traditional still life because I love the flat receding plane of the table top with its still life theatre.

Oct 1 flowers (3)

Long time readers know that I like to paint pictures of koi swimming and this still life has a fish component, so that was fun.  The painting above measures 16 x 20 inch inches so it’s small, but it’s got attitude.  And what’s particularly new about these paintings is that I painted them using acrylic paint which I haven’t used in a long time.  I have had such a blast using this fast drying paint.  Each kind of artist material has its own peculiar charms and I like to range among the opportunities.  I think particularly now that using acrylic paint is going to teach me things that I can afterwards apply profitably in oil painting.

The fish pattern paper featured in the second painting comes from a wonderful store in Old Town Alexandria called The Paper Source.  It will be fun showing the store’s staff what I did with the beautiful deep blue paper I bought there — the first of the paper’s soon-to-be frequent appearances in my art.

My flower mélange is partly inspired by the store window of Caruso’s Florist at 17th and M Streets in Washington Dc where there’s a dramatic window display.  I was walking in the evening in mid-September, strolling around the block a couple times because I was early for a meeting.  That’s when I came upon Caruso’s store window.  It was one of those great felicitous accidents of happening upon something that you had been hoping to find!  When I returned to the store the next day with my camera, the store’s owner greeted me.  He is just about the nicest guy you’re likely to ever meet.  So, if you visit Washington DC and want to meet somebody delightful, make a straight path for Caruso’s Florist.

I have a lot of project ideas right now.  Some of them are underway, others are just buzzing about in my brain.  It’s been a very exciting time of full days.

In other news if you received one of the cards with a reproduction of my paintings and are a new visitor to the blog, welcome.  Hope you find many things to enjoy.

 

more of these guys are coming soon

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These were the prototypes.  I have a big clean canvas ready for a new version of this motif.  And I’m getting ready to begin it fairly soon.  A large preliminary drawing is in the works.

But note, I used to have a lot of studio space as illustrated above.  Now I’m inhabiting smaller quarters. Thus I am beginning the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017.  The thought of being able to comfortably work on this motif is one of my incentives to action.

Tidying is the chore.  The big koi pond will be my reward.

It’ll be fun to jump into the pond again … though I still have finishing touches to put on a companion piece.  That’ll be fun too.  But first I must reorganize.

seashell blue

seashell blue (2)

When an artist paint things, she always hopes that others will understand the thing the way she understands it. The little seashell painting (9 x 12 inches in size) catches a mood for me (who am far from the sea) of water, waves and wind.  The conch is a tropical animal and even the warmth of a faraway place comes to me when I portray the shells.

The nervous brushstrokes are the way I experience drawing the object whose forms are so incredibly lovely and complicated.  I love following all the passages of color than I can manage to imitate.  I am always longing to imitate all of it, everything that I see, and I don’t know if that is possible.  But the longing is an end in itself.  I cherish the longing that the beauty of the seashell evokes.

further progress on the seashell

seashell ap 12 reworking.jpg

This little turquoise seashell painting progresses bit by bit.

I have a bunch of seashells ranged on the table in a composition that extends along the length of the table.  When I began this painting, I put one of the shells in the center and I could have portrayed it alone.  There is another shell beside it, though, and I drew that one too simply because it was there.  I knew that the edge of the picture would crop part of the second shell.

Lately I’ve been painting still life that way, letting the picture extend as far as it will, letting it end wherever it ends. It alters one’s relationship to the edge. Then edges of a picture can become fascinating places to describe. I remind myself that the frame will cover about a quarter inch.  Sometimes I find I am getting caught up in little details that occur on the part of the panel ordinarily covered by the rabbet.  And I don’t want the frame covering them.  Certain of my paintings probably need to be glued to a second support so that it can be framed in a floater.

It’s a bit of an odd problem to have, or an odd fascination.  But there it is.

The contemplative nature of still life is what I love: the fact that you can find intriguing bits of vision throughout the whole set up, so that the more you look, the more you see.  I never quite know how far the image will spread — once I’ve begun putting the central things into the composition.  Some object gets cropped — it goes without saying — and what will afterwards be occurring at the edge is unknown.  I like surprises.  I like visual mysteries.

koi variations

The big koi drawing got a rework.

 

big koi april 9 drawing state 2 (2)A few days ago (April 2nd) I posted a large preparatory drawing that I have used to rehearse a large painting that’s in the works.  The drawing is 50 x 42.5 inches large.  One challenge an artist faces making large works is photographing them.  In my case there isn’t enough natural light available in the room where I work to get a good photograph.  Doing photography outdoors, of course, introduces its own challenges (not the least of which is how to drag the drawing and its huge heavy drawing support outside).

Well, I got the drawing and its heavy support outside. But then I had to locate a place with indirect light because the first and easiest location for my photo shoot produced the image seen below.  Very charming, but not descriptive of the drawing.

koi drawing with lights (3)

The photo did however prompt a wonderful idea: the photograph with its “clouds” was so lovely.

 Why not make those effects part of the drawing itself?

And I have since altered the drawing (new version at the top of the post) to introduce some of these lights that remind me of cloud reflections floating over the koi pond.  The over-exposed sections of light, made more dramatic in contrast to various shadows, are not real clouds, but they’re close enough to push the picture in that direction, and do note that these effects were still natural ones.

These were lights and shadows I found in nature. I’m still imitating nature here.

Certainly it’s possible to continue a process of this sort, I’ve taken the reworked drawing outdoors again and repeated this process.

big koi april 9 2 (2)

New lights and shadows in new locations on the reworked drawing.

Portraying Nature is a complex endeavor.  Nature is everywhere.  It’s in your head as well as “out there.” Time is a part of Nature too.

The stages are part of the lovely game of painting. Taking the picture into this direction is, granted, not the same thing as making a faithful representation of the motif en plein air.  But it is nevertheless a kind of naturalism and a kind of fidelity too.

Big and bigger

koi drawing a (2)

I like to paint big pictures. One way that I rehearse images before painting is by making large drawings. In that way, I also have twice as much fun because I make two big pictures — the preparatory drawing and its related painting.  The two works are not necessarily in a one to one relationship though.  This drawing, for instance, measures 50 x 42.5 inches but is a rehearsal for a painting measuring 60 x 40 inches.  However they are close enough together that making the drawing offers genuine preparation for painting.

Someone told me that opera singers rehearse their parts in sotto voce to avoid straining their instrument.  Maybe these big drawings are to the paintings what sotto voce is to the opera singer’s full throated singing.

I have another 60 x 40 inch canvas waiting in the wings.  And another large sheet of paper waiting to be made into drawing.  Seriously good fun is just around the corner because this artist likes to paint and to think BIG.