boring boredom

study for table items 1

In chronicling the creation of “the Big Painting” (eventually it’s going to get a name) I earnestly wish to portray the process accurately.  Much of the work on this project is really fun.  I love doing studies, for instance.  All the individual drawings of things using Neopastels I find enjoyable. All this observation has a direct bearing on the outcome. The sense of anticipation spurs me onward.  It gives me practice portraying the forms.  It provides very creative, spirited forms of rehearsal.  I love getting to know the objects, seeing and recording effects of color and form.

But not every facet of decision making is bright.  Perhaps the hardest element so far has been trying to figure out where the objects will go.  I hesitate to begin drawing the objects on the actual canvas because I want to limit the amount of pentimenti.  After all, there’s already the outlines of a different motif on the canvas (originally it was going to be a large koi painting).  I can make some changes after the painting begins, but clearly there’s little benefit in having to do a lot of repainting or over-painting.

study for table items 2

Solving the problem of the objects takes different forms.  I have in previous posts shared color studies that included two or more of the objects in relationship.  That helps.  But I’m also trying to envision the whole and I don’t have an actual scene to which I can refer.  I have set up, as best I can, a few facsimiles.  But some of the solution has to be imagined.  So I make some drawings like the one above.

study for table items 3

They are “thinking out loud” drawings.  Sometimes I enjoy doing this sort of drawing.  Sometimes I don’t.  Since I am so flummoxed about the disposition of these still life items, I have found the compositional drawings less fun to make. These particular sketches are made imaginatively.  I’m not looking at the real objects, I’m looking at a mental idea of the table.  They reflect my indecision.

study for table items 4

Indeed, they’re kind of boring.  But I chide myself that I have not made more of them.  So the point is that sometimes some aspects of art are just that — boring.  However, it’s like doing your homework in school.  You just have to do it.  Sometimes it feels like it’s going nowhere, but you have to do it anyway.

When you find that by surprise — at some happy future moment — you are somewhere again, well, I think the boring stuff will deserve some credit for having got you there.

Here’s one of the several make-shift set ups, below:

study for table items photo (3)

If you’re just landing on the blog now, the chronicle of The Big Painting begins approximately here:

preparatory preparations

drawing for garden no2

I love to draw.  And I find that drawing helps me figure things out.  For me, drawing represents one of the most direct forms of thought.  So drawing the large forms of the landscape helps me rehearse an image prior to painting.  I don’t always draw the scene first, but I often do and I always enjoy doing so.

For the garden picture I made three preparatory drawings, one which I’ve already posted.  Each of the drawings are like line readings and with each I feel that I know the motif better — just as an actor learns the character’s lines.

drawing for garden no3

It’s with the spare drawing above, though, that I felt I most understood the image.  I wanted to be able to render it down to its essentials.  And that makes me feel really prepared to cut loose when I start painting.

I sometimes make drawings after the painting is underway because in episodes of being away from the painting sometimes I feel that I lose the thread a little and drawing helps me get back into the world of the picture.  I pick up the thread again.

Even the spare lines take me back into the world of the picture again too — not only into the painting, but in this case back into the garden.

The painting and a link back to the first preparatory drawing is located here:

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.

first pond drawing

pond with lilies 1 drawing

Here’s the first drawing for a new painting.  I don’t make the drawing as a thumbnail sketch since I won’t refer back to the drawing once I begin painting.  It’s just another form of rehearsal.  I like to think about the shapes a few times before beginning.

I also just love drawing. I love scribbling with the loopy, meandering lines of a pen.  This is not the Bic Cristal that I usually use.  This one has got a much bolder line.  It’s a Bic Velocity.

I found that the best time to smudge is right after you’ve drawn the line.  The ink doesn’t smudge so well once it has dried.  I wear gloves — otherwise my finger tips would be the same color as that deep blue ink.