More antelopes

Turned the page akimbo trying to get more antelope on it, and it looks like he’s getting ready to flee.

One problem of doing (and posting) drawings-a-day is that one deals with the vagaries of the weather.  I used to wait until sunny days to photograph things, but in this game of draw-it, post-it I take photos come-what-may.  These are more about rapid ideas, practice and moving the pencil than about getting everything just so. 

And people can get report of our Washington DC weather second hand via the cooler tones and poor exposures!

This antelope got all dark and moody.  The sculpture put various subtle planes into the antelope’s face and horns.  I found myself trying to record the nuances of light — but it’s hard.  There were lots of nuances, and just one of me.

The kid got into the act, too.  Everybody is drawing antelopes here!


The kid and I were up late into the night drawing cats.  I drew one — assuming that a fake cat counts as drawing a cat.  And the kid drew bunches!

Hey.  Don’t anybody tell the hamsters about this.  (It’s kind of a sensitive topic for them.)

Cezanne’s Mountain and its Imitators


I’m in mountain mode.  Inspired by a topic created at Bénédicte’s blog, I have been thinking about mountains and how to portray them.  They have been a favorite subject of mine before, and it’s fun to come at them again. 

I decided to begin by making a little pochade after Cezanne’s famous Mont Ste Victoire.

Meanwhile, others have had their minds on mountains too.  Actually, I think these are supposed to be “towers,” in some cases even radio towers?  But towers and mountains do have much in common, so the drawings by children at my kid’s school help me think how I might paint this subject.  Here’s one sample:


Drawings “After” Corot


Today I made a fast drawing after Corot’s portrait of Laure Sennegon (plus tard Mme Baudot).  I have been thinking of all the ways I might recharge my batteries, and certainly one of the ways is to restudy works that I love.

My daughter decided to do a version of the Corot portrait also.  Hers shows more of an indebtedness to Matisse.  Also, as you can see, she chose an interesting if ephermeral medium for her drawing.


From that Nest Hatched These

I guess the nest pictured in the previous post hatched these.  (Making imaginative allowances for time.)  After I became a mom, actually some many years after I painted the bird’s nest, my daughter drew these baby birds.  I assembled them as a trio and put them into the nest she’d made.  A xerox version of them now appears in a collage I’m using for a picture I’m painting.  It’s the same collage of the “weird lizard.”

One Weird Lizard

There are many paths to invention.  My daughter made this lizard by one of them.  Let me see if I can recall the details because it was a complex process. 

I made a line drawing based on a photograph in a book that sort of resembled this guy to click.  Then I xeroxed the drawing I’d made and cut the xexored copy into several same-sized squares.  I reassembled the squares in random order as individual blocks and taped them down onto some pages.

All together they composed a “drawing test.”  The objective was to redraw each, now very abstract looking individual square, using a set of blank squares (the test paper) the same size as the originals. 

My daughter took my “test” and afterwards we reassembled her lizard “copy,” putting all the boxes into their proper order.  Then she made a new drawing that copied the newly assembled lizard made of little squares.  (Are you still following me?)  The lizard above was the result.  We rexeroxed him to have bragging copies, one of which I put into a collage that became a detail a large painting.  That lizard in the collage is the one pictured above.

I think he’s a perky looking little guy!

You know, funny thing, but I don’t get a lot of people asking me for driving directions.  I wonder why ….

[Top of the post:  Very complicated reconstruction of a Veiled Chameleon, by Aletha Kuschan and daughter]


What people call abstraction is not really abstraction.  People think that it’s a genre in art and its opposite is “representation” (a term that had to be invented once abstraction became a trend).  Abstraction is merely a giving over to perception.  A pure visual data that comes into our eyes via the optic nerve exists for us only as an notion of possibility.  No one really knows what uncoded vision might be.  By the time we are able to speak, we have already also learned to see, and things are things.  Once you can give a thing a name, you’ve made it possible to ignore much of what it looks like.  Artists, however, are people who make the trip back into perception.  Yet even an artist cannot see things deprived of their thingness.  Our brains shape the world prior to our awareness in ways we can barely imagine.

Children imitate speech before learning their language.  They get the rhythm and sound out with something that almost passes for English, or French, or Chinese, or whatever — only it lacks a clear vocabulary!  I think to some extent children express bits of pre-vision also even as they are learning to see — or learning to see while defining more and more of the world in words.  I gave my daughter a paint brush at a very early age, and she did more than “just scribble.”

I found a logic and rigor in her first paintings.  And they are not devoid of “representation.”  When she could talk she used to tell me what was inside her pictures, and there were always things.  A child’s “abstraction” is only apparent to outsiders.  A world of things lies hidden inside the marks.

A true abstraction has nothing to do with whether objects are recognizable in a realistic way.  Ingres’s paintings and drawings are full of the most beautiful abstractions.  Before they are things, his lines are pure lines.  Their lyricism and sinuousity stands apart from a mere rendering.  All the greatest works of art have a visual logic that resides deep inside the image, really at its core.  Thus to endow a picture of something with a vivid abstraction is merely to bring back into it the immediacy of living perception.

[Top of the post:  A picture of something by the author’s kid at age three]

Ants on the March

Of course, with summer you’re going to get some close encounters with insects.  It simply goes with the territory.  Might as well just invite them to the picnic.

[Top of the post:  Child’s Drawing of Ants along with Ant Stickers, collage detail, by Aletha Kuschan and kid]