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

a finger in many pies

moth on june 25

Even as work proceeds on “the Big Painting,” I still have other projects that need attention.  One is this partly completed 30 x 40 inch painting of a moth.  I am at a crossroads of sorts with it and must decide which direction it will go.  And I must decide fairly quickly as I have plans for it — plans that have a deadline attached.

But the lovely thing is that every activity helps with all the others.  Making drawings after sculpture at the National Gallery sharpens my drawing skills for my other work.  And the Big Painting and this picture of the moth have more relationships to each other than might ever be apparent to an outside observer.  So it all works together.

spider web drawing

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Crayon lines form a landscape of assembled scribbles, like a drawing made of brightly colored spider web threads.

When I was engaged in the thick of my Big Tidy Campaign of 2017, having read Maria Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I found things that had disappeared into life’s alluvia.  I found, for instance, the photographic inspiration for this fanciful landscape at around the same time as I found the drawing itself, which I had started as only a vague sketch. Having the two things converge in time once more seemed like a token from the universe that maybe I should continue drawing — and so I did. 

It was a great confluential good fortune, actually, because I had really loved the idea but I don’t recall now what event interrupted my work, causing the drawing to languish.  With photo and drawing reunited, I could take up the theme once more.  Indeed, I found the photo first and remembering the drawing thought to myself to have a new whack at it.  But then soon after I also found the drawing.  It measures 24 x 36 on beautifully woven, straw colored Nideggen paper.

I love the devil-may-care approach afforded by crayon drawing.  It’s scattershot, a roll of the dice.

I love the dynamism of scribbled lines applied to a peaceful foggy clouds covering rolling serene blue mountains.

Here’s some wispy, spider-webby details ….

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and another

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