Fisherperson at Work

fish drawing in progress 2

Here’s a part of today’s catch.  I’m drawing these guys on the world’s most beautiful blue paper — Canson pastel paper — the big roll!


Offspring of the Drawing


I made a smaller version of the large flower drawing that I posted previously.  The smaller scaled drawing feels different, and I like that.  One of the beautiful things about drawing is that (within reason) you can make the world whatever size you want it.

Of course the two drawings appear approximately the same size in this blog.  And that’s the neat thing about photography is that it can take two things of different size and reproduce them in the same scale.

Wonders all around.

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Koi on the Move

I’d like to go to the beach for real.  Or I’d like to dive into a pond somewhere with my friends the koi.  Can’t do either of these things right now.  Well, actually I can’t try door number two ever — unless I’m willing to get arrested by the National Park Service.  But I am up to my eyeballs in water.  And I’m not referring to my afternoon at the pool.

I’ve been working on koi paintings.  Will be making drawings of koi, too, because painting takes too long and I need instant gratification.  I remember how much I enjoyed making the drawing above, which is fairly large, made on two sheets measuring 60 x 88 inches overall.  I have an idea for a new koi drawing so I’m beside myself with eagerness to get started.  At some future time, I’ll post them.  But for now I present these little teasers!

Work of this sort has its own frustrations, of course.  “Painting” with crayons means having to scribble or rub colors into shapes.  The upside is that it’s very energetic and provides good exercise for the forearms.  Whatever frustrations to instant gratification exist, however, are more than made up by the delight in making lines.  Lots of ’em — over very large sheets of paper.  It’s great to be an adult and still have so much rationalization for long episodes of play.

[Top of the post:  Last year’s Koi drawing, by Aletha Kuschan, crayon on Canson paper]

Crowded Pool

One fish comes to the surface to greet the spectator.  The others swim in every direction.  Fish bump into each other.  Koi swimming in a pool reflects a world of energy and will. These koi also offer me as artist an excuse to indulge painting for painting’s sake. Bright colors are placed against each other in a compact square.

This small sketch is a preparatory drawing for a small painting.  Sometimes a painting will have a lot of images “behind” it, drawings that the public doesn’t see.  Such is the case with the paintings you find in the museums, and I decided that these great artists I admire had important reasons why they needed this richer contact with their subject that comes from many repetitions.  Then I began doing more study and practice for my own paintings.  “Il faut refaire la meme chose dix fois, cent fois,” said Edgar Degas:  “you must redo the same subject ten times, a hundred times.”

Now the distinction between studies and paintings has blurred, and both kinds of work seem equally significant to me, each in their own way.  While this drawing was made to work out the ideas of a painting, it has enough presence to stand on its own as well.

[Top of the post:  Drawing of Koi, by Aletha Kuschan, Caran d’ache crayons]

Not seeing the tree for the branches

     Through different subjects and media, through thick and thin,  I find that much of what has continually interested me is perception.  Perception is a tricky thing.  I first realized this when I was young girl in high school.  I was sitting in front of a sugar maple happily drawing its linear forms, which reached out toward me like welcoming arms. I found that maple to be so very beautiful and complicated to draw.

Struggling with it, however, I couldn’t comprehend one particularly murky passage and paused totally stuck, in head-scratching confusion. Then I realized that I was not drawing “what I saw” — not a bit — for right smack in front of me was a limb, looming into the foreground, practically tickling my nose, that had been until that moment completely invisible. It actually obscured parts of the area I was struggling to see.  No wonder I couldn’t see those other details! I thought with Mr. Magoo-like clarity.

For many people life’s problems consist in not seeing “the forest for the trees.”  In my case, I was stumped by not seeing the tree for the branches. 

            I had looked at, had seen, had attended to those things that I insisted to myself were there.  Well, sometimes what you see is what you get! I insisted upon my reality to such a degree, wishing to see what I thought I saw so much — that I managed not to see what was right there in fact.  Ah, a moment of disclosure I shall never forget.  It’s like a story with a moral.  Only true.


 [Top of the post:  my drawing of crepe myrtles blooming.  Aletha Kuschan]