I have this little 14 x 11 inch still life that I pulled out of the stack. I’ve already altered it a little to conform to the new drawings that I’ve been making of the motif. Like The Big Painting, I am painting this from drawings. The objects are set up in a still life right here in the studio, but the light has been variable — plus I cannot commit to being in the studio at the right times since The Big Painting is the priority.
But it’s nice to have something else toward which I can turn my thoughts. So here’s the side project. Small, fun, no worries.
Here’s some of the studies so far — all the studies except one are made using Neopastels on various pastel papers:
This one needs some adjustment to the size of the compotier bowl, just visible, that hangs above the frog’s head. Yes, again, frogs!
I love dealing with the edges around things and the spaces between things. I like the “things that are not things” in a picture.
The above drawing proves that I can draw a motif that has no frog in it . See, no frog.
This pastel above (traditional dry pastel) is from an earlier suite of drawings. I found it among some dry pastels and was surprised to encounter my current subject.
And here’s yet another recent drawing that I started and haven’t as yet finished. Then again, does it really need to be finished? I mean, hey, the frog is there …
Another teapot — this time it’s a swimming koi teapot rather than a frog teapot, but clearly I seem to have a thing about teapots. I’ve been making drawings of the teapot and of a frog figurine (Dr. Freud, please call your office). These items appear in a little fauvist oil painting that I started quickly and never finished several years ago. I found it in the bin and decided to do something with it. So I assembled the players. Unfortunately the creamer was missing. I turned the studio upside down, and I finally located it — eureka — and there it appears in the latest drawing above.
I’ve made three drawings of the set up so far. I’ll no doubt make other drawings since I’ll be painting from the drawings and not from the motif. It’s sort of “en plein air” still life and the light changes rapidly which is why I’ll be working from drawings. We had nearly a week of rain and cloudy weather in the Washington DC region which was perfect for my project. But regular July weather is returning and the light gets very bright in the studio quite early. So now it’s NASA launch-style windows of opportunity that I seek to get that light I want.
The other drawings for the painting follow:
Coffee, notebook, chair near the window, pencil and the creamer. Sitting there near the window watching light mold the porcelain surfaces of the creamer. The character of light as it reveals objects has particularities so grand and yet also so small and intricate — and the intricacies are as grand as the grand things are grand. The whole of it is a marvel, and the parts are marvels too.
Light and shade are spoken of as elements of technique in art, but that’s the wrong way to think about it. Light and shade are elements of reality. Watching them, imitating them has you participating in something miraculous. It is far too complex to be encapsulated by technique. So let the pencil move with your thoughts and let your thoughts be vagabond wanderers.
After looking at lots of deep purple yesterday, I needed some yellow. I find that a bit of the opposite keeps me humming. Yellow after purple, and light after dark.
This is a drawing of my jaunty creamer hanging out with her tall elegant vase friend.
Yesterday I drew my friend’s creamer over tea. Today I drew my own creamer over morning coffee. You can draw your creamer even if you take the coffee black.
Got a chance to relax over a cup of tea at my friend Renee’s house. And while we sipped tea and talked, I took the portrait of a little creamer sitting on the table, part of my new have-pen-will-draw life style.
The creamer, a patient model, stood for second picture too. And I doodled a bit of its decoration separately.
What a wonderful tea time. And there were cookies, too!
As advised by her union, Doll has taken another day off. In her absence I turned my attention to my creamy colored creamer.
The great artist Edgar Degas once said, “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois cent fois” (you must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times), but hopefully Doll won’t be gone that long.
I don’t know whether or not another French expression applies here.
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (The more things change, the more they stay the same.)
Or whether my creamer metamorphoses or stays the same.
I gave it the most loving attention that could be fixed upon a little creamer.
I even drew what it feels like, drawing without looking at it, drawing with the sense of touch.
I drew it many times, and still it has secrets to share.
Let’s have a nice round of applause for the star of the show, the Creamer!