This drawing demonstrates as well as any might how the mere act of drawing can become a walk through ideas. It’s the wrong format (it’s too squat). It lacks relevant detail. It’s just an exercise in motion. It’s me telling myself: this little bush is here, this span of light grass is there, and so on. And I hear my thoughts echoing back saying, “well, duh — tell me something I don’t know!”
I did already draw all these things in the painting that I’m trying to reenter. And there’s no new information in this drawing. And it’s not the right size or the right anything.
And yet it helps in its way. At least I think so ….
Or am I like the hapless drunk in Paul Watzlawick’s amazing book The Situation is Hopeless who looks for his car keys under the street lamp because “the light is better over here” (even though he dropped the keys over there).
It can be hard reentering a painting that you like. It’s not complete, but you’re not sure how to take it forward, and you don’t want to screw up the things that you already like. My recent crepe myrtles painting is giving me this sort of trouble.
You can add to my problem one that Mother Nature brings since it seems that she has her own blasé moods. And as the saying goes, “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Our Big Momma has decided not to freeze us to death (for which I am duly grateful), but she’s not bringing the sunshine out either. On gray days, it’s easy to feel blasé too — caught up in Mother Nature’s morose mood.
So how do you transport yourself into a world of crepe myrtles when so much conspires against you? The fear of failure, the somber light, a paucity of ideas — all make the once intrepid artist feel stumped.
I don’t know about you, but I draw. The drawing may be okay, prosaic, what evah — but today I am all those things too.
Nonetheless moving the lines around the forms helps me find a path back into the painting and it’s better to draw than to sit idly waiting for Mother Nature to get her act together.
First brush with the idea featured in the previous post appears in this drawing — in this crazy, wacky little drawing. Eventually it will be a largish painting. But first it begins as lines and thoughts.
If you’ve followed this blog a while, you’ve noticed a change in format. I’m often now posting things in apparent series, sometimes following the trajectory of a specific motif. And I’m also posting more frequently. If you’ve followed the post for a long time, you’ll notice that I’m not as long winded. I have chosen to go lightly on words and rely more on the pictures alone.
Everybody who blogs knows how difficult it can be to keep a blog going consistently, and mine has had long periods when it went dark. So I had wondered this year whether or not it was time perhaps to stop blogging.
Then I realized how even in its haphazard ways, the blog has helped me keep track of my art over time. Moreover, I’ve been reading a lot about goal-setting during the last year and I realized that the blog could become my means of tracking my progress through various projects. Indeed, it can be my spur to “get the lead out” and get projects done more quickly.
So the blog has a new purpose now. It’s chiefly a personal tool with a narrow and specific mission. But who knows, it might become more helpful and/or intriguing to outside observers. I hope it will. By lightening its load, perhaps this blog will become more entertaining for my internet friends — past, present and future.
As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
My blog has a destination now — a place it wants to go!
The view between the arching flower stems is what caught my attention, but afterwards I tried to put as much stuff of the chaos onto the page, knowing that parts of it would be out of proportion. I decided to tackle something that I figured would be impossible really to depict accurately, especially in the time I was allotting.
The dark light of an overcast spring day made the (ad)venture doable. So off and on I’ve been gazing at a jumble of things on the kitchen counter. (Remind me I need to clean that counter.) It would be an interesting motif to do at night too with the overhead yellow of interior light casting down on the objects in that way that Bonnard taught us to love.
I’d love to do the view from the arching flower stems again in the future. I’ll need more flowers. These have already surpassed their prime.
I didn’t think Frederick Remington was a real artist because he painted cowboy themes. I was that peculiarly annoying thing: an East Coast snob. But I was young. One must forgive the young for their annoying stances — especially when it’s your own young past self!
Anyway, I was at the Museum of American Art last weekend with an agenda: I wanted to make a drawing after Childe Hassam’s painting “Tanagra, The Builders” (which I posted recently). While I was there I also did a certain amount of wandering around and encountered this tour de force by Remington. It stopped me in my tracks.
In all humility I made a rapid sketch of the main horse, rapid because by that time I was supposed to meet some other people, and I only had a few minutes to spare.
I’m glad that I make these fast drawings these days. I used to feel intimidated and it cost me some wonderful opportunities. There’s nothing to lose and much to gain in simply drawing the world around you.
Jules Breton was famous for his portrayal of peasants.
I found Jules Breton’s painting of a peasant woman at Hoakley’s The Eclectic Light Company blog. I made a quick drawing of the woman’s head on a sheet where earlier I had made a little drawing after a face by Ingres.
another pond. It was among a group of drawings that I started and didn’t finish. I’m taking it up again and here it is in medias res — not as much at the beginning, but not complete either.
Something about the loopy shapes of distant trees and foliage fascinates me. They are subjects I go after again and again. I want to have the sense of their shapes being very clear, very distinct, as though you could reach out to them and grasp them, which of course you cannot do in either a drawing or with distant trees — but it’s an imaginative gesture.
I also like the scribble as a way of indicating the randomness of nature. The scribble of thought and hand parallels Nature’s scribble of plants growing willy nilly here and there. Things are in front of other things, leaves of grass, fonds of plant, wave and meet your eye as an infinitude of layers. I like to think of the piling up of layers of pigment as a simulacrum of these things. Chemicals imitating molecules.