Fun things happening at Trace Elements

If you enjoyed my old blog, you’ll like the new blog even BETTER. Come visit the new and improved posts at Trace Elements. The link is HERE.

More art, more life and more whimsy — all of it illustrated with pictures.


Shifting Gears

Just a reminder that I’m using this blog much less now (doing a few reblogs and redirects from time to time) and am shifting my attention to a new blog Trace Elements. Come see what’s going on at the new blog, which you can find HERE.

The Favorite Place

The favorite place is nice in real life, but it’s really marvelous in art — more particularly in the process of portrayal. As the picture of the favorite place unfolds and emerges, the sensation is different than being there walking and enjoying the open air. Imaginatively it’s keener than in life. Or, rather, the life experience that I find so arresting comes about from watching bits of pigment attach to paper. The smears, dabs, scratchings, the contours, hatchings and whatnot are all so lovely.

The materials are beautiful. The colors are beautiful. The experience is so immediate and so close at hand.

Above is a detail of a drawing. The whole drawing measures about 8 x 10 inches. I’m drawing with the marvelous Neocolor1 crayons. What wonderful tools these crayons are!

In the marvelous open air

Rearranged my schedule today to take advantage of the amazing weather. Beautiful, clear, low humidity, mosquitoes somewhere else visiting relatives, only beautiful clouds above — I decided to make some drawings from life of the most local neighboring trees using the latest box of neocolor1 crayons.

The colors I’ve been putting into my paintings from memory and imagination were in full force, and I got a chance to study them directly.

Such a glorious day! Hope yours was wonderful too, wherever you are.

New Crayons, Recurring Motif

Each iteration the shapes are a little different and the scene changes appearance and yet remains fundamentally the same — like walking by the same place on different days.

And I got a new box of crayons. A thirty count box of Neocolor1.

Think Small

Sometimes an artist just wants to have fun.

Intriguingly enough, since camera storage is so big now even a tiny drawing can be easily enlarged and turned into a monster of an image. This detail of one of the thumbnail drawings is many times larger than the original, probably even when viewed on a smart phone. And of course the drawing reproduced above is much larger than the original.

All part of the fun.

detail of one of the little sketches

the Roundness of a Circle

The forms of shrubbery or trees and the roundness of fruits are very similar. While working in very different subjects, I find that I am creating and recreating the same scenes.

I have been busy contemplating circles and circle-like things.

Maybe it’s just me, or is it Mother Nature who loves circular things? She makes the stuff. People like me draw it.

Big ideas & Small ideas

Been looking for profound simplifications. One way to simplify a scene is to draw it from memory. Another way is to draw very small: the smaller the space is, the less room there is for detail. Hence a small drawing or a remembered scene provides a grand strategy for getting to the core of things.

Naturally enough, the little drawing is a form of invention also. For how many ways can you remember a thing? How many ways can you break it down into its simple elements? It turns out that there are many ways.

Far Away Zen Garden

Kerfe wrote about the Met’s Zen Garden in a recent post, and her photo became the inspiration for a large drawing, one that suitably lacks a gaining idea. Rather than having a plan, I am seeing what the materials suggest and experimenting with erasures, smearings, scrapings away of pigment using Daddy’s rugged old pocket-knife, and whatever various other methods of accident and surprise offer themselves for exploration. Having listened to lots of Pam Caughey videos on Youtube, I am experimenting with abstract approaches and imagery. Pam says you should play, and so I play.

Some of the graphic chaos is apparent in the detail above. It’s a meditative process. And my faithful canine, Lucy the Hound Dog, has planted her largish self next to the easel to be my Muse.

I noticed there were pebbles in Kerfe’s Zen pond (I know it’s really the Met’s garden but it’s inextricably associated in my mind now with Kerfe). These little pond stones became blue circles and the rocks adjacent to the water have become amorphous forms arbitrarily colored.

Found a Thich Nhat Hanh quote that captures my working mood:

Suppose someone is holding a pebble and throws it in the air, and the pebble begins to fall down into a river. After the pebble touches the surface of the water, it allows itself to sink slowly into the river. It will reach the bed of the river without any effort. Once the pebble is at the bottom of the river it continues to rest. It allows the water to pass by. I think the pebble reaches the bed of the river by the shortest path because it allows itself to fall without making any effort.

During our sitting meditation we can allow ourselves to rest like a pebble.

The drawing measures about 36 x 48 and is still evolving…