To get back into the thought world of the flower wall painting, I’ve decided to make studies of various sections of it. Here’s a study for the clump of hydrangea flowers made using Neopastel (Caran d’Ache) on a sheet from a 14 x 17 Strathmore 400 series pad.
Here’s the whole painting as it looks at present.
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.
I love to draw. And I find that drawing helps me figure things out. For me, drawing represents one of the most direct forms of thought. So drawing the large forms of the landscape helps me rehearse an image prior to painting. I don’t always draw the scene first, but I often do and I always enjoy doing so.
For the garden picture I made three preparatory drawings, one which I’ve already posted. Each of the drawings are like line readings and with each I feel that I know the motif better — just as an actor learns the character’s lines.
It’s with the spare drawing above, though, that I felt I most understood the image. I wanted to be able to render it down to its essentials. And that makes me feel really prepared to cut loose when I start painting.
I sometimes make drawings after the painting is underway because in episodes of being away from the painting sometimes I feel that I lose the thread a little and drawing helps me get back into the world of the picture. I pick up the thread again.
Even the spare lines take me back into the world of the picture again too — not only into the painting, but in this case back into the garden.
The painting and a link back to the first preparatory drawing is located here:
It’s another blue ball point pen drawing which I’ve made to help me figure out the big shapes of a new landscape painting that’s in the works. I love drawing this way. It totally suits me. It’s wonderful when you have a form that fits your thoughts and emotions to a tee. With the pen, I figure out how to think about the scene. With a pen I can walk around in my own imagination.
Thoughts from the pen for a little landscape picture.
I read through the forms using a ball point pen in the previous post, and here I’ve rehearsed the forms in color using Caran d’Ache Neopastels (oil pastel). The drawing measures 18 x 11 inches. Didn’t color everything. It’s just a dress rehearsal, still thinking out loud.
Chaotic looking here, but this was my first practice for a painting. Describing the shapes to myself using the pen helps me find a thought path into the painting.
The drawing I’m using for the lay-in is a very broad working drawing. I draw then paint, draw some more, paint some more. These are first thoughts.
I made a little pen drawing for a new motif, but it wasn’t as helpful for thinking through the forms as the pen drawings have been for other subjects. So I began a one-to-one drawing in oil pastel to use as my rehearsal. It measures 24 x 36 inches.
And here it is further along —