The whole fish we caught

fish darker

In the previous post I showed just the eye.  Here is the entire fish.  We caught him on paper about ten years ago.  We caught him and now he just swims in this one spot forever.  Immortal fish.

Secret to Catching Lots of Fish

koi triptych

I found this sage advice at Andrew Gable’s post entitled Sketchbook Stories: I thought getting effective with drawing was much like fishing – Those who catch the most fish, I bet, have their hook in the water the most – thus, I am working on getting my pencil on the paper as much as possible.

Andrew you took the words right out of my mouth!  Meanwhile, back to fishing ….

Cast your line

I want you to imagine something with me.  Imagine we’re at a sparkling lake.  Someone is fishing — perhaps even you.  Definitely not I, but someone is.  He or she is casting a fishing line.  Can you see it?  Slow it down now in your thought.   Play it in slow motion like a film in your mind.  It’s the part of the movie with the most enchanting music. 

And as the fisher casts the line, we see it — and hear it — suspended in the air.  We see the filament unraveling the air, bending with a most exquisite grace, bending backward, reaching forward, as though alive.  It propells forward.  It straightens slightly.  It catches up its own elegance into graceful curves.  It stretches out into space.  The filament cuts into the air.  Molecules slip out of its path.  And it seems like a little eternity that it just hangs there, loose and reaching, ever reaching and finding.  It is a completely sure and true spectacle of beauty.

It is pure linearity.

Hold the thought of it a minute like holding a breath.

That, friends, is what Monet’s drawing is like.  Hidden inside his notebook — like a graphite treasure of simplicity and wisdom — in his unprepossessing carnet, are these lines that drop onto the page endowed with resilient freedom. 

Cast your thoughts upon the vacant air, and they will look something like a Monet line.  See the plain daylight fall into the pond’s depths, see that the reflections are lines like these, thought lines that catch a living reality.

Now that’s a fine, plump fish indeed.

Find more sketchbooks here.

Summer Reading

Just finished reading Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.  Won’t spoil it for those who haven’t read it, but it’s kind of like Moby Dick — only a whole lot shorter!  It is really extraordinary what a great writer can do with a little bit of theme.  Basically a fellow goes fishing, in Hemingway’s story, and yet the tale reveals bits of an entire life.

Also in recent weeks, I’ve read John Hilton’s Lost Horizons and Ursula Le Guin’s Lathe of Heaven — both wonderful stories.  I had not meant to become seriously diverted with reading, but I’m on a roll.  One trip to the library netted me a pile of books (still thinking in fishing terms), and they chanced to be so good that once I began a story, I couldn’t quit!

Back to Hemingway’s tale though, if you’ve read it you know it’s very visual.  And if you’ve read this blog, you know that I’m often preoccupied with the topic of fishes.  So, diving deep into this story I was confronted with some issues of my own life.  Was beginning to wonder if I’d need to illustrate something from the story. 

I like monumental art.  But would I really do a fish that large?  Are all fish stories questions about magnitude?  Does my fish affectionately named Pixel need to grow?  And would my apartment studio accomodate him?  Would anyone ever purchase his picture if I did it?  Or would I live with a giant painting of a fish the rest of my life?

Got to mull over these and other questions.  Meanwhile, I’m moving on to the next book.  My next Hemingway selection will be Moveable Feast.  I can manage that much.  Food. Still life.  Been there, done that. 

Meanwhile, wishing you safe seas.

[Top of the post:  Two Men in a Boat, by Aletha Kuschan, aquatint]

Dream Fishing

When artists go fishing, it’s a little different sort of thing than when most people fish.  I’ve begun a series of koi paintings that occupy most my time.   Of course, the fish in the drawing are obviously not koi.  They are just fish.  They’re friends.   My generic fish that swim in the notebook in search of a fine blue stream.   They are rambling fish of imagination and dreams.  They come to cheer me on in my larger project that I’m just now beginning.Come visit my store on CafePress!

[Top of the post:  Swift Swimming Fish of Dreams, by Aletha Kuschan, drawing in a notebook]

Something Fishy

This little guy spawned in a notebook.  He is a drawing of an imaginary fish composed of paper mache who sometimes swam one direction and then swam in the other direction. 

He is an idea of a fish.

Blue Fish

The little blue fish:  I copied him from somewhere … I don’t remember the source, which I changed so much that I can no longer recognize it.  He didn’t start out life being blue.  He evolved.  He borrowed something blue, as well as something old.  It was a marriage of minds.

I liked the eye.  When my daughter was a baby, I used to make drawings of animals like this. I would sit on the floor drawing while my baby crawled around.  And she would pick up a pencil and scratch up the eyes.  I don’t think she liked the drawings looking at her like that. 

But this is (of course) the Proverbial Fish.  The one that got away!