rearranging the furniture

lattice sketch #1

After I drew the more elaborate Lattice picture during the concert last night (earlier post), the thought popped into my head that “I could put anything anywhere.”  It’s just a compositional sketch, after all.  Why limit your thinking?  To try out different options, I could rearrange the furniture of things that I knew I wanted in the painting.  I could do it in the most unencumbered and straightforward way possible.

lattice sketch #2

You just ask yourself questions. I begin (it’s an on-going process) by asking myself questions like: “what if I put the fish here?”  “What if I put the owl there?” “What if the fence goes all the way to the bottom?”

lattice sketch #3

“What if the water were flat?”  “What if there were some tall grasses on the lower right?”

And so on.

These might resemble the “thumbnail” sketches taught in art school.  They could not be further removed.  The rearranging of things in the sketches has nothing to do with notions about good design or golden sections or whatever the thumbnail sketches are supposed to help solve.

The little compositional thingies are just visual ways of saying “what if the couch faced the window?” Or “what if we unloaded that stock and bought Company X stocks instead?”  Or, “should we get a dog or a cat?”  “Compact car or sports car?”  “Cupcakes or cookies?”

They are exercises in brainstorming.  They are a visual list.  They are dream narratives.  They are choices.


flowers detail

For a while, I was working on two drawings in tandem, a morning flower drawing and a nighttime flower drawing.  Both drawings are 18 x 24 inches large, and the goal was to finish each one incrementally.  The plan worked very well, and I brought both drawings pretty far along — day after day, using this method.

There is an ideal of finish — and neither drawing quite achieved my perfect ideal — oh sob!  I am not perfect!! Who knew?  but then I have learned that sometimes the goal posts shift in ways that the artist must accept.  Sometimes you just have to go with the natural moment and embrace what it offers.

In any case, I loved having the morning and evening drawings.  I attach different kinds of drawing to times of day and it’s a system that works well for me.  It keeps me going with the momentum of the planet turning on its axis.  After all, you gotta go with the flow….