Fun & Work

100_3499 (2) compotier sketch

Behind the finished paintings are lots and lots of drawings and sketches and what not.  It’s all fun, except for when it’s not.  But even when it’s not fun — if not fun in the right now — it’s fun later.  I don’t think that has anything to do with art — that’s more about just living.  Eckhart Tolle has some interesting ideas on the subject ….

What I mean, though, is that in my paintings I have ideas about what I want, but I don’t always know how to get there.  In my indecisive states, I turn to my tools and make lots of trials.  Since I often paint from life, it means sitting in front of the things and simply making color/drawing decisions.

Let’s put this here.   Could as easily start with it being there, but here seems good.  What if it’s this big. Okay, if it’s this big then that thingy is that big.  (I think.)  I believe it’s this color.  Oops, no it’s more a fill-in-the-blank (cooler, darker, lighter, warmer, bluer, etc.) And so on, and so on.

I have begun thinking of them as rehearsals.  Sometimes they’re even casting calls.  Sometimes an object just isn’t working out … (So sorry, seashell, you’ve been great in other pictures but … um … you’re just not right for this one.  Sorry.  I’ll call you!)

100_3421 (3)

Anyway, there are many versions of things.  They end up in all stages of finish or unfinish.  They help me think.

100_3484 (2)

thinking small

Small drawings offer a special kind of freedom because you have no unmanageable expectations regarding their importance.  And so from the outset it’s easy to let yourself go.

Thus doing small insignificant drawings can become one’s laboratory of invention and helps an artist form the habit of spontaneity.  One needs tasks that lead to occasional carefree moods.

Add to the small scale drawing an uncooperative subject such as a wild bunny and you have even more compelling reasons to let go of all caution.

Fake flowers will sit still, but lively wild bunnies will not.  And you have to catch whatever you can and be glad.  There ought to be some space in every day for drawing that is like breathing — that just is — that has no barriers.

And so sometimes line is set free …

Me and Delacroix, getting inspired

I had a yen to drawing something large, and to do the koi in a more expressive way.  I’ve been reading Delacroix’s Journal again and discover that as I read certain images come to mind — in this case not his images, but my own.  Ideas for things to do, motifs from my own past that find encouragement from Delacroix’s enthusiasm for boldness and invention.  There’s always some longings and hankerings that go right back to the heart of why you started doing art in the first place.   Today at the secret bunker studio, I decided to let myself indulge my bold mood with a new koi drawing. 

I just started it, but even in the first stage I saw that the fish were growing.  These are going to be some much bigger fish.  While I was away doing landscape, these guys were getting big!

Having Fun

two horses

Regular readers of this blog know I like to make copies.  I also like to have fun.  A while back when I was drawing horses I made these two drawings which live on the same sheet thanks to the invention of construction tape (used to make a larger sheet by combining several sheets together).  I was copying horses from Japanese art.  Unfortunately I can’t remember who the artist is.  Hiroshige, Hokusai, someone else?  I dunno.  But here they are. 

My copies are definite interpretations.  Mine lack the rigor of the originals (boo woo) and also have a laisser-aller element that I attribute to the “fun” aspect.  If one were turning Japanese masterworks into kid cartoons, you might get a drawing somewhat a kin to these.

But, hey, sometimes an artist just wants to have fun.