after Rodin in smooth lines

after Rodin crouching figure Hirshhorn garden

My meetup group visited the Hirshhorn Museum recently.  Outdoors in the sculpture garden I made drawings after Rodin.  The Hirshhorn is home to some brilliant works of art, but the pressure on modern museums to try to produce something uncanny is great.  Consequently there’s always some head-scratching exhibit dominating the place.  Currently at the Hirshhorn it’s not one exhibit, but nearly the entire building that’s dedicated to head-scratching.  And there wasn’t much to look at that holds any purely visual interest.  Purely — visual — interest — you know, the sort of thing that your eyes just want to linger over because the sensation of looking is so mesmerizing.

It’s strange.  I wonder sometimes if the people who have trained themselves in modernity-in-quotes have forgotten how to see?  Rodin is right there in the garden.  He produced sculptures of great visual beauty that are full of emotion also.  They’re even provocative — and are thus so in a genuinely enduring fashion.  But the managers of the Hirshhorn’s hapless collection cannot seem to make the connection.

Ah well!

Rodin had more in the way of ideas and imagery than I knew what to do with.  But I spent my bit of time gazing at the face of his crouching woman and made my drawing above.

Into the thick of the honey painting

Worked a little bit on the honey painting today (had icky chores that prevented my working on it a lot).  Am in that phase of looking more closely at everything, started each part of the painting as though it were a little painting in its own right.  There’s so much happening in the still life, such nuanced changes of color, subtle shadows, colors I cannot identify.  There’s such an amount of potential stuff that it’s rather mind-boggling. 

For some reason, I feel as though I forgot how to paint.  Or like I must relearn it.  Well, it’s none the less delightful for having become strange again.

The little honey pot has a bee and honey comb design on it.  Am struggling with that.  Right now the honey pot is winning, but it’s early in the fight.  Wish me luck!

Not seeing the tree for the branches

     Through different subjects and media, through thick and thin,  I find that much of what has continually interested me is perception.  Perception is a tricky thing.  I first realized this when I was young girl in high school.  I was sitting in front of a sugar maple happily drawing its linear forms, which reached out toward me like welcoming arms. I found that maple to be so very beautiful and complicated to draw.

Struggling with it, however, I couldn’t comprehend one particularly murky passage and paused totally stuck, in head-scratching confusion. Then I realized that I was not drawing “what I saw” — not a bit — for right smack in front of me was a limb, looming into the foreground, practically tickling my nose, that had been until that moment completely invisible. It actually obscured parts of the area I was struggling to see.  No wonder I couldn’t see those other details! I thought with Mr. Magoo-like clarity.

For many people life’s problems consist in not seeing “the forest for the trees.”  In my case, I was stumped by not seeing the tree for the branches. 

            I had looked at, had seen, had attended to those things that I insisted to myself were there.  Well, sometimes what you see is what you get! I insisted upon my reality to such a degree, wishing to see what I thought I saw so much — that I managed not to see what was right there in fact.  Ah, a moment of disclosure I shall never forget.  It’s like a story with a moral.  Only true.


 [Top of the post:  my drawing of crepe myrtles blooming.  Aletha Kuschan]