Here’s the objects that sit on the semi-permanent still life table (this set up has stayed quite a while). In the drawing below, they sit behind another temporary still life that I set up this week for a special purpose.
I like drawing and redrawing these objects. They form many a meditation on color and shape that I contemplate, pen in hand. Here’s some earlier iterations.
I get to know these objects by drawing them over and over. I will really know these objects well someday.
If you read this blog regularly you’ll recognize them from these drawings.
As with most motifs I draw, I redrew the cat several times. I used a photo (not having an actual cat anymore) and made several very different drawings from the same source photo.
So, I guess we’d have to call them “mistakes” given that they do not accurately reproduce the photo. But I love my “mistakes” — they turn one cat into several, each with a different mood.
Cherish your mistakes, artists, and be sure to make as many of them as you can! Il faut refaire la même chose dix fois cents fois. [You must redo the same thing ten times a hundred times.] Mr. Degas said it! And we must do it!
I have the watercolor pan out, and it’s so easy to just pull out a sheet of paper and get going. It’s one perpetual poolside of koi drawing. I am shamelessly drawing and redrawing the same picture. I am hypnotizing myself with koi! Or perhaps the koi hypnotize me. Il faut refaire la même chose dix fois cent fois has become moveable feast. I can do the koi pond anytime I sit down at the kitchen table, and I can carry drawings about with me and work at them other places too.
The watercolor pan is my studio. The watercolor pan is my koi pond.
This one’s kind of a doodle sheet. I have a larger koi pond on a sheet of fine French watercolor paper that I’ve gridded up nicely to keep the koi under control. But this pond sprang up on Southworth “Connoisseur Collection” fancy 100% cotton, premium weight Business Paper (cream-colored). A box comes with 250 sheets. Potentially that’s a lot of doodled koi. In between sessions working on the big one, I sometimes feel the pull of making a new one. Hence, these doodles.
I do them for fun. They are like humming.
When I make these repetitious scenes of the formal garden I start the drawing in different places. Sometimes I begin with the pointy tree on the left, sometimes with the one on the right, sometimes with the dark round tree in front. Each of the different beginnings seems like ways of taking a new path over familiar ground.
It’s true that I notice different features of the real landscape by varying the way I begin drawing it. But there’s an internal landscape whose topography is more crucial. And every new line explores that landscape in ways that bring actual discoveries, that chart brand new territories.
Sometimes drawing is a refinement of feeling. You might see the effect in the drawing, or you might not. But it needs a chance to occur in the artist’s mind so that in some future image it can be manifestly present, can be palpably visible to the spectator as surely as it was for the artist.
One reason, I find, for repeating the same motifs many times is that I finally grant myself freedom. After I’ve drawn the same thing several times, I begin to find a special sort of relaxation. I let myself try it different ways because of having gotten the other “serious” ways already under my belt.
With the oncoming of the beautiful weather, I’ve been drawing pictures of a formal garden. I need more information about the garden than I presently have, if I’m to do my painting the way that I want it done. The light changes fast, and you find your gaze attracted first to this place then that, but as you are in the process of surveying the whole it is — even then — in transition.
It’s the Monet moment. But I decide to tackle it with drawing rather than dragging umpteen canvases out into Nature.
However, to return to this sensation of letting go … even though I know I will draw this garden many times, with each visit I must recapture the sense of freedom all over. At least that’s the way it is now. I do two drawings and then on the third I can throw caution to the wind. Ah, the exhileration!
I have been learning new music. It’s a difficult part. I’ve had to work through it in sections. Sometimes the melodic line confuses me. Sometimes it’s the intonation that is fuzzy. Sometimes I cannot figure out the interpretation — or the dynamics, or the tempo. Getting all the parts to balance is very difficult. These koi! What a large chorus of voices!
I realize I’m mixing my metaphors. But this is a tough gig!
We are going to have to schedule more rehearsals, the koi and I.
Il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cents fois. (You must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times.) I keep telling them.
And them, they just sing louder!
I was supposed to paint today, but I never got the lid off the paint tubes. Instead I just had to draw. I am drawing the stuff that I am going to paint — that I have already started painting. But before I even did that, I took my walk. Did my “walk” drawings.
Have a little notebook to carry. Now just for the record, these were not made with the favorite pen. It’s a very nice pen that I used, but was not the favorite. The favorite pen stays behind when I walk.
Made a couple little “detail” scribble thingys.
One of these, surely, ought to be turned into a postage stamp. Is about the right size. Wouldn’t you want to put this on your envelop?
Then back at the ranch, I drew some more. My flowers are so patient.
They’re also very cheerful. Or maybe it was me that was cheerful.
Got the vase to stand for one alone, too.
After that, the grand finale … for today anyway.
Hint: it’s round, it’s “elevated,” it’s blue! It holds fruit ….
I drew my compotier! Again! Dix fois — will be there soon! Can cent fois be far behind?
Yes, I know there’s other stuff there. But clearly the compotier is the star of the show.