Internet travel

I have never yet been to England.  Perhaps someday I’ll go.  Until then I have to be satisfied with the England of my thoughts.  And my thoughts have been amplified by seeing England in photographs.  And recently an acquaintance I’ve never met, another artist, posted photographs from his en plein air group.  So I decided to join the group vicariously.

It’s better to do landscape directly from nature, though the old masters usually made their landscapes in their studios.  Degas claimed to believe that landscape painting out of doors was a vice.  Of course he had a remarkable visual memory and could make his landscapes par coeur like those great Japanese and Chinese painters of old.

Well, I don’t mind using a photo now and then.  If God hadn’t meant for us to use photography, He wouldn’t have nudged our species to invent the camera.

Draw any way you can.  Just draw.

Carrying a little world in your pocket

constable

A little curiosity, a little internet searching, and a wish comes true.  I found some wonderful sites featuring artists’ notebooks.  Some of the notebooks are famous, some not.  But the great variety of them makes for pleasurable viewing. 

The experience teaches me that I have definitely not made sufficient use of my notebooks.  And after seeing what John Constable and Claude Monet did with their notebooks — surveying the wonderful images that they stuffed into their pockets — I’m thinking I really need to “get out more.”

Wonder if my koi would mind my paying them a house call?  I could stuff my pockets with fish.  I could put buckets of water in my pockets, too.  Why not the whole pond?  Or, the heck with koi.  A world beckons!

The illustration above comes out of Constable’s pocket.  Pick Monet’s pocket here.

Welcome Back (to me)

gerrit-berckheyde-1670

I have been away.  I had lost my internet connection.  Twice.  Both our family’s computers went belly up at around the same time.  And our internet provider (who shall remain nameless) could not figure out how to make the new laptop access the internet … which makes us wonder if computer numero deux actually did go belly up … since it works fine otherwise.

Anyway, I have got to be honest here and tell you that my “internet holiday” has been fabulous!  I was so addicted to the internet and then I quit, as it were, “cold turkey.”  I soon became reacquainted with life as it was lived pre-internet, and I’ve got to tell you that the low tech life is not that bad.  My musical skills have certainly improved greatly as I found much more time to practice.  And I got reintroduced to some family members around here!  Turns out that the place I live in has other inhabitants!  (Who knew?)

One of the joys of my internet holiday included a trip to the National Gallery of Art to see the Cityscapes show.   If you don’t think the Dutch 17th century artists invented landscape painting, come and see this exhibit.  It might change your mind.  It’s like lessons in the many approaches to portraying the natural and human environment.  I’m heading back there as soon as I can to make some sketches.

Collage La Nuit

Abstraction is not always as devoid of subject as it appears.  There might be something that looks like this.  Lots of other artists have made pictures this one resembles.  And it resembles other pictures I’ve made that are pictures of something.  So, by following a trail of clues, being a visual detective tracking down myself, I might in time figure out what I was up to. One might in time discover what the other artists were up to as well.  If I am on the same wavelength as others, what wave is it?

On the internet once I found a wonderful website set up by two photographers, husband and wife.  They took amazing, high resolution photographs of the oddest things — bricks, stones, grasses, tiles, old rusted metal surfaces — anything with texture.  Their photographs looked like the most ravishingly beautiful abstract pictures you’ve ever seen.   And they invited anyone to use their work for free. 

I downloaded lots of their pictures, like a miser at a flea market.  Each image seemed more beautiful than the last, and I sat before the monitor for a couple hours, watching each image load and then copying it to use later.  My printer could not do the proper homage to their stunning imagery.  But I printed out some of the pictures to make a collage.  My printer started running out of ink, but I continued printing, letting the vagaries of the machine add a further layer of chance to the mix.

I had cut up some paper bags and glued them together to make a large sheet.  Grocery store shopping bags are incredibly strong.  Then I glued the prints of the couples’ photographs together into the pattern suggested by the moment.  I added a few pieces of gold foil wrappers from Lindt chocolates à la Bonnard, and voilà!

[Top of the post:  Collage, La Nuit by Aletha Kuschan, a collage made of borrowed pictures and whimsy]