When in doubt, fish

My motto for all idle moments — if nothing else materializes, there is always fishing.  Fishing with the blue ball point pen brings me wealth in blueness, each line a wave or a swish.  The darkness a shadow that I made myself into which my thoughts can float.  Each fish like a wish.  Blue water, expansive sky, endless space, wonderful freedom, great breath of intoxicating air!


Ode to a ball point pen

Thou still unequaled tool of penmanship,

Thou practical pen of school room and cursive theme-writing,

Cerulean line-maker, who canst thus express,

A surreptitious note more secretly than thy marks?

What word-processed typography compares with this spare technology

For Scribbles or Grocery lists, or of both,

In Walmart or the wild hallways of Middle School?


What blue paradise is this?  What sheeny marks?

What ease of use? What bargain when on sale in pack of ten?

What smeary linearity?  What wild ecstacy?

I really like my ball point pen A LOT!  My apologies to John Keats for the pilfering of his great verse!

Drawing for the Painting

I made a largish drawing for the painting, which I’m still working on.  I start lots of things and work on them by turns, and each in different ways helps me think through the ideas.  Each medium by its innate qualities makes some ideas either easier or harder to realize — and the differences lead one down different paths of thought.  They each provide one with a different visual vocabulary, like saying the same thing in different words.

Crowded Pool

One fish comes to the surface to greet the spectator.  The others swim in every direction.  Fish bump into each other.  Koi swimming in a pool reflects a world of energy and will. These koi also offer me as artist an excuse to indulge painting for painting’s sake. Bright colors are placed against each other in a compact square.

This small sketch is a preparatory drawing for a small painting.  Sometimes a painting will have a lot of images “behind” it, drawings that the public doesn’t see.  Such is the case with the paintings you find in the museums, and I decided that these great artists I admire had important reasons why they needed this richer contact with their subject that comes from many repetitions.  Then I began doing more study and practice for my own paintings.  “Il faut refaire la meme chose dix fois, cent fois,” said Edgar Degas:  “you must redo the same subject ten times, a hundred times.”

Now the distinction between studies and paintings has blurred, and both kinds of work seem equally significant to me, each in their own way.  While this drawing was made to work out the ideas of a painting, it has enough presence to stand on its own as well.

[Top of the post:  Drawing of Koi, by Aletha Kuschan, Caran d’ache crayons]