Lucy *best*dog*ever*

Lucy stage 3

I’ve been drawing the dog.  I’ve been drawing lots of stuff.  And I’m behind in my postings.  But I’ve been having so much fun.  Hope you’re doing the same.  The drawing above is one of what I hope will be a series of Lucy drawings.  My big painting has been on hold because of some household painting going on (painting the walls kind of painting rather than painting of pictures!).   I’ve learned to use the spaces between spaces. Hence when I cannot do one kind of art, I do another kind.

Here’s some details.

Lucy stage 3 detail

Lucy’s face is wonderful to draw.

Lucy stage 3 detail 4 (2)

What I love about a motif like this one is the opportunities it offers for putting all kinds of color patches into the surroundings — even surprising colors like bright red or pale blue in small portions where the patches can enliven the whole color sensibility.  There’s lots of chances to make little marks.

Lucy stage 3 detail 3

I work on the passages around the dog as much as I work on the dog — perhaps more so since there’s more not-dog here than dog.

The drawing is fairly largish — 24 x 18 inches drawn using Neopastel.  It’s got a bit of tweaking still to go, but I have been photographing it regularly since the photographs help me see it better as a whole.  Had to post it here because I’m so eager to share it!

 

 

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the do over

lucy photobombs koi pic

Lucy and Zoomie photobomb the picture I’m trying to take of a 30 x 40 inch acrylic canvas I found in storage that I’m going to over-paint with landscape.  It’s exactly the same size as the painting that has got me stuck — so I could use it to rehearse a second version.

It’s the wrong size to serve as a proper format for an idea that I have in the hopper.  But I’m inclined to use it to rehearse the new idea anyway (rather than deepen my obsession with the troublesome existing painting).  Changing formats is like changing media — it can shake things up in interesting ways.

canvas 30 x 40 to overpaint (3)

It will be interesting sometime later on to recall that this picture was underneath whatever landscape I decide to paint here.

The options are this:

https://alethakuschan.wordpress.com/2018/01/17/crepe-myrtles-are-the-best/

or a more probably an elaborated version, in a different format,  of this:

https://alethakuschan.wordpress.com/2018/01/22/little-garden/

 

picturing the pictures on the wall

flowers & red fineart Amer

I have some pictures available in reproductions at Fine Art America.  And the Fine Art America website has introduced a feature that makes it easier to imagine the image hanging in a room.  With their new feature, you can get a sense of how the image size you’ve chosen might look in an actual room.   All that’s left is to imagine how it will look in your room and in your life.

You can find my stuff here:

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/aletha-kuschan.html

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figuring things out

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Some of the landscapes I’ve been painting are just scenes without any special significance.  And this landscape began that way.  However, as I keep tinkering with it, the scene begins to suggest something to me.  I don’t know what it is.  A memory?  Some hidden meaning?

While I was tinkering, I made a drawing.

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The little yellow tree used to take up more space, as in the drawing.  But I decided to make it smaller.  And somehow that works better.  But I don’t know why.  Not in terms of naturalism, but just as meaning.  Or so it seems.

path through the arbor

landscape drawing first swipe 24 x 36

I made a little pen drawing for a new motif, but it wasn’t as helpful for thinking through the forms as the pen drawings have been for other subjects.  So I began a one-to-one drawing in oil pastel to use as my rehearsal.  It measures 24 x 36 inches.

And here it is further along —

arbor preparatory drawing 24x36

imaginary light

imaginary landscape 1

A place, a quiet land.  If you go there, you find resonating silence.   I imagine being poised for something.

The morning begins.  Or perhaps the day ends?  Can you tell the sunrise from the sunset at that horizon moment?  Or is some context necessary.  Do we know the meaning only relative to our own internal clocks?  To our awakening or our soon arriving sleep? Or is there some absolute physics of aspects that defines beginnings relative to endings?

A small study of thick paint and bright arbitrary colors seeks to ponder these weighty entropic questions in its small colorful way.

around the pond again

Going through my drawing stash I found

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another pond. It was among a group of drawings that I started and didn’t finish.  I’m taking it up again and here it is in medias res — not as much at the beginning, but not complete either.

Something about the loopy shapes of distant trees and foliage fascinates me.  They are subjects I go after again and again. I want to have the sense of their shapes being very clear, very distinct, as though you could reach out to them and grasp them, which of course you cannot do in either a drawing or with distant trees — but it’s an imaginative gesture.

I also like the scribble as a way of indicating the randomness of nature. The scribble of thought and hand parallels Nature’s scribble of plants growing willy nilly here and there. Things are in front of other things, leaves of grass, fonds of plant, wave and meet your eye as an infinitude of layers. I like to think of the piling up of layers of pigment as a simulacrum of these things.  Chemicals imitating molecules.

Or something.

recasting the past

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I would chide myself for not finishing things except that there’s also this upside to procrastination: I look through my stacks of drawings and rediscover them, take them up again, and complete them from the vantage point of a different place in time.  I found this drawing in a stack.  It’s 22 x 16.5 inches.  This picture depicts the same motif as one that I posted a few days ago. Everything’s a bit different in this one. Lines shake a little more. A color might be punched up a bit more. Also the paper color and texture are very different, and these differences affect everything else in the picture.

Oil pastel is a sensitive medium. You can do quite a lot of dragging color over previous colors and the combination of marks produces a dynamism.  It also allows colors to mix optically so you actually get different color effects than you would if you tried to mix the pigments into each other as you would with paint. You can see in the details that follow how textural oil pastel can be.

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I’m not using a “technique” when I do these marks. They are instead all decisions, responses to something that I’m seeing. I am drawing with the sticks and so the marks are drawing “ideas.”  For instance, in this detail there was a limb hanging out over the water and it separates from the background by its slightly brighter aspect.  I put down a light line, some marks for the leaves on the branch, and a dark line that marks the limb’s separation from the background.

It’s all abstracted and simplified in relation to the thing I’m looking at, but these are decisions.  They are specific, nonetheless. And a gazillion specific decisions adds up to lots of marking in the drawing.  And I find it really wonderful to think about the scene in these ways.  See this, put it there.  See something else, there it goes.

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It can make you feel very connected to the place. Here’s the same passage in a different orientation. I saw ripples in the water so I put down the ripples. I saw bits of lighter green so I just drag them across the darker green. The layers of pigment pile up in ways that imitate the density and confusion of light that comes from the scene.

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Up close the passages are very abstract.

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If when observing parts of the picture using a camera, they seem to be well composed, then it suggests that the process of thought going into the small elements of the picture are mimicking the compositional choices you make when you work on the whole.  The relationship between whole and part ought to be in harmony.  Any one of these details ought to seem like it’s the natural child of the parent image.

I like this version better than the one I posted a few days ago.  So, learning from the experience working on this one, I’ll return to the slightly larger format and carry it further some more too.

On the whole, I’m quite content that I never finished these when I first began them. Finishing them now is working out really well. I don’t know how exactly to use time in painting, but when events conspire toward a good outcome — I’m glad for it.

certain shapes & places

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Certain places mesmerize me. I go back to them again and again — figuratively, imaginatively.  I don’t even have to be there. Sometime about the motif, the shapes, the colors I see and the ones I imagine have a hold on me.

This drawing measures about 20 x 25 inches. It’s one of several versions of this motif that I’ve done. There’s at least four versions of different sizes. I was going through stacks of oil pastel drawings and found this one unfinished and resumed working on it. I’ll probably fiddle with it a bit more before I frame it.

The cropped horizon puts the sky on the bottom of the picture.  I’m thinking about the oval contours of the masses of foliage and the contours of clouds and the confusion where the things meet their reflections, enchanted by the world that floats on the rippled surface of water.

Wide open spaces

landscape from c 1996

When the sky touches the land at some distant point ahead that you see afar off, then you know you have space enough to dream.

There’s so many ways to move through a landscape: through the air or on the ground, taking the path that goes under the tall deep green trees, or along that horizontal plain that escapes like an arrow to some unknown locale just beyond the range of vision. What lies over the hills of a dream? Where does the light lead? How green is the greenest green of life?

And what about the ball of light inside the clouds?