more blue jay figurine & frog teapot

blue jay and frog teapot second drawing

I’m still not sure what this drawing looks like.  I was drawing until there simply was no further light by which to see. As the contours at the far edge of the seashell began to disappear I knew that drawing time was over.  I’ll be curious to see it again in regular daylight.

Unlike my usual habit, I drew the picture from right to left.  I wanted to make sure there’d be enough room to include the shell, though I wasn’t certain I would put it into the drawing.  So I began at the far right, getting that much beloved frog teapot in there.  And I spent most of the session working on it, later adding the blue jay figurine and only getting to the seashell at the very last.  This is the second drawing of the objects from this alternate angle.  (If perchance you’re just discovering this blog, these objects have a complicated story.)

I was drawing in very low light — which I enjoy — using the fading late afternoon light of an eastern facing window on this cloudy summer day, concluding the drawing with the day’s last faint illumination.

color in its habitat

large seashell

A year or so ago, I forget when it was, I decided to do the seashells larger than life.  It was a distinct departure for me because previously I had always portrayed them apparent size or life size.  But I had some pastels I wanted to experiment with and a yen to work large and the seashells were all sitting right in front of me so the synergy all lead toward a large seashell.

Those experimental drawings I made are sitting where I can see them and have been prompting me to have a new whack at the motif.  Hence the drawing above.  Looking at the set up that inspired the first large seashell, you can tell that I was seeing the seashells from above them.  Given a certain artistic ambiguity that particular fact doesn’t completely register in the drawing itself.

Kuschan sea shell in pastel large studio view

However for the drawing I began last week, the shell sits on a shelf at eye level and fits into the representational scheme of “things seen on a ledge.”  It also takes up much more of the paper than the first one did.  The first large seashell drawing I made was on an 18 x 24 inch sheet.  This drawing measures 19.5 x 25.5 inches.  The seashell itself is about ten inches long.  So the drawing portrays it about twice life size. This latest drawing is the start; it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Here’s an in situ view of the shell in progress.

seashell on easel

It’s a rainy dark day today so I won’t be working on this seashell. It’s my natural light shell and sits recessed on the shelf so that it’s dark even in daylight.  But I have a nighttime seashell that I work on too. Ironically the nighttime seashell is brighter than the daytime seashell because I draw in it artificial light.

Actually I draw in the dark a lot.  I love drawing in low light.  But when I began doing en plein air drawing again, the first shock was seeing how bright the sticks look in the sunlight!  I usually never see them that bright when I’m working.

People have often commented on the bright colors in my artwork (I love color) but would be surprised to know how often I work in low light conditions where the actual colors aren’t fully visible.  Nevertheless, I know what I’m doing (I think) because the pictures come out with a balanced effect.  But I don’t always see what I’m doing.

It seems like a very natural way to work, in my view, because color changes all the time anyway.  All the time, all day long, as the light changes, so does color.  Therefore you might as well just chase color in the wild — in its natural habitat — and get used to it. The chase is where you feel the adventure!

Kuschan sea shell  in pastel large 18 x 24

 

 

plans postponed

We’ve had a lot of rain.

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I began a little still life from the objects stored on the shelf. They were not set up to be “the still life,” I just store them on the shelf. But each time I look at them, their arrangement beckons. The other day I started a drawing in low light. The photograph below shows the objects but not the lighting which is too slight for my photography.

shells on the shelf

I love being in a slightly darkened room, drawing things I like. But the rain has taken away so much sun that I cannot work on this any further today.

studio today

I even had a still life I was doing from life in sunny light and I haven’t worked on it in weeks. All the still life objects have a layer of dust on them. But as diligent as one would like to be, you cannot fight Nature.

She has set her heart on rain, so rain it will be. Perhaps I should start portraying landscapes of rain.

As for today, and its faintly realized still life, the other thing I like is the arrangement of things as they’re stumbled upon. To discover the composition while making it, while looking at it — while staring over a length of days of idle thought. I picked a sheet of Canson pastel paper. It is the size it is. I had no idea how much of the scene even to include, had no notion where the edges would be. I just began drawing that first sea shell that I particularly love and let the other things gather round it.  I didn’t even know where to place the sea shell on the sheet. I just began.

I don’t know what it will all look like when it’s finished. And of course I don’t know when it will stop raining, when the light will come back.  This is why it’s good to have many projects. Eventually one will come off.