climbing the mountain

cloth study

Not only the directions of the folds, but the textures of the pencil become the subject of the picture.  I made tones with hatch marks and their directions create a kind of movement inside the details, in the lumps and folds like lichen growing between rocky ledges.  Through the different tones, a spectator can savor distinctions between one shadow layer of darkness and another.

You can enter into the music of the image.  What bass or treble are to music, light and dark are to drawing.  A drawing like this one is not made in a rush, and an observer ought not to rush either.  Linger here a while. It was a spectacle seen that captured my spirit. At the edge of the mind’s scenic overlook, standing over the chasm, feeling the breeze at the altitude, I paused.  I caught this view. I found this mountain of cloth. Lewis and Clark never surveyed it.

If the cloth was metaphorically a mountain, then in drawing it was I climbing?  And each small pencil stroke is a foot hold.  And the whole is a meditation. What Mont Ste Victoire was for Cezanne, this can be a Rockies that tumbled out of the laundry basket.

I am so far away from real mountains that I am reduced to creating my own from the materials lying about the house. And yet art can be real and imaginary in more ways than we suppose.  After all, I drew this mountain from life.

Cezanne’s Mountain and its Imitators


I’m in mountain mode.  Inspired by a topic created at Bénédicte’s blog, I have been thinking about mountains and how to portray them.  They have been a favorite subject of mine before, and it’s fun to come at them again. 

I decided to begin by making a little pochade after Cezanne’s famous Mont Ste Victoire.

Meanwhile, others have had their minds on mountains too.  Actually, I think these are supposed to be “towers,” in some cases even radio towers?  But towers and mountains do have much in common, so the drawings by children at my kid’s school help me think how I might paint this subject.  Here’s one sample: