I also drew the Fantasy Bust of a Veiled Woman (Marguerite Bellanger?) by Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse while I was at the National Gallery of Art today.
A link to the object is below. Often these links include zoom features (as does this one) so if you’re inclined to draw the lady yourself, check it out, though it’s a different view point.
Here’s some of the seashell drawings propped in the studio. Those readers who followed my Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 as it was inspired by Marie Kondo’s delightful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, are perhaps shaking your heads now wondering where I fell off the rails.
Well, the Big Tidy continues. But sometimes the studio gets a bit cluttered. Tis all part of the creative process. (Or that’s what I tell myself. )
Jules Breton was famous for his portrayal of peasants.
I found Jules Breton’s painting of a peasant woman at Hoakley’s The Eclectic Light Company blog. I made a quick drawing of the woman’s head on a sheet where earlier I had made a little drawing after a face by Ingres.
My page and Breton’s peasant below:
I remember this tree, a sugar maple that stood right outside the back door. I loved drawing it. The tree was full of romance. In 2003 hurricane Isabel damaged all the maples so badly that we had to have them cut down. We were lucky that none of the trees completely uprooted. None of them fell.
However the storm left them all tilting precariously. It was clear that any ordinary thunderstorm could finish them off. They had figured in paintings and drawing over the years. These two drawings are ones I found in an old notebook. I ignored the leaves in these and fixed all my attention on the graceful trunks and branches.
And then they met their match.
It finally stopped raining. We’ve had more rain in the last month here in the Washington area than I remember from EVER. The first rain is surpassingly lovely. The 17th day of rain, on the other hand, can be a tad disappointing.
But the rain has stopped. Hurray! Nonetheless I do not find myself bounding with energy. I decided to adopt a more laid back approach in the life class. I am not abandoning larger than life sized, fauvist colored portrait heads forever but I might be finished with them for now. I’m not sure. In yesterday’s class, I made a smaller drawing. It still involved having to draw the head larger than I see it, but the enlargement was much less dramatic and thus easier on the brain. I also used local colors. I decided to phone it in.
It’s a life class so the poses are not really set up for portrait anyway, which made all my previous drawings that much more of a challenge. There’s challenge too, though, in the simple, straight-forward drawing, so my new approach to the model for probably the duration of the class will be more laid back. Draw whatever is there. No straining for a certain viewpoint (I sat on the floor in one class session). Just open my eyes, be grateful, draw. That’s the plan.
Let’s say you don’t know what to do. What if you had to survey all the stuff of your life just to find out what it was that mattered? You catalog your stuff — your mental furniture — one thing at a time. You reexamine each still life object, or your garden at various times of day, you look at your own hands with new questionings, you carefully study the jar of rocks on the window ledge, your creamer, your house, even your weather.
We’re not talking about casual glances here. What if each thing needed really careful scrutinizing? What if your being an artist depended upon it!
Perhaps this is beginning to sound scary. (I don’t wish to frighten anyone.) Let’s walk this back. We’re not urging millions of drawings on anyone. And anyway to catalog your world could be wonderful.
I am merely suggesting that if you did need to revisit all the reasons, to retake your bearings, that you would just have to do it. And you’d start from scratch. You have to start somewhere. Anywhere.
That first decision — I bet it would be interesting — wouldn’t that gesture take on a whole new meaning?
I have no idea what this is. Opened the notebook, flipped through the pages, and there it was. However, what it was has not survived translation. Nonetheless, I find that I like it. And so I share it with you.
When you draw a lot, sometimes it doesn’t matter what the subject is. All the things that attract your attention all filter through your brain and some element of the attraction is diffuse. You sometimes end up remaking all the various subjects through the longings of your own personality, and to an extent all the motifs are really just one motif. So it does not surprise me that this “what’s-it” looks a little like the vase of flowers, but also looks somewhat like the koi.
The details of flower still lifes have some of that vertical presence.
And some koi drawings feature bits of blobby yellow, red and orange patches floating among streaks of blue.
So perhaps the drawing at the top is a Vase of Koi Flowers — or it is Daffodils Swimming in a Pond?
… which as Everyone knows is “mightier than the sword.”
And this is no ordinary pen. It’s my favorite pen.
This drawing above is after Bonnard (a detail of a Bonnard).
Favorite (and mighty) pen. Favorite artist (Bonnard), favorite object (compotier).
Who can ask for anything more?