pine tree drawing

pine tree drawing

I’ve pulled a 30 x 40 inch painting of a pine tree out of the rack.  I began it a while back but I’m ready to finish it now.

Made this drawing above to sort out some questions I have about the top of the tree.  The drawing measures 24 x 18 inches so the image is just a bit smaller than the related section of the painting.

The pine tree is an oil painting so I’ll be switching gears from acrylic to oil.  The studio will soon be filled with the wonderful aroma of linseed oil.  Soon!

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“Koi Silk” at the Art League

koi silk in frame

Got a chance to see the January exhibit at the Virginia Art League and to photograph my oil pastel Koi Silk in situ.  I love the framing which was done by Carriage House Framing.   The whole thing measures 41.5 x 29 inches.

Here’s another view for scale.

koi silk at Art League

The exhibit in historic Old Town Alexandria goes through February 4.

Here’s a link for Carriage House Framing.

http://carriage-house-picture-framing.business.site/

 

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

and another one

pond with lilies oil pastel drawing

So when I painted the pond in oil the first time, I also made a drawing in oil pastel.  I am really in Degas territory with this one:  “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cent fois” – you must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times.”

I must really like this motif.

deep blue river

long river drawing oil pastel

I like to practice things.  Sometimes I feel like I need to figure an image out before I get serious about painting.  But sometimes, as above, I just want to make the broad gestures with a tool.  Just because. Drawing with oil pastel has its own raison d’être.

drawing in the fir garden

source drawing for firs painting (2)

Many years ago I made this drawing en plein air using oil pastels.  It’s one of several source drawings for the fir garden painting that I posted.  They’re both about the same size, 18 x 24 inches.

Ah!  That was a balmy day compared to now, now when it’s 15 degrees F outside!  I paint to keep warm!

en plein neighborhood

red zinnia from cap hill (2).jpg

My daughter and I set out for Capitol Hill yesterday in the late afternoon, she to walk and me to draw.  Someone has a beautiful garden right off East Capitol Street, full of zinnias.  I had noticed the flowers on a previous walk.  So I tossed the old aluminum easel into the back of the pickup, assembled some oil pastels and off we went.

The mosquitoes didn’t start biting until really near twilight so I wasn’t munched too much.  However I was concentrating so much on my drawing — how hard do YOU concentrate on your tasks? —  that the whole bottom of my right leg was soaking wet before I realized that the gardener’s sprinkler was reaching my location.  Is that concentration or what?  Maybe it’s possible to concentrate a bit too much.  A little less concentration and I might have avoided the soaking …

That discovery seemed like a good cue to switch motifs.

yellow zinnias from cap hill (2)

I drew the yellow ones until the mosquitoes started dining.  Then it was clearly time to quit.  We took a bit of a walk afterwards for exercise, my daughter and I, and I staked out some more locations to draw.

Capitol Hill residents are assiduous gardeners.  There’s many lovely places to choose from — almost too many — it makes the choices harder.

These are drawings I may use in something or other, but I make them just to be outdoors drawing.  I have been buying flowers for still life.  And I have some lovely fake ones that I use also.  Sometimes I take a flower from a photograph or an old master image.  It’s fun to mix it up.

If I decide to do dog portraits, Capitol Hill residents are prosperous in that department too.  While I was drawing, every manner of canine imaginable was being walked in a kind of impromptu, nightly, canine parade.  That would be fun — not sure the owners would have the patience to wait for a full portrait though …

Flowers, on the other hand, are very patient.

finding butterflies

butterfly picture sitting on the table (2)

I’d like to find some real butterflies.

For now I’m satisfied being reunited with the butterfly drawing.  During my Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 (about which I’ve written extensively), I sorted through some large oil pastels and retrieved this one — which I’ve begun reworking a bit.  And now it rests some atop the desk where a collage sits.

Putting it on top of the collage gives me ideas — or glimmers of ideas.  I may do something else with this butterfly at some juncture.  For now, though, it exists as a drawing.  I was thinking of treating its companion, the spider, in some larger way too.  Dare I exhibit the spider again?  Is it too scary?

Oh, not for brave readers!  Here it is again.

black-and-gold-garden-spider-21-x-29-inches

I’ve been wondering how I could do something grander and more elaborate with the spider as well.  And I might as well just do it.  Some counselors have told me that you can’t sell a big picture of a spider.  I think to myself that if the butterfly and spider are showcased together, perhaps the similarity of color and treatment will tell people that if the butterfly is beautiful, then the spider is too ….

They are similar works, but I could make them even more similar. The question of how to market spiders has weighed on my mind.  But they make movies about monster spiders!  Of course I’m not sure that those movies make very much money or have particularly large audiences, nor do they communicate a strong societal message ….

Big Ass Spider was a good movie.  Just saying.

However, the spider can also be a serious subject — without necessarily being a scary one.  A spider can be beautiful. It can be done. I’m sure of it.  Perhaps it’s my special mission to do it …?

I’ll keep you posted.  For now you won’t find my spider drawing on my Fine Art America site.  I don’t want a spider to scare all the customers away!  When it’s time to include the spider in my grand marketing scheme, we will have figured out something that has thus far eluded most creative projects and that is: how to make (certain) spiders wonderful!

And everyone is going to want one!  You’ll see!  Just wait …

 

 

 

living the rough and tumble life

bouquet drawn from lifeI’ve been living the life of Indiana Jones — or maybe it’s Walter Mitty — I don’t know, I get them confused.  I live the feminine version, of course.   I could hyphenate and become Ms. Jones-Mitty.

I have been cutting brush, building and unbuilding things, having adventures (mostly mental) and working hard.  And only recently I have begun to resume making artworks.  The household reorganization that has consumed so much of my time has come a long way.  My work is far from complete, but I’ve reached a point where things have begun to come into balance.   It’s a great feeling.

I discovered that getting the house right means getting the yard right too.  Shrubbery had grown so much near my windows that it blocked light from entering my studio.  Cutting down limbs and piling them up, carrying them off to the county’s “convenience center” (curious name), hauling a couple truckloads, has given me a great feeling of self-reliance and well-being.  I’m a regular lumberjack!  And trees respect me now.

But Nature is hard to put down.  As soon as you do a little yard work, she says “back at ‘ya.”  A little rain, a little sun, it’s a veritable jungle.  And Nature asks, “Who’s your daddy?”

Mother Nature can be a real smart aleck sometimes.

In between taming nature, though, I have managed to resume drawing and painting.  I got a bouquet of flowers a couple weekends ago from the farmer’s market and drew them with oil pastel.  The drawing above measures 15.5 x 24 inches.  The flower scene changed many times during the course of my drawing.  I saw light effects that Claude Monet would have struggled to capture.  But it’s good to look at the scene even when you cannot get all its features because the looking is itself so marvelous.

I have begun posting finished works at the Fine Art America site where they are available for purchase as reproductions.  You can see them here:

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