study of the compotier

compotier with lemons drawing

I made a drawing of the compotier with lemons for the big painting.  This quick drawing is on an 18 x 24 inch sheet of Strathmore drawing paper made using Neopastels.  I had already made one study of the compotier in oil paint — and I’ll make others.  Today’s light isn’t even right.  I just want enough information to get the contours at least close enough for jazz.  This one is close — still not right though it will be enough for me to use to paint some of the lay-in tonight.

The study in paint was more accurate in some respects, but it’s seen from the wrong angle.  I set up a partial still life and also looked rather more closely at Bonnard’s image (I’m emulating Bonnard’s painting The Dining Room) and I find that I should be standing up when looking at the bowl.  I was sitting for both the painting and the drawing, though I sought to prop myself up a bit higher for the drawing using a stool and pillows.

In any case I like the further engagement with the subject.  It’s very satisfying simply to follow its lines and colors with the crayons.

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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!

“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 …