late night studying

study for the painting

I made some drawings using Sennelier oil pastels and Neopastels to continue getting acquainted with my still life objects and with one potential arrangement of them for the table in the Big Painting.  I just drew them as they appeared in an actual still life set up, which is slightly different from how they’ll appear in the painting.  But being descriptive helps me get to know the things better.  So I need some of that.

The blue field behind the objects now won’t appear in the Big Painting where they will be surrounded by the striped cloth on all sides.

study for the painting two

Still figuring out the separation of the seashell from the flowers through which it’s seen — though that will be different in the final arrangement too where the seashell, if I include it, will be a little farther back and maybe seen slightly more from above …?  Decisions, decisions.



Koi Storming

koi canson oil pastel 1

One advantage of drawing quickly is that you tend instinctively to aim for general effects, to reach for the first shapes that catch your notice and, of course, if you draw quickly and impulsively enough, you may succeed in avoiding the unfortunate tendency one sometimes has of constantly second guessing the decisions.

I suppose the same principle ought to work for other things, for the first drafts of writing, even for the proposal of solutions to ordinary life problems — or, indeed, isn’t that what we mean by the term “brainstorming.”

First drawing today is a study for a larger work.  I made this drawing using oil pastels on an approximately 20 by 25 inch sheet on Canson pastel paper, working in the cool light of early morning.

In with the New, in with the Old too

oil pastels

I really hope that the Mayans are wrong (I’m pretty sure they are) because I just got new oil pastels.  I have big plans.  My old oil pastels and my new oil pastels sit side by side.  Each invites you to draw in slightly different ways.  One says “I’m shiny and new.  Use me carefully.”  And that makes your drawing very linear and intellectual.  The old ones are worn down and nubby and tell you “Be bold!  Throw caution to the wind!” and they urge you to dive foolishly, joyfully, headlong into the drawing.  The old ones are wonderful.

The new ones are wonderful too.  And of course, it won’t be long before the new ones are old ones.  And afterwards come new new ones.

Behind things

Outdoors behind the house, behind the garden in autumn, the vegetables now gone and the land going fallow, I drew the view of the shaded house against the glare of a brilliant blue day.  Much of my past is tied up there in that house, amid these shadows.  There are too many millions of things to see.  Thousands of stalks of plants, glints of light, millions of leaves, a thick gauze veil of apertures through which bits of light peek through.

And every aperture, a facet of a kaleidoscopic mirage.

Glass Music

I found her at a second-hand shop.  It was a shop I frequented back when my daughter was a baby.  I remember seeing the Spanish guitarist on the shelf, turning it over to find the price (it wasn’t very expensive), and placing it back on the shelf.  I don’t know why I hesitated, but I left the store with some other items.

It was after I had driven all the way home, I was seized with the thought I had to have it!  I needed particularly to get it for my daughter (why I don’t know).  I got back into the car.  Was there time?  Would the store be closed when I got there?  They close early on Sunday.  Would the Spanish guitarist still be there?  (Suddenly she had become a rare and coveted item, every shopper eyeing her and calculating their purchase.)

Well, you know the ending.  There she is.  My daughter never played with her, of course.  It’s not a thing you play with, and I don’t think my daughter ever even expressed the slenderest interest in the little figurine.  I’ve drawn her lots of times.  She represents my obsessions — though she has something to do with being a mother.  She’s my childhood sought, not my daughter’s.  And I heard her smooth, shiny, crystaline, glass music from afar.

Three little quick studies for painting

Made several little drawings as preparations for painting.  I “rehearse” the image a little.  It will help me decide what to paint.

I’m working from photos.  But it dawned upon me as I was working today that some of the flowering shrubs of my photos will be blooming in a few weeks.  Drawing these motifs from photos certainly prepares one for working from life.  I will have engaged many aspects of the scene during my dress rehearsals here before the flowers bloom.  And once they are there blooming before me all in real life …

won’t I be ready!  (Are we having fun yet?  You bet!)

Merits of Waiting

These days with a deadline looming, I work wherever, whenever, I can.  My kid had a school event, and I had to wait around.  Poof!  A drawing.  I tell you, these days, if I find myself sitting in one spot for fifteen minutes, I whip out the notebook.

Note of warning: don’t try this while you’re driving.

Color as Theater

Cranking out drawings has me busy filling up the minutes and hours of my days in a most delightful fashion.  I strive to draw faster than I can think.  Indeed, I need to work like mad because I have a lovely deadline looming. 

One way to get the ideas flowing is very simple:  change the colors.

Different papers, different color areas, different degrees of finish, slightly different shapes in each iteration.

The addition of a weird pink cloud …. 

These are the dress rehearsals and the auditions combined.  All the landscape elements come dressed and in character, and I must observe them in their roles and afterwards determine how the drama shall be acted.