Shade loving flowers

I have a still life going, but I can’t show it here yet.  These flowers are very shy, too shy to expose to light.  They are shade-loving flowers.  I make a grisaille of them using only black, white and Naples yellow.  Later there will be colors.  But I begin with a drawing-in-paint.  It’s a bit like this pencil drawing above, which I copied from Jan Bruegal — like this in hints of gold and silver though my flowers have an entirely different personality.

The flowers are an alter-ego.  They symbolize the way of being in the center of one’s own life, and having put oneself into a vase, watered one’s feet, having sought nourishment from air, from gravity’s pull, from the sun, from the rain washing over one’s face.  You put yourself into a kind of stance, a spot, that frankly says “this is me.”  That part, though very strange to admit, is necessary for being human — this having to confront the world with this identity that each one has.  Here I am.  I am on display (somewhat) but more mysterious than anyone ever knows.  Mystery to oneself as well.  And each one is thus ….

Owning It

I want to own an Ingres drawing, but they’re all already mostly spoken for and a bit out of my league financially those that are still floating about.

So I copy.

And then you own something.  Your thoughts about it that you made with your pencil and with your mind!

Self Portrait-ing

It’s hard to really know people, and that fact, I think, applies as much to oneself as to others.  It’s hard to know who you are, and it’s sensible and not narcissistic to occasionally inquire into the nature of one’s self.

The means of mirror gazing are many.  For artists the self-portrait is one means. 

Naturally just as one witnesses different aspects of other people, just in that way it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to discover that one finds different facets to oneself.

And you can portray yourself in different ways.  And why not deliberately seek to know these other aspects of the self?  Or if one only stumbles upon them, that too is knowledge….

A niche in life

The old masters are so much more complex than any of my ways of understanding them, as I discover when I go back and revisit drawings I made. 

“But you cannot let yourself be sad — even — in noting the distance between oneself and them,” I tell myself.

You have to be the artist you are.

[Above, my copy after a Velasquez lady.]

Old Flowers

Many years ago I made a very dark and smudgy tribute to graphite and old art in the form of this drawing which copies an old master’s painting.  But now I cannot remember who’s the old master. 

An early Van Gogh?  Any guesses?  Is there an art historian in the house?

The Artist’s Parents

I drew my parents years ago.  My mother, pixie-like.

My dad, engrossed in a television broadcast, coiled with the energy of his attention.  His shoe, I find, also expressed somehow his mood, his relaxed and yet intense focus.

Drawing flower studies

Life can alter how an artist works in beneficial ways whenever one learns to accept complications as challenges.  I find myself in circumstances where I cannot paint because of continual interruptions.  It’s just the nature of my schedule at present.  My schedule will change, but in the interim I use the challenge to approach my art in new ways.  I never have been one to paint a still life from composite imagery.  Until now every still life I ever did was made in front of a subject and invention played no role.  Yet one knows that the old masters did perhaps most of their painting from composite situations of one kind or another.  (Take for example the seventeenth century conceit of bouquets assembled from flowers that never bloom together such as one sees in the works of Ambrosius Bosschaert and others.)

Toward my aim of painting without depending so much upon the still life, I’m making drawings of  parts of the composition.  Granted I do have a still life set up, but I’m using it in different ways.  Thus some of my drawing-a-day images are vignettes of flowers.

Chiaroscuro shell

sea shell in pencil

Today was a loose ends kind of day.  Did a little of this, little of that, but had few chances to do a sustained bit of anything.  Except I made this drawing.  Pencil is such a moody, smudgy medium.  Shiny too.  Have to love the way that graphite gives off light as well as absorbs it.

The shell, too, reflected my thoughts back to me as well as absorbed some of them.  The beauty of drawing is the way it lets your mind drift off to lazy, limitless, meditative places.

Look Into My Eyes


In the previous post, I displayed the whole drawing of which this is a detail.  I like to look closely into my own drawings.  I like seeing stuff enlarged.  All the small lines of thought fascinate me.  It’s a good way to think deeper into what your doing.  All the hatchings, all the little smudges … isn’t life like this?  All fuzzy with texture.

This isn’t a self-portrait.  It’s a detail of a drawing I made after a Raphael portrait.  However, I do pout like this sometimes when I don’t get my way.