Several times already I have drawn the objects that are going to appear in “the big painting” of previous posts. I draw and redraw the objects. Drawing them is like solving an enjoyable puzzle. Each iteration reveals different facets of the objects. Redrawing them is like rehearsing a part in a drama. Soon when the time comes to put them actually into the painting, they will already seem very familiar in their shapes and forms.
I have a little table where the objects are stationed that simulates the expansive table portrayed in the painting. I shift them around into slightly differing relationships trying to find the one pattern that connects them well to each other.
These aren’t permanent drawings. They are instead big sketches. Art ephemera. The one above is on a 24 x 18 inch sheet. But they help me find the solutions I need.
Drawing and redrawing the motif to get myself revved up to continue painting — on this:
Here’s the objects that sit on the semi-permanent still life table (this set up has stayed quite a while). In the drawing below, they sit behind another temporary still life that I set up this week for a special purpose.
I like drawing and redrawing these objects. They form many a meditation on color and shape that I contemplate, pen in hand. Here’s some earlier iterations.
I get to know these objects by drawing them over and over. I will really know these objects well someday.
If you read this blog regularly you’ll recognize them from these drawings.
If you were ever rejected from an art school you are certainly welcome here. I was rejected from an art school too, from a very good art school and from an inferior one as well. And, well, I just became my own art school.
So far it’s working out just fine.
[above, copy after a Pierre Bonnard still life]
This painting actually bears little resemblance to its reference photo. It’s a distant cousin from its source. I will be going outdoors again (someday, alas!) to paint in front of the motif. But until that happy day, I work from photos and alter them to suit my whimsy.
Painting landscape by whatever means is great practice for dealing with Mother Nature’s more urgent and changeable moods. But it also reminds you that art is art. In the final analysis I must persuade the spectator that this water and these clouds are like the ones he carries around in his heart.
Meanwhile, I have done this landscape before. Using the same photo, I produce different pictures. It is as though I visit the water again on a different day under different skies.
Like a musician playing scales, I have been thinking lately about how much I need to PRACTICE!
I might have told you that some years back I went whole hog and purchased the Dessins d’Ingres : catalogue raisonné des dessins du Musée de Montauban . When you see how much Ingres drew, it makes you feel guilty as hell! Jealous, too! And awe-struck.
Well, I’m way outta my league, but I have been inspired to draw more. And that book renews my faith in the virtues of copying. Ingres copied gazillions of images by other artists. (He also put to paper every visual idea he ever had, I think!)
Thus, in that spirit I made a quick morning drawing after a Raphael portrait. She’s got a little bit of Picasso around the eyes … maybe a little subliminal “copying” going on in this drawing along with the literal.