keen scribbles

corner crepe myrtle drawing

I feel an unabashed love for the material appearance of oil pastels (Caran d’Ache Neopastels to be precise).  I love to describe somewhat “loopy” forms with them.  I love mixing colors by abrasion.  I love the way that you can drag one color across another and create as it were almost veils of color.

So even when the situation is stalled (as I make drawings for a painting that I’m unsure how to complete), I can nonetheless love the act of drawing because the materials themselves are so beautiful.

I have rehearsed these forms many times and they still hold my interest.  Indeed, it’s stronger than that. They hold me captive.

slenderest bit of idea

landscape drawing idea

A ball point pen provides a lot of freedom to think out loud about where things are.  I like to look at things and just “take notes.”  It’s like wandering around in the scene and the pen lines are foot steps.

repetitions for a mythological garden

foliage study #4 (2)

Let it never be said that I lack a work ethic.  I have made several versions of the foliage imagery.  I enjoy going over it again and again.  It’s incredibly scribbly.  Many little bits of leaf, many pieces of light and shadow — and yet also many ways of thinking about the organization of the large forms.

I did this drawing using Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencil.  Then put a bit of watercolor over that.

I have lost count how many variations this is.  I love this motif, but it’s just a part.  I need to figure out how it will relate to the other sections of the idea.  I haven’t even made the first compositional drawing yet.

It’s just one part of an idea.  Each time I draw, each time I write, I get a few more bits of the idea. It’s like lucid dreaming.

late night sea shells

Sea shells on the shelf, say that several

101_8791 (2)

times quickly. When I finished drawing my late night owl of the previous post, I turned my attention to the sea shells with the ceramic bird. I have an oil pastel that I work on when the light is right, and this pen drawing, made from a different angle, in different light keeps me thinking about the forms.


get yourself something that doesn’t matter

drawing of

I’ll bet you can’t tell what this is.  A few years hence, I might not be able to tell what it is either.  I might still like it, as I turn it this way and that trying to figure out which side is “up.”  None of that matters.  It was by means of this drawing that I made an amazing discovery about something in the motif that I had completely misperceived.

Every artist ought to have some space in life where he or she can pursue an idea with total freedom.  It’s a mistake-free zone, a freedom of inquiry place.  In that space you can do whatever you want to do.  Sometimes for psychological reasons one builds this space on the cheap.  It’s being cheap helps it feel free.  I have stacks of little notebooks into which I pour my “anything” ideas.  They aren’t even drawing notebooks: that helps their cheapness status.  It means they have these lines for writing that interfere with my drawing from the outset, something I have to ignore, work over.  It pushes forward my sense of “what the heck” to have these out of place parallel lines staring back at me.

Along with a not-drawing notebook I have the blue ball-point pens that were not intended to be artists’ materials.  The not-for-drawing notebook and the not-for-art pens tell me that I can make not-for-art ideas.  I can talk to myself.  I can say, “hmm, does that line go here?  or maybe it goes here?  don’t know, let’s try both.”

Through the regular, occasional making of not for prime-time drawings, I learn all kinds of useful stuff.  And as it happens I even love the drawings themselves.  I love them.  I think this is a delightful drawing.  I’m so proud of myself.  And you’ll never even guess what it is, and years hence neither will I.