drawing for landscape

sketch for river w reflections middle

Thoughts from the pen for a little landscape picture.


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.

Today’s morning coffee drawing

This morning I draped my favorite cloth — the one with the pattern of big roses — over a chair and began drawing in a 9 x 12 notebook with a Uniball pen.

The drawing featured above was actually from my second cup of coffee.  For the first cup I made a smaller drawing of the same drapery.

Some mornings you have to wake up gradually.

chaos drawing

The materials shape the longing.  You can want a precise line.  You can want your fish to swim sleek as a knife through the water on the pointed pencil edge.  Or you can have them crashing into the water with their sides thrashing flat against planes of liquid tension with colors popping lose from the shapes that formerly held them until the whole thing is chaos.

The materials can shape the longing of the physical reality into different forms, and thus loosed, one dream can transpose into another dream that’s very different from the first.

the lines that come from every direction

The koi impact the world in such beautiful ways.  Their whiskers arrive first and water slides past to meet with the often open koi mouth (they seem to be constantly hungry).  The sleek koi sides glide through the shifting planes of blue.  Oh, and the way that the water’s surface slaps the air, continually presenting new planar surfaces to the atmosphere (as the koi unsettle it, shifting position always with swift swimming).  It’s all so wonderful.

And my pencil tries to follow all these complicated agitations of water and watery beasts.