pond drawing three!

underpainting drawings pond with lilies 1

Not really a drawing — I had so much fun making the scribble drawings for the painting that I decided to continue the process on the painting itself.  It will all get covered up.  It is, nonetheless, an energetic way to begin.  I used acrylic medium to thin down the paint, to capture more of the character of the “ball point pen lines”. The canvas is 20 x 24 inches.

first pond drawing

pond with lilies 1 drawing

Here’s the first drawing for a new painting.  I don’t make the drawing as a thumbnail sketch since I won’t refer back to the drawing once I begin painting.  It’s just another form of rehearsal.  I like to think about the shapes a few times before beginning.

I also just love drawing. I love scribbling with the loopy, meandering lines of a pen.  This is not the Bic Cristal that I usually use.  This one has got a much bolder line.  It’s a Bic Velocity.

I found that the best time to smudge is right after you’ve drawn the line.  The ink doesn’t smudge so well once it has dried.  I wear gloves — otherwise my finger tips would be the same color as that deep blue ink.

around the pond again

Going through my drawing stash I found

101_8727 (2)

another pond. It was among a group of drawings that I started and didn’t finish.  I’m taking it up again and here it is in medias res — not as much at the beginning, but not complete either.

Something about the loopy shapes of distant trees and foliage fascinates me.  They are subjects I go after again and again. I want to have the sense of their shapes being very clear, very distinct, as though you could reach out to them and grasp them, which of course you cannot do in either a drawing or with distant trees — but it’s an imaginative gesture.

I also like the scribble as a way of indicating the randomness of nature. The scribble of thought and hand parallels Nature’s scribble of plants growing willy nilly here and there. Things are in front of other things, leaves of grass, fonds of plant, wave and meet your eye as an infinitude of layers. I like to think of the piling up of layers of pigment as a simulacrum of these things.  Chemicals imitating molecules.

Or something.

Amusement, whimsy & lines

Drew some faces rapidly with a pen for amusement


and practice.

I made several versions of an image based on a photograph by Julia Margaret Cameron, the Victorian era photographer. (Above and below)  Each one is different, but all are based on the same photo.

Other faces come from other historical photos that I’ve found on the internet.


They decorate a journal that I keep. They entertain me while I’m relaxing, watching tv, in my idle moments. And they are very freedom inspiring. You can’t undo a pen line (though I did use oil pastel to soften some passages) so I am swashbuckling in my use of the pen. It’s a wonderfully expressive tool. Built for exaggeration and impulse.


I like to be often scribbling. I love the appearance of even just the ink on the paper. Pen ink is such a beautiful thing.

When I was a child learning cursive, I loved the shapes of letters and the shiny beauty of ink. That love has stayed with me across the many years.


A gestural line, dense hatchings: I find them endlessly fascinating. The energy of cross-hatching can be exhilarating and yet also relaxing because it is both dynamic and repetitive.


Violin Lesson

Sitting in the car waiting during the violin lesson, I drew a fast sketch of koi for a painting I’m working on back at my studio.  The June heat made the wax pencils respond more smoothly and knowing I had to jump out of the car in a few moments to fetch my kid quickened the pace of my drawing.

A drawing like this isn’t about what the drawing looks like, it’s more about looking at the ideas and thinking idly (if quickly) about them.  And yet, I love scribbles.  And sometimes it happens that later on, looking at a little sketch like this will bring back to memory the sensation of the whole moment.


This is the place I imagine my koi inhabiting.  This is what the linear realm is like, what the world looks like when you’re two dimensional and occupy width and height without depth.  Did you think I was referring to the koi pond?  The real one?  Ah, but my koi are drawings. 

My kid made this picture, or rather she began it and I finished it.   Children are always the first ones to learn some new thing to do on a computer,  just as those who are young at heart are the ones who invent all this stuff.  So, the kid started just twisting the mouse back and forth on the “paint” program and made a beautiful black and white sheet of lines.  When I came along, to whisk her off the computer so she could do her homework, she said “we need to add color.”  And that’s how I became the “second shift,” not being one ever to pass up a chance to put colors down onto a page (of whatever sort).

This is the great cosmic pond — that’s how I think of it.  Here the lines are light, and they just go crazy.

Repeating myself

A larger version of one of the images I did yesterday demonstrates (for me) that if a little is good, a lot is even better.  I made it bigger.  Also drew the landscape over a different colored paper.  Every change in the ground color scrambles one’s way of thinking about the colors because they look really different over colored backgrounds than they do on a plain white sheet.

Wish I could think of something to say about the subject itself, but all I see are shapes, colors and forms.  That’s terrible, isn’t it!  But for me, the colors are so “it.”

Perhaps when I’m back in front of an actual tree, I can wax poetic about the subject.  I’ve been told it will be in the 60s tomorrow in Washington, DC.  If it’s true, heck — I might go out in search of a real tree.

Drawing from Life

folliage and whimsy

I observed a scrupulous realism and yet my drawing has turned out rather vague!  Well, my subject was a little vague too as it happens.  I decided to draw the lush deciduous trees outside my window which I view at eye level (being on the 7th floor).  I followed the lines that caught my fancy as I saw them, but folliage does have a tendency to wiggle this way and that as does my attention span.  And lacking the context of buildings or other more solid objects to anchor the subject and make it more intelligible, I got this nice grouping of scribbles.  But I don’t knock them.  You’d be surprised how effective such experiences are for creating memories.  I’ll probably recollect the quiet morning of this drawing nostalgically someday.  Scribbling is almost olfactory in its ability to seize memories.

I rather like them.  I might call it a self-portrait since it registers the inner me rather keenly.  This is what it looks like:  the interior thought-world of someone who is perpetually in search of her car keys.  At least my inner thougths are nicely colored.

Drew this little sketch using my left hand.  Someday I’m going to assemble a whole blog devoted to nothing but my left-handed drawings.