dreaming the rooms of a house

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Of the pictures I posted of my studio, I find that I love this one the most.  So I come back to it.  While I am reorganizing the house, I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  There’s much work to do — in all the rooms, and I have so many chores indoors and outdoors.  It’s spring.  Plants outdoors are growing like mad. Of course I’d like to be focused exclusively on drawing and painting.

I am often wishing my work were done, but wishing doesn’t walk the dog.  However wishing is not without effect.  I have gone through various phases of wishing, and I have imagined the rooms being completed each a certain way.  The sensation of entering each imagined room has a poignancy that real action lacks.  I walk into dream rooms. The visual thoughts associated with the dream rooms give me ideas for actual things.  But an imaginary completed room takes different forms inside different moments of wishfulness. It’s never just one way.  The actual room will at last have furniture arranged in one pattern and not another.  The dream rooms are more flexible.

I want to see the finished product, but the episodes of imagining the task one way verses another are fairly interesting.  I pause to consider them.

The whole house has become the motif and I arrange it like a still life table.

I change my mind periodically. I am wondering what do I want? And when will it be complete?

The picture above has something in it that I love.  I strive to tease out that something. Just looking at the picture brings a glad feeling I cannot quite describe.  Something about the light, the colors. I see freedom of motion in it.  A room is not just a room, it’s a puzzle.  It’s a message in code.  It’s telling me something about directions I might take.  I’m deciphering it.

Indeed, I may get the project finished faster than I think but decoding and reading the message may take much longer.  Deciphering is a very complex task.

the other side of the room

studio view 2 big tidy

This side of the room will stay the same — but it will be much less cluttered — except for the still life table — I love that clutter!!  There’s a book cabinet not pictured that has to be relocated.  It is ginormous.  Ai yi yi.  Will deal with that in time … all in good time.

Eventually I will have nails in the wall above to hold the still life drapery.  Goodness, this wall needs painting.  (Will think about that later too.)

You can see the little owl peeking out from under the table.  He’ll have a starring role in an upcoming picture.  So that’s some glad news.

I become the little choo choo that could, I’m “thinking I can” all along the way ….

she sells small seashells by the seashore

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Sometimes I make the seashells smaller than life size as here.  The very small picture also has its own quality.  Small things, ones that you can hold in your hand, seem precious.  Sometimes a picture invites you to come closer.

When I visited the Joachim Wtewael exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, I admired the magnificent seashells in his painting of Andromeda.  Those are life size.  Andromeda puts her foot on one queen conch shell that is life size.  But those very same shells appear in his microscopically small paintings too.  Those are mind-boggling.  I will never be traveling down that path.  But it’s fun to see.

wtewael conch closeup

collected scribbles

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

odds & ends

Draw everything.

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You can’t of course. But why not just pretend that you can. There may not even be an everything to draw (philosophically speaking).  Who is to say how much stuff there is in even a corner of a still life. All that notwithstanding, when you tell yourself that maybe you’ll just sit down and draw everything now — you free yourself from the need to first draw this, and then draw that, and find the center of interest, and make sure to get the half-tones, and blah, blah, blah.

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This is a really neat still life. It’s a visual forest that a person’s eyes can wander around in for hours. It has twists and turns. It has passages of light and shade. It’s abundant in RED. There’s the black vase, too, with its patterns on the surface and its depths and reflections in the black — with the window reflection that takes you outside if you peer into it really deeply!

In the carnival glass compotier, as I was drawing, I saw a patch of white and wondered what it was. Looking closer I saw that it was the inverted, distorted reflection of the white creamer! In every centimeter there’s a wonder to behold. In such a visual jungle one cannot possibly draw everything and yet if you are, like me, too thrilled to choose, and must draw a bit of this and a bit of that, then you find splendors in every direction. Oh, to an ant it’s a palace of ineffable grandeur and beauty! (Well, that’s if ants’ sensibilities include enjoyment of the scenery.)

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I’ll tell you a secret, though I buy the best artist materials I can afford for the works that I plan for sale, I also adore working with very cheap and common things — expressly because they are ubiquitous in our society. I bought this notebook at RiteAid.  It’s cover caught my eye one day as I was leaving the pharmacy.

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You can see how it has the busy bright design that I like.  I’ve been drawing with Bic Cristal in this notebook this morning — that would be the world’s cheapest and absolutely most wonderful and expressive pen — ever!

My parents were survivors of the Great Depression and instilled in me (without their realizing) a great love for the common tools that are abundantly available. In regard to drawing, when I pick up simple dime store tools and draw, I feel like I’ll always be able to draw come what may. I sit here in the corner of a room like an oriental pasha with my wealth of colors and thrift store treasures, exploring the seemingly infinite reach of my territory!

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I have long admired the fishes on the Chinese tea pot and I decided to zero in on one of them at the risk of having the shape of the pot go somewhat crazy on me. If you care about the pot’s shape, you draw that first, but if you care about the fish — sooner or later you have to make a wild lunge for the fish, pen in hand.  If that puts the proportions out of whack, so be it.

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After several drawings, I decided to draw with watercolor. It is similarly scattershot. But the brightness of the whole I find satisfying.

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I’ve have drawn all afternoon en plein indoors sitting beside my still life table.

One more.  This one in oil pastel.

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I drew this one very fast and began with the reflection of the window because it had been so beautiful, really pearlescent! But the light changed so fast and I wasn’t actually able to observe the effect that had brought me in. Still it’s interesting that the whole drawing began with that reflection, like the axis of a wheel.