more of these guys are coming soon

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These were the prototypes.  I have a big clean canvas ready for a new version of this motif.  And I’m getting ready to begin it fairly soon.  A large preliminary drawing is in the works.

But note, I used to have a lot of studio space as illustrated above.  Now I’m inhabiting smaller quarters. Thus I am beginning the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017.  The thought of being able to comfortably work on this motif is one of my incentives to action.

Tidying is the chore.  The big koi pond will be my reward.

It’ll be fun to jump into the pond again … though I still have finishing touches to put on a companion piece.  That’ll be fun too.  But first I must reorganize.

seashell collection

I’ve made a bunch of drawings and paintings of seashells, and soon I will make more.  I started collecting seashells a few years ago, and I have a group of shells now.  Each one is a little different from the others and in time I hope to have portrayed the individual differences.  For now I just portray the shells broadly.

I like putting them into different settings, among different colors, especially among different patterns.  I am always eager to discover what the surrounding colors do to change the mood of a picture.

When I have a sufficient number of seashells to cover an entire wall, I want to have them all framed and hung together as though they were one large work composed of the ensemble.  But that  project waits in the future.  First I have to paint them one by one.

room of clouds

 

clouds and hilltopI had to fetch some clouds to decorate the room of clouds. I sought them from the sky.

I climbed the hill and pulled them down.

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I took clouds from the pond’s reflection before the fish could come and swallow them.

fish face

Before the fish could swallow them, I would steal my clouds away.  Thus I gather clouds to decorate a wool gathering room.

In the room of clouds I’ll dream.  In a room of white cotton gauze, in a room of soft reflected light, where white on white reveals the floating thought, I muse.

From a pond of reflection I’ll fish for memories.  In a room that’s like a bright white page

 

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empty and spacious and bright, I’ll live.

imaginary light

imaginary landscape 1

A place, a quiet land.  If you go there, you find resonating silence.   I imagine being poised for something.

The morning begins.  Or perhaps the day ends?  Can you tell the sunrise from the sunset at that horizon moment?  Or is some context necessary.  Do we know the meaning only relative to our own internal clocks?  To our awakening or our soon arriving sleep? Or is there some absolute physics of aspects that defines beginnings relative to endings?

A small study of thick paint and bright arbitrary colors seeks to ponder these weighty entropic questions in its small colorful way.

different media & variations on a theme

Bach made thirty variations

fish watercolor

of his aria for his Goldberg Variations. I haven’t made that many variations on any of my koi motifs yet. That’s an awful lot of fish to draw. But I do redo the same fishes again and again because I’m Degas’s dutiful student and he told me, “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cents fois.”  Okay, maybe he wasn’t talking to me.  But still I take these things to heart. So, I redo my koi — maybe ten times — not yet thirty — and goodness knows, Monsieur Degas, not one hundred times!

fish colored pencil

Watercolor at the top, then colored pencil, then dry pastel (a detail, below), and crayon (also a detail, below that).

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What can I say?  I need one of these:

I'd rather be fishing

In my own way …

incremental change

Think about creating a walkway in a garden,

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a path made with pebbles. Instead of dumping the bag of rocks into the path and pushing them around with a rake, you move them around pebble by pebble. Well, clearly I cannot do that — am not that crazy. But the changes to the picture seem like shifting pebbles around in a path.

I posted this before, and I have worked on it a little more. This is the larger version of the motif.  It’s on blue paper. The other smaller one is on brown paper.  I wonder if the changes are even visible to the spectator. More increments are necessary, I think, before the changes really take hold. I’m not ready to let this go, and yet the differences between where it is now and where it needs to be are slight.

I had posted details of the other drawing. Here are a few of the same passages from this drawing.

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It corresponds to this detail from the other version (below).

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And the central portion of the large picture:

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And the slightly smaller one (below):

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The one helps me think about the other.

One quality I love about pastel (both oil pastel and dry pastel) is the ease with which you can drag color over top of existing layers. The slight change in the surface, like rearranging pebbles in a garden path, makes the thing more tactile — and (somehow) seems (to me) to make it more real.

A garden scene of floating world with trees above and clouds below is not different from a herd of koi seen rushing through the water, the planes of water shifting as the koi move through. One is like the other. I often think that I am continually painting the same picture over and over, whether it is koi or landscape or flowers or something else.

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Why is a koi not just like a cloud?