Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Utter Nonsense!

Feel free to suggest a story or motive…

Let's see, we have a contraption powered by some nuclear furnace or Catherine Wheel. It's being driven by an elf and is populated by cavorting blue foxes. All attended by a doleful bear.

Is there an explanation? Yes there is but it's boring and mostly about the process of making a picture out of nothing. Every artist is different in their approach to picture making. For me it has become a dialog between predictability and surprise. I do not begin thinking that today I shall make a picture with a contraption, an elf, some blue foxes and a bear. No, I begin with some predictable criss-crossing lines in green magic marker. And it goes uphill from there. Or downhill if I'm lucky.
The lines were boring so I started adding red dots and basically trying to "enliven" the marker doodle. The circles got added on the top and bottom. It could have turned into a Crystal City drawing at this point. Instead it became one of these vehicles I've been drawing since this summer. The vehicles always have occupants: first the elf, then the foxes. The elf brings a human element and the foxes add cuteness, joy, pleasure and spontaneity. The bear counters the sprightliness of the other creatures. So there is a picture that sort of came about in a logical fashion but it's not very compelling. It's whimsical and it might get your imagination fired up a little if you have some time to devote to looking at it and thinking about it.

It does suggest two questions to me and this, by the way, should dictate the progress of my practice. The questions are: 1) What is the nature of this small procession, and…
2) What do they see?

Is this enough to be the germ of a story? Can I love these questions and characters enough to find (or invest) the humanity in them? Indeed!

Have a good day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sunday Doodles

Oh, he's just sleepy…
For better or worse, I go to church on the weekends with my family. Been doing it for years and years. It's a good place and there are a lot of good people there trying to live life in good ways. And I'm no better than them so I pay attention to what's going on. I listen to the sermon and sing a few hymns too. It's nice to hang out with people of all ages as we all navigate this interesting phenomenon called Life.

Unlike most of them however, the only way I can make that hour my own and truly pleasurable is with a pencil in my hand. I doodle all over my program while I'm supposed to be praying or paying attention to someone else praying. Hi God! It's me: that total screw-up with the pencil in his hand. Thank you for another day to contemplate your beautiful Creation

another fox

the worms crawl in, the worms crawl out
Savor your boredom

Fox and frog on church steps

a tiny sweet dragon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Autumn Castle

"10-13-10a" mixed media 8.5 x 11"
Some blogs are newsy little things with lots of links from a blogger trying be helpful and get you to linger for a few minutes at their site. But a lot of artists' blogs are just pictures too. Maybe a caption. As the season progresses and it gets too cold to draw outside, I'll be showing this kind of stuff more: just pictures from my studio and a little text. Hope you like it.

This picture started out with heavy marker outlines and color. I made the pink sky area and just stopped in my tracks. The autumn trees got added next and then I figured out how to make the marker lines less massive so they even trembled or shimmered a bit. The scumbled-on clouds rounded out the formula. Not very interesting but pretty to look at and satisfying to make. If you're new to this thing, I call these "Crystal Cities" and I have a lot more posted here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In Wildness…

The Italianate Garden at Elm Bank
Thoreau's statement "In wildness is the preservation of the world" is frequently mis-appropriated as a call for preservation of pristine areas of forest and mountainous Nature. Thoreau, in some ways I believe, had little interest in preserving Nature for Nature's sake. What he was passionately interested in was preserving that part of humanity that wants to jump fences, tangled hair flowing with dirt under its fingernails. His call for "wildness" is a plea for the original, the uncouth, the very essence of what it means to be a human and to be a living human at that.

And so with this homely preamble I present you with a sketch of a formal garden in the rain. The people who tend it are just hanging on and it's liable to disappear or go feral in the next business cycle as funding dries up. You never know. Then maybe the fountain will fill with frogs and the hedges will grow out and owls may roost in them.

That is how this artist's life shall be: an unartful dialogue between domesticity and unpredictable behavior. In between all my posts here about ducks and dams and the sublime beauty of Nature have been ridiculous doodles of alligators, foxes, men in pointed hats and imaginary landscapes. One feeds the other. And so it goes: winter is approaching and things will take a turn to the imaginary in Sketchbookland (although I was thinking of getting some fingerless gloves to prolong my outdoors sketching a bit longer).


birds and flying bicycles

Monday, October 4, 2010

Gathering Nuts

"Red Squirrel, Lake Waban" colored pencil

Red Squirrel, le lac Waban" crayon de couleur

Fall is definitely here. And we are harvesting different things:

Some sort of flying circus

Une sorte de Flying Circus

Fearless Fox

Le renard intrépide

Birds in flying machines

Les oiseaux dans des machines volantes
We're having a good time over here. I hope you are too.


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