Friday, January 9, 2009

Playing with Stones - Flight

OK - I said I would be away a while and then I post these posts... Thing is I won't be able to tell you when I'm under water at work, so I forewarned you.

Anyway - tonight I played for a while with the watercolor I started a week ago. I was working on it with my favorite neon Prismacolors, just reacting to the colors and playing games with contrasting and analogous colors. This has a long way to go, but I can work on it in little snatches of time - handy right now.

Then I decided to play. Sometimes I arrange elements in my drawings by casting pebbles. I have seven of them from the Atlantic coast of NC on my desk, and I cast them like knuckle bones, foretelling the future of my drawing. Today I just drew lines from the edge to the stones. Then I cast again and drew more. The results accumulated. Click on the images to see them larger - I blew up the contrast, so you can hopefully see the pencil lines.

Here are two shots - the first one was taken after one cast, so you can see what I was doing to start with. Eventually I started sweeping the pencil around the stones, as well. Cast and draw. Cast and draw. Even if the stones left the board and were out on the table, I drew something for them. I cast some with my eyes closed - those were often the best ones. So this second drawing is after a number of casts (though not after all of them).

Once there were plenty of lines all over, I started seeing trees and spaces between trees, and editing them. Adding lines, erasing lines, working fast - too fast to overthink it. I was building a forest, so I could tackle a theme that recurs for me - birds rising in a copse. And I also wanted to play with shattered light and broken zones of color, like I did in Spring, the Green Phoenix, which a friend in Winston-Salem bought and has hanging in her guest room. I am more confident in many ways than I was when I painted that, and I am interested to see how that place in my heart looks now with a stronger brush and brighter colors. Can I keep it together, or will it spin out of control like a sled full of laughing kids going down a snowy hill too fast? Here is a partially edited version of the drawing, with the start of trees emerging. The little curving disturbances were where the birds wanted to go.

And then I realized that the lower left was where the cat was that was causing the flight and all the avian ruckus. I'm looking forward to painting this over the weekend, maybe. There are beams of light all over this, illuminating different things (including the cat's face).

My family, knowing I have some tough weeks ahead at work, have taken all of my usual chores from me for the next few weeks. They've also taken on the preparation for Youngest's birthday party tomorrow. He went to bed a single digit, but will rise a double digit kid. He came to say goodnight and gleefully told me that...


linda said...

wow, you are as crazy in your method as I am in mine! that makes me feel good to say that...I don't see how you get to the end result from how you is something you must see that nobody else can discern I suppose...and this one looks really fun too...I wonder why you like to paint birds and cats? do you have a reason why or do you just like them? always looking for deep psychological issues, of course....sorry... no I'm not :)

dragon's up finally...after your goading me, I posted him tonight instead of tomorrow although I am always forgetting about the 3 hours time diff...anyway, went to see the first painting and can bet the colors will be more fact, I was surprised at how muted the colors were, based on the work I have seen since knowing you(which hasn't been very long really) and your past posts, alot of which I don't remember as clearly as the ones I have seen since knowing you...

I was certain you'd do some sort of whimsical, strangely hidden, very colorful nude woman among those trees *grins*

Steve Emery said...

Linda - It is a crazy method, but i love it. And I think the cats and birds are largely just because they are around me so much, and i LOOK at them so much. The trees have been a fascination for a very long time. I love the verticality of them, and the way they seem to reach and move in their stillness. Birds provide a spark of movement, and explosion of sound in the tall straight quiet. And cats - that's because we have two gingers.

Yup, the early work is muted - I was not confident enough to push the colors. That's one reason I'm interested in this painting - to see what the colors do now.

I've got to go look at the dragon - I'm glad you posted it.

I think nudes will show up in my paintings. I was tempted this session to draw on my watercolor paper so I could then do something with the figures as a painting, but I stuck to the chalk this first session. Maybe later. And the more I look, the more I expect them to get into my artistic space, and into my paintings.

Genie Sea said...

Oh! The watercolor is already looking luscious.

I love the idea with the stones. What an awesome way to "divine" your painting. I can almost see it. It's strange, but I am working on a PS painting with trees too. There is something about trees...

What a loving family you have to allow you this down time. :)

Happy Birthday to your sprouting little one!

Thank you so much for your insightful words on my blog! I loved them so much, I quoted you. Hope that's okay :)

May you find pockets of peace and creativity over the coming daze of busy.

Steve Emery said...

Genie Sea - Many thanks! And you may always quote me. The birthday party just ended - it consumed the entire day so far, preparing, last minute shopping, facilitating, serving brownie and milk, etc. Phew! I'm tired. I hope to get the energy to start the painting in a few minutes, and to work fast enough to keep it playful, loose, and right brained.

I'm glad to hear you are also working on a painting with trees - I'm looking forward to seeing it!

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Your work is so incredibly JOYOUS, peaceful, and evocative of love and happiness! (I would like to emulate you!)

Steve Emery said...

Mary - I would feel the blogging had been well worth the effort (I am actually well rewarded with all the encouragement) if it released more joy into your art. I am trying to get more and more into mine. As I've said, I'm trying to paint the inside of my heart. That won't be all joy, but I have more of that inside than anything else, I think.

karengberger said...

Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment on my blog. I appreciate how terrifying any ride in an ambulance can be, especially if the patient is one of your nearest and dearest ones.

Your paintings are beautiful, and they stir memories in my mind of my junior and senior year of college, studying watercolor painting in the Midwest. I was never as accomplished as you are, but your work brings back the good feelings of working in that difficult-- but rewarding-- medium. Thank you for sharing your work on your blog. Blessings to you and your family.

Odd Chick said...

Okay, now after going through most of your old post- this really blew me away! You totally take this method and explode with it like nothing I can even imagine. But the color you lay down - well, that is where my real envy comes in really - no one can do it like that but you.