Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pastel 30 - Deep in a Book

Cats fill the air with sleep when they are napping.  And when they are not napping they can be more insistent than many dogs.

So to stay alert and focused solely on the book, she must be deeply engaged.

This piece began the usual way, where I had no idea of it's destination.  It took a long time and more faith that it would emerge, since I only had the smallest glimmer of her face and her back against a dog.  Then the cats started showing up.  Then more.  Then more.  I think there could have been a few more if I had allowed...

Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on 18x24 inch kraft paper.  Click the image for a closer look.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pastel 29 - Wild Ride this Week

It's been a wild ride this week, with a lot going on.  It was good to get some of it expressed on paper.

Pastel, ball point, Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper - click image for a closer view.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Auto Drawings - Autumn Melancholy, Spoonbills and Catfish, Elephants

More automatic drawings before bed...  Perfetto pencil in composition book.

Autumn Melancholy

Spoonbills and Catfish


Monday, September 22, 2014

Pastel 28 - Ready for Paint?

I apologize for not showing the process on these any more, as I did for the first ones in the series.  I find I'm too engrossed to stop between ball point and pastels.  They are still happening the same way, though.

Today was a fractured day, with opposites and good and bad news alternating throughout the day.  I gave as good as I got, but it's the kind of day that couldn't make up its mind how it wanted to be remembered.

Part of me is disappointed when one of these doesn't resolve into something recognizable, something with some story.  But I recognize that these last few abstract pieces are the strongest pages in the series.  They just don't feel as playful, and that's more important to me right now.

Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper.

I could keep "working" on this one - I see things to change...  but I have deliberately set boundaries to keep it fast and not get stuck.  To keep it play.

I sense that I am ready to shift to painting - or even a combination of paint and pastel (not sure if that would work) - I need to prevent control from reasserting itself too soon.  And I would like these to be less fragile, less of a mess afterward, and more OK to give away when I want.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pastel 27 - In Motion - Fatter Sharpies

I think I'm assimilating the new pastel colors, a few at a time.  At first they were jarringly different from the set I've been using.

Nothing recognizable emerged from this drawing, so I went with what was there.  Some fatter Sharpie's in the mix this morning, providing some stronger black lines.  This feels more controlled; I'm not ready for that to happen, so I think I will get out the big fat brushes and bottles of acrylic I bought at Jerry's Thursday, and see what happens with the next ones.  Certainly would dry in a less fragile form than the pastel powder, if the paper can handle paint...

Pastel 27 - Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper - click image for a closer look.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Elsewhere on S Elm, Greensboro, NC

We spent most of the day in Greensboro, NC today - a hike and picnic (Lake Brandt), two bookstores, and dinner at Elizabeth's.  The surprise was Elsewhere on S. Elm.  It's part museum, part vintage remnant collection, part interactive artwork, part art studio.

Artists are allowed to apply to come produce a work within the space.  Nothing ever leaves, and nothing new can be brought in.  Artists propose a work produced from what's already on site.


Art on the ceiling 

The "Confessatorium" and bird cameos

Pastel 26 - Don't Get in Their Way

Pastel 26 - done late last night.  Don't get in her (their) way.

I feel more and more directions this can all expand.

Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Painting What?

Another post I don't think I ever published...  About 5 years ago?

The last two days I've thrown myself into painting at the butt end of the evening, when I'm very tired. The unexpected assault has led to a bold start to a portrait I am attempting, and to some play this evening. I decided to act on a long temptation to paint my face.

As I write this the paint is all gone (except for the faintest trace of green still in my left temple and one side of my beard... or is that my imagination?) The whole thing lasted less than thirty minutes. I simply reacted to my face as I do to paintings in progress. What color seems to want to go where? What did I want to bring forward, what drop back. I can understand some of the fascination of theater, putting on makeup and then removing it...

I mugged in front of the mirror for some time, taking over thirty shots in all. These were some of the best. I call the third shot in this post, "Don't make me come over there." I was surprised at how different my expressions remained even with the paint, and how some expressions were magnified.

Sometimes the accidental and mistaken has a way of revealing truth. I liked this misfire of the camera because it seemed to catch me unaware - and for the rainbow before me, which wasn't there until I created the picture...  that could be a metaphor for my life.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pastels 24 and 25 - Small Cat Big Crab, Duo

Pastel 24 was done while exhausted.  I went out in the garage to check the door was shut before collapsing into bed, and saw the paper on the card table...

Pastel 25 was done tonight, with some new pastels - less colorful (I'm disappointed in them, to be honest with myself).  We'll see.  The ultramarine is much too dark.

Pastel 24 - Small Cat Big Blue Crab

Pastel 25 - Duo

I went to Jerry's Artarama on the way home today and bought a number of interesting things.  I have plans to expand on where these pastels have been going.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sketching - Gazebo at the NC Arboretum, Asheville, NC

Another post I don't believe I ever published...  From more than 4 years ago.

During Daughter's orientation at UNC Asheville this summer, I got to spend a few hours alone at the NC Arboretum. I found a shady bench and was rewarded, during one of those hours, with pencil and my smaller moleskine in hand, looking carefully at the scene before me. This is possibly one of the most beautiful mortis and tenon structures I know in NC, and I will probably draw it again, from another view, to capture the extraordinary beam work and the grape vines that create part of its walls and roof, on the other side.

Click image for a larger view.

I benefited from Oldest Son's first year at NCSU College of Art and Design - and the repeated admonitions of his professors about varying line weight. I heard that in art school, too, but I didn't listen then... He gets it much more than I do, and is using it to good advantage over at Hamjamser (which he also authors as Nigel Tangelo).

Here is a photo I took of the gazebo, back in 2009, from a slightly different angle.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five Pastels - 19 through 23

It was one twisted moment after another at the day job today.  Everything was unexpectedly harder and more emotional than usual.  Late in the evening I drew my way through my frustration to some kind of steady place.  I've noticed that the very best days, the ones that seem to be peak moments for me (last Friday), are frequently followed by some of the hardest (today, Monday).  Keeps my head from getting fat.

Below are pastels 19 through 23 - starting with emotions that nearly tore the paper and ending with two that seemed to draw themselves.  I like all of these, in different ways.

This set completed in less than an hour and a half.  Pastel, ballpoint and Sharpie on 18 x 24 kraft paper.  Click any image for a closer look.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pastel 18 - Wishing for Salmon

This one happened even faster than usual - after the ballpoint lines (under 30 seconds - no planning allowed) the bear was just there (especially its face).  So was the fish.

I notice that I got the colors reversed on the salmon...  The red and green salmon have a red body and a green head.  Going with what seemed right at the time (and not stopping to do some research) fits much better with my goal for these, which is to free me and move toward a more innocent and childlike approach.  So I'm happy about it.  And I prefer the composition with the green on the left, anyway.  My favorite thing about this piece is the bear's paws - I like the pads being the raw kraft paper.

Pastel, ballpoint, and Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper.  Click image for a closer look.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Auto Drawings - Copperhead, Kootchie Kootchie Koo, Frenetic Rabbit

More automatic drawings at bedtime.  Perfetto pencil in composition book.  Some take a more recognizable turn than others...


Kootchie Kootchie Koo

Frenetic Rabbit

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pastel 17 - Diamondback Axolotl

I have no idea.  I did have vague cyclone or dragon coils ideas in mind when I closed my eyes and drew the ball point lines that started this.  After that...  this is what happened.

Pastel, ballpoint, and Sharpie on brown kraft paper - 18 x 24 inches.  Click image for closer view.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vroom - Sketch Journal

Several years ago I bought this "Vroom" journal in Salt Lake City.  It's my favorite sketch book and journal.  I like the feel of the cover and the graph paper pages.  The paper is tough, and there are a surprising number of pages.

I use it to doodle and take art lists...

and to capture ideas...

and to sketch on the streets - these in Charleston, SC (a very sketchable town).

Click on any image to get a closer look.

Where do you doodle and think and draw?  Would you be willing to give us a peek?  If so, leave a comment with link(s) to the images.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Zebra Skull Sketch

This post was from several years ago - I never published it...

Again, one of the pleasures of drawing in public is the conversations which result. In the Museum of Life and Science, in Durham, where I have previously drawn the lion skull, I sat down and drew the zebra skull. Unlike the lion's skull, which is protected by glass, the zebra bone is polished by the counteless hands which have stroked it. The pointed spines that make the bridge of the nose fascinated me as they did many of the children who came to see the skulls. Many of those children also stopped to watch me and (sometimes) ask what I was doing.

About 10 x 14 inches - brown pen on cold press watercolor pad. A Niji waterbrush (handy gadget) was used to bleed and blend some of the brown ink, which turns magenta when mixed with water.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Auto Drawings - Angry, Space Invaders, Bon Voyage Robin Williams

More of the automatic drawings before lights out...


Space Invaders

This was what happened the night I heard about Robin Williams.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Pastel 16 - Girl Riding

It took a lot of looking and turning this piece before the ball point lines began to resolve themselves into something I could grip with the Sharpie.  Then more and more characters emerged.  I like that this one is not pastel all over - it breathes more.  It's more flat than others - that's OK too - it's simple.

The deer/fox feels like a creature from one of my dreams.  As does the long legged rabbit (?) in the front.  I like the girl's confident seat and casually draped arm over the proud flightless bird.

Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on 18 x 24 inch kraft paper.  Click image for a closer look.

Pastel 15 - Critter Ridin'

I don't know what this pet is.  This was started after midnight Saturday, and finished Sunday morning.

I'm not correcting the overlaps or "sense" of these - "letting go" is the point.  I am trying to relearn to draw like a child.  Picasso said, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child."  I've not learned to paint like Raphael - I would rather paint like a child.  Years ago my high school art teacher (Bob Rankin - well known artist in Raleigh, NC) looked at some of my rendered, realistic drawings (more like Raphael) and then showed me several books of Hundertwasser works and told me he thought I would have a lot more fun pursuing the latter...  He was right.

Pastel, ball point and Sharpie on kraft paper.  18 x 24 inches.

Auto Drawings - Rabbit, Stacked Bowling Balls, Tree and Heart Foils


More automatic drawings before sleep.

Stack of Bowling Balls

I have an analogy I use to describe too many assumptions or too many "if's" in a proposition.  I call it a stack of bowling balls.  You might be able to stack 3, but once you get above that the odds are sharply against you.

Tree with Heart Foils

I have no idea what a heart foil is.  I looked back at this title (from about a month ago) and I recognize my hand writing and that's about all.  Sometimes this kind of art is reminds me of split personalities.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

THREE Pastels Today - 12, 13, 14 - and TWO Markets

Hot day today.  Went to two farmer's markets (Hillsborough for flowers and corn, then Durham for something different).  Durham market was festive - a guy had rolled a chewed up and painted old upright piano (part of the case gone, you could see the hammers going) into the space beside the market, near the pedestrian bridge, and he had attracted quite a crowd with his hyperactive playing and singing.  It was hot and humid, but the light was beautiful and people were on the upside of their moods.  We bought all sorts of things - great home made mustard, pickled okra and dills, lots of bread (including a gruyere and cumin loaf), kielbasa and Calvander cheese, pigs in blankets (those didn't make it 100 feet), desserts at a stand doing a benefit for breast cancer, French green beans, bumblebee tomatoes, more bread, triple crown pecan pie (chocolate and amaretto...), a chocolate doughnut muffin (I have no idea - we'll find out later), padron peppers and another pint of peppers like habaneros but without the heat, fresh shitake mushrooms...  I left the house with about $130 in my wallet and came home with a dollar left.  We eat like kings on weekends.  Our youngest and I had elevenses with the cheese, the bread and some of the tomatoes.

After putting everything away and putting up the flowers (wall sconces - cats eat flowers otherwise) I was sweaty and tired.  I have not been sleeping well (anxiety dreams about projects at work).  So I took a shower after which I was still sweating and tired and now crabby.

So my dear wife, who knows me better than I do, asked me what I wanted to do.  I wanted to draw.  So though I had been complaining about the heat, I went back out in the hot garage to do pastels.  The family had lunch without me.

And I'm glad I did.  These three are the best in this series so far.  I knocked them out in an hour and half that felt like 15 minutes to me.  Then I ate lunch.  The habanero-like peppers were sweet and tasted like flowers, the padrons were hot.

I have been contemplating cardinals for a commission I am working on - that is the explanation, I think, for the cardinal in the first pastel (#12 - first image, above).  The others...  I have no idea.  They just emerged.  I can now just attack the page with the ball point, eyes wide open, watching what's going on, and it just happens from there.  I love this road I am on.  I need to carry what is going on with the pastels into my painting.

And you should see the automatic drawings that happen just before I sleep.  You can, if you stay tuned.  I have probably 18 of them to post.  I no longer can just turn off the light and go to sleep - a drawing must be done, first...

Drawings for the pastels are below - ball point and then Sharpie.  Two of them were rotated before Sharpie time.  All pastel, ball point and Sharpie on kraft paper - 18 x 24 inches.  Click any image for a closer view.

Drawings for Pastel 14, above

Drawings for Pastel 13, above

Drawings for Pastel 12, above