Sunday, June 26, 2011


Back on May 7th I did a post titled "Adjustments".  One of the drawings there was the precursor to this painting. It was not a linear progression or logical developement from one to the other but an intuitive creation. I explained that it wasn't until the drawing was finished that I recognized it's origins. I'd been thinking about a painting series in which I'd consciously explore the story of my original injury, trying to recall, re-experience and react to the various situations in which I'd found myself 20 years ago.  Here pictured are two newly minted paraplegics in the hospital spinal cord injury recovery unit, cut off from past lives and cut from much of our physical selves.  I also explained my displeasure with the painting compared to the drawing and at that time did not post it, but now confined to my bed again (Again!) with another  wound,  I'm posting that painting, the only painting I can "reach" at this time via my laptop.  It is tempera on Arches cold press watercolor paper approximately 4x7 inches.  (Once mobile I'll add the drawing here but until then I suggest you check the earlier post for context and comparison)

When first injured I faced my new circumstance with a positive outlook, dealing with the losses and "additions", the wheelchairs, catheters, auto hand controls, etc.  I didn't see the long term aspects - the atrophied muscles, brittle bones, and fragile skin, - all potential problems, - all land mines!  Now I'm abed nursing a deep ulcer, attached to a vacuum pump to speed the healing, trying to avoid new problems posed by long term prone position.  If this were a conversation,  my good friend Garry would be saying, "You should have thought of that!", - a typically pointed Garry-ism.  I know he's  joking , but I hear his message. 

The subject  is "Consequences"!  A miss-placed mark or a minor ink spill in a drawing can be dealt with.  A major mishap may require trashing the paper and starting anew.  If you want, take wild chances in your art.  Draw with abandon!  Doodle madly!  Paint up a storm!  But ....... as Capt. Furillo of Hill Street Blues often said, "Let's be careful out there!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bed Time

W.C. Fields said, "The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep."

When you think about it, it's amazing how much total time we spend in bed. Ordinarily there'd be no one to observe you dreaming unless you are part of a sleep disorders research effort, but scattered among the pages of my sketch books are several drawings of my wife asleep.   Here we are in the early morning hours, she snug under the covers and I demonstrating my chronic insomnia and compulsive need to observe and draw.

For those who wonder, drawing folds in cloth is an age old drawing practice dating back to medieval times. I've drawn many a draped cloth! BTW, I've found that drawing a simple piece of crumpled paper is much like doing folds in cloth as well as excellent practice in "seeing".  Tho' simple, it's really more complicated than you might think.  Try it!

The best cure for poor drawing is to do a lot more of it.

This post is very topical!  I'm stuck in bed and out of commission for the next month, so will post when I can.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Drawing is like any other endeavor where skill is important. You must practice!  Unlike musical practice, you can work on your drawing skills just about anywhere, - anytime.  This drawing is a case in point.  Done a few years ago, it was the product of a long boring meeting, but could just as well have been one of those times when I wasn't able to sleep so put the time awake to good use.

Once I'd finished with the keys themselves, I started playing with the composition. I repeated the key shapes in a looser, sketchier fashion while adding other simple elements to fill the space and complete the composition.  Think of musical rhythm and how it carries you along, so repetition of design elements adds depth and fullness to a visual composition.  It's more interesting.  I also took into account the shape of the paper by making the background shapes' edges parallel to the paper's edges, the echoed edges becoming a frame of sorts. Repetition is a "key" idea in traditional design practice. (Sorry, I couldn't resist!)

If I had been intent on producing a finished work of art, I would have been more careful lining up those edges, thinking out the various background shapes, but this is only a sketch, - almost a doodle so I guess I can be forgiven. 

BTW, in adding those various elements, besides adding interest I may have introduced some confusion. While I like it as an example of drawing, I can't decide whether this is a horizontal or vertical composition.  Oye!  I'm getting dizzy looking at them!

Vertical, Right?