Thursday, August 25, 2011


It's a rare day when the people I draw are in such sharp contrast as these. The sad old woman here on the left was nearing ninety-five and close to the end when I drew her a few years ago. The thoughtful young lady below, not quite 20 at essentially the same time, had not yet found the ultimate direction of her life.  Both sat very quietly, one looking inward at long gone times in memory, the other contemplating a future stretched years into an unknowable future.  It's a common cliche that seniors may have remorse for old actions but more likely regret things not done at all, - while the young see few problems or choices except those immediate.

In the begining and in the end you are your own mentor and motivator; you direct your own life, you do what you have to do and enjoy what you have while you can. 

The longer we live, the more we are obliged to confront the deeper meaning of what we do.   (David Toop)

To be old can be glorious if one has not unlearned how to begin. (Martin Buber)

I never feel age... If you have creative work, you don't have age or time. (Louise Nevelson)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Vacation Days

 I don't often have time to make detailed drawings like this when away from home but every once in a while the true meaning of "vacation" slips into my mind, hands me a pen and slows the clock while I record a summery view. Here's an early morning look out a third floor back window of the two hundred year old "Red Lion Inn" of western Massachusetts,  - a delightful old fashioned hotel with antique furnishings, a great New England menu and vintage village views.

The second drawing, this time with ball-point pen, is a narrow vista from my favorite vacation spot at home in up-state New York.  Here I can enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon recording the skyward view to the south. That spot is our lovely back deck, almost a tree house under a huge old maple, so that patch of sky and the leafy green bower above is the ceiling of this my "favorite room". - Another great vacation spot!

As you can see, a fine ball-point pen produces a softer mark, more like that of a  pencil than the crisp ink line of the first drawing. It's ALL good though. A slow vacation day or two minute parking lot drawing, putting time in your sketchbook everywhere you go is the best medicine for boredom and certainly the best practice for the health of your artistic life.

The quality of life is determined by its activities. (Aristotle)
Throw open your window and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room! (Yosa Buson) 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Twice Drawn, - Once Pregnant

 I've had but one opportunity to draw a pregnant nude.  She was this young woman  who had posed for us many times during the past few years.  This is a nice contrast.   Back in earlier posts you'll find her decidedly un-pregnant in nice poses like the one the right. 

Here I've drawn her with emphasis on the globular forms of her very pregnant body.  She is the same woman in both but along with those amazing physical changes  I've happilly recorded her usual proud and resilliant  personality.  - Lookin' good!

"Be both gardener and the rose."  (unknown)
"Art strives for form, and hopes for beauty."   (George Bellows)

Sunday, August 7, 2011


As often is the case, here I am drawing cars in parking lots while waiting for Lorraine to do her shopping.  I may have more of these than any other sketch-book subject. Naturally the big challenge is to complete the cars before the owner moves the car, someone blocks the view with a van, or Lorraine finishes her shopping and it's time to move on.

Looking forward, someday these works will have that "old time" feel because of the "vintage" autos pictured! I love looking at the drawings and paintings of those like
Edward Hopper who gives us a sense of a very 
particular time. He did a series of watercolors done in Gloucester and Marblehead  that  easily carries us back.

I've recently been looking at some cataloged reproductions and realized that my appreciation of the works would have been enhanced by knowing the original sizes.  Scale is important!  These pieces are all approximately 5x8 inches."The man who will go down to posterity is the manwho paints his own time and the scenes of everyday life around him."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Looking Back

It isn't often that I have the opportunity to draw the male figurbut looking at these two efforts, I should do it more often.  I know I'm more attracted to the curving lines and rounded forms of the female, - I've been working with them in one way or another for years.  Even tho' I've owned and loved dogs, I'm more at home drawing the soft shapes of cats too.  I wonder if this is a case of simplicity vs complexity, - of surface vs structure.  I've said earlier that I depend on my eyes rather than knowledge. That's a perfectly reasonable way of drawing, one that I love, but if I had a better background in human anatomy, these drawings would no doubt be more accurate.  As I work I'm looking at light reflecting from skin surfaces which are (de)formed by the muscles and bones beneath.  Back a few years when in art school working from the live model, we were required to draw the figure as if without skin, visualizing the bone & muscle below.  It's time to do that again.

Education is no substitute for pure raw talent. However, it is a good foundation on which talent may build. (david Allio)