Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fantasy - Ink and Pencil

A few weeks ago I showed a couple of "fantasy" drawings done in Prismacolor Pencil. I described them as having been "done in an off-hand way", starting out fast and loose then tightened up and refined. A problem I had in posting them was the pencil color didn't show well on the blog, so in order to use the image I had to enhance them with PhotoShop. I decided to try a different approach this time. I tried working over the initial pencil with ink. The piece above is the result. It certainly does reproduce well and the total effect is quite different than pencil alone. Not that it is necessarily better but it's much crisper, more precise - so conveys a visual message completely at odds with that of the pencil alone. No need for enhancement here! 

In the end it's actually more compatible with some of the cartoon-like work I've posted here in the past,  except in those the ink was put down first then color pencil added as if it were a coloring-book image.

Here's a drawing never posted here before, part of a old series reflecting on my (new then) experience as a paraplegic. Among my many physical losses paralyzed legs are the most evident. Once past the trauma of that fact, early on I found myself looking with true interest at the way people moved.  I'd watch people walking, amazed at the complexity of body movements, the shifts of balance that kept them upright, like the precise placement of a foot in turning.  It was not hard to be jealous of the easy movements done with so little thought as they walked, ran, or as above - danced. Oh, I loved to dance! (I'm sure you can see my "envious eye" at work a bit in this one.)

"All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself."   Chuck Close

"Art is not about thinking something up.  It is getting something down."   Julia Cameron

"An idea is born when mind and eye see together."   Ratindra Das

Thursday, November 12, 2015

November Trees

I never thought I'd be out drawing trees this late in the year. Tho' cold and wet today. the weather lately has been gorgeous - warm enough that the joggers and walkers have been lightly clad in sleeveless shirts and shorts! (Not that I'd venture out that way. I'm cool even in hot weather so wear at least a sweatshirt when out.)

Here, I continue my "catalog" of trees in a 200 year old area cemetery.  Just a couple of days ago these two were full of yellow leaves, alive in bright sunlight, loosing them over the course of just two cool and breezy days.

Both drawings are in Prismacolor Pencil - the first laid out in ocher then finished with pure black - but just the simplest black in the broken maple below.

I added a background "frame" in the drawing on the left because I felt it needed some stabilization.  Tho' an interesting tree to draw, the imbalance really bothered me.  The background box nails it in place and helps "finish" the drawing.

"One must always draw, draw with the eyes when one cannot draw with a pencil."   Balthus

"The moment you know you know, you know."  David Bowie

Friday, November 6, 2015

TV Sketches

It's been quite a while since I last posted any of the quick sketches I do while watching TV. The morning talk shows, 
c-span congressional committee coverage and late night celebrity interviews are all good places to find interesting faces. 

I pulled these three thumb-nails from a single sketchbook page showing the simple approach that works so well for me. It is very different from having a person pose in front of you in that these people are always moving, gesturing and turning side to side as they converse. I find that quitting any particular view as soon a person changes position or the camera finds another face, then returning to continue a minute later works well. When you do, you then start others that can be picked up, back and forth, in opportune moments. You have to work very quickly in a concentrated way, often so quickly that you can't actually follow the conversation!

Another, and even faster way to approach the problem, is to use soft pencil to catch the darks, the shadows, in as simple a fashion as you can. Forget nuance - pay no attention to detail! It's wonderful how well a few simple marks can capture characteristic expressions or personalities. To me, it's even more amazing that you often get a real sense of three-dimensional form this way. It's great practice!

And, if TV isn't your thing, there's always the cat!  Have fun!

"The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend."
Henri Bergson

"The freer the form, the more concentration you require."
Tom Hudson  

Friday, October 30, 2015

More Fantasy

Two more Fantasy drawings  in the same spirit as those of two weeks ago. There's a great deal of fun in starting the drawings in an off-hand way, not worrying at all about proportion, meaning or craft - then working to integrate the awkward images into a cohesive whole.

The upper piece is completely new, created this week while the lower work is older. The originals were both lighter and more delicate than they are here. In order to have them show up well in the blog, I had to enhance the color a bit using PhotoShop.

"So quick bright things come to confusion."  William Shakespeare

"Dreams, if they are any good, are always a little bit crazy."  Ray Charles

"Seek art and abstraction in nature by dreaming in the presence of it. " Paul Gauguin

Friday, October 23, 2015

Century Trees

Tho' working out in the sun would have been brutal,  even on very hot days this summer I was able to sit in the shade with welcome breezes while drawing great old trees and trying to catch the pattern of cast shadows and filtered light on the ground. 

Driving down a different cemetery lane yesterday I found this massive old maple already loosing it's leaves. Tomorrow they will blanket the ground between two hundred year old stones. Those gorgeously hot summer days are gone so I'll now have to bundle up but you know I will be visiting this old beauty again!

"Death, like birth is a secret of nature."  Marcus Aurelius

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree." Emily Bronte

"I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen."  Frederick Franck

Friday, October 16, 2015

Old Jug & Jar: Spacial Perception

This week we have two Prismacolor Pencil interpretations of a nice old stone-ware jug (actually a bottle) and a small glass jar.  The three dimensional forms you see here are the result of careful observation and accurate renditions of shape, color, shade, shadow and reflection. In the first version on the right we see these three objects straight-on at eye level with no sense of form derived from linear perspective. If this were a line drawing it would essentially consist of flat shapes outlined. 

(Tho' not the essential point of this post, a hint of depth is seeing shapes overlapping.)    

In this second drawing we perceive form because of the same accurate representation as above but with the addition of linear perspective. We are looking from a slightly higher viewpoint so can see the oval shapes in the openings of the jar and in the shoulder and base lines of the bottle. While we can see the complete top edge of the jar, our eyes follow the jug's shoulder line as it disappears around the "corner" on the right side and we complete the oval in our mind as it passes behind and reappears running toward us on the left. We understand this as an indication of 3D form.

Our experience with this world says that light on one side of an object usually produces a shadow side, a curved object's shading progresses from light to dark and a highlight is the reflection of a light-source. Our hands confirm that perception of form when we reach out and hold an object. When the right marks are presented on a flat surface in an appropriate way, we believe!

"What we call art would seem to be specialist artifacts for enhancing human perception."  Marshal McLuhan

"In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present."   Sir Francis Bacon

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Early in my teaching career I was the art teacher in a couple of elementary schools dealing with children from kindergarten to middle school. I'd often admire the the kids' simple drawings and wonder if I would be able to produce something as charming without actually copying. At the time I was not drawing "seriously" so let the idea go and forgot about it until recently. 

Now I draw almost every day and sometimes think about those young children's drawings and try to  use those memories to prompt my imagination.  I loosen up and start drawing without any real direction. I'll start with just a few marks, shapes or more likely a simple idea like "Home" or "Dance" and let the piece grow as I go along. Unlike the the ink "doodles" I wrote about a few weeks ago, I don't refine the work but try to maintain that childish quality until I've filled the paper. 

With the current popular interest in "Outsider Art" I see some producing purposefully naive work, trying to look as if they were unschooled. I'd rather use what I learn from kids to produce something sophisticated but with the simple power of a child's work. We'll continue this discussion next week.

A note here: I had to enhance these two drawings using Photoshop because the originals were too light and delicate to show up well here in Blogger. Sorry 'bout that!

"Fantasy is one of life's brighter porcelains."   Pat Conroy

"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness."   Allen Ginsberg

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shameless Self-Promotion!

These are a couple of self portraits done with graphite pencil on Strathmore 400 series drawing paper several years ago, - in 2002  I think. No photographs involved - just me and a large floor-to-ceiling mirror. Each image is approximately 9 inches high, cropped here to cut some blank paper. There were two light sources: natural light from a window on my left and a simple old fashioned floor lamp on the right. Each drawing was one sitting within a couple of days of each other. I don't recall how long they took but I'd guess at least a couple of hours.  I was able to work with no interruptions, a condition I find essential for most of my work. There was a third version, actually the first one done, that barely resembled me but looked more like my younger brother. Not a bad thing, you understand, just not quite right.

Now that I'm looking at them all, each drawing seems a bit more honest than the previous one.
I aged at least a year in each. (Just remember, they are here in reverse chronological order) I hadn't intended to show this last one, but so that you can see the progression, the improved observation and understand the value of repeated effort. here it is. So, as I usually say, Just Do IT- but do it again and again! 

Damn! You know, I'll never learn! Why didn't I just say, here are three nice self-portraits done over a period of time, several years for instance, and I could have walked away a hero, a god! Imagine that, I could have been ... an Art God! *

"The self portrait is a thankful thing, the model gets tired  exactly when the artist does." Aapo Pukk

"Everything I paint is aself portrait, whatever the subject. Jamie Wyeth

* Comments?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Contour Line Again - and More!

These two nudes have appeared here in the past (4 years ago) but without the background I call a "grill".
At that time I talked about contour line as a descriptive device that many think of as an "outline". It may be that, but more, its a line describing an edge that often runs across the figure, describing form as well as shape, enriching our understanding of the whole figure.

The background "grills" perform a couple of functions. First, they set the figures in a separate environment of sorts, a defined space that helps us to see shape and form as distinct aspects of the drawings. The grill also calls attention to "negative space". The shape of the area defined by the figure's edges and the edges of the background space or edges of the paper.

If I were interested only in this mind/eye game I would likely dispense with the figure entirely and just work in abstract terms. Luckily (or not) I enjoy representational art, observational drawing and here, the human figure.

Having said all that,  we now have to confront an essential truth. In these works we have shapes and lines, color and texture all integrated and/or juxtaposed on a flat surface, but there is no form, at least none in the sense of actual 3D depth. Our perception of depth here, is an illusion we buy into in order to enjoy the story, idea or figure presented. At the movies we allow ourselves to "believe" that the images are real so that we can be led through the illusion of an experience. We enjoy it!

The artist Rene Magritte said it well in his 1929 "The Treachery of Images" a painting of a pipe with the label, "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" - "This is not a pipe". He's saying it's an image, a painting, an idea. (Even the word p-i-p-e is an abstraction) Check it out here -

This brings me to a current problem some artists are encountering. There are anonymous "critics" who pressure the "powers that be" to remove depictions of nudes from the pages of Facebook. Some images have been deleted. The artist/posters are given no chance to defend their work or to confront complainers. The prudes, puritans and religious fanatics, who do not show their faces, do not seem to see the difference between art and reality and do not understand at all the role of the artist. They do not subscribe to the idea, "freedom of expression", the basis of creativity. Check the link below and add your name to those protesting these abusive actions!

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere might be happy."   H. L. Mencken

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures."   Voltaire

"The space between the dish and the pitcher, that I paint also."   George Braque

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jars of Color!

Here are recent drawings of two old jars I thought would be interesting because of the reflections and transparency. They are relatively quick sketches on grey paper with only three colors - black, white and blue.

Later, looking at the drawings, I thought they needed some small enhancement. Taking a cue from some earlier figure drawings with added backgrounds, I added a simple orange line around the jar - just enough color in contrast to the blue to give it a bit of life. It worked beautifully! You can see my Photoshopped re-creation, background removed, on the left.

There was just enough zing in that single line, so did I stop there? Of course not!  If a "touch" of color is good then more of the same would be better. Right?  That over-large background rectangle was the next step, and as far as I'm concerned, it's much too much. (and a bit high behind the jar in any case!)  Lesson learned - so in drawing the jar with scissors below, I was more judicious and that restraint paid off in a much better color balance.

By now you've probably noticed something else!
I started out thinking that capturing the jar's transparency would be a major factor in the drawing's interest but by inserting the virtual orange without it showing through the glass, that lack of color in the jar works against us. I should have had an actual strip of color there and worked to render it in the original drawing. Oh, well - another lesson!

P.S. I've just been re-evaluating this post (9-21-16) and now find the drawing with the larger orange rectangle the more satisfying in it's color balance! Hmm, what happened there? A year older I guess!

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."   Scott Adams

"Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." G. K. Chesterton

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Beginning (again)

Continuing the creative drawing theme of previous posts, here are two early ink drawings that re-illustrate the concept of "doodling" your way to a viable idea. When I first started creative drawing I often had no particular idea or direction, so like an old kid's TV program artist, I'd make a few random marks on the paper that prodded my hand & head and often grew into something interesting or unexpected. 

This one (left) reminds me a bit of pen-work by Fons Van Woerkom, a political cartoonist who did work for the New York Times back in the 1970's. Along with his dense hatching there was an element of "ugly" in his ideas that made his drawings quite memorable.

This "Chicken Man" sketch that I've shown here in the past (5.26.11) and a couple of large format finished drawings that repeated the image are directly attributable to the doodle above.  It's just a bit more refined and a whole lot more humorous! You cannot see the old-fashioned piano stool the poor guy is trying to launch himself from!

This last piece, tho' just as much a "doodle" as the first, grew by addition/accretion rather than the organic process of the one above.
I was watching TV and responding to the various images and ideas as they flashed by, adding elements and trying to balance the composition as I went along. It was fun! I've had commissions based on this idea where I take people's pertinent facts and/or life experiences and weave them into similar "pedestal" illustrations, almost a design for fanciful sculpture.

"With experimentation comes surprise and discovery."
      Kim Lee Kho

"Spontaneity is being present in the present."   Wei Wu Wei

"The risk of failure is part of the fun,"    Paul Simon

Thursday, September 3, 2015

In the Beginning

I've always liked to draw. One of my earliest memories has me sitting on the linoleum floor in front of my grandmother's huge cast-iron kitchen stove, drawing on a flattened brown paper bag. It may have been the typical child's simple stick figure, the iconic house and lollipop tree with "M" shaped birds above or even some fantastic vision - drawing was my refuge.

Many years later when I acquired my very first Rapidograph Pen, my young son's toys (here from an old sketch-book) were among the things I found at hand to observe and reproduce. I would draw anything that didn't move. I simply loved drawing!

Whether you like to draw fantastic comic heros, design your own clothes, do dog portraits or beautiful landscapes, you will benefit from observational drawing. It will help you understand perspective, give you ways to show form, let you work out technique and simply practice hand/eye coordination. Carry a small sketch book and draw every chance you get. It doesn't matter really what you draw,  just do it!

"Those who will not start, will never finish."  Jack Adams

"Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."  Arthur Ashe

"Know that to begin is often better than to think." Robert Genn

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ink Work, Pen Play

This is what I had in mind two weeks ago when I said, "To be continued". Serious work can be the result of off-hand play. These doodles are like clouds, yes, but more intuitive, more evocative of something serious - a reminder of old images of atomic bomb bursts perhaps - but for me more fundamental.

I like them for the nice fluid pen work and really enjoy the loose line, especially those describing the bow crowning this one on the right below. For me it's a particularly playful image!

Now, compare the work in the first two doodles with this more specific subject - on the left below. If you guessed I had recently quit smoking you'd be right!  I started with a loose, un-formed sketch but as I worked it became more specific and content driven. In the end the lettering nailed it down. It's a fun / serious image - one I hadn't set out to produce at all.

Letting go and doodling playfully can result in ideas and images you didn't even know were in there. Don't think, don't judge, just start. A funny mark or two can lead you to adventure. Let that line free and your mind will follow!

"Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way."   Ray Bradbury

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."   Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The essential ingredient for creativity is wasting time."    Anonymous

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Painting Clouds

This is a quick post in response to a follower's particular interest. Last week in the blog comments, Suzy wrote saying she's had difficultly painting clouds and was going to flip over to my painting website to see "how to do it right". (!)

I don't know about "right" but you should know that as a sky loving 
x-pilot, I take tons of photos and as you've seen, I do sketches when moved.  I put the pic's together, edge to edge or overlapped, to construct the basis for an interesting and believable sky. 

I know that there are only a couple of pantings there on my website ( that show any sky at all and none of any real "cloud interest" so here are parts of a couple that focus on the cloud filled sky. This whole painting measures about 10 x 17 inches. - you are seeing about two thirds of it with some loss at the bottom

This horizontal image below is actually a reject.  I'd finished a painting one time and realized I didn't like the composition. (Looking now at this post, I think it actually must have been the one above) There was just too much sky! Since I paint mostly on board or panel rather than canvass, it was easy to cut off the top couple of inches, do some repainting and the image was greatly improved! My wife happened by just then and asked if I would frame that excess piece for her, saying it would fit under the upper cupboards in the kitchen very nicely. There it hangs today, "A Sky for Lorraine'"!

"I never had to choose a subject - my subject rather chose me."  Ernest Hemingway

"I was never one to paint space, I paint air."   Fairfield Porter

"Where you stumble, there lies your treasure."   Joseph Campbell

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Last week I spoke of drawing clouds when first pursuing my master's degree. While those first cloud sketches were tentative and essentially directionless, they somehow opened a world of ideas that were totally unexpected. Some, like the little "Shazam" moment here on the left, led to a series of cartoon-like works that still give me a chuckle whenever I come across them, whether in my files or on a collector's wall.

That "Shazam" requires a tip of the hat to  C. C. Beck, the creator of Billy Batson, the big city newsboy who could become "Captain Marvel" by uttering the magic word "Shazam!". (No, there was no App then!)  He first appeared in Fawcett's 1940 Whiz Comics and became an instant hit. I liked it because unlike its rival hero "Superman" or the darker "Batman" the series had a real sense of humor, even a bit of silliness at times. I was hooked when I picked up the latest Captain Marvel at Verdi's corner store and found him facing an evil little worm named "Mr. Mind"!  Hey, I was 6 or 7 years old!  Now, I wonder, was that comic worm an unrecognized influence as I started a major series of drawings those many years later?

Of course, being a visual person, I like most artists had many influences. Early in my career a young children's book illustrator hit the market with a fine bit of fantasy that still sells today.  Loving to draw, I took one look at the pen work in Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" and found a medium and for a while, a direction. Tho' I never saw it in the past,  I can see a connection now between this soft "cloud" plane and a certain Sendak aircraft aloft "In the Night Kitchen".

This image represents a next step in an intense period of creative work at SUNY and beyond. It retains some "comic" aspects in those antic "worms" but moves in a slightly more serious direction where my visual statements were variously ambiguous or pointed.  I did many versions of this kind of image  while they grew in size and intensity, ending up as thirty to fifty hour  meticulously cross-hatched ink drawings - strong images that that earned me the title "Dirty Doodler" - conferred by an Albany columnist who viewed my masters show at the SUNY Albany Galleries in 1971. It didn't take much in those days to raise the ire of those defending "The Public Good" ! 

 To be continued:

"Even the most innocent images can send subliminal messages of an erotic nature."   Julie R. Jones

"When inspiration doesn't come, I go halfway to meet it."   Sigmund Freud

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fair Weather!

A few days ago I sat frustrated in the shade of an ancient oak trying to capture the form of trees in full foliage when I noticed huge storm clouds boiling up in the east. They were gorgeous! I immediately forgot the trees, turned my paper over and tried to capture those monsters before the storm could dampen my paper or my day. That's most of it on the left. The storm blew by and next day I was out there again, pencils in hand to capture more clouds rising in a more benign blue sky.

Back when I started my first masters classes at SUNY Albany,
I used to sit out on the warm wide steps of Edward Durell Stone's "cold" campus looking north toward banks of cumulus clouds rising above the Adirondack mountains. I found I enjoyed drawing clouds then and really love it now! Here are a few from this week's plain-air drawing time.

Recent days have been a mixed bag with strong breezes and rising fair weather clouds,  everything moving across bright skies. You choose a developing cloud like these cumulus, put down a few lines and when you look up just a couple of seconds later, all is in flux!  If you think any of it is static , think again! - and look again! As you can see I didn't even begin to think about color.  For now it's enough to keep working without loosing track of the relationships of shape and tone as these "mists"  rise up, expand, then flatten out and dissipate. In the end you accumulate countless pages of sketches and a hours of pure enjoyment, - frustration blown away!

"What art offers is space, a certain breathing room for the spirit."   John Updike

"An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one."  Charles Horten Cooley

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


This is a continuation of last week's post dealing with 3-dimensional form but here with emphasis on contour line. It's the same pregnant model in both drawings done one right after the other. I don't remember what the circumstances were and which was done first but it's obvious that my mode (or my mood!) changed between one and the other. I may have started fast and loose in the first then settled down to work in a more consistent manner in the second. You can see it's done with more care,  more attention to proportion.  I know it is more true to life. That consistency gives it a sense of completion.  For me it's a "finished" work of art . 

On the other hand there are times when a
looser drawing might be seen as a better one. Sometimes it is better to draw confidently than to draw accurately.
The drawing above gains some strength with distorted features, as if we are looking up at her, and because exaggerated contrast between hard lines, hatched shadows and smooth highlights in the torso produces more 3-dimensional "punch".

Unfortunately other flaws get in the way. The high- lights on her face are not well organized, perhaps poorly observed, so the face does not "read" well. That is much more a problem than the linear distortions of the face. The other, and most offensive no-no for me, is that miserable right hand that looks like a bunch of soft sausages, - it's not convincing at all!  It's obvious I was unsure when I drew it. I guess I'm still learning!

As with all of these posts, if you want to draw well, decide what you like, take the ideas that work for you and spend a good deal of your time in   observational drawing.  Start where you are, with the talent you have and just work at it!

"A curved line is the loveliest distance between two points."   Anonymous

 "Nothing is more beautiful than a line that brings out a form."   Mary Beth McKenzie

Friday, July 24, 2015

Soft figures, Soft renderings.

 Over the years I've found I like to draw round shapes, soft volumes , -  things like peaches, pears and an occasion apple, or as in these works, full figured women. I really enjoy the challenge of rendering the illusion of three dimensional form. Here on the left, a mature lady quite at ease in front of a crowd of artists who are staring intently, measuring, calculating, estimating, - trying to create the illusion of volume on a flat paper surface. While shading is important, here it's the addition of white high-lights that does the trick! Naturally, accurate observation is essential but drawing from life is a great teacher.

The drawing on the right, a very pregnant young woman, shows a bit less illusion of volume over all because there is less contrast between high-light and shadow. Still, there's a definite impression of volumetric weight in those breasts and belly. You know she is certainly aware of it!

"My concern has always been to paint nudes as if they were some splendid fruit."  Pierre-Auguste  Renoir

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle


Friday, July 17, 2015

Paul Again

After last weeks post where a favorite model, Paul, was featured in a strong drawing,  I went back into the cob-webbed vaults of the misty past (Old sketchbooks that is) and found these two drawings, - Paul in a couple of his iconic poses.  I drew both of these using a burnt ochre pencil but on the first I went back and reworked it using violet.  Looking closely at some of those offhand violet lines, I think it must have been late in the pose and I was really hurrying! I  certainly overdid it, especially there on the right shoulder, - but still, it's a stronger drawing, - more interesting because of the dual color. On the other hand I really should have been  more careful!

In this second one you can see small additions of orange used in a similar way but much more subtly.  I used it to enhance the shadow under the left arm most noticeably but it barely changes the character of the drawing. Perhaps there could have been more. All is not lost tho' - I'm happy with those hands!

"If you don't make mistakes, you aren't really trying."    Colman Hawkins

"Mistakes show us what we need to learn."
   Peter McWilliams

"Make portraits of people in typical, familiar poses,  being sure to give their faces the same kind of  expression as their bodies. "   Edgar Degas

Thursday, July 9, 2015


This is a quick post with another couple of figures and that simple background I call a "Grill' added. Unusual for me, -  these two are clothed or partly clothed rather than nude - but that is not the point of the post.  Other artists post work in a take it or leave it way, assuming simple interest and acceptance. I'm a teacher as well as an artist so usually want to offer something more and perhaps even receive a bit more in return. Dialogue, whether with others or even yourself, is often quite productive.

As I work on a series, I often put pieces up side-by-side in my studio to evaluate relative strengths and judge continuity. Do you work the same way? The three I posted two weeks ago seemed to work quite well together. These were created as part of the same series but I wonder if they work as well?

Does the one on the left with blue lines pushing up against the figure emphasize the contour too much?  Is the blue grill itself so compelling it becomes more interesting than the figure? (Is that a bad thing?) I think the concept is a bit more creative than the male figure with the dark ground but I do like the way the male figure's solidity is enhanced by the contrast between figure and dark square.

If you were curating an exhibition or editing a book, would you take both of these?  Could they easily exist adjacent to each other on the same wall?  Is there too much tension in the color or stylistic differences, - or does that create interest? (Careful, now! You wouldn't want to bruise my ego!)  - Again, does it speak to you?

"If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way."   Aristotle

"My paintings are made up of what remains after eliminating everything unwanted."   Alan Feltus

Friday, July 3, 2015

Historic Branches

While writing about the last few tree drawings, I went back into my archives and found several others demonstrating an interest in trees dating back many years. People in general seem to respond to trees in art as something easily accepted and understood. I particularly enjoy drawing trees like these that exhibit evidence of age or "history". Bent branches and truncated limbs might be interpreted as references to the injuries of work, sports or battle field, connecting our humanity, our frailties and ultimate fate.

In the past, regardless of subject, I worked much more frequently with ink rather than pencil. That one above was done more than fifteen years ago using a very fine nib pen; I'm not sure now what brand. That on the right was done more recently with my old favorite the Staedtler Pigment Liner. Because the work is simple and direct, less fussy than the first, I'm more partial to the one below.  For me it has more interest in it's overall variety and irregular shape. (Notice, tho', I haven't tossed the older one away!) My primary purpose in these posts is to address the act of drawing itself. Your interpretation and subject matter choice is strictly your business. Draw what you will -  but do draw!

"With age, art and life become one."  Georges Braque

"Pale ink is better than the most retentive memory."  Harvey MacKay