Although the day started with rain and a wet yard, the sun came out and dried things out pretty well. Lisa was on the phone with one of the girls on the deck, so I went out and sketched a lantern in the corner next to the planter with a climbing vine.
Friday I didn't create a tangible outcome, but I had a very creative day. Instead of drawing or painting I spent the afternoon on a field trip to my Recusant friend and artist Greg Vandevisser's studio. We spent the afternoon looking at his artwork, discussing his sketches, picking apart a work-in-progress, and listening to some great tunes. He's been inviting me to visit for a long time and I had a great afternoon.
I have a network of friends around the western hemisphere that support my need for artistic conversation. But it was great to get into a studio and get back to some roots. Greg and I have very different styles. That works really well, because we have the same concerns and ideas for different outcomes. This is one of Greg's paintings that I really like.
I'll add a post for today later and I plan to have a viewable outcome.
For the past month, I've been trying to paint abstract sketches and I have done a couple. This is Ignition, tonight's effort. I just try to push the paint around and react to the shapes that evolve. I will probably start a more figurative painting this weekend. But this exercise is intended to get some practice with brush strokes. This is a very limited umber to yellow pallet and is acrylic with medium on watercolor paper. I have rotated it from the way that I initially painted it because I walked in the room and saw it this way and liked it.
I seem to be stuck on this image right now. SO I did a graphic illustration of Sadie sleeping on the couch. I don't think I'm done exploring this yet--please don't be bored.
I noticed that I rendered something in Sadie's character that is very much a part of who she is. Sadie loves to collect the family blankets. This pink blanket is an afghan that my wife's grandmother knitted and has been warming us for years. The pillow is one that my Mom made for us a couple of years ago. Sadie likes to use pillows for her butt and blankets to rest her head. She does everything she can to box-out anyone who is sitting in "her" spot or using "her" pillows or blankets. She will look at you as if to say "what?" if you question her right to ownership. One big sigh and snort and off she goes to her favorite occupation, sleeping.
These are some computer generated images that I was noodling with as sketches for a painting. The other night, while I was awake with Sadie having a nervous fit, I started abstracting the sketch that I created of her earlier. I am using Photoshop to plan the basic shapes and colors, but I imagine that the actual painting will be much different. I like the green shape of the pillow and the light and dark, but I don't want the figure to be too literal. I did two renderings to carry the abstraction further.
Well, four days in and I’ve already missed one. I contemplated doing two pieces today, and I still might, but not to replace the missing day. I guess that all of the yard work that I did yesterday might be considered a type of green sculpture, or performance art. At the end of the day, the art that I created stayed in my head. I’m ok with that.
Today we went to Annapolis to get my daughter a new cell phone. She was coming from Baltimore, so we had a little time to wait at the store. I decided to go into a nearby Barnes and Noble to browse the art books. I was looking for a painting technique book and found one. After thumbing through, I realized that it would be like many of the textbooks I’ve paid lots of bucks for in the past—It would end up unopened on the bookshelf. I went to replace it on the shelf and came across Milton Glaser’s Drawing is Thinking.
Milton is my hero and I was familiar with this book. I gave in to the impulse and swiped my plastic. This book has about 23 pages of printing and 200 pages of images. The premise is that you look at his images sequentially to get into his mind and his way of thinking. Brilliant! In the interview, which makes up the body of the text, Glaser makes the following comment: “Intelligence needs to be developed. The brain succeeds by repetition. If you do the right thing over and over, the brain gets stronger. If you do the wrong thing over and over, the brain gets weaker.”
I consider the repetition of doing design where the “committee customer” has so much control and input that they remove the elements that I put in that make the design work. The result is vanilla poop. I do this so often that I have lost faith and confidence in my capabilities. I remember as a young artist, I had a great sense of self-confidence and approached my artwork with surety.
My recent efforts have been more guarded, more controlled. I worry that I have lost my skills with my confidence. My recent efforts with a rediscovered school-mate have renewed my sense of potential. So I sat down with a 9B pencil and sketch pad and returned to a subject I know and love. My old beagle Sadie lay down next to me, as she often does, while I brought out my drawing gear. So here she is. Perhaps she will appear a few more times. Drawing is thinking indeed.
As I begin to do the right thing, I hope my brain and my confidence in my art will become stronger. Milton’s book is amazing in the fact that there is a new story each time I “read” it—picture books are great.
I was looking at some sketches by Vincent Van Gogh while researching my other blog today. Since I don't have a great deal of time to do anything signficant outside of work, I thought a little sketching might be in order. I've had a picture of this bird feeder on my desktop since last year. So, I took about a half-hour to quickly sketch the shapes and values. I used a good old number two pencil on some card stock. Nothing fancy, just getting the hand moving.
"I hope you're enjoyin' the scen'ry
I know that it's pretty up there We can go hikin' on Tuesday
I woke up today with a rough head cold and decided to call in sick to the main job. I slept for a while and then tried to finish my 3 senior portraits. This was the last drawing of the group. I went to the awards ceremony tonight and gave the drawings to the kids. I found frames that had a blue wash over a dark grey wood that looked great and went along with the school colors. The kids were thrilled as it was a surprise. I think one of the most rewarding things about creating is having someone be surprised and happy. Like the other, this is graphite on Strathmore 300 artist paper. 12 x 10 inches.
One of my greatest passions is the sport of lacrosse. It’s appropriate that I start this project here at the meeting of two of my major obsessions. I have been playing lacrosse for 43 years and seek every opportunity that I can to play with other equally crazed old guys. I also coach women’s lacrosse at the high school level. This drawing is the second of three drawings that I am doing of my senior players. We have our awards banquet tomorrow night and I am going to give each of them their lacrosse portrait. I’ve done this a couple of other times and it usually goes over pretty well.
I worry about the likeness. I think it’s ok, but I would like it to be more accurate. I can’t afford the time to do too many renderings, but I have done two versions of each so far. Hopefully the third will come out right on the first try.
I’ve also been rocking out to two new CDs courtesy of my goalie girl Erin—Pink’s Funhouse and The Derek Trucks Band Already. I love Pink, so that was an easy pick for her. But she picked the Trucks Band out of the blue and I LOVE IT. Get it or download it for some good bluesy rock. Inside the cover is this quote:
"Music is like a river or stream that has come down to us through time, bringing nurture to man's soul. From the past masters, this music flowed to my father and through him to me. I want to keep this stream flowing. I don't want it to die. It must spread all over the world." --Ali Akbar Khan
Welcome to 365two50. Today is May 19, 2009 and tomorrow is my birthday. In one year, I will turn 50 years old. This project will have a couple of objectives. First, I hope to create a new piece of artwork each day to post to the site. I have been inspired by “one a day” art sites for some time now and hope it will force me to practice and generate art.
Second, at the end of the year, I should have a diary of sorts of the year culminating in turning 50. Something to look back on and ponder the year that has yet to be defined. During the past few years, I have tried to become more introspective and define what I have and will do with my time on earth. I hope this year at a glance will be a part of starting the next phase of my life.
Why is 50 significant? I don’t know. Whatever the reason, it seems to be having an effect on me. Each day I contemplate what I did of value during my waking hours.
A third objective is to have about 50 pieces of finished artwork at the end of the year as a body of work. I really can’t afford art school and I’m not sure what level I would attempt if I could. So this is my poor-man’s art school. The finished assembly of work will be my thesis.
What constitutes a “new” piece of art each day? Anything that I create. It doesn’t have to be complete. It can be a part of a bigger piece and each new effort is new art. It doesn’t have to be painting or drawing. If my artistic effort is a part of a work project, that counts. Creating a particularly good meal could count. The only criteria is that I assembled whatever I claim as that day’s art on that day.
Please contact me if you wish to use, purchase, or commission artwork. All images that I include here are copyrighted and intended for my use or the use of a customer and cannot be reused without specific permission. BUT contact and ask, we can work things out!