Category Archives: Random Thoughts

Basic Pencil Moves on Newsprint

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“Girl Wearing a Funny Hat and Holding a Dog”  Pencil drawing on newsprint 12 x 15 inches.

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Learning to draw is sometimes a slow process and every pencil mark has to land in just the right place and area to bring about the image we are seeking to create!  Surprises happen along with disappointments.  The surprising thing for me was that I find I actually like to draw.  I very much enjoy the process of making marks that add up to a finished portrait – even if it is an inadequate portrait!  The girl child above seems to be telling me a story, yet I haven’t understood exactly what it is she is saying.  I was too involved with myself and pleased that I actually drew a dogs ear that didn’t look like something God had forgotten to finish.  Having never drawn a dog before, I am anxious to try more.

 

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This is the entire drawing.  Its done on newsprint so could not handle a lot of erasing, which I seem to be someone who is anxious to erase almost before I even begin. (I’m working on that too.)  Actually there are a lot of things to keep in mind when learning to draw – it doesn’t always just draw itself into a clever portrait.

 

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January Light

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2015 PaintingsJanuary light  in Portland is often filtered and without shadows, gray and flat.  I try to get through this long  month as best I can!  Sometimes a surprise will happen and we get nearly brilliant sunlight for a few hours – a true gift!  Today was such a day!  Bright skies, stark January light, an infusion of hopefulness! So I pulled out some paintings I’ve been working on but haven’t finished.

I know its been a long while since I’ve posted anything – I have no excuse other than … I don’t know…. just haven’t been doing much and feeling very guilty for it.  Making many half attempts, and not finishing much of anything.   Maybe tomorrow will be a bright day too!

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DSC05552Unfinished

 

A Summer Garden, a Birthday, Something Old, and Rust!

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July 2013 008

I haven’t been working on art this month – mostly just playing in the “garden” and organizing things.  The “garden” has bloomed beautifully with summer coming so early to Portland this year.  I’m using quotes around the word “garden because I have only a deck and a lot of pots for my garden!

July 2013 004Here’s one of Mary of the Roses – she’s gotten a little faded this year and now both of her hands have broken, so she stands behind the roses, serene and beautiful.

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This girl had a birthday on the 3rd, my dancer daughter, Cait.

1002443_10201406342105175_627311788_nShe and her husband celebrated her birthday in Hawaii this year.  When Cait was born my mother found her so beautiful and perfect, she said, “Oh I wish I could have another baby.”  Which made us all laugh, but set me to thinking about her statement!

The following year remembering  what she had said I decided to make my mother a doll for her Christmas gift.  A life- sized baby doll, just like Cait.  I came across these old Instamatic photos recently and thought I would share them for a laugh!

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I had no idea what I was doing.  I just went out and bought some stuff called “Sculpy,” a new product that you could sculpt and bake in the oven or air dry and paint.  I don’t think it was meant for large projects, but more as a way to make small figurines, or jewelry parts. I had bigger ideas! I made the head and even though it wasn’t exactly solid, it weighed a ton.  I thought it might grow less heavy as it dried – but not so much.

scan0002The arms and legs were fairly easy, and I hollowed them out pretty well.  I was very disappointed as I recall, because I couldn’t achieve a porcelain looking finish with the acrylics I used to paint it with.  Also I couldn’t get the surface smooth enough – I didn’t know I could sand the stuff.  (no internet to research the answers back then)

scan0003Painting the face is when I really began to despair.  It really didn’t look too bad before I painted it.

scan0004Don’t laugh!!!  They say its the thought that counts, right? – and that’s what I kept telling myself, determined to finish the thing now.  I made it a stuffed body so it would feel cuddly (ha).  I can’t imagine what it would have weighed if I’d sculpted the whole thing! Of course my mother thought it was wonderful and carried the thing around all evening.  It weighed as much as a real baby, and the head was very floppy because it weighed so much and I couldn’t figure out a way to attach it so it didn’t flop!  But it was fun, and now a memory I always recall on Cait’s birthday.

Rust 003This is my new batch of rusty things I just got them yesterday from Etsy.  Yes.  I am rust deprived and have to resort to purchasing my rust!  I have two more packages coming – I can hardly wait!  The hammer to the left of the photo is the cutest little thing. Its a claw head hammer about 8 or 9 inches long.  The handle is wooden, and the head is metal, rusty, of course!

Finding My Way Out (of un-ness)

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Journal page – 8.5 x 11 – oil pastel, gouache, watercolor, pencil

I’ve been reading some fairy tales lately, well not, “once upon a time,” but  a book called “Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters” by Kathleen Ragan.  I think this is going to influence my art for a while, content wise anyway.  I love the idea of being able to fly – it is such a mysterious thing; only allowed birds, fairies, and angels (and insects).

Journal page – 8.5 x 11 – oil pastels, gouache, watercolor, pencil.

This is where I’ve been sitting, thinking, and reading.  Watching the hummingbirds visit the salvia, and dreaming about big beautiful paintings!

There’s the Madonna of the Marigolds, no  marigolds this year, but she is carefully watching over the seedling japanese maple that Cait gave me from her backyard, there’s a larger version behind her to the left, I bought that one last year at Farmer’s Market in Hillsdale, just a walk away from my house.  I’m going out to rearrange things today – the larger Japanese Maple is getting too much direct sun, I can see the leaves are being burned, so strange since I was only complaining about the lack of summer weather recently – apparently its enough to crisp delicate growth!  Beginning to become less un.

Imaginary People I know – “The Lost Boy”

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“The Lost Boy”

Oil pastel, gouache, graphite, on muslin.  5 x 6 inches

I was just thinking about a little boy I used to know – he was so full of imagination and creativity – but his parents were threatened by his unique way of seeing life.  When he was very young he believed the world was full of wonder and his place in it was natural and right.  As he grew,  the critical attitude of his mother and the disinterest of his father naturally had an effect on him.  Now he is a young teenager and struggling with unhappiness and self-doubt.  He has lost his belief that there is a rightful place in this world for him and his pinned on cape has long been forgotten.  He knows he will never figure out who he was meant to be – but now must become what his mother, and now his step-father, have in mind for him.  He looks so sad because he is.

Happy New Year!

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For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” ~

I recently came upon an expression called “Oblique Motion.”   “Oblique Motion” occurs when one voice (or more) in written music, remains on the same pitch while the other ascends or descends.   This seemed to me as if it could be applied to art as well.  We have our consistent or usual voice in each piece that we produce, but there is also another voice, one just emerging… new and unknown, or sometimes one that is finished but still resonating… and they each have their own harmony to follow.  This may be far too vague a definition for music majors, but please allow me my simple and poetic viewpoint, and my apologies to written music! 

My 2012 art journal(s) will be called “Imaginary Conversations ~ Oblique Motion”

The new year arrives and my door is open and waiting for whatever the future may bring.  It looks dark inside my open door – but that’s because this is only a cookie house – and I didn’t think to put a tea light inside before I snapped the photo.  

I have lots of plans for art projects in this new year ahead  – I always have lots of plans for the new year, but I don’t make resolutions.    Resolutions seem too rigid, especially for artists – we need to be able to change course in a split second; ever aware of the serendipitous moment, free of spirit, and forever reverent.

Happy New Year to each of you!

I’ve been thinking a lot about horizon lines – the line that divides

the earth and the sky, that magic place only the birds really know…