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This morning I had a fine meal at Matt’s Big Breakfast, but before I really dug in I arranged cutlery, condiments and cuisine to make what I thought was a solid composition, and took a picture. When I posted the image on Facebook I expressed my intention to use the photo as basis of a work of art to be submitted to an art show whose call for entries is close to the end of the year. A nice friend of mine posted an encouraging comment, and I answered that I’d give her first look at the first thing I created. As soon as I’d done the above sketch I texted her and attached the sketch image, which is strictly a learning exercise, full of drawing mistakes and slapdash execution. I’m hopeful that Part 2 and beyond will reveal an evolution of the handling of the image, and that the last post in this series will include a photo of the final stage of the piece. Please stay tuned!

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In his book The Natural Way To Draw, outstanding art teacher Kimon Nicolaïdes offers this advice: “Draw anything.” Those two words helped me get through this difficult prompt. I did not want to disgust anyone, so I departed a bit from clinical realism and drew the WORD booger and make it just boogerlike enough to get the concept-point across. I’ve been fighting the urge to blow my nose since I started this thing.

For today’s prompt, “Forget,” I was almost lazy and drew a thought balloon with nothing in it. Done! But then a question mark demanded occupancy of the thought balloon, and then a word balloon advised necessity of itself as something the thought balloon was responding to, and then, well, the whole thing ballooned.

Here is a drawing I’ve been working on and off on for several days. It started as a study of chicken bones, and then the wishbones seemed to want to talk to each other and the Universe, so element by element the drawing came to stochastic life. It told me to have implied stories here and there, and I did my best to oblige. The last thing it told me was to sign it and stop, and think of it kindly as a possible future painting. It feels unfinished-yet-not, as if “in medias res” is essential to its being. If I do make a painting of it the strategy will be alla prima in bluish violet–maybe.

This post is titled “faux tableaux” because the implied stories are not part of a play nor historical description; also, with Faux being four letters and Tableaux being eight, the title lends itself to the Acrostic poetic form I have been specializing in for more than a decade. Usually I include the poem on the image, but the image is busy enough as it is, so I’m going hyperdimensional and letting it stand separately below.

faux tableaux

far-flinging tenancy undue
adds more to addled syn&tax – a
unit’s cubic aperçu
x-rays the law and says relax

Now, what does that all mean? Well, “far-flinging” might be referring to the implied Disc Golf game in progress in the image; but Far-Flung colloquially means a deviation from reality. Tenancy is an official melding of being and location. Undue implies both unexpected and unwanted. Put them all together and they feed the next line’s “adds more to addled syn&tax” with the made-up wordmash “syn&tax” having a first syllable connoting both Synthetic and Sin, the last syllable connoting both a surcharge and a burden, and the ampersand gluing them together. Meter and rhyme are preserved by the appended dash and indefinite article; read aloud, the third line would begin with “A.” “A unit’s cubic aperçu” shows both the glory and the shame of my quasi-acrostic construction. “Unit” was chosen because it starts with a U and yet must phonetically start with a consonant; otherwise “A” would have to be “An.” And “aperçu” was chosen to rhyme with Undue (though it doesn’t, quite, English speakers unfamiliar with French will impart the Ooh sound to the last syllable, and not the French U sound, which is “ooh” with a hint of “ee”) and also because I flat-out love the word, with its magic cedilla and its densely-packed meaning of “a comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining point” into only six letters. As a composer of acrostic poetry I have leaned on “aperçu” often as a line-ending word. I don’t apologize. I’m grateful to have it to use.

The third line feeds into the fourth. “A unit’s [someone’s] cubic [adding a third dimension] aperçu [spoken perceptive observation] x-rays the law {analyzes codified custom] and says relax [things ARE chaotic but are not as gruesome as they seem].”

A classmate of mine recently disparaged me as a “third-rate poet” who does “weird drawings.” To my knowledge he does not write poetry at all, and by his admission he can’t draw his way out of a wet paper bag. (To his credit, he publicly apologized later, saying he was retaliating for some unkind remarks I made about his selfies.) The truth is I’ll take Third-Rate over Nonexistent, and Weird over Nonexistent as well, any day. No one else on Earth is doing what I am doing, the way I am doing it, and it keeps me sane and out of trouble to boot. Bonus! 🙂

2022 0412 sumta ii

Faithful readers will recognize this drawing as a different stage from the one I presented in the post “sumta loogat.” It is not exactly a later stage of the same drawing, since the drwing you saw earlier was an exploration based on a copy of a yet-earlier stage of the drawing, as this is, but this drawing is as if I had never made such changes, but instead made similar but different ones, and some not similar. Which is thoroughly confusing, but serves the purpose of trying things, reverting to previous, and trying again.

But this is the original grafitic. The OG, if you don’t mind a bit of cultural appropriation from American Gang lingo. I have come far enough along, though STILL far from finished, to want to make any more experimental copies.

There is something deeply gratifying about taking a long time on a single drawing, though the wild creation horses inside me are rarin’ to finish and move on. A mellowness and depth is starting to get real with this one. Since I don’t avoid flesh-contact with the paper, a slight tome buids as my left pam-thumb-subsection skates around. Despite skin oils, the tone is easily removed, and re-removed, with simple erasure. And the drawing benefits with a buildup of non-erased surface–see, for instance, the ribbonlike shap at top center, which now looks like a light source is highlighting its middle. The drawing is maturing.

It is still an adolescent, though. Adulthood, here we come! 🙂

2022 0324 sumta loogat

An old saying has it that “You cannot have your cake and eat it too.” But thanks to printer/scanner technology, it is easy to have your drawing and change it too. That’s what I’ve done with this one. What you see is a printed copy of a work in progress of mine, one far from finished, and after I printed the copy I drew on it, then I scanned it and photoedited it to darken the midtones, goose up the contrast, and crop it. The result is something I defy people to inpect and see if they can tell what was printed and what was subsequently drawn. Modern printing is miraculous.

I’m calling this “Sumta loogat” because that’s the way I, with my Southwestern American accent, pronounce “something to look at.” When I drew I tried to entertain myself with visual dynamics, tonal range, composition, and just enough text to intrigue. Those familiar with my word would correctly guess that the words are meant to eventually be the spines of two triple acrostic poems. But here is a visual experience that is different than the one to be had when the poetry is complsed and added.

The notation “a/p” is something I picked up from my intaglio printing days in the 1970s and early 80s. It stands for “artist’s proof” and can mean anything from “unauthorized edition” to “work in progress” to “don’t take this one too seriously.” In printmaking it means it is NOT part of a print run.

Just something to look at, Friends. Hope it pleases!

2022 0319 snap shot stage two

Here is one way “snap shot” might go. Were this image taken to its conclusion, the background would be made to evoke “bombs bursting in air” explosions, illustrating “war’s desolation,” backstopping these words:

snap shot

silhouettes and aftershocks
now reveal the cost of wrath
are we safe inside our box? o
potentates won’t stand for that

It seems to fit the acrostic, with immediacy in the Snap, and destructive chaos in the Shot.

Suppose, though, we’d had enough of war, and rumors of war. We might take the same acrostic and evoke something more sweet and innocent:

2022 0319 snap shot stage 2a

snap shot

sage & salt & sassafras
nature spices up our hash
applesauce & ice cream too
pastries make a passe-partout

And the background would be pastoral, and perhaps there’d be a spot illustration of an Ice Cream Social. The acrostic works with a little stretching, since Ginger Snaps are cookies, and Jello Shots are “desserts.”

Does the artist want to Work, at getting a point across and influencing away from violence, or Play, doing some feel-good ain’t-it-great-to-be-alive uplift? Is she or he or they more or less an artist for going against the grain of natural inclination for the sake of a soapbox, or taking the easy way out and producing a more free-flowing expression?

Friends, THIS artist wants to do it all. If you look over my nearly two thousand blog posts, you’ll see my spectrum ranges from Goofissimo to Muy Serioso. Slapdash and meticulous; flighty and pondersome; looking into the Abyss and daydreaming about the Stars. As Walt Whitman pointed out, he contradicts himself because he is Large and contains Multitudes.

And so it is with you, Friends. Hope you have plenty of Love and Enjoyment in and among your Multitudes! 🙂