Summer is bad for finished work. Company, traffic, software installations, The Garden, family (as opposed to company), and longer days to be outside all conspire to keep me from the easel. Finally, we’ve reached Fall!
Fallen Peony, 18 x 24 inches, pastel on board
18″ x 24″, pastel on museum board. I go back and forth all the time on what to use as a title, and there is certainly plenty of documentation to show that artists down through the ages have wrestled with the same decision. For now, I’m returning to my earlier practice of listing the ingredients in the composition. This drawing is Mineolas, Euphorbia and Strawberry Plant. Weird, but true.
This drawing is nudgy enough (that’s the technical term) to require the larger view. Go ahead and click.
The Apron – 18″ x 24″ pastel on board. My grandmother’s worn cotton apron made an interesting ground for this composition, but it will be a good long time until I can face drawing it again.
Avocado with Lilies, 20″ x 26″, pastel on board. I feel like I am beginning to learn something about still life painting and what it means; about the passage of time.
It’s snowing. Snow has been falling continuously since noon and is predicted to continue until late tomorrow night with accumulations of a foot or more. When I was in college in Philadelphia I met a woman who had only recently left her home in Tallahassee and had only seen snow in pictures. She had assumed each six-pointed snowflake to be the size of a dinner plate (just like they appeared in the encyclopedia) otherwise how would they pile up into drifts of ten feet or more in Buffalo? She was very disappointed the first time it snowed in Philly and the small, tired piles on the sidewalks never resolved themselves into crystals visible to the naked eye.
It has been a blessing these past few weeks to be working on images from the summer months while the wood stove sends warmth up the stairwell to my upper room. Trudy would have liked this drawing, I think, and been impressed with sheer multitude of tiny flakes outside.
Well, not so new to those of you following along at home. I took the drawing of asters out to the front yard this afternoon and shot a photo in real light. The easel stationing itself easily in nearly 2′ of snow was just a bonus.
Asters in a Blue Jar, 20″ x 16″, pastel on board.
There’s a lovely local saying that goes; “Stick a fork in’er, she’s done!”.
Tomorrow – assuming it stops snowing – I’ll take a proper photo of the drawing in natural light and that will be the final post in this series. My thanks to everyone who has come along for the ride for the encouragement and interesting comments. Onward!
Three days ago I thought this drawing would be finished in one more session, and I don’t know what I smoked to come to that conclusion but I’d love to have some more?
My formula for adding “noise” is complex, but regular. Regular hasn’t translated to easy yet, and it’s a struggle to keep the ratio of marks consistent and too easy to fall into a pattern of “outlines vs. squiggles”. I imagine, as I’m working through every square half inch, that I will be more facile after (another) few decades of constant practice.
The surface is complete. Everything is in place according to my sketches, notes, photos and color swatches from last August. (It is minus 2.2 F right now, and August seems a long time gone.) This drawing is an experiment, and the next step is to add Stochiastic noise – elements of “bad data” that cloud how I see things, but that I’ve never managed to put into a drawing. I’ve found a formula that may help me draw it in, though – make my drawings that much closer to my vision. One more post, I think, before it’s done.
This is the stage of a drawing when the positive fights the negative, being and non-being begin to jump back and forth for attention – and which area identifies as which is entirely up to you. One just has to trust that everything will find its place in the end. An end that is coming right up – I don’t go back.