Saturday, November 30, 2013

Stark November Seascape

A late November walk at Moose Point. 
I sketched with no glasses on & big old bulky gloves because 
it was C-O-O-O-L-D & windy!!
A friend said that November's landscape is too Stark. 
Stark: Especially by the sea, Stark for me is crisp & cold & sparse,
& on a sunny day the blue-greens of the sea 
are intensified by the diminished colors of the earth.
Nature has sort of de-cluttered her space for awhile & 
I can enjoy the bare essentials.
PS. After some time, yesterday's sketch from the upper window 
didn't feel quite finished. Voilà, a bit more elaboration.
Barbara of Folkways Notebook, 
I liked your idea to cut a few branches to bring indoors...!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Giving Thanks: A Library Story Time

This earth helped me to recite a poem 
when I was a guest at our library story time today.
And this sun.

Earth who gives to us this food. 
Sun who makes it ripe & good.
Dearest Earth & Dearest Sun.
We'll not forget what you have done.   
By Christian Morgenstern

The poem was  from Katherine Paterson's new book, 
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers & Praise Songs of Thanksgiving. 
She compiled selections from many places, traditions & religions. Wonderful!

I helped the librarian to dramatize The First Strawberries by Joseph Bruchac with paper "puppets, & she read Giving Thanks by Chief Jake Swamp, which has long been a favorite book of mine to read to children at this time of year. All this inbetween lots of wiggles & giggles & itsy bitsy spiders in a happy group of young children & their adults.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My To Do List

 I needed to stop & look at how my brain feels this morning...
To my surprise, it looks a bit like a Kandinsky painting!

 Sometimes I would like it to be more linear.
My To Do List. 
This doesn't even include basic housekeeping.
Or a million other ideas & To-Do's that are jumping around up there.
Time for a walk. Maybe I'll start like the hare, but end up like the tortoise. 
My brain would like that.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Provence: Miniature Drawings from an old Travel Journal

 Wanting to use some of my miniature paper scraps, I chose a theme source by closing my eyes & "blindly" pointing to one of my old travel journals that were lined up in the closet.
I got the book: "Provence Trip, 2006"
I chose some sketches from the book & reproduced them on a small scale.

2 1/4" X 4 1/4" Arches Cold Press

Serendipity. I got some of my favorite doors. 
New doors are inviting me lately.  How will I go through them?
One door at a time is OK. Miniature steps are OK...à petits pas...
Grateful I am for this suggestion.

2 1/4" X 3 1/4" Arches Hot Press

Each tiny image stands alone, but is part of the group.

They're united by Place. By Time. By Color Palette. 
And, sentimental as it may sound, by Love.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Miniature Landscape

Miniature Sketch from October, 2013: 3 1/2" by 2 1/2 "

This drawing has been kicking around in an unfinished state for awhile. I had planned to toss it, but on this rainy, blowy morning I developed it a bit with some glazes of wet over dry.

Later, the sun came out & the wind outside my window became still. If I had painted on this picture then, would it have a lighter, calmer mood? 

Drawing/painting can be about rendering a scene, but also about responding to the flow of energy that is within us & responding to our surroundings at any given moment. And it also can be about just enjoying the feel of the medium. 

PS This is a revised post. Earlier I had shown the unfinished version too but I've decided to just leave up the final. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Full Smiling Moon

The Full Smiling Moon above Penobscot Bay.
If you drive from Rockland to Belfast, on certain nights,
she will keep you company.
A half hour before my drive I had come upon a card
in a bookstore in Rockland that said,
 "Expect a Miracle." 

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Squirrel Feeder

The one who is the provider of the bird feeder knows his squirrels. 
I jot down his comments as we watch out the back window.

"The squirrels scope the bird feeder out everyday."
"They often all come at once, along with the birds."
"Imagine, all 4 feet on a virtual pinpoint!"
"They are amazing acrobats & they're smart." 
"They leap great distances from the branch to the feeder."
 "And they climb the pole like a fireman." 
"And another thing~ They have to work fast."
"Oh, he could stay there until it's completely gone."
"This is, after all, his survival." 
After awhile he tried gently shooing the squirrels away, but they came right back. Finally, he decided that the chicadees, bluejays, cardinals, nuthatches, downey woodpeckers, sparrows & yellow finches were never going to get a turn at this feeder so he went out & took it down, leaving only the other feeder which has a baffle that is (almost) squirrel proof. The squirrels, being gleaners, then gathered on the ground under the other feeder, cleaning up the seeds dropped by the birds.

"It's a collective spirit," he said.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The City, Two Views: Ink on Paper

Stopped at a Light , Looking up to Congress Street    5 X 11"  India Ink 

I'm still thinking about that show at the museum. Considering the role of repetition & obsession in human lives. So linear much of that art was, so human made. On my way there, stopped at a traffic light, I had snapped a photo looking up to downtown from the non-harbor side. So linear was that art work in the museum, &, I'm thinking now, so Urban. Such a contrast to the nature, the farms & seascapes that surround me in my more rural home. 
City Backyard at the Feeder,  8 X 10"  India Ink

 One bird & squirrel lover I know in the city has a little backyard sanctuary. I watched, sketched, asked questions, while he told me about his friends & their daily actions & interactions. He keeps a journal on many days recording his observations in pencil, sometimes with tiny sketches. It's on the back of recycled envelopes! 
Cardinal, 3 X 5"  India Ink
Funny how the slightest movement of an animal can delight us! Since I've been following The Run*A*Round Ranch Report, TexWisGirl's blog, I'm so in awe of the variety of creatures & their gestures & ways in the natural world. 
Observational Sketches in 5.5 X 8.5 Cachet Black Cover Journal  Prismacolor 03 Pen

 Two of my favorite published nature journal artists are Hannah Hinchman & Claire Walker Leslie. Even if you don't wish to draw, they're delightful reading & looking. For city drawings, there is, of course, the blog Urban Sketchers. 

Country or city, draw what attracts you, they say...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Portland Museum of Art: Piece Work

1st image, similiar to a series of "wall hanging drawings" that I created years ago, is my response to what I saw at the Portland Museum of Art this weekend. The 2nd is Jason Rogene's "Stargazer", a vast wall sculpture made from polystyrene foam inserts & back lights. (The foam inserts are otherwise known as throw-away-junk.)

The biennial show at the museum has a theme this year,  "built around labor, repetition & production." Many of the works involve repetitious patterns & meticulous marks or forms. It is a show more for the brain than for the heart.

To read about it, click HERE. Interesting how the pendulum can swing from expressionistic modes to more linear, tight & compartmentalized ones. Some of the works in this group reveal, well, in my opinion, obsessive compulsive tendencies. The true fine artist has to have some of that OC wiring in order to create the products that he or she creates with amazing patience & persistence.

Influences of technology are reflected in many of the works, both subtly, & more obviously. Some of the hand rendered drawings resemble computer generated designs & perhaps the computer has a large role in their creation. Technology makes its presence humorously & aesthetically in Rogene's sculpture.

Always the question: Did you like the show? Can't say. It was easy to detach & to just find it interesting, especially in terms of how it reflects our detach & to marvel at the precision with which a lot of it was produced. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Maple Tree

It happens so gradually. Or maybe it's sudden. I don't know. 

Observing change can be elusive...This maple gives me lots to ponder, 
but in the end I'll tell you that how it works is, for me, a mystery. 
Show me scientific explanations & I'll nod my head, fascinated.
But, I'll tell you that in the end it's still a mystery.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Acadia: Eastern Side Off Season

Acadia National Park: Glorious Saturday afternoon along the Park Loop Road..During tourist season the road is packed with cars & buses. But November, aaaaaah, off season, barely a car in sight! There's a walking path that follows the eastern side of Mount Desert Island where we stopped from time to time before taking a short hike up Gorham Mountain. Of course I'm not unique in this, but this island is as close as I come to being in heaven on earth. Youthful, powerful energy, health, grace, renewal, spirit, love, it's all there , within & without.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Quick Sketch

Quick sketch on hot press 140 lb. postcard size "Fluid Watercolor Paper: The Easy Block"

Sometimes you have to work really fast. It could be that your companion is waiting for you. And that it's cold & your fingers are freezing. Sometimes it's awkward, balancing a little sketchbook, your pen, your waterpen, your watercolor box, & your paper rag while standing on a sidewalk on Main Street, sketching a display. And sometimes, if it's windy & your rag blows away, you go chase it halfway up the street, laughing, because you know you must look absolutely ridiculous.  And when you return, your watercolor box falls to the ground, upside down & leaves cadmium red on the sidewalk, but it's OK because it's watercolor, after all. Sometimes the shop owner comes out while you're sketching because she's opening up & you exchange good mornings & she tells you who it is that made the display & what a wonderful job they did & you tell her to please tell the person that you agree. And the owner stays to chat a bit, about how mellow the weather was yesterday & how it had been her birthday & what a great walk she took & you tell her how you all had hiked in Acadia, & isn't it so different today, the weather?  When you're done, you quickly throw everything into your bag & return to your companion & even though what you have is a seemingly unfinished, scribbly sort of thing, you feel great because you got to really see that display & you hadn't known that there were 2 olives trees growing in big pots & you hadn't known how beautiful each individual plant was, & how many colors there were. And your electrodes or endorphins or whatever they call it are now all aligned because you had spent that brief moment seeing & drawing. And it's still morning & you have the whole day of Sunday to look forward to!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Atelier de Cezanne, Aix-en-Provence

Back in Time: My First French Travel Journal (Moleskine Sketch), Paris & Provence, 2003. One amazing experience was a pilgrimage to Cezanne's studio. I did the above sketch while there, ink & colored pencil.
That journal was a mish-mash of clippings, French & English writing & sketches. (I featured several pages in a previous post: "My 1st Trip to France." To see, click HERE.) Anyway, What got me thinking of Cezanne,  2 posts ago, was:  
His minimal use of color & strokes & the sturcture in some of his watercolors. In that post Malyss had commented that she had seen a Cezanne show, not too far from her home. Wow! 
(I'm not a fan of Cezanne's figure paintings, but love many of his still lifes & landscapes.) 
Again, a wonderful benefit of creating journals: So satisfying in the moment, but 10 years later I get to go back to remember the details such as: We had gotten lost trying to get to his studio, around & around the town we drove. Finally, I, the passenger, hopped out to ask directions of a handsome gray haired man in a bar.He drew me the little map above. (A simple thing like asking & understanding directions in French was & is still a major thrill for me!) After parking, we made a hike up a big hill & finally, we arrived! (I had wanted to give up, but my traveling companion hadn't let me!) 
 Visiting the studio, which is left pretty much intact, was bliss. But, to add to being there was that I got to sit in on 2 school group lectures & listen to the beautiful French language of the subject of Art. The French high school kids were funny: with a few exceptions, when the guide asked them questions they stared off into space & appeared clueless, reminding me of their American counterparts. (This was an after school visit, I'll bet they were tired...) It was all I could do to keep from raising MY hand to answer!   Ah, to go back in time!
 In doing a little research on Cezanne, I came across a fascinating video. "The Forger's Masterclass". Famous art forger John Myatt, says that "all painters can learn by copying others." Of course, he got a little carried away... (Me, I'm STILL resistant to copying due to early indoctrinaton...) Anyway, Myatt's TV show is a sort of reality show, where one can learn about artists, & in this one, about Cezanne & his style (& one can learn about Myatt too). Very entertaining in a pop sort of way.
Click HERE to see the video.