Find A Piece Of Shade And Draw

It’s hot.  It’s humid.  Too hot for an old man to be out walking, that’s for sure.  So, I put my stool in a shady spot in the yard and drew a small “scene” designed by Chantal.  I thought these little guys were going to be hosta-guarding soldiers (wrote about that), but Chantal had other ideas.  As usual, hers was a better one.

Resting Next To A Friendly Birch

I’m trying to get back to a daily walk routine.  It’s been hard this spring/summer because of all the rain and a bunch of house stuff we’ve been doing, but I was out the other day and stopped to sit in a park near my house.  There was a birch tree there to keep me company and I decided to draw it, or at least its feet and legs.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 softcover), Kaweco Lilliput pen, DeAtramentis Document Black, Daniel Smith watercolors

Our New Strawberry Field

Once upon a time, someone got the bright idea to plant a bunch of bamboo as a hedgerow between our house and the one next door.  When done it probably looked like a good idea.  The problem is that over time, the bamboo takes over EVERYTHING because its roots propogate the plant(s) into a persistent monster plant.

So, ever since we bought the place we’ve been fighting it by cutting it back continually.  We seem to be winning the battle as this year we don’t have much of it along our driveway (its last stand), leaving a sort of grassless, bamboo-less area.

What’s happened, though is a big surprise.  We’ve got a “field” of tiny strawberry plants.  There are hundreds of them, most less than two inches high and sporting 3 distinct leaves.  Normally we’d be mowing and/or planting something but I’m going to let things go to see what happens.  I don’t think that these plants are going to get much taller and I could find only a couple flowers.  But I did find one plant that had two microscopic strawberries.  They even tasted like strawberries, though you’d need a couple hundred of them to make a handful.  I had to draw the little guy.  Full size this plant measure just over 1″ high.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (9×6 softcover), Micron 01.

The Beauty Of Ink On Paper

In another venue I commented that if not for the internet I might well never use color.  I met a friend for coffee in a park and saw this scene.  The next day I returned to sketch it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to mess it up with color.  The plants seemed to speak volumes, at least to me.

Stillman & Birn Alpha (8.5×5.5 softcover), Kaweco Lilliput, DeAtramentis Document Black ink

A Dip Into Contemporary Art

Every time I visit a museum and am faced with large canvas panels painted with a single color I wonder why I waste time drawing stuff.  It’s not that I’m enthused by these boring wall coverings.  It’s that I’m told they’re worth millions, while my art is worth nothing.  For some reason that matters.

So, I’m doing something about it.  I’m switching mediums again (acrylics this time) and increasing the size of my resulting artworks significantly.  My brush is now 4″ wide and I use a very limited palette but buy the paint in one gallon containers.

The one downside to this sort of art is that surface prep is extensive.  It involved cleaning and scrubbing, followed by sanding.  But ultimately I was ready to make modern art.  Here is my equipment.

I decided I should start small to get used to the materials.  The first problem I ran into was that I’m a sketcher of things so painting without things just isn’t right, so my first attempt was too representational.

My second attempt didn’t go much better.  I realized that I need to paint a different view from typical, working the angles and shapes to achieve art on a higher plane.  I’m afraid that I may still have missed the mark.

I must admit that modern art is harder than I thought.  I’m sure, though, that when my eight-foot square canvas and paint roller arrive, I’ll do better.

Until then I’ll pose a question.  Is this urban sketching?  These paintings were done on location.  They were done in an urban environment and there’s a reportage component to them.  And I’m sharing it with others, one sketch at a time.  Hmmm….

One thing is for sure.  While we say that sketching is about the process, not the product, this is not that.  The process is not fun.

Have a nice day everyone.