Gearing up for some workshops this week. Last week's class at the Appalachian Crafts Art Center was fun for me. I brought one of the still lifes that I've been working from lately myself, and I think some of my students may have hated me for it.
There was a simpler still life also of flowers, though, so I do have some mercy.
After this class I headed up for a hike along the Big South Fork. Almost all of the leaves have fallen but there were still some stragglers.
Some of the trees were even more interesting with their foliage shed. These are leaves collected from a kind of wild magnolia tree which has, I believe, the largest leaves of any tree in this country. It is sometimes called an umbrella tree or umbrella magnolia.
That's a size 12 boot for scale...
The leaves I collected have been drying out and I either need to flatten them with books or accept them as wrinkled and 3-D. I am not sure what these leaves are or will be or if they will end up as art somehow. Equally likely they will end up in a mulch bed outside this winter.
Gearing up for some classes this winter at Arrowmont in Gatlinburg. I'm excited to get back into life drawing. I am especially interested in expressive markmaking, and the aspect of time sensitivity in these sessions which put pressure to draw as if my life depended on it. Actually, to gain speed one of my instructors would suggest we imagine that a time bomb would explode in three minutes and we needed to capture the figure before it could go off. Now that I think about it, that makes no sense, but somehow motivated me...
Music is sometimes described as a decorated piece of time, and I think that this is equally true of visual art.
One of the things I'm enjoying about this blog is that it allows me to show some work that I don't have posted elsewhere. Going to hopefully teach a multimedia class also involving both printmaking, drawing and handmade books. This is an example of such a project I completed in 2010
The images in the book and on the cover were either drawn from or printed from photographs taken from a moving car at dusk or at night. I like how the format of a book provides a very basic moving narrative similar to moving around in space in a moving vehicle over time.
Especially I love the mood that is created by these quick and dirty processes. Because I spent a period of time being very interested in detail in my art, many people seem to assume I'm some sort of type A neat freak... in reality the opposite is true, and the interest in detail was maybe an attempt to overcompensate for not being able to manage all of the other chaos in my life.
This is a similar problem I have with printmaking... it is very craft based often and things like inky dirty fingers can ruin an otherwise pristine work of art... So this process of something like xerox mylar prints is appealing in that the dirty, inky edges appear to be intentional and enhance the over all look and mood.
This tension between controlled skill and chaotic expression something I continue to explore and still struggle in navigating.
We all have our enemies to contend with, whether real or perceived.
One day, Spike. One day... You will get to those cats on TV.
One of the things I thought I would include are some process images.
Below are some camera phone shots of some recent in progress drawings.
I've been experimenting with using blind contour drawings not only for applying line but also color. I gathered a lot of dead stuff on a hike one day.. it is autumn and a lot of things are dying back...which can transform the familiar into whimsical, Seussical forms, the foddor for getting lost in details. These are the subject of my latest drawings.
I've developed a sort of system for applying color as part of the blind contour process. I think that esoteric systems can make for interesting drawings. That is the hope, anyway. One of the things that appeals to me about blind contour is the unusual spatial relationships that the process creates.
Another black and white drawing of the same subject. This one has perhaps better detail although the disorienting spatial relationship may not be as strong.
In the detail shots you can see experimentation with applying shading as part of the blind contour process.
The goal with this type of drawing for me is to have sensitive detail that goes beyond superficial description.
I'm teaching a beginning drawing class tomorrow at an arts center. This process of blind contour will be part of it as well as other techniques. It seems that students take a while to warm up to blind contour, so I may be alone in my love for it.
It will be a rainy day so I may bring along natural objects for drawings which have some nice complex forms.
This is a first entry for my art website, but for this post I thought I would begin by discussing science.
I will not pretend to be skilled in this area or to have much knowledge, but I like science... and I like what it does, or can do. Recently I've started volunteering at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where I'll help track data of how trees respond to climate changes over time.
It is a fun project for me because it is helping me learn a little bit more about tree species identification and gives me an excuse to go to the park... I like that it is making me look more closely at this plot and appreciate its details. Which also happens to be something that I love about observational drawing...
One of the things I happened to notice today was this bird's nest, a vero's I think.
With art I've moved lately from working from imagination to doing more observational drawing. The biggest motivator is that I love this process... the way that inevitably during the course of drawing one starts to see their surroundings differently, in greater detail and definition, as if for the first time.
It felt as though this idea came full circle for me today during the process of recording phenology data about trees, when as I marked things about leaves and seeds, it was as if I was only comprehending for the first time something I had seen and walked beneath for my entire life.