Friday, December 19, 2014

The Merganser

Hooded Merganser (male)
Lophodytes cucullatus
crayon, tusche
12-17-2014
about
These shy but active ducks stay near the dam in the winter. There's currently a group of two males and one female. As soon as I approach, they swim to the other side of the pool above the dam. They are often busy, diving below the surface hunting for small fish or crustaceans to eat. I like the idea that an animal can be described as "busy". This somehow cheers me up. What animal cheers you up?

Bonne journée!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wires

"Wires"
charcoal
12/16/2014
Our glittering and magical "devices" (a catch-all term for tablets, computers and smartphones) fail to acknowledge the airborne and underground wires and cables that are the bones of the Information Superhighway. So here, la voilà, is said Superhighway. It's lovely in a way.

And then there are the electrical power plants digesting and burning coal, the sun, even atoms to power these hand-held delights. Top this with the holes in the earth where the precious and rare metals came from. One device is the tip of a spear of environmental and economic interdependence. It's sobering, having the entire world at your doorstep: the great unwashed who toil and soil themselves for our pleasure, the Kardashians and lolcats too. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Coots & Cows

Big rains have filled up the river. It thunders over the dam.
charcoal
12-11-14
One day later: river is till rising. The island is inundated
colored pencil
12-12-14
from a Saturday morning walk around Lake Waban in Wellesley
ink, charcoal
12-13-14

Today at Lake Waban: Coots, I love coots!
ink
12-13-14

Cows, I can't draw cows!
ink, charcoal
12-13-14


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Early December sketches

The park, the bridge, the river, the island, reflections
charcoal, ink
11-30-14

The forest near my house and snow
ink
11-30-14

Two Blue Ducks
crayon
12-1-14

The View Across the River
colored pencil
12-1-14

The Pleasant Street Bridge
ink, crayon
12-4-14

The view upriver, pine tree
ink, charcoal
12-4-14

The Bridge
ink, charcoal
12-5-14

 A Swan
colored pencil, ink
12-5-14

The Island
charcoal, ink
12-7-14

Pleasant Street
lithographic tusche, ink
12-7-14


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Sparrow

Sparrow
ink, crayon
11-30-14
Patience is a gloveless drawing of complicated tangled branches in the cold sunlight until a sparrow alights and sings a fragment of its song and then flies away.

Below are a few more drawings of small birds.

Yellow Warbler



herons and a dead finch

a baby wren

Robin on its nest

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Hawk

This morning, high above in a leafless walnut tree, a red tailed hawk contemplated the meaning of Thanksgiving. The sky was a deep gray, covered in a low, thick blanket of sullen wintery clouds. No ducks. The swan has left. The heron is indisposed. Even the sparrows are gone off, perhaps to that feeder in my back yard which delights and torments my house-bound cats. So the hawk looked on. His feathers all fluffed up keeping it warm. It flew off as I was absorbed with my final sketch. Do wild animals say "Thank you?"

It started to sprinkle rain which will turn to snow tonight. I walked home and put a few more yard things away for the coming season and took out a few snow shovels to keep nearby.  I also filled the bird feeders. I love their cheeping and chattering. Cheep!

Red Tailed Hawk
charcoal
11-26-14

Red Tailed Hawk
charcoal, burnt siena
11-26-14

Red Tailed Hawk
charcoal, burnt siena
11-26-14

Friday, November 21, 2014

Icicles!

First icicles
colored pencil
11/20/14

Choppy water
paint stick, oil pastel
11/21/14

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Say Hello…

tree reflections
charcoal
11-19-2014
It's quite cold and windy today. I made this uncomplicated drawing in 15-20 minutes with gloves on.
I'm trying to face the fact that winter is here. Yeah. I'll offer to take his coat and hang it up and we'll settle in for a few months of discomfort, quietude and icy beauty. The river will continue to flow even when it is covered with ice. Perhaps the ducks will find an ice shelf near the island to shelter from the wind and sleet. Maybe one reason we have winter and why I don't mind it so much is that it whets my appetite for spring —which is only five months away :-0

Ducks on the ice

Ice forming above the dam

Winter encampment
Flowers will bloom again!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Some Trees

stone wall, trees, ground cover
ink, charcoal
11-9-14

Tree by a river
conté pencil
11-11-14
morning sun through the trees
ink, charcoal
10-12-14

Friday, November 7, 2014

Process & Presence


I'm thinking about David Hockney's prodigious drawings and paintings of landscapes: "The Arrival of Spring" (at PACE, New York; just closed). Funny, to hang this show as the Northern hemisphere looks with resignation to the dark and rainy winter months.

David Hockney, Woldgate, 6–7 February, from The Arrival of Spring in 2013 (twenty thirteen). Charcoal on paper. 22 5/8 x 30 1/4 in. © 2013 David Hockney. Photo: Richard Schmidt

David Hockney drawing Woldgate, February 6-7, from The Arrival of Spring in 2013
Photo: David Hockney
source: The Guardian, May 7, 2014

Like my drawings of The South Natick Dam and Lake Waban, Hockney's are probably not the greatest landscape art ever done. A more positive similarity is that like Hockney, and countless other artists, I feel a comfortable command of my medium and metier. I believe we use our fear of drawing badly as our greatest weapon to produce work that matters to us, in the moment, and perhaps for much longer. But who cares? It's simply the process that defines presence.


Looking downriver
charcoal
11-2-14
Looking Across the Dam
charcoal, ink
10-24-14
Tree
charcoal, ink
11-7-14
The Pleasant Street Bridge
charcoal
11-7-14

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Black, Blue & Red

Tree
ink, charcoal
10-31-14
Reflections
colored pencil
11-3-14

Two ducks
conté pencil
11-3-14

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Heron Hunting

With the high water, the heron hunts from the shore at the base of the dam
(charcoal pencil)
When I try to sneak up on it, the heron spreads its mighty wings and glides away to safety.
(drawn from memory)
pencil, watercolor  
This time it settled near a thicket downstream on the opposite bank.
(china marker crayon)
…He looks like a gentleman waiting for a train
(detail)
Other days, after escaping, he sneaks under the bridge and lurks in the overhanging branches downstream.  I'm onto you Mr. Heron!
(oil stick)


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