Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Mustard Seed Manual

Death haunts us but Life also continuously calls us to observe and celebrate the mystery of our mostly-conscious existence. I celebrate some of that by drawing pictures of what I can see and have experienced. Lately, I've been drawing with ink with a variety of brushes.

Klaus von Mirbach reminded me of "The Mustard Seed Manual" the other day and I'm almost sorry I looked at it again after so many years. The Mustard Seed Manual or Chieh Tzu Yuan Hua Chuan, 芥子園畫傳 "Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden" (facsimile) is an illustrated text of some of the methods and attributes of Chinese painting. It was compiled and printed in the late 1600's.

My use of it is superficial at best. If you like Asian painting and calligraphy or you are an artist, I recommend that you check it out. However, even a cursory viewing will affect how you paint. What happens next is your own story.

Education of any type is like a rock thrown into a river, it makes a big splash but soon the current incorporates the disturbance into its larger identity. Our job is to appreciate and nurture that identity. Making Art helps with me do this job. You could call it one's life work. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Les Poissons

Two fish seen from a bridge at Lake Waban
July 26, 2014
Here are a few more fish:

Greenhouse goldfish
Dec. 18, 2012 
minnows in a garden pool
Dec. 29, 2012

Thursday, July 24, 2014

For Klaus

Here is a small compendium of drawings of geese (and a few other birds). I've drawn quite a few more over the years.

I hope you like them.

a sleeping swan
mallard and ducklings


not ink (colored pencil)

sepia ink

geese and one swan

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Armenian Heritage Park

The Armenian Genocide Memorial
Last weekend, I toured the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway linear park in downtown Boston. The winding parkway is comprised of a series of gardens, spaces, fountains and paths that have blossomed in the wake of the depression of the Central Artery (I-93) that separated the waterfront and North End from the rest of the city. It was a beautiful afternoon and many locals and tourists were out enjoying the city.

Near the parkway's northern terminus is the Armenian Heritage Park.

The sculpture is the fascinating yet quiet and peaceful focal point. Here's the story behind its design:
The idea for the 12-sided sculpture came from a stacking geometric toy [Donald] Tellalian [chief architect and designer of the park] found in a gift shop in Rome in the mid-1960s. The shape’s property of coming apart and nesting in different configurations seemed to him a perfect metaphor for immigrants pulled from their birth communities and forced to reshape lives in a new country. To dramatize this dynamic process, the sculpture, which has 32 possible forms, will be re-configured annually. source
More information on the Memorial

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inky Geese

Someone requested that I do more ink drawings of geese.
So I did: July 15th, 2014
Happy to oblige!
Bonne journée!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book of Geese

An illustration student gave me a small sketchbook this Spring. I decided to dedicate it to several days of observations of geese.

Thanks to Julia Walters of the Art Institute of Boston-Lesley University. Julia got in touch with me several years ago after I'd shown my sketchbooks at the college. Over coffee I reviewed her portfolio which was full of heartfelt and astute designs and observations of Nature. She's currently exploring surface design and the cover of the sketchbook features a small silkscreen print of some flowers and leaves. I wish her the best as she embarks on her career!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Big Fish


Carp schooling in the shallows below the dam
pencil, watercolor
It was treat to see the spectacle of a dozen or more large carp swimming back and forth in the shallow water at the face of the dam yesterday. I saw them in the morning when I'm customarily "sur la motif" (a la Cézanne). I returned at 4:00 p.m. with my wife and the carp were still there only the light was better. I could count 15-17 fish. They are each about 2-3 feet long. They are gray with large scales.

I've met a few purists, fly fishermen mostly, who disdain fishing for carp. A traditional and dependable carp bait is canned corn. I came across this in my online research: dough balls (exactly what they are I'm not sure —bread?) are good carp bait. On an interesting note, one fellow was convinced that dough balls exposed to his wife's feminine "hormones" were the best carp bait of all. The person relating this bit of fishing lore went on to say that even though the man's wife did not like carp she liked him enough to provide this specialized service [source].

Probably just another fish story!
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