Monday, September 29, 2014

À la recherche du temps perdu

Mallards at the top and base of the dam. There's a small trickle of water flowing over the top. The rest is coated in algae and slime in which the ducks love to poke their beaks.
Sept. 28, 2014
ink, tusche

The fish ladder. I've only seen them trying to hurl themselves up the dam in the late Spring torrents.
Sept. 28, 2014
ink, tusche

I should name this swan. It's been here all summer. How about "Charles" after Charles Swann who has nothing better to do than look after his plumage and reminisce.
Sept. 28, 2014
ink, tusche

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Basics

September 22, 2014
September 20, 2014
ink, house paint
Mallard Duck
September 20, 2014
ink, house paint
September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014
ink, crayon

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Striper tease

quick ink sketches of a Great Blue Heron
Sept. 17, 2014
I like using my lanky Winsor & Newton #1 striper brush to do these types of drawings. So there you go: art tip of the day. It would be good for painting decorative lettering, scrollwork and ship's rigging. Or serious noodling on your fancy fingernails. But I'm no purist: I'll paint moonbeams with a brick if I think it'll make for a lively drawing.

My striper looks like this:
It has these very long bristles that hold lots of paint and keep a fine point. Good for paining lanky and pointy Great Blue Herons!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Low water duck magnet

Low water: a small trickle of water (white) falls over the dam
litho crayon
duck walking down the vertical face of the dam
ink, lithographic tusche

ducks above the dam dabble in unexpected places
at the top of the dam
green ink

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Like a Young Tree

a young cedar tree
On September 11th, it feels like only yesterday when all that bad stuff happened. In the following thirteen years I see new growth. I see how the world has changed. I've seen my children grow up from toddlers to teens and twenty.

Like a young tree, I hope you continue to seek and reach for the sun. I hope your roots find the water they need. Your leaves or fur, feathers, fingers may catch the light briefly and then allow yourself to shake it off like a dog. Carelessly send dripping spangles of your inconvenient joyousness on any surface or nearby strangers' clothes. Especially, that stranger's clothes.

There need be no apology for happiness. It's all so brief and then in a flash, it goes on and out.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

September Birds

31 August 2014
conté chalk, colored pencil
1 September 2014
1 September 2014
1 September 2014

1 September 2014

3 September 2014

7 September 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why I draw what I draw (English version)

Paolo Canton of Topipittori originally posted this essay in Italian on the Topipittori blog. There is also some nice response on Topipittori's facebook page. If you'd rather read it in the original English, see below:

Caro Paolo,

First, I want to thank you for your interest in me and my drawings. You have given me the opportunity to think about why I do what I do —and that is somewhat rare. Also, In a small way your interest validates and shows respect for me. This is a wonderful thing. I hope some day to meet you in person in Bologna or elsewhere.

Now: Regarding why I am drawing Nature and not book illustrations here:

I do these drawings in order to:
  1. draw (I love to draw and make pictures. Love it!)
  2. practice the art of drawing
  3. look at something —rather than take a photograph of it.
  4. to draw real things rather than imaginary things.
  5. study and learn about Nature
  6. stop thinking and worrying
  7. procrastinate
  8. meditate
  9. get some physical exercise
  10. to contemplate existence and the reasons for making Art
  11. create a record of my perceptions
  12. prove that I am alive
  13. prove that I once was alive (for anyone who cares!).

I draw in this manner in many places. The place I draw most of the time is at a park next to a river that is a ten minute walk from my home. The walk is good. The park is good. The river is good. The sound the river makes is very good. I like the animals and other people I see there. I know all the views and the way the light exists in this place. I could draw it every day (and I frequently do draw it every day).

Why? The compulsion? A confession: After some upsetting personal experiences, I found that I needed to get away from the house and studio. I needed to get away from my imagination. I needed to focus on something outside of myself that I loved: Nature. Nature is a neutral subject. I can feel passionately about it and yet it absorbs all the conflict, angst and whatever emotional state I might bring to it. It’s an emotional safety valve. It calms me down.  So, drawing, more than illustrating is a good activity for me.

All my drawings are done in letter-sized sketchbooks (similar to A4). I use all sorts of media (charcoal, crayon, ink, watercolor, colored pencil, etc.); I change it when the work or myself seem dull. Sometimes I work while the rain falls or in the bitter cold winter’s snow. All the changes make the process more interesting to me and hopefully, better drawings result.

What is a better drawing? Maybe your readers have opinions on this question.

I like my observations and my drawings. I have exhibited them a few times and I sell one or two. I wonder if they could ever be illustrations and accompany a text or poem. Hmm… I wonder. They are the illustrations of my life.

Thank you so very much for the opportunity to talk about this aspect of my work and especially for your appreciation of it.

Cari saluti,


Monday, September 1, 2014

It's September: The Mice Have Spoken!

Topipittori is a well-regarded  publisher of children's books in Milan. Of course, their selection of authors and illustrators is first-rate and the books are very handsomely designed and printed. But, you and I know that to be respected is due mostly to the integrity and artistry of just a few people who make this, publishing, their life's passion. Many thanks to Paolo Canton and his interest in the art and act of drawing and in his interest in my drawing! He is on a quest to understand (and never to be satisfied) why illustrators might spend time simply drawing. I haven't described Paolo's motivation very well. I hope you understand.

Mille grazie Topipittori e Paolo!

above: Ink drawings of ducks and swans done this morning, 1 September 2014

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