Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ebb and Flow

May is a month of great variety in Massachusetts. We might have frost this weekend. Last weekend, the temperatures were in the 80's. We live under a sea of turbulent air near the Atlantic Ocean that varies with the general shifting weather patterns. Life at the dam has its ebb and flow too. The fishermen come and go with the fish. The same is true of the swifts and barn swallows. They follow the shifting flocks of insects …just like the fish (and the fishermen).

Drawing birds in flight (at speeds of…?) is an interesting exercise. The form needs to be registered in your imagination yet be red hot from actual observation to have a chance of drawing something convincing. I think I got it… maybe. I should draw more of this fleeting subject.

detail: swift in flight

litho tusche, crayon
There can be an actual ebb and flow in drawing of course. Some days are better than others. Sometimes it's best to just sit and watch or maybe snap a few photographs. Below are the remains of a crayon and ink wash drawing that I started while a gentle rain began. The rain fell heavier and I hastened to finish my sketch with ink. There were black puddles everywhere and I had to stanch the flow with a rag I keep for blotting and cleaning my brushes. All that was left was the insoluble wax crayon and water-spattered textures of the ink. Ebb and flow!

(the rain got heavier as I made this drawing and washed away the ink.)
a "before" picture!
And, in case you're wondering exactly how fast a swallow flies, I direct you to this useful clip from "Monty Python and The Holy Grail."

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