Friday, September 8, 2017

Private Moments

Mallard
ink, oil stick
09-03-17
Mallard
charcoal, rain
09-03-17
Mallard and foam
ink, oil stick
09-03-17
Mallard on top of dam
ink, charcoal, acrylic
09-05-17

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Facelift

The Pleasant Street Bridge has gotten a facelift this year. It's an important and old span across the Charles River a few minutes walk from my house. Many cars and trucks depend on it each day. It got new sidewalks, new asphalt deck, new utility conduits and now, the old stones themselves are being repointed. A construction crew has created a temporary dam and is pumping the water away from one of the four arches so they can work beneath in the dank, cave-like space.

The wildlife has taken it all in stride. I've seen ducks perching on top of the spare iron scaffolding that awaits near the second arch. Ducks and geese avail themselves of the line of sandbags that secures the leading edge of the cofferdam.

All the cars that zoom or creep overhead will not notice any changes. They're glad that the crews are finished up top (save for the striping and maybe another bit of asphalt) and they can get on with their commutes.

The river is low so it is jam-packed with mallards and a few dependable herons and the occasional kingfisher. I predict the usual September spate of duck drawings as Autumn asserts itself; unless we get a hurricane that is. We're supposed to get the unimpressive remains of Hurricane Harvey tonight and tomorrow. I hope the pump keeps pumping so the workers can get back to work after Labor Day.

08-30-17-iron02
ink, charcoal

08-27-17-bridgework
ink, charcoal

08-28-17-river
ink, charcoal, pencil

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ducky

Have a good weekend. I'll be hanging with the ducks probably.
:)
08-11-17
ink

08-09-17
oil stick, ink
08-09-17
crayon, ink, charcoal, oil stick
08-09-17
oil stick, charcoal, ink

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Shibata Zeshin

07-08-17
ink, wash, charcoal
detail
08-01-17d
ink, watercolor
The grayscale watercolor above was painted in about 45 minutes about a month ago from the Pleasant Street bridge near my house. It's about 18 x 24 inches. The next morning I drew a similar image of a heron in my sketchbook. I just finished it a few days ago. A friend compared the colored image, a studio work, to Japanese lacquer art. I think she was responding to the detail, small scale and limited color. And the bird of course! This got me thinking of a Japanese artist I've taken a recent interest in: Shibata  Zeshin  (1. wikipedia 2. MFA Boston collections).

Shibata Zeshin made paintings, prints and lacquerware in 19th century Edo. He straddled the late-Edo and Meiji eras of Japanese history. His work is well-regarded, interesting and very well made. For some observers however, he is too modern and pandering to Western art or too conservative to cause a ripple in the very self-aware universe of Japanese art. I think that many artists and illustrators find themselves somewhere in a similar divided dilemma: paying homage to tradition and paying homage to the tradition of inventiveness. Such is the life of the artist. Best to let the work lead where it will and tune out the many voices that comment and critique.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Calligraphy of Creation

The bird populations here seem to be nearly dependable now this late in the Summer. Still, I jump at the chance to draw these creatures which are in constant motion: soaring, stalking prey, or dabbling in the shallows.
It's all a calligraphy of Creation and I never tire of it. There were some sublime moments just this morning --but I haven't scanned those yet. Patience; these are from last week+.

The Willow Tree
ink, paints stick, charcoal
07-23-17
Geese
ink, vine charcoal
07-23-17
Swifts
ink, charcoal
07-23-17

Swifts
ink, charcoal
07-30-17

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Great Blue Heron

He's baaaaack…
07-14-17
charcoal
07-16-17
ink, colored pencil
07-14-17
charcoal
07-13-17
ink
07-08-17
ink, charcoal, paint stick
detail
07-08-17
ink

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fanciful and Real Birds

I recently saw a wonderful exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum entitled "Highest Heaven: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art from the Collection of Roberta and Richard Huber." This show closes on July 9th just a few days from now. It consists primarily of Baroque Period religious art from Central and South America: Peru, Bolivia, México, etc. I focused on a number of works that included birds. They are very fanciful and are similar to some fine contemporary children's book illustration. It makes me wonder.

Below these are a few samples of my recent realistic bird drawings. These make me wonder too!
silver missal stand: detail, Peru, 1700's
detail from a painted desk, Peru or Bolivia, 1700's 
Swallows
ink
06-11-17

Great Blue Heron
ink
07-4-17
Moon and birds
ink, charcoal
06-14-17

Friday, June 9, 2017

Day to Day

Too many images! Are your eyes blurring? Darting to and fro? Me too.
Sometimes it's easier to make pictures than to look at them. I drew these last week and wanted to see them all in one place. Cross that off the list.
Carry on!
Grackle
06-02-17

Irises
06-02-17

The dam
06-03-17
The river
06-03-17
Trees
06-04-17
The Bridge
06-06-17
Trees
06-08-17
Utility Pole
06-09-17

Friday, June 2, 2017

Blue

The Island
crayon
06-01-17
When I was a kid, knowing the answer to this question was important:
"What's your favorite color?"
I always answered "Blue!"

Nowadays, I like all colors and I take pride in having an infinite number of favorite colors simultaneously. If you ask me today "What's your favorite color?" I will answer: "YES!" (But I still like blue quite a bit.) Here are some predominantly blue sketchbook pages --mostly recent work but a few date back further.


This book, as a matter of fact has a lot of blue in it
(but that's another story!)

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