Earth the Planet

My project of clearing out/organizing the studio/art storage continues and is generating some rich new collage materials. Namely recycled paintings. Today’s piece is one such repurposed (treasured but ill conceived) painting. The painted images coincided with recent musings about global warming, weather patterns, and the Mars Rover landing. 

Earth the planet

Earth my home

Earth where I sit now

Eyes open. . . on the surface

Eyes closed. . .out where

the turning edge is

      visible

Out where the earth is

soft edges through swirling clouds

the ink of night

illumined by that cosmic inner

light that makes stars

makes us gasp Yes!

The stuff I’m made of.

A note about the symbol, an unfinished upside down (eastern) symbol for Earth, which turned into the (Christian etc) symbol for resurrection or Tau. Sometimes the most interesting part of art making comes after the end, when artifacts appear. Is the world headed for resurrection of sorts? One can hope.

Enemy Combatants

When you want to know what a rorschach is trying to tell you, just pick up a pen and take dictation as it begins to talk. It’s usually nonsense at first, but just keep going and you might be surprised! The rorschach painting I demo-ed in a quick video a couple weeks ago (see here ) talked to me and here’s what it said.

fluid acrylics and gesso on w/c paper

Enemy Combatants

They didn’t know how ridiculous they looked

these strutting enemy combatants

nor how much alike they were

. . . twins really

Passionately they cared for their towering headwear

their voluminous feathered capes which

simultaneously raised to reveal

chests with medals won in [internet-only] battles.

Little did they realize (giggle giggle)

that their precious manly parts would

thus spill out for all to see

and measure and compare and

(much worse) to snigger

These combatants, trapped on the paper as they are

pose no threat to readers here

Yet we are reminded of those who

in their manly posturing

do great injury to innocent souls

Remind you of anyone?

Historical portraits

We were cleaning/clearing our massive collection of photography books last week and Andrew “discovered” a monograph of August Sander’s portraits published by Aperture Foundation 1977. Sander has been referred to as “the soul and chronicler” of post WWI Germany.  Andrew immediately started drawing from this amazing source of human history and I soon followed. 

Starting with mine here. . .

dip pen and brush with sumi ink on heavy drawing paper

I guess it’s possible that one might find such a fellow as this in an upscale bakery, but the expression, the stance. . .I don’t know. . .it seemed of another time.

And Andrew’s next:

by Andrew Cornelis

Andrew gets all this texture with two pens, one superfine Micron and a brush pen. And he’s not satisfied with copying, except the clothing maybe and the facial characteristics. And then the fun weirdness of his mind takes over and exaggerates!

Ok, so when I saw how much fun my son was having with exaggeration, I asked his advise and these two boxers I picked out to draw got a workover.

When I was done he patted me on the back and said “that’s good Mom” and I glowed a bit.

by Andrew Cornelis

Actually this was Andrew’s first real stab at portraiture, from a picture on Sktchy, minus the mushrooms which he added.

drawn with black pen and painted with sumi ink on heavy drawing paper

This is a guy from the Sktchy archives.  In the picture he was sitting in his car and must have taken a selfie. Thank goodness! His was one of the best sources I’ve run across for working with light and shadow shapes. It was almost easy to forget it was a face and just paint layer after layer of glazed shapes, without worrying about color or even subtlety. I could have kept going for a while with more detail and correction, but I stepped back and was stunned to see this fellow glowering back at me. So I figured it must be done.

To see more of Andrew’s drawings visit his Tumblr page.

Happy Valentines

Happy Valentine’s Day! This (framed) piece has been hanging in our bathroom for 8 years now. Time to bring it  (in the original post) back on another Valentine’s Day. Hope yours is full of love and mutual caring! -Susan

handcaressinginks, gesso, collage, pen drawing, feathers and lace texture transfer on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Love is leaning against your leg all folded up like a new born calf, soft and subtle and strong as your hands say SAFE.

This one for my valentine and for the men and women lovers in the world.  As I posted this image I realized its connection to the One Billion Rising action today, asserting that our world must stop the violence commited against the one billion women of the planet (one in every 3).  I pray for all women to be able to experience the loving care of men like my husband.  And tonight I will dance with women all around the world in a V-day rising up and demanding an end to this violence against women.

On the art side of this. . .another experiment in relationship collage done in the…

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Landscapes of near and far

. . .just to get the sketchbook and watercolors outside in nature,

to set up the three legged stool and have it sink into the soft forest bed,

to use the lap as a table and the eyes as a sponge to soak up the shapes and colors of the trees and plants,

to forget that it’s just a bit too cold in the shade,

to remember to include what is of greatest interest before you,

to know that you will not forget it when it goes into the sketchbook

where it will always be there to fire off distinct sensory memories of those moments along a trail on a winter afternoon. . .

The sketchbook rarely comes along on nature walks these days. The walks are more about exercise and contemplation. But for a change, last week, a stop along a trail. . .at a complex forest scene, as seen looking down into a ravine from a distance . . .

watercolor, Gray Fox ink, white gel pen in field watercolor journal 8 x 8″

While on an earlier page of the sketchbook, a precious memory from a trip to Ireland four years ago:

Painted from one of my photos taken on the trip. It made me remember how much I loved being there, in a way that will never leave me, and surely bring me back one day.

 

I Can’t Stop!

I can’t stop painting portraits! It helps that I spend most of my time at home now, because of the pandemic, and often in my studio. And it helps that Andrew has started a daily regime of portrait sketching with me. So here’s my latest. I promise to show some of his here again soon. All poses found on the sktchy app

Watercolor on beige toned paper

Gotta love that attitude!

white gouache on black toned paper

Black and white drama without subtlety or any control of the values. Frustrating, but I’ll keep at it, because the stark values get the point across without all the niceties.

watercolor on gray toned paper with a bit of pastel pencil

The light reflecting off the glasses is what makes this such a great pose, by Rick N.

watercolor on gray toned paper

Initially it was the wispy white hair I liked, but then as I started to draw I thought, “This guy [Duke KM] probably has interesting thoughts and would be fun to talk to. That’s what happens when you draw/paint someone. You start to get really interested in them.

In the winter garden

There’s so much going on now in the winter garden. I keep poking my head outside my studio door to see how the Gulf Fritillary chrysalid is coming along with its metamorphosis. Moments ago it was wiggling its wing and two shiny eyes looked back at me from within its leaf-like encasing. Want to see?

I’m hoping it gets on with it before nightfall. It’s not something one wants to miss!

And then those fuzzy little knobs all over the pipevine are starting to plump out into the orchid-like red Dutchmen’s pipes I have sketched so many times. And that means that some time this month the butterflies will also arrive and lay their eggs and. . .well you know the cycle.

And then, since it’s been raining off and on, we have a new crop of ‘shrooms that are particularly lovely as they progress through the stages of their own life cycle.

All this to be enjoyed even without a vaccine!

More fun with faces

watercolor, pastel pencil, gel pen on gray toned paper (Stillman + Birn Nova Trio sketchbook)

Every couple days I “stalk” the Sktchy app for some particularly intriguing/challenging portrait subject that other artists have drawn/painted.

Gouache on black paper

I haven’t made much headway on painting with gouache on black paper. I at least imagine it would be so much easier to use pastels since they are opaque, but I keep trying to make the water media work. Oh well, at least it’s a great exercise in seeing negative shapes!

I easily get bored with big hair, but for this I got lost in swirling with my brush and prefered the dark lilac-gray to her black hair.

More swirls with the brush and coming in at the end with some gouache color in the shadows really woke this one up.

Rorschach

I hadn’t done a rorschach blot painting in a long time. You know, the proverbial inkblot that psychologists have used to diagnose patients by listening to their answers about what they see in the inkblot. Rorschachs are a great way to project your imagination onto the screen of your paper. In more abstract, expressive painting sometimes it’s hard to get started. Not so, when you start with rorschach play. I always find my mind kicking into high gear with hallucinations, ideas, stories, and occasional wisdom. Here’s the latest.

India ink, acrylic, screen and paper collage on w/c paper

They were doing a little dance, like children do, or maybe there were playing hopscotch. I don’t know. And as the sidewalk heaved up between them, a golden light escaped from below. A veil had lifted from their eyes, and they gazed down bewildered, and maybe a bit bewitched, but in a good way.

Meanwhile wise ones, taking their measure of the children, sent their emissaries, in readiness to draw the veil again if some mischief arose.

But the two tiny characters became fearful. Are we allowed? they asked. And there was at first no answer.

Then they heard it, a crackle and a hiss, a snap and a pop. That was it! They ran away shrieking, leaving the pots of treasure untouched.

And so it is for us all, that we fear those treasures which wait for us to find them, meanwhile searching in all the wrong places.

Would you like to try a rorschach of your own? I recorded a three minute demo today to show you how.

To watch the demo click here.

Caw Caw!

A crow arrived in my meditation, a big black bird body, up close and personal with his back to me – demanding attention like all his cohorts in the skies, on branches and wires, beak open and loudly proclaiming, or was it complaining? I wondered if I could ask for a smattering of blessings from the crow proclaimer, blessings for us earthbound mortals. 

So I did some art and asked.

collaged, hand painted papers

(And Crow spoke)

“Look to each other

be the sentinel at your friend’s gate

stand watch over that which is most precious

to yourself and also to others

listen to others’ voices

and speak your own clearly

base your claim to nobility

on your readiness to share

your own inner wealth.”