095:365 Memory of an African Violet

095:365 Memory of an African Violet

“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some devine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Today nostalgia washes over me, both happiness and sadness. The double edged sword of being in the place one grew up is that there are so many people and places that one knows intimately. One knows how to get around but one also knows what has been around.

This is a memory of a drawing I used to do as a child. A one liner of muscle memory and imagination that nobody but me remembers. Today felt like that somehow.

093:365 Sunset

093:365 Sunset

Today a colorful motif that might make part of a neat textile pattern. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have time to go do some more Spoonflower designs!

This is just playing with color and lines.

Too tired right now for more writing. Though I do better at doing these in the morning, with more effort and better results devoted to them, there is something nice about finishing the day with a few focused thoughts while Gracie sits next to me and purrs.

091:365 Meditation

091:365 Meditation

This is a motif that has come up before, and I’m never quite satisfied with the result.

A figure for one reason or another portrayed as an aura.

And today, this contemplative image of a flower-petal person glowing.

I’m actually not sure who the person is. There have been enough people I know in the last year or so dealing with loss that it could be any one of them. Putting it down on paper is probably inspired by seeing a friend today. But this image has been floating there in my head for awhile, trying to find form.

This version is more successful than previous attempts, though its genesis is different (previously sensuality, currently loss or pain).

As I’ve mentioned before, many of my drawings over the last few years have been explorations or meditations on emotional states.

It all began many years ago when I began describing people that I knew in terms of what kind of fabric they felt like to me. They turned into semi-recognizable (to me anyway) prose-poems that described not just what someone looked like, but some essence that is hard to pin down.

As time has gone on, and my motivation and scope of art-making has changed, this project of trying to capture the fleeting essence of people, or their relationships has taken on other guises. The multi-layered “water” drawings I did while I lived in Madrid; or photos that I’ve manipulated and superimposed (with little success, none of these have I shown anyone).

This drawing seems like it’s getting somewhere. Enough of an image for people to connect to, with enough abstraction to convey a broader message.

090:365 White & Purple Crocus

090:365 White & Purple Crocus

When I was a kid, I loved oil pastels. I’d draw bright flowers, beautiful hillsides, and starry nights. There were drawings I’d do over and over, never exactly the same, but following the same formal constraints. Hill just so, sun or moon with these pastel-marks.

As a grown artist, I look back on those drawings with both fondness and chagrin.

Inspiration White & Purple Crocus

On the one hand, they were familiar forms that helped me perfect my technique. Drafts, as it were, that developed into skill with mark-making, composition, and iconography.

On the other, they like banal over-studied forms that stopped investigating new meaning.

We artists must constantly balance the need to investigate new horizons with the desire to connect with our audience. Many of the wild drawings I did in Madrid, which to me are emotional investigative storms on A3 paper, seem like decorative art to the viewer, while my repeated drawings of Gracie, with different techniques and stories, seem like developed work to the viewer.

It is necessary to repeat. It is necessary to connect. It is necessary to delve.

These necessities are why there are multiple strains of work that show up as I continue through this project.

None of this is really about the crocus drawing above. It represents another investigation into macro perspective beauty through the medium of paper and pastel instead of camera and pixels. It is not the end of developing technique.

One reason I like doing macro-photography is because it satisfies my need to delve and look at abstract form while still remaining approachable to the viewer, and it is fun to repeat the technique and change the angle to fit in with my body of work because it involves looking so close that there are always new things to see.

Spring flowers are so pretty. Took a bunch of photos today of what’s sprouting in the yard. Expect more flowers, banal though they may be.

089:365 Amaryllis Bud

089:365 Amaryllis Bud

This entry is being written a day late. This is the drawing that I meant to do yesterday but didn’t do until tonight.

In a private lesson, we’ve been looking at famous artists. We started with Van Gogh, whose sunflowers are bright and shiny, though they don’t bloom until Summer or Autumn. Then last week and this, we’ve been looking at Georgia O’Keeffe whose beautiful fields of varied color create abstracted floral forms. Her work is somewhat less approachable for Young Learners, but with the segue of looking first at Van Gogh’s recognizable, if distorted images, her work makes a good entry into looking at color blending, mixing, and theory.

Working with these drawings as well as reading through the collected letters I mentioned a day or two ago, I find inspiration in how O’Keeffe looked at the world. In photo, macro is one of my favorite ways of looking, and so perhaps now is time to explore the beauty of macro more extensively in these drawings.

Years ago, I made an attempt at drawing an amaryllis as it began growing, but the results were far from satisfactory. This more abstract version feels nicer, but because of my current focus on O’Keeffe’s work, it also feels somewhat derivative. Hopefully, derivative or not, you the viewer find some beauty in these marks on paper.

Inspiration Amaryllis Bud