February 2005 Archives

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Studies drawn with my newest pens, the Pilot Hi-Tec-Cs I ordered from jetpens.com in a fit of faddishness early last week - not enough to be working in a moleskine, I guess, but have to try the obscure cheap pens, too.

The hand on the right was mostly drawn with the finest line: .25mm, with some shading done with a .50mm pen. Then I turned the book and drew again, this time with the heavier line throughout. Good practice, if nothing else, and now my right hand is more tired than my left.

I think I like these Hi-Tec-Cs even better than the Sigma Microns - the ink flows so nicely and so far they do not scratch. Wonder how long they'll last. . .

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Noticed the first daffodil spikes pushing through the snow and took a snapshot. This evening I made a sketch from the photo. Blue skies, longer days - soon we'll be able to smell that muddy almost warm earth. . .

Bought some new pens today: Sigma Microns to enable my stippling habit (including an 005 -.20 mm!) and a Sigma Brush for quick gesture sketches. Also ordered a new sketchbook - have only a couple of weeks left in my current little moleskine, and have decided to try a Fabriano, just to see what it is like to use a different size and type of book.

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More pen and ink on Saturday afternoon: a bowl of (real) fruit, a basket of silk flowers, and one of the livingroom chairs. (This is the chair where last night's kilim pillow usually lives.)

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Probably the most comfortable wooden chair in the house. I put the kilim pillow on it for the drawing - it is usually on one of the striped chairs in the living room. So tempting to add color to the kilim. . . but I will be true to practice in pen and ink, for now.

Stippling is such a satisfying way to shade an image. Takes a long time, but it is gradual enough that I don't get nervous about the stray dots and can work pretty freely.

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Heavy - made of iron for tamping down weft yarns by hand. The incised design is like those found in kilim motifs.

I bought this in Turkey, during the summer of 2002. I saw weavers using tools just like it, and even used one myself when I wove a few rows of one rug. The weight of the tool does a lot of the work for you, as you let it fall against the newly woven bits every couple of rows.

The idea is straightforward: spend a day travelling around your city / town / neighborhood and draw as much as possible all day long. Sketch 'till you crawl.

Over at sketchcrawl.com they have announced the second worldwide sketchcrawl on Sunday, March 6th.

If Pittsburgh's weather cooperates (meaning: not actually pouring with freezing rain and sleet) I think it sounds like a splendid project. I will figure out a place to start and confer with family on logistics and post more about this closer to that Sunday.

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Notes from the bottom of the sketch:

This has been in my study, though I have never opened wine there - among the old and odd pieces of metal and wooden tools - forms I find attractive - good to look at - smoothed from years of use - objects with stories or history to them.

(Back to pen and ink for a while, I think - I have so much to learn about line.)

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A found still life: the corner of the desk in the living room.

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P.G.Wodehouse on my bedside table. A worn and stained copy - the red binding is coming off. Psmith, Lord Emsworth, Bertie W., and, of course, Jeeves are all there inside.

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The coffee cup was drawn at Tazza d'Oro, a cafe where we stopped after our planned walk and playground visit in Highland Park. (I wimped out of the walk - it was blowing and snowy and I was cold.) When we got home, I added watercolor crayon, because I've been missing color after the past two weeks.

Piper painted with me, then fell asleep on the sofa, which gave me a chance to try drawing her - I was reading at the other end of the sofa when I noticed that she had gotten very still and very quiet.

I like combining different parts of one day on the page.

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This is a chair at the top of the long staircase at the Carnegie Museum, drawn standing up, because I liked the angle and the composition better that way.

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The kitchen window has steamed over with the good smells of supper in progress. Still some light in the sky at about six. Spring will come in spite of snow tonight.

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The spirited horse design is carved into dark green stone and set in a silver pendant. I bought it in Turkey, summer before last, and was told that it was of Turkmen origin and maybe 40-50 years old. Maybe. I love to wear it.

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"First it looked like someone walking down the street - and that's all I know. And the parts on top are the lines on the street."

- the youngest critic

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More contour drawing. . .

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"The bottom looks like a twirly skirt - the top looks like something, but I don't know what it is."

- my youngest critic

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Last week I concentrated on pen and ink. This week I think I will stay with that, but try to be looser, messier with line... take some more chances and see what happens. I like the wiry scribble of contour drawings, so I will keep exploring in that direction for a while.

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Porch pillars and ivy - window latch - Mark playing.

All views from a late Saturday afternoon.

I wrote: Music being made in the other room as I sit on the red sofa and sketch. Arrangements and re-arrangements, talking chords, piano and guitars, learning the shape - tracing the lines.

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Old wooden spoons: some from Rowley flea market, some from Istanbul with warped or curved handles, dusty from the kitchen shelf. I like to think of all the hands - carving, stirring, and now sketching.

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This is my little camera. The camera you have in your pocket is the one you really use. I am fond of this little device. Thousands of pictures later, it works well, and though I am saving for a newer model, the next one will be the same size.

A note on my process in this drawing: I found it was easier to draw words (Sony, Cybershot) if I worked on the letter shapes from right to left. Also, I tried to use as few lines as possible to suggest the shapes.

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All I want is a proper cup of coffee/ made in a proper copper coffee pot./ I may be off my nut -- / but I want a proper coffee in a proper copper pot. - Trout Fishing in America (theme song for tonight).

I may not have the words right, and they certainly go by faster than you just read them, but it is a great song.

We were out of coffee, so Mark walked to the store to get some. Cafe de Nicaragua from Building New Hope - highly recommended.

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How do I draw the smell of the oranges - these particular oranges tonight? (Of course I asked myself the question after drawing them as I did, gradually noticing the smell as I worked.) The scent was gentle, without the sharp edge of oranges in December. Hinting of warmth. So ripe and not yet rotten - just magic.

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A pine cone and its shadow.

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A warm day. A new sketchbook. Sunday at the blue slide playground, sitting on a bench in the sun, drawing a little fenced island of shrubs and melting snow. It was a little island of stillness amid all the running children and calling parents.

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A nighttime view from the upstairs hall window, looking out over the back yard at the house behind us. Six windows lit; six windows dark. One star.

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Friday night, and everyone who is home is asleep now.

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One day later, the apple core is smaller. Someone finished eating it and left it to age gently on the counter. I drew it and now it has joined the compost.

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Late night quick contour drawing of an apple core and its shadow reminded me of the old chant:

- Apple core
- Baltimore
- Who's your friend?
- She is!
And then the apple core would be thrown at her.

So I wrote that down and added a picture of a school bus, since that's where I first heard the chant.

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I was playing with color, here. Interesting to see the image in daylight after painting in incandescent light. When I was working, the yellow and white were almost invisible against the manila paper, and the green of the shadows looked nearly blue.

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Grubby, but pink.

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