Sunday, February 1, 2015

Light Off, Hand Up!

Maria, graphite study, 6x 8, TMDD Series
When my Sun Torch turns off at thirty minutes, my hand goes up. No drawing after time's up. Then it's time to put the drawing materials away and reheat my coffee.  So it went with head number....I lost count.  The object is not how many, but how well is my eye catching the angles and common points?  I'm pleased with how things are going. 

page from Van Gogh At Work
(I used Alla Prima II to prop the page
level for the camera).
 
But I hadn't planned on drawing this morning.  I wanted to study Holbein's charcoal pencil or ink and chalk drawings, but the book was missing.  It had been added to my pile downstairs next to my reading chair. When I sat down to read, however, Van Gogh At Work  stole my interest and I fell more deeply in love with this artist for his early works, the mixed media drawings in black chalk, opaque watercolour, pen and ink. One drawing/painting held my attention for quite some time, The poor and money, done in 1882, about a year and a half  after VG decided to study to become an artist.  What I liked about it was how NOT stylistic it was--it was gestural and not tightly drawn like the later paintings we all know.  I was moved to bring my  watercolours and colored pencils out of  storage and up to my new drawing space, which was my design studio before the 2010.  --And I'm thinking of resuscitating my Koh-l-noor pens,  Faber pencils and Windsor Newton watercolors as well, for all materials that were in Van Gogh's box back in the 1880s! These morning sessions may be in danger of getting longer?  I hope not.  I've already got a big deal going on in the studio with the Venetian Technique.

The Poor And Money, mixed media, Van Gogh, 1882





 

27 comments:

  1. 'Maria' is a great study and such a contrast to your last 'cheeseburger'. Gentle roundness versus energetic laughter - it even shows in the 'lines' you've drawn

    I'm getting swept along on portraits at the moment, little time for anything else. Books piled up - unopened! Plenty of time for reading in March when I'm off to Dubai, Qatar, Hong Kong and Australia.

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    1. You missed the rest of my post! I mistakenly hit publish before I was finished and grabbed it back immediately, but you were too fast for me!

      Talk about books piled up! That is exactly what I was talking about. Right now I'm fascinated with Holbein's contour and Van Gogh's early drawings with mixed media. Then there's the rest of Schmid and Carol Marine's Daily Painting, which I must say I may never finish. I am not a daily painter--though I paint daily. I'm not interested in uncluttered still life and Finish doesn't come in a day with classic realism. Weeks are more like it. --Then there's Samuel Adams. A Hollywood-type TV series got me to research the real man and his role in the Revolution. He was not the scallywag that everyone thinks. I imagine your General Thomas Gage wasn't the monster, this series would have use think either. Love your Afghanistan Man. colors are great--and your rendering of his beard is brilliant. You weren't too shabby with your rendering of fabric either. Great painting you talented guy! I do hope you stop by again to see Van Gogh's early work. It's the best.

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    2. Well worth a return visit, Linda, thank you. VG as I have never seen him. Your passion runneth over, I love the drive, it's what keeps old 'uns young.

      Glad you liked 'Afghan Man' he's given me confidence to push on until I get to be a proper painter and not just a mimic.

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    3. I don't think you mimic--why 'mimic'? You interpreted a subject in a photograph. Your handwriting is on your work--and I don't mean your signature. I mean your painted mark, the way you make a brush stroke. VG copied Millet and signed them 'after Millet.' I have a rule that I can only use my photographs. But my first painting ever--way back when--was from someone else's photograph I found in Time magazine advertising an agency for feeding hungry children. I gave the painting to my cousin who has since passed. I have no idea where it is now.
      Since then, I think I was at my most original when I painted for myself and knew nothing about art history; when I painted whatever came into my head. The more art we look at, the more we are inclined to mimic what others have done style-wise--their idea of what art is. That doesn't mean I don't think we shouldn't study anatomy, how to work with the different mediums, etcetera. I do.

      I think actively striving to learn does keep us old ones young--involved, passionate, interesting, energetic. I am enjoying the fact that work, albeit a job, is no longer getting in the way of this work that allows me to follow my own urges on my own time schedule.

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  2. The Poor and Money was one they showed us in art school for examples of doing preparatory work for a painting. I loved it then and I still do.
    Did you know that because the great Turner used Chinese white in his watercolors, it was perfectly acceptable for opaque watercolors in school. I have no idea where this attitude that watercolor HAS to be transparent to be 'real' watercolor, came from.
    To see it on your blog was a wonderful jolt to my senses and memory vault.

    By the way...YOU ARE A DAILY SKETCHER or doing drawing daily and often a painter, thrown in. I think you do not recognize it is the discipline of doing something in the art daily which Carole Marine promotes. Does NOT have to be finished or published...or sold. The premise is everyone improves with practice. She gives handy hints so generously in case there are artists who treat it as a profession and need to see to support their habit...like me! You generously share in the same way. I admire you both.

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    1. Sure I do. To do anything well, you have to do it everyday--practice, practice, practice. My blog was originally titled 'Drawing of the Day, because I knew a drawing a day would get me back into painting. It did. Carol's hints are terrific--I especially like what a sponge tipped tool (or three) can do for an over zealous brushstroke--and I must go back into the book to review the structure of the easel she uses to paint canvas covered boards; the skinny things do need to be elevated and secured. I lost interest somewhere in the middle when she began teaching how she paints-- do it daily, keep it simple, keep it small. I do agree that still lifes are an excellent way to paint from life without having to go anywhere or hire anyone. I could do some more of that---but the fact is, still lifes don't whet my curiosity enough to spend painting time on them. Skin tones do. Anatomy does. People do. Fabric does--and, since I've been drawing all the beach people, sunglasses. ;-))

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  3. I really lov.e this one it has so much emotion. I have a large book on Van Gogh but I am sure this one isn't in it. Thanks for posting, lovely to see it again. I really must do likewise and study some of his drawings. I know I will learn so much.

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  4. I think I understand your mood ... each technique fascinates me ...Today Valentina looking at me from easel , smiling.
    I'm studying the problems of light and dark to better apply, on my watercolor .Every day, I use everything... from pencils to inks and pastels ... I do even spots on unconventional surfaces ... this continuous brainstorming between me and my need for myself expression makes me very happy, the mind away from other, less happy thoughts ...
    Have a happy time with your favorite artists, your materials, your beautiful artwork / art thoughts ,that it's so nice to find here and on facebook,dear Linda.

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    1. I don't intend to use a lot of color on my drawings, just a little--maybe? I do like black and white, Thirty minutes is just thirty minutes. If there's time for color, okay. If not, hand up when that light goes off. I need all my energy for painting. The Venetian method is tedious.

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  5. Interesting thoughts as always. I spend a lot of time looking at the work of other artists and the Masters and do find it difficult not to be sidetracked by my latest understanding of someone else's work. However, there is so much to learn so I'll keep going. Hopefully, the individual marks I make are all mine. Love the drawing and the latest inspiration.

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    1. Mick, I don't think we ever stop learning as we work--I hope not anyway. Painting would get boring.

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  6. love the way you are thinking and the direction you're heading in!

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    1. It was hard digging out the colored pencils. They were really buried. But a little color wouldn't hurt---though I do like graphite and charcoal 'black and white' drawings. They have a sophistication that the addition of color lessens. Color is for painters. Black and white is for draughtsmen. I know I'm a draughtsman--not so sure about painter. But keep on truckin'

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  7. Already deeply in love with Vincent, I fell in love with his early work when I first read this book as well - so much of it I had not seen before. And then when I went to the National Gallery and the Phillips Collection last year - well, he just knocked my socks off again! Thank you for posting this. By the way, there is no doubt you are a draughtsman AND a painter.

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    1. Thanks Susan. VG's early drawings knock me out. Sure there were klinkers, but that's par for the course. The nice thing about sketch books is we can turn the page. How was your show? I would have loved to have been there. Your ballerinas knock me out.

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  8. Your graphite study of Maria is beautiful Linda.
    And this painting by Van Gogh is wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Hilda. Doesn't that VG sketch make you want to mix it up!

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  9. A lovely and sensitive sketch...and I love that van Gogh painting--thanks for showing it. I've never seen it before.

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    1. Me neither and I thought I'd seen them all. Van Gogh At Work has only been sitting on my coffee table for a year. It took Holbein to get me to crack it open --and bring out my colored pencils, WC and, yes, water markers. I haven't used ink in years, but somewhere around here....Holbein mixed it up with ink and pastels and charcoal. for preliminary sketches.

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  10. Wat een schitterend geheel zeg erg mooi Linda lieve groetjes Danielle

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  11. Bedankt Danielle. Een van mijn dromen is een bezoek aan Amsterdam en het Van Gogh Museum, neem een trein naar Brugge en maximaal Ghent. Ik werk heel hard op Ellis te doen; Hij is helaas niet zo enthousiast. Hij is een beach bum.

    Thanks Danielle. One of my dreams is to visit Amsterdam and The Van Gogh Museum, then take a train to Bruges and up to Ghent. I'm working very hard on Ellis to do so; he, unfortunately, is not all that enthusiastic. He's a beach bum.

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  12. Van Gogh has always been a favorite of mine. I must say, Linda, you are one prolific artist!

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    1. Van Gogh is everyone's favorite. I' never heard a bad word about his art, but I have read some--from art critiques from his time.
      I'm prolific when it comes to drawings, not paintings. I'm really quite new to painting, but I've drawn my whole life regularly.

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  13. "The Poor and Money" is such a simple and beautiful work! I'd not seen it before - thank you for the introduction. It sounds like you are going to busy beyond words! [not that you aren't already]
    Kathryn

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    1. Not really. The retired working mom of three guys, I'm pretty good at 'multi-tasking.' While all those dull TV programs air, I read and leaf through books. I just happened to pick up VG that night. I had never seen that one before either, but then I never really did look at his drawings. Like everybody else, his paintings are what dazzled.

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