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Monday, March 6, 2017

Seeking Audacity

Ernie, The Waiting Room Series,  graphite stick, knead eraser, 6B pencil on drawing paper,  6" x 8" 

Depth was added to this sketch by using a graphite stick to tone the paper, then drawing in, using a knead eraser, the figure emphasizing the light areas..  The results were okay, but the sketch wasn't loose enough.  --And my black still wasn't black enough.

I attempted to get Ernie's beady eyes and collar black with a soft charcoal pencil.  That didn't work. The charcoal didn't sit well when laid over the graphite.  The rough texture of the charcoal couldn't grab onto  the slick texture of the 6B  layer. Darkening the black areas by pressing down harder with the graphite wasn't an answer either. The graphite took on a high polish shine. 

So I got out my charcoal pencils after years of using graphite pencils for morning sketching; and sketching got a lot easier--even if I must fix the sketch before flipping the sheet and going on to the next.

The Gaming Generation, Soft charcoal pencil in Strathmore sketchpad, 6" x 8"

Before my epiphany:

The Rabbi, The Waiting Room Series, graphite " 6x 8"

Long Road Back, ( The Convalescent),  Graphite pencil on drawing paper, 6" x 8"

Dave, The Waiting Room Series, Graphite pencil on drawing paper, 8" x 6"


I was beginning to think, I'd never get back there.  I owe my revived spirit to Celeste Bergin whose daily paintings were impressive and stimulating,  President George W. Bush who turned me on to Winston Churchill's Essay Painting As A Passtime and Churchill's  words:

'Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely.  light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day'.

And this advice I'd forgotten while losing myself in the intensity of portraitures and the Venetian method:

'We must not be too ambitious.  We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with a joy ride in a paint box.  And for this, Audacity is the only ticket'.

Audacity!  Yes!  Painting unfettered by expectations. Painting Alla Prima intuitively.   I laid out a limited palette and jumped into a couple of hours on another plane where worries and responsibilities are nonexistent.

The Gamer Generation, oils on canvas board. 


  1. Bonjour,

    Une belle série de portraits... J'adore la capture de ce petit garçon jouant avec dextérité sur sa tablette ! On le sent très captivé et vous avez su à merveille transmettre cet état.

    Gros bisous 🌸

    1. Thanks Martine. It was delightful being back in the studio throwing caution to the wind and painting alla prima. I hope to do much more of this as honey heals. Now, I just grab the time as it occurs.

  2. What joy to read your words, even if some of them are Winnie's! You hang on to that audacity and you can fly........I love to see all your drawings together, they are magnificent! I bet the painting felt real good ?

    1. Painting was like the first time! At first: where to start? Then "anywhere". It's odd, I don't like working in color all that much--not till I find the 'gray' in the palette mix that pulls it all together. But I did have a refreshing two hour session! Much better than tending patient and house.

  3. Ah, paint! I love your sketches, especially the graphite pencil one of the gaming boy.

    1. Not graphite, charcoal--and in the living room too. Okay by me, but honey puts up a fuss. Woolite's Oxy Power Shot
      saves the day.

  4. Nice to see you back in colors. Great can admire together on blogger your collection of portraits.
    Waiting for colors again.

    1. I think I am going to try to move away from portraits. Landscapes. They are faster, open to abstraction and likeness isn't a consideration. I say that, but will I do it? Probably not. Figurative drawing and painting offers the challenge. Open figurative studio start April 14th, hopefully my patient will be less demanding by then.