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Blue Hydrangea, 18 x 24 inches graphite on 80 lb premium
Stars in the Sweetgum,9 x 12 inches charcoal and colored pencils on paper, preliminary sketch of the extremely large Sweetgum tree in our side yard.
Portraying darkness offers an excellent color study. Inspired by travels on clear nights when speeding by tree silhouettes, there’s an illusion that horizon is absent, and stars are in the sky as well as the trees. I often marvel how dark skies can still be so intensely colorful and vibrant…ranging across the spectrum from rich teals, purples, to shades of red and orange.
“It does not matter how much you see, it matters if you appreciate what you see”
Fintan Fox, 9 yrs old. Below, an angel fish drawn after snorkeling in Figi
I recently had the pleasure of conversations with nine year old Fintan Fox, the son of a good friend whom I had not seen for over 35 years. My friend Julie and her son, Fintan, both created blogs about their extensive travels beginning in England where they live, to Russia last August, then through China, Thailand, Cambodia, to Australia, Figi, and now through western North America. They are on the last leg of their year-long trip around the world, stopping to visit us in Oregon on their way to Canada.
This drawing is one of Fintan’s blog entries, an Angel fish drawn after seeing some while snorkeling in Figi. So impressive! With a minimum of information, the style is bold and confident… simple, yet accurate. Similarly, he writes with matter-of-fact wisdom, and surprisingly well-thought-through opinions. Wow, nine year-olds can be great sources of inspiration. My friends’ blogs are a bit behind since they’ve hardly stopped anywhere long enough at a place that has internet access, but do check them out anyway!
Chrysanthemums, 45L x 85W x 3D inches, graphite, charcoal and primer on 100% cotton, work in progress
Rather than priming the fabric first as usual, water and primer are painted to enhance the graphite while the composition works itself out. It’s been all about getting lost in the improvisation and surprise! Grass blades are implied by the buildup of thin streaks throughout, which also serve to balance and energize the work, plus add slight cubist effects.
This is will hang in a contemporary-style room. If color is used at all it will be limited to red, yellow and green areas near the large main flower. Parts of the surface may be left raw, so to set the finished piece, the entire back will be primed and the front will be sprayed with fixative.
The chaos of this past year, moving to Oregon from Texas, has truly put my artsy artist’s statement to the test; that ‘creativity is an attitude toward life’. I’m accustomed to creating chaos in my artwork, then resolving it. With too many move-related priorities and unfinished renovations, no wonder I’ve felt increasingly disoriented. The good thing is that observations never stop, even if the focus on art-work has to.
Monte rocks! Who is he?
“Some of us loved to draw when we were very young and many didn’t, but we are all capable. There is something to be said for innate abilities, but talent alone will not help us to advance. You might inherit Grandpa’s artistic genes, but every talent needs continual development to become skill no matter what it is, and drawing is no different than learning to play an instrument or climbing a mountain in that respect…” (excerpt from the article “Extreme Drawing“).
My father was a wood carver for most of his life, and his love for drawing was crucial to designing all the different things people ordered. Any time he taught woodcarving, he first insisted on lessons in drawing.
As it provided the funds necessary to build a house after a career the Canadian Armed Forces, there was almost nothing he wouldn’t carve; an entire range of subjects from detailed Armed Forces crests, modern abstract pieces, as well as birds and animals. My favorites were the custom designed doors, cupboards and headboards made for clients in Canada and the U.S. before retiring in 2002. Well, artists never really retire, they just keep moving on to try new things!
Photography has always been one of his passions, and he’s the “real” die-hard kind that will sit in mosquito-infested forests waiting forever for the right shot. One time he climbed a tree to capture photos of a porcupine, then fell out and sprained both his ankles. I was about nine years old, and I remember my Mom, my brother and me holding him up while he hobbled back to the car! Here is some of his recent photography, and lately he’s been taking the time to enjoy drawing again.
My Mom was an equal and supporting partner in the creating and finishing details of all the wood work they sold. Though my mother claims to not know how to draw, they have both been, and continue to be, huge influences as far as my being an artist. When I was quite young I would ask my Mom to draw anything so I could color it. I did care what it was. It was not refined and professional, but I would coax her, “Yes, you do so know how to draw! Pleeeeeaaaase!”. Children don’t seem to have the same hang-ups we adults do about drawing.
Now they see my two young neices often, one of whom drew her own interpretation of “Stellar’s Jay” after watching her Grandpa. Andra is 5 years old. Don’t you just love love the addition of hearts on the branches?! I feel so inspired by childrens’ work. It is pure and staight from the heart. In fact, she is so nonchalant about her abilities and unaware of how keen she is, she did not even show it — my Dad found it after she left.
If Andra chooses to be an artist, it’s due to Nature and Nurture, and also not so much about what she’s been given, but what she does with it.
Mary Ann’s Bench 11 x 14 inches graphite on paper
Illustration of a bench dedicated to a client’s sister by the staff at the University Arboretum, Madison, Wisconsin
Turmeric, 9 x 12 inches graphite on paper
Turmeric is a member of the ginger family. The rhizomes are a rich golden yellow, and the plant is used as a food coloring and flavoring agent, in dyes and traditional eastern cosmetics, and is an important ingredient in curry powder. Native to India, it is grown widely in the tropical areas of Asia. The blossoms are about 14 inches across, seen at the Botanic Gardens, Singapore.« Previous Entries