Monday, November 24, 2008


Ok this is a foray into design. I've been doing mandalas as well as painting, and for what ever reason they have been coming out quite nicely So I opened a shop on Zazzle. This is me:  I make the designs and they print them and then they put them up for sale I am thinking that some of my other art work would fit in well too as cards or posters. They also have stamps and shoes, which are so much fun to design. 
I have gotten interested in mandalas and also in labrynths, which I don't think I spelled correctly. 
Anyway I walked a labrynth that is located on the bluffs above Lake Michigan last week. It was an interesting experience, very soothing I couldn't help but think that it was very much like life. You think you are headed in one direction and suddenly you are headed in another, only to switch back again. I think that is the where the phrase going around in circles comes from.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cast drawing and Values

So even if cast drawing is really, really difficult it really, really pays off in the end, hopefully. It helps train your eye to all the details and nuances of the form. It also helps you see the lights and darks, the values, in your subject. It is seeing these lights and darks that is the backbone of all picture making. It isn't color that is vitally important, unless you're looking at a stoplight and then its really important, but it's value, the lights and darks, that make things recognisable to the human eye. To see what I mean look at the three pictures. One is the picture as it was originally with both value and color, one is the picture with color and no value, and one with value and no color. The one without value is almost unrecognisable. The one with value, the black and white one, looks exactly like a tree and water. Even though we see in color, the fact that we also see in values is much more important.  A good way to begin  to see values in your subject is to squint as you are looking at it. Scrunch up your eyes, look through your lashes, and the color is reduced while the relative values remain. This actually works, although people will look at you funny. I was taught this technique by a very good artist as we were standing in a *very* upscale art museum. There we both stood like a couple of fools, smack dab in front of the Rodin statue our eyes reduced to slits, looking for values, while the other patrons made a wide detour around us. I've never felt so much like an artist in my life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drawing Project

I've been working on something called a "cast drawing" which is drawing pictures of white plaster casts and making them as exact as possible. Its really hard. I've done it before, but it doesn't get any easier, apparently. It's a good way to sharpen your perception  and accuracy in seeing. It's also really hard .....  did I mention that before?  Right. I thought I did. Anyway this is a picture of my set up, with the casts on the left and the drawing in the first stages on the right. The method involves moving a couple of feet away from the drawing, looking at the casts, and then moving up to the paper and drawing what you saw. Then you move back to the previous place and check if the marks you made are correct. And repeat and repeat. And repeat until the drawing is finished. It is how all artists were trained, right up to the 20th century. Even Picasso had to do this and I think its why he invented cubism. He just decided that he wasn't ever going to do that again. Because it's really hard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Armistice Day. It was created after WWI to commerate the end of that terrible war and to honor the 20 million people who died in it. My mom said she never forgot seeing one of the boys from her little village in Wisconsin coming home after fighting in the trenches of France. She said he was in full uniform and he marched up the road as straight as a ramrod until he reached the turn in road that would lead him to his home. There he stopped at the top of the hill and stood for the longest time, just gazing out over at the beautiful landscape below.  Then he turned and walked down the hill to his house and family. I remember him as a wizened old man, living with only his dog in a tiny cabin. The image below is one I found years ago. I don't know the names of the men, or where it was taken. In a way, its anonymity makes it a tribute to all the soldiers from so very long ago who sacrificed so much. But having said that, this one is for August Wellnitz.  ten-HUT!

Its Spring!

I found these in a garden center, nestled in the Astilbe.