Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Simplicity and focus

I've just taken a wander back through my posts for the month of January... one of the reasons I'm doing this is to track ideas and themes, to try to make some sense of where I might be headed.
So far I'm all over the place. It's fun to be recording lots of ideas and playing them off one another, i.e. an abstract drawing style applied to a still life. But I'd have to say I'm not learning as much as I'm just purging. What I'd really love to see in the coming weeks is a development of one of these ideas that leads to a body of work. I think that's happening with the big wall drawing, but I've been removed from the studio for some days here working for money. Bah. So, tomorrow, back to the drawing board.
Today's drawing is my reminder to keep it simple. (Lots of busy busy drawings in cyberspace in January. Reflections of my inner landscape I suppose.) This drawing was made with a beautiful smooth block of soft graphite, lightly scrubbed into the paper over a few wisps of horsehair-like marks. Ahhh, that's better.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Found object

I found this old tag in a puddle as I was walking around in my neighborhood. Today I took it to work with me, knowing I needed to fit a new drawing in somewhere.
I swear: I'll be back to the big wall drawing, and the bird wing, asap.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Making room for making art in everyday life

Working for real money kept me out of the studio today. The only drawing I had time to work on is this mindless sort of scratching with pencil and ink. I like the floaty quality of it, and the lightness. How does it contribute to long-term growth and change? Mmmmm, maybe only that it's better to draw than not to draw.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Who am I?

I have an old cat whose bone structure I know quite well from all that lap time over the years. A fine-edged shoulder blade poking out or the way her vertebrae travel down her tail to its tip, the bumpy fragile shape of her skull.
Today my husband brought me a big dead bird from the beach, I'd been wanting one to draw from. Much of the body, or the icky part anyway, is gone, though I am mostly interested in the wings. Right now it's hanging from a tree out back. I look forward to tomorrow.
So, bones and tails and horns and feathers can be combined and rearranged in infinite ways. I can be the architect of my own little universe.
Oh, and I took a break today from the big wall drawing... it's beginning to scare me, but I'll post something more substantial on it tomorrow. CIAO.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wall drawing, day 2

Slogging through the big wall drawing (new detail at left). The trouble with drawing as a process: This is not the drawing I thought I would make. That was a soft, graceful, wintery, ethereal thing. This is hard, sharp-edged, lyrical but dark. Awp. My fingers ache from scribbling and buffing out black china marker. I cannot get the blackness out from under my nails.

Friday, January 26, 2007

One of the Glasgow Drawings

This is one of the drawings I made in Glasgow in February 2003. I didn't think much about it at the time, but I showed it at Elmira College a few months ago... and it's been influencing my current work ever since. The idea of exposing objects, presenting them newly found, brushed off and examined is the thing. Like they've floated to the surface and been fished out and photographed, numbered and banded, then set free again. If I think about what is truly important to me right now, it is this. I continue to work on the big wall drawing and will update with details tomorrow. CIAO.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Details details

As I was sayin’, I decided to work on the wall today, to loosen up, to gesture big, and to remember why I draw. I’ve had an epiphany (again)... I guess I’d been away from big work for too long. I had no studio for most of last year and somehow it just got away from me. And now I see. I see. I see.
This kind of drawing is all about the time that I spend. And the surface of the paper that I stare at and work at and draw and erase and change and draw again. It’s about texture and underdrawing and hiding and revealing, creating and destroying. It’s about the PROCESS of drawing. It’s as if I’d forgotten everything. Yikes.
But I kept at it today and feel so, I don’t know, reborn. The entire piece measures 128” x 40”, on 4 sheets of paper. I’ve miles to go, but above is a detail of where I went today... materials are mostly brass rubbing sticks, wax and graphite. Doesn’t look like much? I agree, but it’s only the first day.
So, for contrast, I’ll include a detail from a more finished piece made over the summer. Just graphite and a little house paint. I remember feeling clear and intentional about working that day. The result is too easy...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Well, I've been working on this drawing-from-real-life thing for a few days... it hasn't gotten easier, in fact the work – and the process – gets tighter and tighter. One of today's images is at left. Awp. Tomorrow I think I'll go to big paper and wall drawing to try to loosen it up.
I have this great box of junk (or treasure?) I've been collecting over time, mostly shells and bones and seed pods I've picked up from the beach, plus a gourd or two and a few odd feathers. What to draw is not a problem. Just how. I'll keep working on it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Get ready to weep

In case you need a hankie for the president's state of the union address... I think I do.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Lately I've been denying myself the use of my favorite materials – parafin, china marker, bronze rubbing sticks, graphite for some – and working with an ink pen. Well, here's a lapse at left. I crave rich blacks and grays and love how the wax resists almost everything I put on over it. I use some unconventional tools too, the 3M pot scrubber would have to be at the top of the list for polishing and sanding, spreading and buffing and eradicating. This particular piece is a quick, fresh study, unlike some where I can work the surface for days.
The spontaneous, sort of "no mind" pieces like this one often hold something precious for me. They are a record of that time spent, the aura of the day. Sometimes they remind me of awareness or clearness, sometimes I remember the contemplation or the humor or the movement and energy.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Molecules, pollen, wasps and space

We were watching Nature on PBS tonight, a story about fig trees in Africa and the complex ecosystem that support them. A lot happens there on a really small scale; tiny fig wasps crawl inside the developing fruit to lay eggs and pollinate even tinier flowers. Then they die in there while worms and other parasites try to sabotage everything... It was quite beautiful and sad and stressful. It makes me think about the small small particles that make up everything we are and see and live with. And the spaces in between them.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Interior/exterior landscapes

It's a cold beautiful day, good for hiking on the Noland Trail. The landscape is amazing, but I find myself drawing from within instead. I wonder why...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today I've been cooking, scribbling

And I'm having trouble uploading today's image. My broadband is out and dial up ain't workin'... so, check back in the morning. Awp!

Here we go. I wonder if I've ever had an original idea... And why random drawing turns into something not all that random. And a question that I keep coming back to: Drawing with intent, or drawing without it? There is value in each, certainly. When I think I've emptied my mind (a la Agnes Martin) and am just making marks with whatever tool is in my hand, who is drawing? No one? Buddha? The collective unconscious (everyone)? Why bother with intent?

I'm drawing here for the pure joy of drawing, while cake for tonight's dinner party is in the oven. All is right in my little world.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Haunted by Anselm Kiefer

I've been thinking about a piece of Kiefer's work I encountered a while ago in Raleigh at the NC Museum of Art. I love his stuff, so moody and memory-like, as if the reality of it is just under the surface, out of my reach. This quick sketch came from a similar memory incident...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Carry that sketchbook everywhere

Okay, I totally love this sketchbook and here's a sample, drawing in the near-darkness of the coffeehouse at night. Some local kids were singing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Drawing with a ball point pen

I’ve been working a lot with ball point pen. And cross-hatching, something I never got the hang of when I was first learning to draw. I had a teacher in grad school who uses it a lot, citing its anonymous quality: “Anyone can do it”. The hand of the unknown artist. ı So, I’ve started a series of big (32” x 40”) abstract pen drawings – which seem to be taking forever – here’s a detail above. ı It's not what I do, but it keeps coming up that I need to draw a bit from real life. For balance? ı Below is an attempt to bring my abstract ball point style to simple still life. It takes more planning than I’m used to. And I tried to get at form and structure without sacrificing the spontaneous line quality. That said, it requires a degree of concentration that, when well into the work, borders on meditation. I didn’t know that would happen. But I like the idea that interior and exterior worlds overlap here: in line, in process, in image.

Monday, January 15, 2007


This small drawing addresses several of my current concerns... First I am working with natural, "clean" materials. That's one of the reasons I generally work on recycled paper, my own or somebody else's. I resist sculpture and anything that promises to outlive me or clutter up the universe. Well, sometimes I weave vines or knit grasses, but they'll go back to where they came from.
This process (I won't share my secret just now) lends itself really well to the flow of my subconsconsious mind. Ideas, images and memories ebb and flow, surface and reveal themselves, then recede and fade away. And, it works pretty well with my animation process. It's not much of a leap to envision the focusing and refocusing of various parts of the image over time, appearing and disappearing. My Web Site will soon display a couple of clips from my recent animations: "Clutterpool" and "empty/full".

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Inventions for the subconscious mind

I've been thinking about creating/inventing machines or appliances that make my inner world a better place to dwell... they take on a life of their own, revealing themselves over time. So, I love a good puzzle: gardener with great hair? Launch pad? Eternal battery? Snowmaker?