Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm puzzling ...

... over words to write about this drawing. But so far I haven't come up with any. I find it interesting when language doesn't fit. Like I'm on the edge of figuring out something, or feeling something I don't know. Try these on:
Nouvelle vague

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pope with turtle

Some days I struggle with what to draw. Well, every day. And then I'll be wondering why I get so serious about drawing... so today I'm toying with the idea of meaningless, even foolish, imagery. Maybe humor. The meaning must be found in the human activity of drawing. In repetition. In the ritual of it.
Am I a step closer to integrating interior and exterior worlds on paper?
Looking back over drawings of the past few days, I seem to be all over the map. I try to practice patience, pretend I'm Agnes Martin.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just drawing...

... and not thinking too much about it. I've been working from inside lately. It all cries for balance with the exterior, physical world. Today was a really warm sunny beach day and I worked outside, noticing the black birds screeching from the light poles and the traffic screaming by on the bridge. I need to make drawings more inclusive of my experience. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sea animals

A fin whale was found dead in the harbor in Norfolk today. It was hit by a ship and seems it was dragged into the river from the sea. Fin whales are huge (this female was 45 feet long), second in size only to the blue whale. Pictures for the newspaper page I designed tonight are beautiful, heartbreaking. I think about who lives in the waters around here. Why do whales beach themselves to die? Why do we torment, confuse and kill them with sonar, sea litter, sewage and fishing nets? In the summer when I lie in the Bay water, I can hear the dolphins calling to each other as they swim upstream to feed, clicking and cawing. Often, they leap and play – a gift for the early morning or late afternoon observer.
A lot of my imagery comes from the beach and the water. Found objects from the sand or imagined creatures floating simply, buoyantly in salt water. Easy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Joseph Beuys

The "Felt Suit" is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum. It's interesting to see his work in the states, very understated and matter-of-fact. I was talking to my nephew about this piece, who the heck is Joseph Beuys anyway? German fighter pilot, social democrat, teacher, leader, prophet... he draws me in, away from the banal present, remembering Beuys' vision for humankind. Everyone is an artist. Everyone needs access to the way forward. We are all called upon to make things better.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Milwaukee mural

More from Milwaukee: lots of time for just drawing. This small piece reads really big to me, it's just pen and ink, but what if it was big oil stick on canvas, breaking out of its edges and wrapping around corners?
Today I've been pondering the idea of culture, pop culture, and considering the extent to which one (me, I guess) is connected with the present... does living in the present mean embracing the current scene? That can't always be... well, I've been perusing ARTnews, "The New Abstraction" and trying to figure out, well, everything. The very breath of art changes from hour to hour: sweet, bold, less sweet, stale, sour, downright offensive, done-in, worn-out, dead, bloat, float, comin' round, waking up, reaffirming, reasserting, sweet...

Friday, March 23, 2007

New sketch book

Page one of this new sketch book, a gift from Hal. It is recycled paper, natural in color and smoother than I would think. So, making textures and shadows with an ink pen, they are turtle-like, slug-like.
Something about Milwaukee, maybe the late winter grayness, made me want to just draw without subject matter or models. The city is a great mix of working class, grass-roots neighborhoods, blues bars, historical districts, universities and cool waterfront. Not to mention a way cool art museum. In a recent Barbie fashion competition, my sister's new neighborhood of West Allis' entry was a NASCAR Barbie (of course).

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Milwaukee bontanical gardens

Home sweet home. I love to travel and then I love to come home... I feel so cleansed somehow, as if anything, everything is possible (again).
Spring is here, the air is warm and drawing comes more easily. This is a picture I made in Milwaukee the other day. Influenced by the desert garden room, looking up at tall tall palms, leaves splayed against glass. Cockatiels fluttering and chirping and cawing. Pale sun filters in. Gray sky of the north.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Oh my gosh, I clean forgot that I won't be home and don't have access to a scanner for a week here in Milwaukee. Soooo, as last time, I'll be saving all my drawings up and begin posting again next Thursday, March 22. Please check back.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Okay, there's loads to be said here, both pro and con. This drawing was made in the car yesterday, driving home from Pittsburgh. It's a record of sorts, of the experience (the unending hell of driving the interstates for 7 or 8 hours, fast food, bad food, suspect toilets and radio stations that fuzz out during my favorite song) of living on the road for a day or so. I let the pen make its own way across the paper for long long stretches, then found myself making odd I-don't-know-what little pictures. Boredom? Could be. It's part map, part time lapse, part meaningless, part meaningful... What, I ask myself, is new and exciting about this? Yeah, I think it's been done before by somebody, maybe everybody else. But at the moment it holds some kind of seed for me.
Tomorrow I travel much of the day (by air this time) up to Milwaukee, and will make another one.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

And the last of the Memphis book ...

Bored yet? Naw. Again, today was spent mostly on the road, driving back home from Pittsburgh. The weather is eerily warm for March, and I wish I hadn't been in the car all day. This small drawing feels almost transparent. I love it when the white of the china marker stands out starkly from the "white" of the page. So much can happen within such a narrow range of tones. What happens when i draw with black on black, or graphite on gray paper? Or white house paint over white paper. Subtle differences that can be sweet and powerful. I found this paragraph written in the Memphis book:

... I think it is the repetition that could be important, repetition of the mark and the spaces between the marks. That by holding very still in it I can hear/see something very useful. Something very quiet and empty/full, like snow on a night field.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Filmkitchen, Pittsburgh

Tonight we are in Pittsburgh for Filmkitchen. Our film, "Happy Walter", (well it's Zoje Stage's film in which we act) premiered on the big screen. It's really disconcerting to see one's face so much larger than life...
I'm out of my element, but spent a fun night at the theatre and then at the jazz club with film people. My own performance was small and amateurish, but my husband Hal Weaver – who had the starring role – was amazing. Bill O'Driscoll wrote in Pittsburgh City Newspaper on March 8:

"Walter is portrayed by a friend of Stage's named Hal Weaver, an artist and graphic designer who lives in Virginia Beach, Va. His Walter -- the son of a Pittsburgh steelworker -- is a goateed, greasy-haired, earringed guy in a T-shirt reading "Half Man, Half Horse." Most of Stage's actors are untrained -- resulting, for instance, in possible audience uncertainty over whether Weaver is a good if unpolished actor who knows Happy Walter doesn't believe his own bullshit, or simply someone who doesn't buy it himself, and who eventually starts channeling Dennis Hopper."

And so, no time today for drawing. Here's another sample from the Memphis book... I particularly like this quick drawing: for its spontaneity, its peaking into the page from stage right, and the wobbly hook. So vaudeville.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

archives cont.

This book was in a big way about humor. And motion.
I wondered for just a moment what is the value of calling up these slightly aged drawings (again, these are from the 2003 Memphis sketchbook). It's good for me to remember, to peruse them for connections with my current drawing, and to search them for marks I have forgotten. Drawing as a continuum.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

From the archive

Today was a day filled with living other than drawing and Hal suggested that I go into the archives (past sketchbooks) for something to post and talk about this evening. He is a genius. It made me go leafing through notebooks that I've loved and forgotten about. This drawing comes from a book I picked up in Memphis in 2003 . Some lovely humorous pictures that I will share over the next couple of days. It's discovering treasure, left behind in some moldy damp cave... what I remember about making this sketchbook is the spontaneity of the drawings. How they were dashed off in the car or plane or however we were traveling at the time that summer.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Ginny's pitcher

I've been designing newspaper pages (work) and there's often a bit of down time while I wait for my stories to come in from the copy desk. So I've been using that time to draw small objects that I bring from home, whatever is at hand. Tonight I look at this drawing and ask "How did I get here?". Over the past few weeks I've evolved into some renderer-of-objects I have never been before. And enjoying it immensely. It feels like another way into myself... not the meditation/still mind/empty mind/draw path, but the deep concentration in the act of drawing for the sake of drawing. If there's a plan here, I like the idea of mixing this rendering of physical elements with drawing from within. Illustrating my inner and outer worlds, or committing the 'whole' to paper.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Positive, negative space

Well, it's something to ponder. The shadow in the forground has some life to it... it interests me. It was farther away from the light source, and so more diffuse than the others. And it wraps around the empty space in a good way. Doesn't the shadow drawing look like an old man sleeping? Think I'll sleep on it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

More shadows, more crab claws

The shadow is a mysterious place where lots of things can happen. I feel like I'm moving toward making it the focal point of drawing. It's as if the physical object, which I have been laboring so hard to draw lately, is secondary, maybe just a window into this other world (Sort of like popcorn is secondary to buttter and salt). That's where I want to spend time and bring what I find to the surface. Maybe I can eventually omit the object all together... draw through or around the negative space?

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Earth mover

I try looking at this horseshoe crab claw in a different way, as if it is huge, out on the construction site in the hot sun, sitting idle while the road boys have their lunch. I'm not sure I get the flower on his head... but I love the harsh shadows.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Shadow world

Of all the days for me to slack off slightly, I'm sorry it's this one. I was unexpectedly called into work at the newspaper (yeah, for real money) and could only manage this sort of glorified doodle during the evening. But it speaks to an idea that's been niggling at me for a few months now; drawing shadows of things. Shadows of things I don't recognize, or shadows of things that aren't in the picture, or shadows of things that I only think I see. I've been examining the shadows of trees in bright sunlight, and then when the sun is low in the sky... how they get sort of purple and gray and diffuse. I think the shadows can be rich in texture and color, maybe even teeming with life of their own; windows into a dimension only slightly removed from this one.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

What? Again?

Here's a day, the first day I think, that I feel less than sure that I should post at all... it is the last of the Ireland drawings from my sketchbook, though I have just finished working on the ink drawing tonight. And it is another in my series of drawing from drawing. I remember saying not too long ago that when I begin to like a style too much, or feel too confident of the mark-making, that I should stop, change direction, shake it up, "examine my practice". If I say "drawing is too easy", then I'm probably about to make a bad drawing... I think I might be doing that now. But gosh, I could draw with that ink pen long into the night. Look for changes coming soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The real thing

I picked up this seaweed on the shore at Auginish Island. It was fresh and almost translucent; now it is shriveled and dry. But I love the shape of it, and the spaces in between the leaves. I think that's why I've drawn it in a sort of reverse. I'm apt to draw the negatives spaces around things, rather than things themselves. The hidden rather than the revealed.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Drawing from drawing

Often it seems I struggle with WHAT to draw. Some days nothing seems quite right and sometimes I fall back on drawing from another drawing. In this case, I was on the plane coming home with sketchbook on lap... the food was bad, the air musty, my neighbors noisy and the time neverending. Working from a drawing I already know well (see postings of the last couple of days) frees me up to concentrate on other things – texture maybe, or darks and lights, or simplicity. I love for example, to make "ink with stick" pictures from soft graphite continuous tones; everything gets edited down to basics right away. But for this drawing, it was really just a record of time spent in simple human activity.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Goat drawings continued

A couple of days after I saw the goat carcass I found myself home alone at Lorna and Adrian's. It was cold and gray and raining sideways, so I curled up on the sofa with my sketchbook for a while. Remembering and drawing, I thought about the bones and tissue and damp earth as if they might be a still life – safe and warm and dry, arranged on the coffee table in front of me with great lighting.