Monday, March 31, 2008

BSP No. 32

I can see that this might get repetitive and even boring ... but I'm using the time to practice meditating while drawing. Practice makes perfect, right?
I suspect that it will be the contrast from day to day that will be the payoff. And what will happen if I happen to leave some of the squares unfinished, or undone completely (I'm already considering this with some of the dense areas, pieces that I know will take forever to complete.)
Am I already making deals with the devil?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bite-sized pieces

Here I begin work on a 60-part drawing of the trees at the end of my block. I've been passing by this small stand of live oaks for years as they gnarl and grow twisting away from the wind off the Bay.
In figuring out how to make a large drawing over time, I've divided the image up into 60 6x6" squares. I hope to finish up one each day in ink pen on vellum. I can see they will not be completed chronologically, but according to which one strikes me today and also, how much time I have to work on them.
This first one is No.23 and took about 3.5 hours to make.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Primordial soup

Today is a bittersweet day, very Spring-like, warm and bright. And I have a friend who is dying. It's certainly her time to go; we all are dealing with myriad issues ... loss, grief, the meaning of living, the meaning of suffering. It's hard to think of this woman I've known to be so sure and tough and brave over so many years now crumbling, shattering, coming apart. I wonder why it has to hurt so much – her and us.
So, I've been making this drawing today while pondering. Again, it is based on a previous ink drawing (see Foreground and Background). I can't help but see it breaking down into its original bits, flowing back into the energy pool. Always in flux, always feeding, spawning, growing, living or dying.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Drawing from drawing

Here again I am working from an ink drawing made with a bamboo stick. Flat black is cool, but this time I'm searching for mystery, texture and air. Maybe motion too.
Birds in the trees. Campfire in the woods.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It's true what they say about all the good stuff happening at the edges

I've been working too much this week; no time for making art until this, another laundromat drawing this morning. I love the banal, public feel of that place – it's warm and it smells good. There's always some child or other making noise and a mom letting go of the last shreds of her patience (or was that me?); four loud televisions on four different channels; clanging and rocking unbalanced washers. And me trying to find a measure of quietness within. It reminds me of the story of a monk I read a few years ago. One's inner life, reflection, meditation, stillness and focus is possible everywhere, anytime. She used to sit zazen in the living room amidst her loving, boisterous family, with TV blaring, kids fighting, and dogs barking. I love that.
Someone recently asked me about the edges of my drawings... lately I've been sketching out haphazard rectangles or squares and making my work fit within them. Why? I dunno. So I'm paying more attention here to the ins and outs of the drawing and how it takes hold of the paper. Way more interesting.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Traveling a familiar road

It's Saturday night and I'm on the sofa next to Hal watching SNL and drawing funny pictures. This one looks back to a few china marker drawings I made around Christmas. See O tannenbaum, December 17, 2007.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hurricane Grace

I don't always look into my drawings for references to my physical life, but this one is screaming shipwreck... I only discovered that when I turned it around to its current orientation just now.
God I love surprises.
A friend and I were lost in the Mid-Atlantic during a hurricane in 1991. Sailing from Virginia to Bermuda on a small boat, we ran right into it. And the waters heaved and roiled just like this. (The Coast Guard rescued us after a few days; I love those guys). That memory lives on in me, surfacing every once in a while.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Last of the New York drawings for now

Another drawing from the NYC trip. I think I'll explore this direction further. I really like the plant-like quality.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moving on

Drawings this week are pushing into a realm of motion and energy.
They also occur with less conscious decision-making on my part... this one was made at Lori's kitchen table as we all chatted and ate dinner on Saturday night. I'm enjoying the hurried, messy shading, as opposed to my usual precise, pondering cross-hatching. There's a life to it some of the others don't have. And it goes much quicker.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Drawing on Wooster Street

A great weekend in NYC included a few gallery visits in SOHO, including the Agnes Martin drawings at Peter Blum. One of my favorites is at left. Twenty-four intoxicating drawings, all ten to twelve inches square. My friend Lori and I spent a long time wandering and soaking them in.. The show also includes her 'last' drawing, a small, squiggled seedling in a pot. I've got it bad for her.
We also hit the Drawing Center ( for their selections show, 9 artists who are members of their Viewing Program. I feel thrilled, inspired. Also enjoyed Ben Degan at I- can't-remember-the-name-of-the-gallery; his small drawings in the back were lovely.
A trip to the big city always makes me feel like drawing forever. It also reminds me how small is the area where I live.
Anyway, I made some drawings while I was there. This is one. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

Muddy the waters

I think this is what I meant by more mystery. Less light, though not less information. And more whys and whats.
I enjoy the flatter surface, flatter than my last posted entry. And I wonder why everyone is holding still so sweetly. Sleeping? Sated? Dying?

Monday, March 3, 2008


OK, I'm changing the title of this blog from Daily Drawing to Weekly Drawing... no I'm not. But I'd best figure out how to squeeze a lot more drawing time from my days. Granted it's been hectic lately - working a lot and trying to be a more contributing member of my community. But why is it always the best things I do that fall off the back of the plate first? Bah!
So, I'm posting this piece before its time. It needs more shadow, more hidden, secretive bits. It needs to look less like bound and gagged earthworms, and more like 'I don't know what this is I can't quite see it but I can't stop trying to figure it out'.
Of course there's that flip side voice in my head that says stop being a control freak and let it be...
I'm just thinking of Gerhard Richter, who would make a perfectly clear painting and then smear it with a big brush, make its depiction ambiguous, allow for mystery and other interpretations ...