Thursday, January 31, 2013
A year and a half later, he had made it only as far as a small fishing village on the Aegean Sea. There, his smuggler crowded him onto a 30-foot wooden fishing boat with 22 other refugees. Just before leaving the shore, Javed borrowed a cell phone and called his father to ask him to pray for his safe arrival.
Just minutes after leaving the harbor, the small boat started taking on water. Within an hour it had nearly sunk.
According to the one survivor, when the boat capsized, Javed tried to rescue child. His body was found on the shore of the Greek island of Lesvos.
Zia found out about Javed's death through a television clip. He flew to Lesvos to identify Javed's body and arranged to have it transported back to Kabul so that his cousin could be buried in the family graveyard.
This drawing I did with the intention of being less obsessive and more expressive. Colored pencil on bristol.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
The title of this drawing refers to my great niece (and she is great), who is a ballerina. She is eleven years old and has been getting some pretty cool dance gigs at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Millie was most recently a beautiful hedgehog in the National Ballet of Canada's performance of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
The square inch this drawing comes from was part of a photo of the Kennedy Center, which is due for an expansion. The only part of the celebrated building included is the white shape in the middle on the right side. I liked the shapes of what I'm guessing is the Watergate in the background and then what I think are probably headlights on the road shining into the Potomac River.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The larger image, of which this drawing is a small part, is that of a group of Chadian soldiers on patrol in Gao, northern Mali.
Monday, January 28, 2013
When I started this project of, every day, taking a square inch of the front page photo of the Washington Post and turning it into an abstract drawing, I'm not sure how much I considered that some of the topics would be difficult. Like the soldier's story yesterday, and this tragedy today.
Yesterday, when I saw that the photo was from a video of a soldier under attack, initially I thought that I shouldn't do my project because I was afraid it might be taken as exploitive or disrespectful. But I decided that what I am doing is acknowledging. Terrible things happen, and they happen so often that I feel sometimes I'm enured to much of what I hear or read about, simply because it is so much. What doing this project makes me do is sit with the idea of what I'm drawing... and think about it. A practice of empathy.
This detail from the photo is not actually the fabric of the mourner's dress. It's part of the wreath placed by the coffin. The woman kneeling beside it is wearing a flowered blouse. Not the standard and depressing total black garb we don here in the US to attend a funeral.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
The YouTube of his experience has been viewed 23 million times. That means that 23 million times there was someone braver than I. I don't want to watch a video of a soldier screaming for help.
He does recovery from his injuries.
I used the same approach as I did on the square three days ago, starting with a a print of one of my texture photographs. This was a photo of snow that had fallen off a power line onto the dark road. I inverted the contrast.
The colors were chosen randomly from my box of colored pencils, but I decided what section of the composition I wanted them to go in, instead of making that random, too, which is what I usually do.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
I chose this portion of the top of a head because I wanted to use the organic shapes of the hair against the hard architectural edges in the background.
The hair belongs to an antiabortion activist with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, praying outside the Supreme Court.
Friday, January 25, 2013
I added acrylic to the mix this time. And watercolor, which I started with. Then went back and forth with acrylic and colored pencil, overlapping to build up the texture. There is some watercolor pencil and a brush pen, too.
I was looking at the paintings of Peruvian artist Nebiur Arellano for her use of surface treatment and color. And I meant to add some details from a book I was recently given on Aboriginal art, but I scanned it in before remembering that I wanted to do that, and then it was time to watch a movie...
Thursday, January 24, 2013
So, what is the blobby pattern in the background? Here's what I did. It's something I've wanted to try for a while. I found a photograph I took of snow that was melting around gravel, cropped a detail of it to a square and printed the image on a piece of bristol board. I drew the composition from the Post photo over the print. Then I did my random pencil thing, choosing two at a time and using the darkest pencil of the two on the dark blobs and the lightest one over it to color in that section. It has a sort of spacey 3-D look to it, don't you think?
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As a reward for working all day on a sad portrait of a woman who died too young, commissioned by her brother, I got a glass of wine, put on my favorite CD that Nan gave me and went at this with gusto.
And the whole time I was drawing I was thinking of you. Even though I know I said before that I had to see myself as my only reliable audience, I still get a kick out of knowing that you will, for some reason, want to know what I drew today and why and what I have to say about it.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I started with the random color thing, doing the 4 big stripes on the bottom first. Each of those stripes is composed of three (randomly chosen) colors layered one on top of the other. I then repeated those colors for the top curved forms, but used them with more shading and variation. I did the weird little ball and stripe thing last, using the same colors, but singularly. And that really wasn't working, way too flat and oddly graphic for the rest if it. So I went over it with one of the lighter pencils and then scraped the color off the yellow circles with an Exacto knife blade, which improved it a little bit, but not enough! Oh well, better luck next time, huh?
The image is part of the drapery behind President Obama and family as he took the oath of office.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Friday, January 18, 2013
Back to a more careful approach (staying in the lines) with the pencils, I chose them randomly again, but repeated colors instead of making each segment a new color.
As I was coloring away, I thought of a quote from a book Judy gave me for Christmas called Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren : "Nonthinking repetition of mechanical forms allows one to concentrate simply on being without the distraction of having to make decisions, artistic or otherwise."
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Thing is, I really like these. They feel fresh and exciting and contemporary. Spontaneous. Creating with no worries. And I love the process. Prismacolor glided onto buttery bristol. I drew each of these squares with soft graphite first, added just touches of color with the colored pencil, then smeared them with a cream-colored pencil. I like that smeared look.
Catching up with the one-drawing-a-day idea forced this 6-at-a-time composition ~ another happy "accident". I like the grouping. The words written under each square refer to the subject of the photograph from which the image was taken.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The title of this piece comes from combining 4 days in a row. 1 - 010713 RG3's 4th Quarter, 2 - 010613 Capitals, John Carlson, 3 - 010913 Illinois Drought, and 4 - 011013 Outside Senate Chambers.
Here is a link to a video of a talk I gave on my 365 project. It's kinda long, but my buddy Dave did a wonderful job ~ again! I was at Bridge Gallery (thank-you, Kathryn!) here in Shepherdstown, with about 30 of my wonderful friends in the audience. Thanks to everybody for making this so much fun!!!
List of materials used in the 365 projects ~
Cakes of soap
Wood (both milled and found)
Old and new books
Hotel note pads
Grape nuts cereal
Kit for a building for a model train layout
CD and cassette tape covers
Needle and thread
Clothes with an emphasis on
Kitchen utensils and tools
Various jars and containers
Toilet paper tubes
Wine bottles (not to mention consuming said wine in the process of making much of this stuff)
Wood burning tool
Cell phone (which became the perfect subject of one of my projects to add wings to something when it drowned in the washing machine)
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Colored pencil on card stock with ink border. An abstraction of a square inch of a photograph on the front page of the Washington Post, January 5th.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
An abstraction from a square inch of the Washington Post cover photo, January 4, 2013.
I was so disappointed when the randomly chosen colored pencil for the white swan came up black. But now that the drawing is finished I see that the strong graphic shape works well.
The photograph, from January 3rd, illustrated the good news that the Chesapeake Bay may be regaining its health.
If you are just joining me here, I've been taking the main front page photograph of the Washington Post and finding a square inch (or, in this case, two) to abstract into a drawing usually measuring about 4 inches. I choose the colors for each section by randomly, and without looking, selecting a pencil from my box full of Prismacolors.
I'm using the photographs to start because I like to have a reference from something that I can abstract and make my own. Selecting random colors makes it great fun! I love to see how the piece is going to turn out, like a surprise package opened. And it gives me ideas for color combinations I might not think of myself, as well as pointing out ones I don't want to use in the future!
These pieces are studies I plan to turn into three-dimensional mixed-media work.
I'm not sure I want to have them be quite so representational as this one turned out, so I will probably work on abstracting the image more for future drawings.
I did the whole drawing in the layout pencil first, letting the colored pencil smear and blend with the graphite.
I've been experimenting with different brands of colored pencils and find I definitely prefer Prismacolor. They have a rich waxiness that allows for nice, opaque covering of the paper. I'm using a smooth-surfaced card stock.
This drawing, with its randomly chosen colors (I close my eyes and grab a pencil from my shoe box of colored pencils for each color section of the drawing) is 3.75" X 4.25".
I used the graphite again, specifically an Ebony Layout pencil, under the colored pencil and smudged it. The stronger, little black squares on the pink are done with ink over the pencil. Again, using randomly chosen colors. The columns in the bottom right were royal blue with that yellow (yuk) and I toned it down by smearing over the blue with the yellow creating that sort of hairy effect and I like that.
This is the last one based on a tile. Even though it's quite different from the original design, I still don't want to continue using the basic idea of another contemporary artist. A non-living artist feels okay, but not an artist who is currently producing. So, in the next drawings I have another idea...
These are turning out to be interesting (to me, anyway!) color experiments. I'm building my vocabulary of colors and color relationships. I have never been a faithful student of color theory, so I'm still having a lot of fun seeing what color I'm going to pull from the box, and then seeing what it does in and to the design.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I wanted to show you the first in a series of colored pencil drawings I'm doing and that I really like. They are inspired by the project I did on Day 363 (last year) where I had to really work the pencil to get a saturated color, which I'd never done before. And, you'll love this part, the colors were chosen by picking out a pencil at random from my box of about 100 different colored pencils. When I see what my blind groping has come up with I say yikes! I would never have chosen THAT! and then it turns out to look more interesting to me than what I might have chosen on purpose. Random. Fun. Spontaneous! Oh, and the initial drawing (design) is a loose interpretation of a fragment of something I saw somewhere.
This drawing is about 4.5" square.