Monday, September 30, 2019

Collage and Bricolage by Aldywth

I only discovered Aldwyth in 2012. I am so glad I did. She does large and small collages, and bricolage, which I would call assemblage (is there a difference?). I find her collages especially inspiring. She uses ordinary materials to create little worlds I would love to visit. Or in the case of the larger collages, the worlds are vast.

Above: Postcard collage by Aldwyth. She made a series of postcards from two boxes of National Geographics. They were mailed to friends with the instruction to send them back with any mark they wanted to add.

Above: Moon 3 in small collages. Eyes and hands appear frequently in her collages.

Above: "Return to the Blue Peninsula"

Return to the Blue Peninsula open.

Aldwyth's large collages are spectacular, but I can't reproduce them here. They would be too small and not interesting. Unfortunately her website isn't much better, you can enlarge them by running a magnifying window over them, but the magnified image is blurry. My monitor is pretty big, maybe the magnified images would look better on a smaller monitor. If you like what you see, check out the book "Aldwyth: Work V./Work N. Collage and Assemblage 1991-2009."

Friday, September 20, 2019

Elizabeth Layton draws herself

Another artist I hugely admire is Elizabeth Layton. I like the looseness of her drawing style, her compositions are often great. And I love the personal nature of her content. She started late, almost accidentally. And drawing turned out to be the cure for her manic depression. Some of her drawings are very serious, others are playful and funny. There is a book of her drawings on Amazon: The Life and Art of Elizabeth (Grandma) Layton. The text with each image below is her words.

Garden of Eden - November 1977 "Women have had the blame all through the ages for everything. You know that's not right. Now a woman would not listen to a snake, she'd run, wouldn't she? This is Adam, he's got a Band-Aid where his rib came out. This was my first E.R.A. picture. I was just objecting to being blamed for all of the sin of the world." Elizabeth Layton

CINDERELLA - July 30, 1982 “Fairy tales end. “Cinderella and her prince get married and live happily ever after.’ Not necessarily so. He sits there, glued to the television set. She pouts, feeling neglected. She consoles herself with chocolates, romance novels, and the thought that she is a pretty little thing whose tiny pink foot slips easily into the treasured glass slipper.”

Intensive Care Room - January, 1978 "This is the room where my son died. They had all these tubes... you know, terrible. There was always blood coming down. I couldn't draw the face, so I put the pillow there. They gave him four gallons of blood. I had always given blood and I couldn't wait till I could go again and give for somebody else. They wouldn't take me because I was taking medicine for high blood pressure. I felt so helpless." Elizabeth Layton

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Eileen McGarvey

I'm going to do a few posts about people whose drawings I admire. These people inspire me to try to get more interesting content in my drawings. When I was studying drawing at San Jose State, I loved it, but eventually got disenchanted because drawing reality wasn't that compelling and I didn't seem to have a talent for coming up with more interesting content. I still struggle with that.

Eileen McGarvey, e-mcgarvey on Instagram, is doing wonderful intuitive drawings. Although she has art training, and lots of art skills, her drawings have an outsider vibe that I love. I have her permission to put a few of her Instagram photos here, each image will enlarge. Some of these seem more finished than others. But sometimes the less finished art is more compelling. I think she works longer on the ones that resonate the most with her. Perhaps she does a lot of trials that don't pan out? I'll have to ask her. Still all the images resonate with me. I think she is taping into something universal. I removed all other people's comments for privacy reasons.

"image from a guided meditation during an amazing video call from Barb Kobe's Transformative Healing Doll class." This one grabs me in a wonderful way. This is the unfinished version, the finished one has blue around the figure, making the figure and text bubbles stand out. I love them both.

"Riding the bus with tachycardia, butterfly dreams and a kiss from a fish." I love the composition in this one.

"Calm" Yes, it is calm, very comforting to look at.

"Talk to the mitochondria" I love the clasped hands. At least that's how I see it.

"Who's driving this thing?!? intuitive drawing" Life often feels like this - the bad baby seems to be in charge. We're in trouble now.

What a crooked smile you have

I have been playing with more contour drawing. It's actually partial blind contour, from a photo. Someone was asking about my process so here's a detailed explanation. Number one started at the eye, and ended at the two, where I went off the screen and had to make the image a little smaller. (this wouldn't be a problem with paper - I could have just started with a large sheet.) Two ended at the lower left shoulder with no easy way to get to the other side of the neck. Three started at the neck and includes the shirt on the right.

Here I have a little hatching filled in. The notes in the upper right refer to the brush I used. It's called rusty nib 4, a very scratchy looking nib. I rather like this state.

Here I'm done with the complicated parts, filling in the forehead and neck shadows is relatively easy.

Here's it's close to being done.

And here is the finished drawing. I tried to keep all the wonkiness, but in the end decided I like to have the metal bar joining the glasses lenses connected. I wonder - is it creepy and weird, or just fun? I like this one - it seems lively to me. I do have a crooked smile, due to a dental mishap years ago. The drawing took 3 hours 2 minutes. There are 16,841 strokes. I'm not that compulsive, Procreate keeps track of that stuff.

Here is the photo I used. It's poorly lit and out of focus but that didn't matter.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Favorite Drawing Books


I have been playing with doing blind contour drawings and then filling in with cross hatching, as if I was happy with the proportions. I'm finding this very fun, the distortions I get with contour drawing are often interesting. Above is an example. This one was done on my iPad with Procreate.

I am working on my website this afternoon but I keep thinking I'd like to stop and draw some. (I try to work on the website when I feel fresh, and draw in the evening when I'm getting tired.) Why is drawing so distracting right now? I found a new book - Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson. It's reviewed by Teoh Yi Chie on youtube. The examples are very loose, Bert Dodson's approach is clear and easy to follow. There isn't much emphasis on perfection. In fact early on he says restating lines (when you make a mistake) can give the drawing more life. I find his approach very inspiring.

My other all time favorite drawing book is Sketch Book for the Artist by Sarah Simblet. She has written other books that are very good, but this is the best. The examples are very nice drawings, her descriptions are clear and inspiring. The link goes to Amazon, where there is a "look inside.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Time spent on the glowing box

Above: Stolen Shadows, finished earlier this year. The paper is eco dyed watercolor paper. Pen and ink drawing.

I have been trying to keep my nose to the grindstone, working in my studio as often as I can, so not taking the time to blog. This past week I had a cold, so spent more time on the computer. Instead of blogging, which was my plan, I started a new website.

I tried WordPress earlier this year and something about the interface made me crazy. The main problem is that there are frequent updates. If I rely on a plug-in for a gallery, which is essential if you have lots of images, it may not be updated when the main part of the program is. Or even ever. Obviously I am not up to speed on the terminology, but I hope you get the gist. The second problem is that I made a website years ago with GoLive, (a wysiwyg program), so the switch to a different kind of interface in WordPress seemed so unintuitive. Friends have asked me to let them know how I liked WordPress, so I have to say two thumbs down. I know it's the best solution for many people, and I love people's blogs. However, I can read html and sort of get it. So I have moved to DreamWeaver. It's pretty easy, you create a file, start making modifications and build it up. My biggest problem is that I don't remember how I did stuff two years later. It has taken me this past week to refresh my memory. Now I'm starting to do the actual work.

I also feel much better, so I need to be in the studio again. I am currently working on a book based on the Golden Book of Astronomy that my brother-in-law had as a kid. He drew and scribbled in it and I love all the marks.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

A small celebration

Today I finished my book, "In which our main character has a revelation of wonderment." The idea is that I have these moments when I look around and think "the world is amazing. I am so lucky to be here." Sometimes I feel connected to all of life. Here are a few pages. There is another pair of pages here. I did end up adding a few more pages than expected and then made some changes to them.

When she saw this page, my friend Elise said "he is hoeing the earth and the mountains are growing." I thought that was lovely. Thank you Elise!

Soon I need to set up the good photo equipment and try to remember my camera settings so I can take the "good" photos.I may try to make a multiple, but that opens up a lot of new problems to solve, mainly that my monitor is not calibrated to my printer. I would love to find a tech guru who could come over and fix these kinds of things for me.