The Occassional Comment
“A (small wooden) Cat Goes To Karlovy Vary”, charcoal quick sketch 29w x 42h cm.
Given a handful of charcoal and a 5 minute time limit the accuracy of all elements of controlled decision making process of all aspects of drawing become overwhelmed by the imperative to complete the work in the time allotted with little to no time available for editing. Though this is not my general approach to drawing/painting, it does provide a refreshing spontaneity and vitality that is elusive in more controlled approaches. Fwiw: The porcelain container (here a fish) is an accouterment that any visitor to Karlovy Vary will recognize as an obligatory vessel to collect water from the countless geothermal springs that adorn the city. Each spring has its own natural temperature (some very hot) and mineral content -thus taste and mouthfeel. The elongated porcelain “straws” allow a certain amount of cooling before the water hits one’s mouth. Traipsing through Karlovy Vary with a porcelain sipping cup in hand is a truly unique delight, even for little wooden cats 🐱. Don’t know what the cat’s doing there. I drew this safely back at home in Prague. The wooden cat has never been to Karlovy Vary.
Glory Hallelujah! The attack that had been pummeling me for the past three months has finally gone into remission. Life is amazing. The world is amazing. Autumn is beautiful.
I can walk again.
I can think again (I was getting lost just going down the stairs at times).
I can cook again.
I can help out around the house again.
I can draw and paint again!!!
Just this weekend I was able to stand for two figure drawing sessions. It is so nice to blow some of the dust off of my drawing abilities. Tonight There will be another figure drawing session.
I will be there.
It will be great :-)
I mentioned in the last post that I needed to take the e-commerce part of my website down until I was out of the depths of that attack. I just put it back up with a selection of the images that I can readily ship high quality glicée prints of. If you have any questions about images of mine that are not listed in the online shop please feel free to ask me.
All items that are for sale are available at a 10% discount until the end of November. If you see anything that you feel like purchasing just use the coupon code THX1138 while checking out.
Thank you all for your supportive words and thoughts during the last several months :-*
BTW: Speaking of supportive words ... I noticed that sometime while I was "down" Weebly somehow lost all of the comments and "like"s that people had posted to this mini-blog. I found out that it's a problem that affects a lot of their customers and Weebly has been "fixing" in since 2014. This is just one of the many reasons I regret not having started with a different hosting platform. FWIW, I did not remove anyone's comments or "like"s; they were all very important to me. I've changed the comment/like server to Facebook's. I have a feeling they're a bit more competent.
Purchase of original drawing/paintings and archival prints of my work will not be available for a while. I have been quite ill for the past two months (fun and games with multiple sclerosis, of course). For the time being, it is pretty hit & miss when I am able to take care of packing/shipping sensitive pictures or picking up glicee prints. As such, I think it’s best, for now, that I temporarily take down the eCommerce parts of my site. I’ll put them back up once I’m able to respond in a timely fashion. In the meantime … I look forward to seeing everyone on the other side of this attack.
Anonymous Morning, possibly my absolute favorite picture. If this were the work of another artist I would want to own a copy of it ...probably not the original though because that's too expensive and way too massive for our small flat (I'm ignoring here the irony that the massive original is in our flat.) Apparently I'm not alone and I spent an embarrassing long few days swirling in a giddy torrent of mixed emotions when someone decided to buy the original. Such a deep honor and validation of my work and vision, ... such sadness that the picture I love (yet don't have room for) will be taken before I ever get the chance to see it properly mounted on a wall ... such an ethical dilemma as the picture is maybe going to be chosen to be exhibited for five months and auctioned to help displaced Tibetan children but the buyer needed to get it now for her ailing father's birthday (or maybe it won't get chosen for the benefit exhibition ... I find out in two days),
What about the poor Tibetan Children? What about this poor woman who, btw, is floating in the middle of some ocean on a research vessel, far from her poor ailing father? What about this poor marine researcher's poor ailing father? What about me?
Fortunately, I only had to wallow in this emotional storm for a few days before it became clear that it was just someone trying to compromise my PayPal account and I gave them enough info that they might have been able to do it. So ... rather than the emotional confusion I had been dealing with I just have to close my account and set up a new one, reset all of my eCommerce settings, reset gobs of forgotten passwords, and close my eShop while I'm doing all that.
Grrrr ... That was fun.
On Sunday I’ll find out if five images of mine (including this one) will be selected to help out displaced kids at the Tibetan Children Village in Godalpur, India. Support for Tibetan human rights runs deep in the Czech Republic (or at least in Prague) and is one of the many surreal manifestations of resistance to the president here —imagine a deeply alcoholic Donald Trump without the global relevance and that should give you a pretty good picture of Miloš Zeman. He is, btw, one of the only European leaders who really really reaallly likes Trump. His fondness for Trump is followed pretty closely by his admiration of Xi Jinping. Whenever a Chinese delegation is in Prague (which seems to be quite often), large billboards of the Dalai Lama or of horrific treatment of Tibet by China fly up everywhere around the city and are promptly blocked from view by scaffolding. One would think that all of Prague is under construction during these times.
All of the participating artworks will be auctioned at the end of the exhibition with proceeds going to The Tibet Open House and the humanitarian campaigns they pursue (check them out here).
The exhibition and auction will be this fall at Školská 28 which is a really exciting gallery especially for new art (also worth checking out). Hopefully these five works will be part of the fall exhibition for Tibetan Children. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the show :).
This one was the going to be the first one on tinted paper where I included a teeny bit of black charcoal to extend the tonal range. Unfortunately, I was working at night under fluorescent light and subtle tonal gradations in the chalk against this paper were impossible to make out so I had to rely on using much more black charcoal than I would have liked for a series devoted to white chalk. Oh well. At least it's still got a lot of chalk :-). Time to move onto the 6th in this series.
This third one comes a day late cuz I was bedridden yesterday and couldn't do anything. Sorry 'bout that :(
Committing to producing and displaying a drawing a day for some period of time (usually a month) is a wonderful challenge and tradition employed by many. Of course I draw every day anyway, but most of what I doodle is not meant for human consumption. The Drawing A Day is a great way to deny oneself the luxury of fussing too much and imposing a period of disciplined focus. I’m going to give it a go, but just for a week. The unifying theme I’ll use will be a predominant medium, namely white chalk. For my first instalment I’m using it alone on cardboard. Drawing using a white medium requires an inverted process of seeing, focusing and prioritizing. It is not the image that is inverted as in a negative. Darks remain dark, lights remain light and midtones remain midtones. The inversion comes in the form of working primarily (or in this case exclusively) with the way light defines the subject. On a neutral tinted paper (such as this cardboard) all midtones reveal themselves in the negative space where no chalk has been applied. When only white is used, there is no explicit way to render anything darker than the background paper so extra care must be taken with the placement of highlights to evoke deep values that simply are not there (for example, making the pooch’s nose read as being ‘darker’ than the inside of it’s foreleg or the cardboard itself). I might have judiciously used a smattering of black charcoal to help in this but I am fascinated by the challenge of using chalk alone against a neutral background to be very instructive. I’ll throw in some black in future drawings in this series.
It would be great if other people try this out. I'd love to see what you come up with :-)