I’ve had the pleasure of hanging around Jill and Chris’ garden a few times this Spring and Summer while they prepare to leave the hemisphere. Gracious hosts that they are, food is always provided straight out of the garden into home-made pottery.
The other night I dreamt I was on a moon that orbited not the planet, but the lake near my house. I could see everything from up there, but I myself could not be seen or heard – except in notes I made from paper airplanes. They had to be thrown hard enough to curve along the surface of the moon two or three times in full orbit to make escape velocity.
From there, who knows where they landed.
Here’s another exploration of organic shapes, lines, and colour. This time lighter balances against darker – not as intrinsic elements, but as shades of the same thing.
Three pencils, a blank sheet of paper; my hands and mind. This is what comes about in the span of a pot of coffee.
It kind of feels like exploration – which is good for me. I’ve often felt quite bound to material subjects when I paint; trying to capture a likeness to something already known. This isn’t that.
Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
I’m still exploring the organic, maze-like surfaces of trees – and in the process I’ve gone further in the direction of abstraction.
In one case, I tried turning stumps into moons. There was something about the way the knots and layers of bark were coming together that reminded me of craters.
Some of these drawings were done in a group setting with friends. Others done while swilling coffee at the neighbourhood diner.
Oh, and here’s a bonus drawing of Rodin’s great sculpture in red pencil. As perhaps my last post might explain, I’ve been lost in thought, and this seemed – at the time – to be the best way to express heat and the muscular struggle and weight of thought without actually admitting anything.
I’ve really got to stop being so oblique. It’s one of my most frustrating qualities.
The collection of these grows steadily, and again, I find myself with the material for a legitimate show in the works. Once I have a venue, I’ll put them on display and make them available for sale.
Trees and tree-bark continue to interest me, but I haven’t been trying to draw them directly since moving to colored pencil. Most of these had been drawn indoors somewhere, and often at night.
They’ve been an intuitive exercise in rendering without reference.
Stumps are a simple volume to fill, basically; a solid, three-dimensional object with a textured surface. They’re just big jagged cylinders made up of organic forms: rings, scales, chunks, grain, and fiber; all with an organic language of its own. I enjoy both the free imitation and rejection of its grammar while I draw.
It’s fun and produces interesting results. I’m considering putting a show together out of them, or selling them privately. Contact me if you’re interested.
With the weather growing ever less garbagesome, I’ve been taking my sketchbooks with me on adventures into the forest and up the side of cliffs; also to cafes, diners, and spontaneous drawing clubs in basements (the first and second rules forbid me from elaborating. Sorry).
I’ve been drawing trees a lot lately, and the more I draw them, the more I find myself getting lost in fabricating three-dimensional bodies with a flow of lines. What started with fairly ordinary landscapes in pencil went into outer-space once I stepped away from trying to represent a true object and instead started playing with its visual DNA.
Pencil crayons are mama-hecking fun, too.
Some of my friends and neighbours are fallers (lumberjacks if you’re not from around here). Regardless of how abstract the stumps were, they’d look at it and see only a bad cut. From the moment I opened the page to get their opinion, out would come a chorus of “Aww, that’s a terrible stump” from anyone who’s looked at a chainsaw twice.
“Well, any BC boy ought to know a good undercut.”
Fair point, I suppose, but I didn’t realize I’d be graded on my saw-craft of purely theoretical stumps.
Right in the middle of Powell River’s marine drive, Base Camp is a cafe built from scratch by artists out of metallic sculpture and hand-milled wood. It’s like a functioning art installation you can hang out, drink coffee, and eat food in.
Living up to its name, Base Camp has quickly become the watering hole for the huge pack of artists, film-makers, musicians, and lefty politicians roaming about town. Any time I’m there it’s full of cool people drawing up big plans for fun things.
Oh, and did I say anything about how good the coffee is?
The coffee is good. It’s very good, in fact. What they serve there is among the best stuff I’ve tasted, and it’s roasted right here in town by 32 Lakes. Being a wandering caffeine junkie has never been so good.
After spending a profitable afternoon writing at Magpies, I’d gotten an invite to wander down to Base Camp and meet a couple of other artists for a Saturday Night sketchbook jam. It’s supposed to be a weekly event, and I definitely plan on being a regular after my first night there.
I joined Meghan Hildebrand, Kelsey McMillan, and Jesse RG at a big shared table – each of us bringing some wildly different sensibilities to the mix. After a few minutes of tapping my pencil on my head trying to think of something to draw, I decided to make mine a sasquatch – a viking sasquatch to be precise – and because the sasquatch is the sort of official mascot of Base Camp, we all decided to make our own.
After we finished we all put our work up on instagram and used the hashtag #saturdaynightsasquatch. I really hope that becomes the name and hashtag of our weekly art jam. In fact, I’m going to demand it.
I can’t wait to see who shows up next week, and what we end up creating. Stay tuned…