Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Canal Drawing for Sam

I am trying something different.  I like drawing with a stick of vine charcoal in my sketchbook when I am out walking.  I can rub the charcoal with my fingers if I want to make changes.   The only problem is preserving the drawing until I get home.  This morning I used a piece of glassine to cover the drawing (above), plus a clamp to hold the pages still.  I will have to carry fixative, especially if I want to make several drawings.  Yeah, there is the problem of dirty fingers, but as long as I am near water, I can wash them.

Still reading Thoreau's Walden as part of my daily ritual:

"If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal, --that is your success.  All nature is your congratulations, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.  The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated.  We easily come to doubt if they exist.  We soon forget them.  They are the highest reality.  Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man.  The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.  It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Grand and Pacific

9x12 pastel.  Simulated helter skelter,  I'm getting close to what I want to achieve, even though it may not look like it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


More Pacific near Classon in Brooklyn.  8x10 pastel.  Trying to learn from my charcoal sketches.

Monday, July 23, 2012


9x12 oil of Pacific at Classon, Brooklyn.  I prefer sunny days, but this weather fits the setting.

One has to read Thoreau carefully.  He can surprise, such as when he writes, "Any prospect of awakening or coming to life to a dead man makes indifferent all times and places.  The place where that may occur is always the same, and indescribably pleasant to all our senses."

A few paragraphs later he writes, "With thinking we may be beside ourselves in a sane sense."

When I paint and draw, I am always beside myself.  My next group of pictures will all be pastels.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pacific at Classon, and Thoreau

Besides cars, there are a lot of walls in Brooklyn; some are falling down like these.  9x12 charcoal drawing.

Lately,  I have been reading Walden.  Here's what Thoreau says at the end of the chapter "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For":

"I perceive that we inhabitants of New England live this mean life that we do because our vision does not penetrate the surface of things.  We think that that is which appears to be.  If a man should walk through this town and see only the reality...If he should give us an account of the realities he beheld there, we should not recognize the place of his description.  Look at a meeting-house, or a court-house, or a jail, or a shop, or a dwelling-house, and say what that thing really is before a true gaze, and they would all go to pieces in your account of them."

Sounds like a proto-cubist vision!

He goes on to write:

"Men esteem truth remote, in the outskirts of the system, behind the furthest star, before Adam and after the last man.  In eternity there is indeed something true and sublime.  But all these times and places and occasions are now and here.  God himself culminates in the present moment,  and will never be more divine in the lapse of all the ages.  And we are enabled to apprehend at all what is sublime and noble only by the perpetual instilling and drenching of the reality which surrounds us."

The next three lines are more difficult, at least for me:

"The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us.  Let us spend our lives in conceiving then.  The poet or artist never yet had so fair and noble a design but some of his posterity at least could accomplish it."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Legoff et Saint Victor

An intersection in Cannes. 9x12 oil.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rues of the Day

The top 11x14 painting is the outcome of the previously posted drawing.  The bottom 11x14 painting is  what I did over the failed painting.  It's Rue Leopold Bucquet in Cannes.  I may have learned something from this experience.  I like its looseness.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bailly at Beaubourg

There's a painting that goes with this 11x14 drawing.  I spent an inordinate amount of time last week on another painting.  I sorta knew it was not going well, but I kept scraping and painting, and brushing, and wiping.  Eventually I gave up.  The canvas is now a completely different painting.  I couldn't keep it around.  I hate it when I know it's not going well, but I can't give it up.  Like starting a bad book, and feeling guilty about not finishing it.