Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Breaking Records

The idea of breaking records rarely holds my interest (particularly feats of strength and speed). Attempting to break records can at times feel like an exercise in striving to best others at narrowly defined achievements. Without a higher sense of purpose, efforts can feel like a misplaced use of energy. Despite my misgivings, I will delve into a small personal record. I will continue because an attempt to reach lofty goals can yield redeeming results (e.g. truth or service).

With this current post, I will have broken my record for most posts in a year. At the beginning of the year I declared a renewed work ethic and commitment to write and post. I did not know how long this resolution would last. Thus, it came as a surprise that I had brought a higher than expected level of dedication.

Breaking records serve as markers and can allow us to be reflective about setbacks and surprises while also allowing us to consider how to move beyond abstract points of completion. Pushing myself toward the finish line and the end of 2014, I made one of my "assignment" drawings. In order to not lose sight of the fact that I am student, I set a time limitation one would have for a studio art class.

I gave my self about three hours to come up with something that approaches resolution. The results are not always as fine tuned as I'd like. However, a little pressure is felt and occasionally I end up in a very different place than I thought I would. In memory of a watercolor by John Ruskin depicting a large stone/boulder, I decided to draw my own "bolder" (seen below).

As it turns out, a bolder approach sometimes can be record breaking.

Above is an image of John Ruskin's watercolor Fragment of the Alps. However distant in style and approach, below is my own drawing of a large Stone.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Pilgrim's Poppin Progress

Earlier this year I wrote about Phil Poppin and Mr. Wisor. I wanted to follow up here and show some progress. I started out with one drawing of Mr. Poppin (represented in the far left of the image below). However, this drawing did not seem to represent the full dimension of the character. I wanted to move from a physical description to a depiction of spirit. This led me to develop two additional versions (the second two bands in the image below). Though the third rendering focuses less on the body, it still offers hints and parts remain. Eventually I glued all three drawings down to a larger sheet of paper and spread out to the left adding "poppin" in the way that stars appear in a clear night sky. This was an attempt to focus on qualities and thoughts rather than a fixed identity. I am not sure if there are three, four, or one renderings of Phil Poppin here, and I am not yet certain when to stop adding "poppins"? However, for a rectangular image the character is becoming more rounded.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Studio

In most cases this blog focuses on short and direct ideas. With these efforts there is the satisfaction that comes with quick and immediate results. Not all work is like this. Currently, I am involved with several projects that involve collage, drawing, painting, and writing. Little by little work gets done. The slow pace can be frustrating. Today I took a picture of my work space to prove to myself there is progress. Sometimes we need small rewards to keep us going with grander visions.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Staying Calm

Much has happen in the last month. There have been many ideas. These have come and gone. There have been good intentions. I wanted to report on my visit to Detroit. I wanted to report on all of the birds that neatly lined themselves on the power lines down the street from my house. Alas, they have flown away. Frazzled and a little warn, I sketched out a meditating man. It is hard to make what is flat have dimension or to pick colors that are not within grasp. So, I try and stay calm and let some of the nervous actions rest. Best not to try and force harmony. Harmony, is not responsive bullies.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Thirty Minutes

When at work I have a thirty minute lunch break. While the weather is warm, I usually spend the time at a special spot beneath a tree. There I have a perfect view of the cars on the bypass. For me the trick is to see how to maximize this short time. After eating lunch I am usually able to collect fifteen minutes of solitude. In my mind, I am often able to drift to foreign places. At times I try to recapture my break experience through drawings of the places I have imagined. Below are some of the drawings inspired by this break. The top portrait involved testing out a marker, the middle drawing is a kind of self portrait (myself under the tree), the bottom drawing is an imagined landscape. What I enjoy about making these little pictures is the roughness of the marker and the direct feeling of moving from thought to image.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Cricket's Song

Although the activity of insects and animals surround us, in our busyness we are often blind to their movements and unfazed by their sounds. While lawn mowers often wake me up, the chirp of birds and rattle of cicadas can become part of the background as I get ready for the day. However, in an opposite way, I linger with the acoustics that arise in the evening. In August as the night air cools, I appreciate the sound of the crickets as they call to their mates. It is a concert that reminds me that summer is waning. I wondered how to picture nighttime concert. So I made a drawing that mixes order (the pattern of sounds) and a kind of unknowing dance in the dark (a depiction of what I can't see but can imagine).

To make this post a little more interactive, I have added the following YouTube video where one of my friends sounds the call.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vacation Pictures

Last week I was in Ocean City, New Jersey. I spent part of an afternoon walking around town taking photographs.

At first I thought this was a living breathing bird.

On inspection I found that this large stone was plastic. I am not sure what it is hiding?

This sculpture appeared in front of the firehouse. I could find no marker for it. However, it contained part of a beam. This made me think it was part of a monument to the firefighters who courageously worked on the site of the World Trade Center.

This box seemed to be painted to look like a cow or a dalmatian. I am not sure why this was the case, but I like the directness of the painting.

City Hall reminded me of Europe.

I have had dreams about this restaurant, but I can not remember ever eating there.

Doorways that have been closed off peak my curiosity and make me wonder where passages use to lead.

Pastel pink and green houses seem to make sense in an environment of bright light.

In a town where the houses seem to grow year after year. It was a surprise to see that this garage could no longer fit the car.