Monday, April 30, 2012

The Medusa (sketch 1)

"Although Nietzsche had embarked upon the destruction of all idols, he too, in this way, recognized the desire for death inherent in the desire for truth at any cost. The philosopher who wants to examine all things 'in depth', discovers the petrifying abyss. The destiny of the man whom Nietzsche refers to as 'the Don Juan of knowledge' will be paralyzed as if by Medusa, and will himself be 'changed into a guest of stone' (Morgenröte i.e. the Dawn of Day, 327, 1881). This is also the destiny of the 'lover of truth' who, in the Dionysos Dithyramben (1888) appears to be 'changed into a statue/into a sacred column'. Nietzsche, who was aware of the necessity 'for the philosopher' to live within the 'closed circuit of representation' (Derrida), to seek the truth even if he no longer believes in it, without ever being able to attain it, devised his own version of the 'truth', his Medusa's head, the Eternal Return: 'Great thought is like Medusa's head: all the world's features harden, a deadly, ice-cold battle' (Posthumous Fragments, Winter 1884-5)."

Medusa (sketch 1), 2012, 12" x 17", charcoal on primed canvas sheet, digitally altered.

The pink lines I think could be whitened, but I haven't thus far been able to figure out how to do it in Photoshop since the pink is a strange combination of pink and white pixels with orange and sometimes also black single pixels embedded within them. Coating it all with a whiter shade of pink doesn't work since it loses its grainy, cave-like quality. I may have to leave it as it is.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

'Every Angel is terror' (Rilke): painting in-progress

I was photographing this in a patch of sunlight, my backside in the alley, and a man drove by in a large red SUV, and the man with the puppy that is part husky called Maggie was trying to get her on leash so she wouldn't run on my still-wet painting, and then the man in the large red SUV started backing up, and Maggie's owner and I, well, what's going on? He stuck his head out the window. 'Do you paint?' 'Yeah.' 'Is that yours?' 'Yeah.' 'Do you sell your work?' 'Yeah.' 'Do you have a studio?' 'No, just my apartment.' 'Can I come by to see your work? I like paintings.' 'Sure.' 'Is that one for sale? I like it.' 'Yes.' So I gave him my phone number. He's the general contrator for a store going in around the corner.

A cute story, that I share. My apartment is getting so filled with paintings and drawings from all these lifedrawing sessions I've been going to I am considering selling with a PWYCA - 'pay what you think it is worth, and what you can afford.' Although a painting this size might go for around a grand, I'm not affiliated with any galleries and don't even have a 'store' at my art website. Rather than have all these paintings collecting dust in folios, I might shift my sensibility to another way of offering my work to those who really love it.

"Every Angel is terror. And yet,
ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly
birds of the soul" from Rilke, 2nd Duino Elegy, 2012, 18" x 24", in-progress, charcoal, acrylic, triple-primed cotton canvas sheet.

Friday, April 27, 2012

'Every Angel is terror' (Rilke) painting-in-process

"Every Angel is terror. And yet,
ah, knowing you, I invoke you, almost deadly
birds of the soul" from Rilke, 2nd Duino Elegy, 2012, 18" x 24", painting-in-progress, charcoal, acrylic, canvas sheet.

TSA tonight. I'll work on it over the next few days. A rough draft, you could say.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Praise the world to the Angel, not the unsayable"

"Praise the world to the Angel, not the unsayable," sketch in-process, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", graphite, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4. Title is a quote from Rilke's 9th Duino Elegy.

It gave me peculiar pleasure tonight to work on some anatomical shadowing, not entirely successful, but getting there.

The chest to my eye isn't quite right, and I need to imagine myself into that rib cage (or another, I won't tinker with this drawing now) for a better anatomical shadowing rendition. I went to this site, gratis of a beautiful artist where, when doesn't have live models, one can practice.
It'd be easier if I printed an image out, but I don't. I sit 3 or 4 feet back, with my mid-distance and close-up bifocals on, and draw straight from the screen, imagining my way into the body I am drawing. :smiles:

I feel this man, his strength, the strength of his anguish, the poetry in him, his agility to throw the masses of fabric high like wings. He becomes a Rilkean man under my pencil.

(My mother fading; bad news from the MRI on my wrist; and other difficulties in my personal life. I find I can't write or make videopoems but that drawing and painting help to still my mind and thus allow some relief from the stress.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Cafe Writer

Just a doodle. Began in charcoal and from there, watercolours, acyrlics, and finally an ordinary ballpoint pen. The Cafe Writer, 6" x 8", mixed media on archival paper.

Monday, April 23, 2012

My mother, her waxen, yellowed, translucent skin;

her mute —


(I wonder if I'll get an opportunity/the courage
to draw her,
or if that'll be too painful)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Figment, or what is departing?

Figment, or what is departing?, 2012, 20.5" x 16", mixed media on 90lb archival paper.

For me, I see strange and unintentional resonance of the woman with one of the earliest cave paintings, the Shaman of Trois Frères (scroll down a bit). She is half elk, a shaman, and he is a primal man who may transform on the full moon, an adept of the great goddess. Does the strength of moonlight compose him? There's something Fellini-like about them. As if from a dream. Or a poetic metaphor. The animal soul and its poetry of desire.

Her dress is made of red ink.

[One figure is from the OCAD figure drawing sessions; the other is a rendition from the Keyhole session. Together they make another story.]


Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Room, where the Buddha waits

The Room, where the Buddha waits, 2012, 18" x 19.5", mixed media on 90lb archival paper.

This series, for me, has resonances with Tarkovsky's 'the Room' that is within in the dangerous region of approach, 'the Zone,' in his movie, The Stalker. The Room doesn't appear to be anything more than the strange approach to it. While there is a physical journey, it is circuitous and covers a surprisingly short distance, and so the dangerous region of approach seems more of a psychic quest in the deserted region of 'the Zone.' The stalker who is like a strange priest or monk or shaman or artist guides those brave enough to risk this journey to their own mysteries, their own inner truths. The 'Room' grants wishes, or this is its reputation, in strange and unexpected ways. The process perhaps represents what we see and perceive about who we are, and it changes us, that process of realizing more of who we are.

This is the way I am thinking about this series. An incipient spirituality, with self-reflection, manliness, a pride in the body, and a sense of sensitive and lithe thought processes.

The whole album, with original sketches, may be viewed here:
Figure Drawing at OCAD

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Playing Field

The Playing Field, 2012, 20" x 17.5", mixed media on 90lb archival paper.

Pierre-Marie Cœdès commented at Facebook: 'It is funny you name it The Playing Field, since I see them hesitating and very much interrogative ...'

Ah, I answered, that's what the playing field is like, then, Pierre-Marie. I would like the title on this one to be interpreted however the viewer reads it and sees the painting. This series seems, for me, to have resonances with Tarkovsky's "Zone" in his movie, The Stalker. It isn't really anything, but it represents what you see and perceive about who you are, and it changes you, that process of realizing more of who we are. Now, yes, you are helping me to say what these paintings of the men mean in the way I think about them. I like the way you think about them and I especially like that you share your thoughts, for I always learn from your kindly perceptions, Pierre-Marie.

The whole album, with original sketches, may be viewed here:
Figure Drawing at OCAD

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Men Who

The Men Who, 2012, 23" x 18", 58.5cm x 45.6cm, mixed media on 90lb archival paper.

If I can, I like to finish my life drawing sketches. These were one minute poses - which I tend to place all on the same page (being into doubles, doppelgängers, clones). I have to consider placement on page, how the gesture of that pose fits into the overall rhythm of the figures, and the particular anatomy of that pose in a nanosecond and hit the track running, like, Draw! :laughing:

The whole album, with original sketches, may be viewed here:
Figure Drawing at OCAD

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Figure Drawing at OCAD

After a poetry meetup group friday night, with an open mic, and a post-poetry pub visit, I dragged myself off to OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design) the next morning for a drop-in figure drawing session. I carried a large board with a canvas sheet taped to it, my large drawing pad, 2 sets of paints, watercolour and acrylic, brushes, water jars, palette, etc. since I had been unable to determine in Internet searches if OCAD offered a long pose or not.

Unfortunately, it was a typical life drawing session, beginning with half a dozen 1 minute poses, then onto 3 - 5 minute ones, a few 10 minute, and ending with two 20 minute poses. A format I do not enjoy, and I would not have gone if I had known. So many poses of such short duration do not work for me, and I now look for sessions with longer poses.

Because I had a few things to do downtown (like visit my favourite art store, Above Ground Art Supplies), I ended up walking home, trudging 4km loaded like an elephant. All in all, very exhausting.

Still, in the posts to follow, you will see that I am working very hard to turn these pages into viable paintings.

These were all done in charcoal on 18" x 24" 90lb archival paper.

(ps. The paper is bright white - I took the photos late and it was cloudy, not enough light for my iPhone camera.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Charcoal Sketches

Right before going to bed last night I grabbed my charcoal pencil and began a few 'tests' - all tiny, like 6" x 8" - watercolour brushed in afterwards. The self-portrait done in a dark room is overdone but you can't undo charcoal; the woman in the middle, well, what can I say, the pencil is clumsy to use, it needs larger paper; and the final one is exactly what I wanted.

Though I drew her last night, I wrote a poem for her 6 years ago:


the bus stop,
all the people's heads
turned, watching.

Gaze of anxiety.

The blind woman tapping
her way forward.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Little Magnolia Tree That Is Now Blossoming

Little Magnolia Tree That Is Now Blossoming, 2012, 6" x 10", conte, watercolours, Grumbacher acid-free journal paper.

Just a little experiment... I found a dozen or so tubes of watercolour (Windsor and Newton as well as their Cotman line) in a dusty old box under my desk, tubes that must be 25 years old. Some of them are still usable! A quick watercolour sketch of an even quicker street sketch a week or two back.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sloth at the Keyhole

From the Madame: "The Keyhole Sessions: the raciest arts community you'll ever experience."
The Keyhole Sessions are life-drawing with edge. With a hunger for the erotic, our community of artists gather for a few hours of debaucherous drawing on the second Tuesday of every month.

Hosted by The Madame, TKS is not for the faint of heart: our models come with attitude. Trussed up in rope and restraints, they’re here to have as much fun as the artists.

Most sessions will see our models exquisitely wrapped in shibari-inspired rope bondage. Keyhole Sessions Head Rigger, JP Robichaud, displays his talents by binding our models in sensual rope to add that extra flair to your drawings. For those unfamiliar with this art, look it up and then come to our class to witness this beautiful craft up close.

Divided into 3 Acts, you’ll see multiple models in varying degrees of undress and restraints, all to a soundtrack of some pretty sweet beats.
There are chairs for 60, and the women-only models obviously appeal to men, who are the majority, and, though I was quite scared to go, I am happy to report that there was a good sprinkling of women artists too. :)

These drawings and paintings were done at the Keyhole last night. It may be a raunchy life-drawing venue, but those beautiful women and erotic poses are a lot of work to draw! As art, I'm thinking of Toulous-Lautrec. The lifestyle alluded to in the props and poses is a bit out of my range - I've never had a Mowhawk or ever tried a hookah or been tied up, and aren't thinking to either. :))) I am drawn to the exploration of the body through unique poses and models. I had to explain to my 25 year old son where I was going to draw and what I'd likely come back with, and not to worry about what might appear on the walls of my apartment! I wasn't... falling into Sloth (they're doing the 7 Deadlies, and last night was sloth).

It was a huge amount of work drawing the models last night - they start out with one model and 3 minute poses, then move onto two models with longer poses, and finish the evening with a 45 minute three model configuration. I like how my little series began, but trying to finish them so I can get back to what I was working on before the session has been exhausting, along with quite a bit of stress in my life, and perhaps it shows in the final painting, which I feel is the most worked and the least successful. Or is it my tired eyes?

Three, On The Edge, 2012, 20" x 16", mixed media, 90lb archival paper.

And Then, 2012, 20" x 16", mixed media, 90lb archival paper.

Better Left Unsaid, 2012, graphite on 90lb archival paper, image digitally finished.

This sketch is on the back of Three, On The Edge and which is now hanging on the wall. Better Left Unsaid is in light pencil, and I coloured it digitally.

Shadow, 2012, 20" x 16", mixed media, 90lb archival paper. (This is the dusting of charcoal on the back of the sheet facing the first drawing. It is the shadow of the figure on the right, and I quite like it.)

Take It Easy, 2012, 20" x 16", mixed media, 90lb archival paper.

Women Models, sketch, 2012, 14" x 14", graphite, 90lb archival paper.

A Tangle, sketch, 2012, 17.5" x 15.5", mixed media, 90lb archival paper.

A Tangle, 2012, 17.5" x 15.5", mixed media, 90lb archival paper.

Drawing at the Keyhole in April 2012. 
Photo by Susie Caboose. (I was working on And Then.)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

The Living Carry the Souls of the Dead

The Living Carry the Souls of the Dead, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", charcoal and oils, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4.

The spirits of the dead are held aloft by the living.

My grandmother's spirit was my father's memory of her in me and projected by me into a nurturing maternal spirit of safety.

Has she been with me all my life? Yes. But she resides in the energy of my understanding of her through my deceased father's memory.

The figure I have drawn, that I made from bones, who is an experiment in charcoal, seems not the narrator of the writing, and yet she is carrying the souls of the dead, look at her.

Notes on process: First I drew her skeleton, all her vertebrae are there, and her rib cage and sternum, clavicles and humeri, radiuses, and ulnas, femora, and bony pelvis. Then I drew her major muscles, her craniofacial muscles, pectorals, abdominals, femora, the wrap of arm muscles, tendons over the phalange of the fingers. I traced her body's outline with charcoal, and poured some sizing medium (Gak100, for the paper) over her, smudging and sweeping the charcoal with a brush. Red seemed to be her colour, so on my table of oil tubes, used paper towels, half a dozen water jars, a real mess, I searched through a box for the Alizarin Crimson, and began to dry brush it into the wet solution. I tried other colours, delicately, but she was insistent, and so I rubbed them out. After some indefinable time - the clock stops when you are working with a fast drying medium - a few sweeps of orange seemed permissible in her sheer dress, and the white highlights, composed of charcoal white, white oil pastel and Titanium White water-soluble oil paint. My son says she looks like she could be a cover for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

She is a bit scary, but she has fine bones, a good musculature. :)

She is somewhere between life and death, where the soul resides.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

A Spring God, in-process

A Spring God, in-process, 24" x 30", 61cm x 76.2cm, mixed media on stretched canvas.

He is in oils, and when 'he' dries I'll use a whitewash to make him a wee bit less flesh and more statue. Fiddling with the background, added little references to spring flowers, but not sure if I'll continue in the direction I had thought to go in.

Archeology of Water

This began with an image of memory scrawled in a notebook in April 2019 that I knew I would work with, either in a poem, or perhaps video. ...