Showing posts from April, 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: '…

'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 consider…

'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.

"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. …

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.

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)

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.]

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…

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 view…

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

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 e…

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.

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.

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-on…

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 c…

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.