Monday, April 22, 2013

A Process: Drawn From Life, Sorta.

Broken Clock (detail). Acrylic on cradled hardboard.

The complete pic shows the whole bookcase and a little metal clock that my parents bought for my birthday some years ago.
Still mulling this painting over--letting it sit for awhile. I'm fairly certain it is finished, but a few days in cold storage always helps me make up my mind.

But I wanted to talk about a process, (because it's process--ever-changing process) that keeps me going:

For me, there's no one way to do or be anything (including being influenced/inspired): 
Drawing and painting from life is my least favorite way to work, but that doesn't mean I don't like it at all. 
I always learn a ton from it, but I make art using photo refs too. 
Nature is a constant influence, but my ol' Muse is also hyper-stimulated by the artworks of others. 
Is drawing from life better than drawing from imagination? They are both awesome tools for progressing where I think want to go with my work (at any given time).

So I try to do a lot of all of those things. And I get it mixed up.  And I try to ignore the rules and the "shoulds" that some artists and schools want to prescribe. Sometimes I fail miserably at the doing and the ignoring. Sometimes I fail at the doing precisely because of the ignoring.

I awoke the other night and had to draw. What you gonna to do when The Muse calls--even at 2 am?
So I went downstairs and drew this little clock on a small bookshelf in the extra room, from life. Had a good time, and like the little sketch quit a bit. And I wanted to paint it. But didn't think my vision would work if I painted the bookcase from life. Plus, the guest-bed is in the way.
So the next morning I took photos of the bookcase. Here they are:

Using the photos and the sketch and my imagination, I did the painting, of which the top pic in this post is a detail.

(This is what the first stage of the top of the painting looked like.)

So that's a part of the process--for this painting anyway. I'll post more next time.
Thanks for reading!


  1. Oh, I'm envious of that little shelf-- it has a lot of personality & looks like you could tuck it in almost anywhere & fit in more books. A constant issue in our house: one of my studio bookcases just collapsed from the overload! :-O

    I'm not sure if it's a function of the photo angle/artistic license, but like the way the little clock appears stretched vertically, much like the shelf it sits on. Now if only it would stretch reading time!

    1. Thanks for the visit, Curious Art!
      Was lucky to find that little shelf. I seem to be unable to pass up a bookcase anytime I see an affordable one. And they always get full somehow. And the books that squash in reproach me more and more for not spending enough time with them.

  2. I think part of the magic of your work is that life is just a reference point. I like how you imagine or see the wobbly precariousness of life -- and in your other work -- a lot of the little gremlins and eccentric spooks and cranky birds that flutter around the margins of reality. Do you use a brush or pen for your line work?

    1. I am happy that you see some magic in my art, Joy--Thanks! I def. want there to be some.

      Never thought about the wobbly precariousness of life showing up in my work, but that's an awesome description--kind of spot-on for how I feel most times :)

      Mostly I prefer a brush--especially on larger work, as in this case. Sometimes I do use a pen though.

      I really appreciate the comments!


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