My first finished painting in several days. This old weathered pine I pass on my morning walk every day. It is like an old friend by now. Below I show the source photo and my first version charcoal sketch. This was done on Fabriano HP Paper on which I first applied strong washes of a yellow sky and a deep orange foreground.
In the charcoal and chalk sketch I placed the horizon line too high and it made the tree look smaller. But it allowed me to explore the values and especially the leaf character of the pine tree.
The moon is bright tonight. I remember a night long ago when I sat on the stoop reading in a hot summer night. It was like this poem by Wallace Stevens says:
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,
Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself
Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.
Wallace Stevens, "The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm" from
The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens.
This copy from Poetry Foundation.
Thanks for visiting, I hope you are happy and content.
This is a charcoal sketch I made a few days ago. It was supposed to be a foundation for a pastel painting which is shown below. But as often happens, the sketch turned out to have more soul than the more finished painting. Something about black and white and twilight.
As all of us probably do, I sometimes wonder about the use of keeping a blog. William Stafford must have thought about this also:
Keeping a Journal
At night it was easy for me with my little candle
to sit late recording what happened that day. Sometimes
rain breathing in from the dark would begin softly
across the roof and then drum wildly for attention.
The candle flame would hunger after each wafting
of air. My pen inscribed thin shadows that leaned
forward and hurried their lines along the wall.
More important than what was recorded, these evenings
deepened my life: they framed every event
or thought and placed it with care by the others.
As time went on, that scribbled wall—even if
it stayed blank—became where everything
recognized itself and passed into meaning.
Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford
Graywolf Press. Kindle Edition.
This is a pastel version of the charcoal sketch shown below. It is actually the same sketch used in my previous post, but with a very different sky and mood.
This was done on Fabriano HP Watercolor paper, over which I applied a colorful watercolor wash before starting in charcoal. Most of the sky that is visible in this painting is just the watercolor shining through. I have whittled down my pastel range to only about 10 colors now. Applied over the charcoal, I seem to get the color mood I like with this simple combination.
As I write now this painting stands in my living room on the floor. I still have to remove it from the board over which I stretched it. Looking at it as I write makes me happy.
Two verses from a poem by Rilke:
This is my labor - over it
my shadow lies like the shell of a nut.
It's true I'm the same as leaves and mud,
but as often as I pray or paint
it is Sunday, and in the valley I am
a jubilant Jerusalem.
My streets rise toward sunrise.
After people have left me alone a long time
it happens that I am larger.
Inside me I hear steps ring
and I stretch my loneliness out
from eternity to eternity.
Rainer Maria Rile, tr. Robert Bly, in
Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke
Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you are happy and content.
This is the pastel version of the charcoal sketch I posted before. This was done on Fabriano Hot Press Watercolor paper, which I first gave a few heavy, abstract washes of warm color (below). I have since made oil and acrylic versions of this painting, which I hope to post soon. Continue reading “#P20: Another Road”→
This is an invented landscape based on a charcoal sketch (below). In the sketch I started out with abstract black lines and blocks all over and then used white chalk to carve out shapes. Slowly this landscape emerged. Continue reading “#P18: Earth Overflowing”→
Back home, painting again. This is my first painting on the ColourFix paper, which has a slightly sanded surface and is nice and sturdy (300 gsm). This is an imaginary landscape based on a charcoal play session outcome (below). Continue reading “#P15: The Road”→