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April 18, 2013


Lovely to see you carrying on, civilizing the world, despite the terror of the day.

Interesting also to see how new tools (like using new forms with words) dictate change and a new balancing act. This does have some of the vigor and beautiful coarseness (in a good way!) and force of the Iceland pictures.

It is almost a little landscape itself.

Isn't it interesting how ink is so much harder to use than watercolor paint? It seems to "catch" on the paper and then stick there, whereas watercolor seems to float more on top before settling into the paper. And when you use watercolor with colored ink, there's the trouble of the ink bleeding, as you found. I'm always in awe of illustrators who manage to master color inks.

I love what the Urban Sketchers are doing, but it seems very much like what digital photography has done... it all begins to look very much the same. I'm not sure why that is, since drawing is different from photography in that the individual artist expresses themself through the very personal conditions of motor skills, emotion, and perception. I much prefer to look at the sketchbooks of artists from the Renaissance and earlier. Maybe because the artists were usually on their own, with less opportunity to be influenced by the artists around them. There is something more immediate and "permanent" about them.

Yes, Marly, it is a little landscape! We'll see where it goes; I'm interested in the contrasting forms of the spiky things and the curled-up things; there may be a personal symbology emerging through these explorations.

Thanks, Miguel -- that's an interesting comment. I got out my old-fashioned dip pens and ink and will try some drawings with them instead of the technical pens or fountain pens; sometimes the old ways lead in new directions. To be honest, I prefer ink drawings (or ink and wash) on their own, and watercolors on their own. A few masters seem to combine the two mediums well, but I think it's a hard thing to pull off, and tends to end up looking illustrative rather than like a piece of fine art.

I agree with what you say about the Urban Sketching movement. The intention seems to be to capture scenes from life, especially street scenes, crowds, urban life, as a practice and a documentation -- and that makes them illustrations, not drawings in the traditional sense. Now there are a lot of workshops and people learn "techniques"of how to draw buildings, people, trees, perspective and so forth. As in architectural drawings, that is inevitably going to mean that students imitate the style of teachers they admire, and there's a sameness that enters in. But if it gets people out, observing their world, and sketching it, who wouldn't otherwise do it, I'm all for that! The work I like best is quite individual and very skillful - I really admire it, and doing some of this is really good practice for me. But it's not what I want to do as an end result.

SO love this one! Speaks to my love of ocean and desert...

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.