Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Something Different--The Basics

A Santa Monica Hill,  5X7",  Ink, Prismacolor

Long Shadows, 5X7",  Prismacolor 

Roadside, 5X7", Prismacolor

Something a little different.  Maybe a bit rusty, but I do love drawing with indigo pencils.  My first love is drawing.  Everything else derives from it.  OK maybe not cement.  These remind me a little of Maggie [Latham] who disappeared from blogging last week to sort out the next phase of  her career.  Maggie you are missed.   All the best to you.

These are sketches from the computer screen-- a few of the snapshots I took while in California last month.  I love drawing outside from life, but this is the next best thing, and one can rip through a lot of trial compositions in short order.  I'm looking for natural compositions--the kind you can't make up--not necessarily trying to display any great drawing skill, just interesting composition--sort of an exercise of the eye and a training of the hand.

What happens to these I don't know.  Perhaps they will suggest an abstract approach,  maybe they will become nice sloppy luscious oil paintings--or mudpies, or nothing further.  For now they're just fun to play with in a sort of rapid-fire no mind way.



Casey Klahn said...

You have a thread of sensitiveness in these and maybe all of your art - even the re-worked and sanded abstract pieces.

Caroline said...

The exciting thing about these kinds of beautiful sketches is the history behind them. Just think Constable and Turner did exactly the same thing all those years ago while we hadn't even existed. They took a trip out like you drawing the countryside around them. These lovely sketches have an old world feel about them. They do have the atmosphere of Maggie's work that is true but they are very much from your hand and have a style all of their own Bill. Wonderful, you can create with cement and inks and pencils too!

Susan Roux said...

Love the long shadows sketch. I feel like I'm deep in a trench-like path. It has a great sense of space.

AutumnLeaves said...

Ah Bill...William...(which do you prefer?)...These are just exquisite and oh to be able to draw like this!!

Robin Samiljan said...

I agree completely with you! drawing skills (and composition sense) are the base of all things successful. Your pencil sketches remind me of the impressionists. And your cement paintings (for lack of a better description) are one step beyond the pencil sketches, IMHO.

Celeste Bergin said...

Hi William..I completely agree, drawing is wonderful. I am always surprised when I hear another artist say that they find drawing a chore or that they simply "don't like it" (!) whhaaa?? I can not relate. Well, you prove what I have known all along..a good abstract artist uses traditional art for their foundation. The fact that you draw from drawing (pun intended) gives your abstract work it's quality.

RH Carpenter said...

All are beautifully done but my favorite is the long shadows - perhaps because it offers some respite from the sun and heat (although these colors aren't hot colors at all). You have a delicate touch with these pencils and I like seeing this side of you.

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

Bill not surprising i really like these and i hope you don't mind me saying, but they put me in mind of Van Gogh's drawings-masterful compositions but with a searching and open approach -he was a bit heavier handed -i love your hatching and layering and some tentative passages. I always say drawing is the beginning, the idea, and i find the searching quality in a drawing irresistible-all the marks made are our individual fingerprints.

I also see the connection with your textured cement works-the way you 'draw' and gouge into the cement-searching and responding and delving deeper to see what transpires and is revealed. Always an enigma and liking it that way;0

Sonya Johnson said...

Bill, one thing I really enjoy about your blog is that you so easily toggle back and forth between your abstract mixed media pieces and these finely executed drawings.

Drawings such as these are a treat to see in an art world dominated by color and "flash" and instant gratification.

I particularly love "Long Shadows", as I never tire of seeing shadows cast across a road or path and the interesting patterns they form.

John Brisson said...

I think I see a watercolor in there somewhere for you. Watercolor for me would be a mudpie.


William Cook said...

Thanks Casey. Sensitive! Cool. I've always said that art making is all about the condition of one's nerves, and that everything effects it. I'll take your comment as a sign that perhaps my nerves are finally calming down enough to participate again. Best.

Hi Caroline--Turner and Constable are two of my absolute heros. Remarkable artists, undoubtedly your heros too. Thanks for thinking of my little sketches in this context. I suppose I'm gearing up for some "countryside" sketching in the more formal sense. All the fancy electronics aside, I miss the old disciplines.

Hi Susan--Thanks. Interesting take--emerging forth from a low lying road bed into all that sunlit space is refreshing indeed. Great comment!

Thanks Sherry--Bill's fine, William's fine. I go back and forth. Bill's chummy, but William puts on aires which I think are absolutely hilarious, and so I project them with great glee--especially in establishing street creds in the phoney art world where such aires seem to get one in the door. Of course once they figure out who I actually am--nobody at all, I get the bum's rush--also hilarious. What a day. You choose. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Robin--I always saw it that way--drawing at the root of it all. If I was going to give a new student any advice it would be to fall in like with drawing and everything else falls into place. In fact, that could describe my entire career. It's interesting you see a relationship to the 'cement' approaches, but yup, just sloppier marks. All the best.

William Cook said...

Hi Celeste--I agree, but I don't know why that is. Perhaps one must take a deeper view. Drawing traditionally from life is actually sequential, and mechanical in a way. Applying that to abstraction reflects a sort of structural logic that is similar, perhaps. So that one3 can actually see the difference between a monkey's art and Pollack. Really neat observation--and well said--thanks. Something you said a couple of posts ago about just go for the overall pattern and try not to get all bogged down in the details has always been close to my heart, and is probably the inspiration for this quick draw approach--been meaning to thank you for that reminder.

Hi Rhonda--Thanks. It's interesting that you sense the heat of the sun in this. I glad to have pointed it out from a nice shady spot! Here at the studio [bunker], we have your best interest at heart. All the best!

Hi Jan--Interesting observations. And thanks for the reference to Van Gogh--another one of my art heros. It's difficult imagining life with out drawing--its so basic and foundational. As for fingerprints--good one. How about one long and elaborate signature--unmistakably unique. There is a lot of stuff being done into the wet surface of the cement paintings--you may bee anticipating future explorations in this medium and the idea of drawing into it with more intention and facility. We'll see. Best.

Hi Sonya--How nice of you to say. You have been a particularly strong influence in this 'toggling'-- both from the photographic and the plein aire perspectives. I've been taking your orders to 'get out there, mister' seriously even though my abstract ideas are compelling. Perhaps one will feed the other more--an interesting prospect. As for the shadows piece, foreground shadows are always interesting indeed. BTW is that a shadow coming out over the water in your recent post? You know that eggplant color you were discussing? Love that piece! All the best.

Hi John--A while back I got a bunch of watercolor pencils at the instruction of Maggie Latham, who was doing some wonderful little studies. Only in that limited sense will I try the medium. A man's got to know his limitations, to quote Clint. To me watercolorists are wizards. I admire your bravery, mudpies or not (only kidding, your watercolors are fine). OK I guess I'm not opposed to trying it again, but I would have to have some instruction. I'm learning a little though just by reading the blogs. Did you get your room cleaned out yet? Best.

BrandNewStudio said...

Beautiful work.
It has been delightful
to visit your gallery.
Good Creations

John Brisson said...

William...somehow, I think you and watercolor are very compatible! You seem to do everything pretty damn well!

My studio isn't quite back in order yet.


William Cook said...

Hiya Skizo --Thanks for dropping in--glad you like my stuff.

Hi John--Not that I have anything against it, I just don't know any of the techniques--paper stretching, masking, friskits, brushes, lifting, glazing, on and on. Last time I tried it all I got was a blurry thing on a piece of paper that had mountains and valleys on it. Between the highlights and shadows I didn't know what colors to use. Convex, concave, too confusing. The damned thing almost rolled up with me in it. Screw that. And now I feel like the old dog anymore. The only possible thing that I think will work is to hose everything down and keep it that way. But then the marks go all over the place. And what's with the colors all whimpoid like? It's like you paint your heart out and when the thing dries what you get is all faded away. Dishwater has more character. I know this all sounds stupid--maybe I'm just scared to death of the medium--suggesting the solution to just shut up and do one.

Dan Kent said...

I think it is good (and useful) to take side paths now and then. These are beautifully done. It is a beautiful color - the indigo pencil provides such a nice effect. The basics are obviously firmly in place.

William Cook said...

Thanks Dan--There's just something special about the Indigo pencil. The drawing ends up so fresh looking. Great to hear from you, all the best.

William Cook said...

Thanks Dan--There's just something special about the Indigo pencil. The drawing ends up so fresh looking. Great to hear from you, all the best.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

they're fabulous just as they are and the compositions are wonderful because they are so natural. I actually can't make up landscape compositions and why should I with all that I need right in front of my eyes?