It Was A Busy Time of Year!


For most of my professional life as an artist and as an artist-educator, I have felt there was a time crunch from mid November to mid- January.  This year was no different than normal.

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Late Fall’s Respite, Ink on Paper, 5 x 11

Even as the busy holiday season was before me … around mid-December, I wrapped up all my projects at the art center and the last of my Fall classes. The everyday set of tasks/burdens had been lifted.  I felt a joyous, almost expansive, feeling of being done … freedom of a sorts.  So what was my response?  What it almost always is — to feel more alive and open, more aware of everything around me.

And what happened?  I immediately start seeing more clearly, visual information flooded my brain, and I wanted to be making images!  As I walked across a gravel parking lot, the fading late afternoon light backlit trees and low brush that bordered the lot and I decided to do a drawing before the light was obscured by the oncoming clouds of a cold front.

My intent was to get a few organizing pencil lines down and proceed with a ink brush drawing. maybe accent it with a few select touches of color.  Somehow, after setting out my sketching materials, I instead grabbed my disposable fountain pen and just drew non-stop.  I never even contemplated switching to the brushes for either ink or color while I worked in the ebbing light.

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Alley in the Fan, Early Winter, Ink and Watercolor on Paper, 5 x 7

A few weeks later, while on a family and Christmas errand, I happened upon a scene that intrigued me.  I was in the hallway outside my daughter’s apartment and through a window I had a view of the back of the type of alley so typical of this (Richmond’s Fan) neighborhood.

This time I began by switching and forth between drawing with a fountain pen and my fountain brush pen. I worked very lightly, very sparingly at first.  Soon I switched to watercolor, bringing in the subtle hues of an overcast winters day, before returning to finish the piece with a few last lines and marks of ink.

Much later, in the same neighborhood and after exploring sight lines from a number of other buildings and vantage points, I chose a very different vista — an oddity actually — a small, cute Mediterranean influenced apartment atop an otherwise very plain brick commercial building. This sketch, I began and finished in watercolor. In my youth I would have done this completely in pen and ink or with an ink brush drawing … but I was intrigued by the green roof and traditional stucco and ceramic roof colors.


img_3689-96-dpiRoof in the Fan, Across the Green Tin Roof , Watercolor on Paper, 5 x 11

All in all, I didn’t get a lot of art work done over that month. Life was joyously busy as we saw family and friends. The “kids” and their significant others visited. Between family and the season’s tasks, I puttered about in the studio … straightening up a bit and reorganizing.

Now, beyond the scrum of family and life “stuff” of the early winter season, I am even more refreshed, feeling totally renewed and open.  I return to the more daily task of making images!  More about those plain air and studio images soon!

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