Thursday, September 18, 2008

Charcoal Figures 5

Charcoal drawing

Click on image to enlarge

I think this drawing really captured what I intended - so I'm happy about that. It's funny, looking at yesterdays's drawing (Tension) compared with today's, I can really see how stressed out I was, and how it channeled into the image. I meditated and did Yoga this morning before I started drawing, and I'm glad I did because some of that peacefulness came through.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Charcoal Figures 4

Charcoal on Paper

Click image to enlarge

Normally I nag Taylor about his shoulders - draw them back, stretch! He thinks Yoga is hilarious, and despite the fact that he can't touch his toes he can pull off a full Lotus with no effort or training - frustrating for the likes of me who has to work really hard towards stuff like that. Taylor's got classic climber's shoulders: big for his frame, prone to round forward, and susceptible to injury and aches.

In this case, however, the question mark physique is perfect. The tension through the arms and fists is emphasised even more by the angle of his torso. My next piece will be the 'release' of this pose - I'm looking forward to the challenge.

I'm sold on the paper by the way - I first tried this drawing on the cheaper paper and the way the charcoal skidded around the surface was really frustrating after the nice tooth I was using yesterday. I 'chalked' it up to experience, and started again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Charcoal Figures 3

Charcoal on Paper

(Click on the image to enlarge)

I've been experimenting with different papers, since the charcoal behaves differently on different surfaces. I'm going to have to get my head around the cost of the nice paper, as I did with the museum quality painting panels - I start tightening up when I know the surface is expensive. When I was at art school, we were encouraged to be experimental with our materials - and that meant dumpster diving, using found materials and recycling older works. The freedom of expression, and willingness to let go (and maybe get in wrong) is so much easier working on an old fag packet, or a napkin in a bar than on a sheet of $6 paper - which I know isn't that expensive in the scheme of things, but if 10 drawings end up in the bin....that makes me take a bit more care.

I guess it's a similar principal to what I was writing about in my last post - if you're thinking about failing/falling, then you probably will. Hmm.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Charcoal Figures 2

Equilibrium (ii): Breathing is Balance
Charcoal on Paper

The title comes from two sources: an older piece I did in 2004 named Equilibrium (below), which depicted a woman half falling half flying through a crazy mass of marks and brush strokes. It was created during an unsettled time of my life when I was striving to find balance amidst chaos and transition. The best I could do at that time was steer into the skid, so to speak.

In this piece, by contrast I'm trying to evoke a sense of tentative balance by means of focus and discipline. The latter half of the title comes from a piece of advice my sage husband gave me when we were slacklining on the beach recently. Slacklining is something climbers often do on rest days. You stretch a length of 1" webbing between two trees, and attempt to walk/jump/turn/whatever on it. It's a bit like tightrope walking, with a lot more play in the line.

I've found that I can walk on the slackline much better this year, I think in part due to the yoga I did all winter. The discipline of breathing exercises really helps me to clear my mind - and if you're thinking about breathing, you're not thinking about falling. This has helped my climbing too, as you can imagine. So when Taylor said to me, "Breathing is balance..." it made so much sense to me, and the alliteration makes it easy for me to remember...or was it "balance is breathing"...? oh well, I think they're interchangeable anyway!

Equilibrium (2004)
Mixed Media on Paper

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Charcoal Figures

Untitled Nude (i)
Charcoal on Paper

I've set myself a task - to produce thirty life drawings before I pick up a brush again. I've neglected drawing in favour of painting for a long time now, and doing the Black & White show at the Truckee River Gallery reminded me how important it is to draw.

I love drawing figures, so this should be a really fun task. I tend to look for drama in a drawing, so I set up the lights to almost obscure the model's face and any detail on the upper body. I'm drawn to the idea of transcendance in this image, the blurring of boundries and identity - of finding something more universal, or archetypal.

When I was at art school, we discussed the difference between being naked and being nude. In my understanding, being naked implies a vulnerability - being stripped of clothing, exposed. Whereas a nude person wears their body like an expensive dress - confident, in control.

Burning Man 2

Ah broken promises...well better late than never! Here's some more photos from Burning Man...

I'm sure there's hundreds, nay thousands of pics of people standing in this sculpture..

These gigantic sculptures were made entirely of cables - pretty amazing eh?

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Oil on Canvas Panel

Wow, I haven't painted in a couple of weeks and I feel rusty. It's amazing how much the daily painting improved my technique, and confidence. Also, I'm not so keen on these canvas panels any more, I'm spoiled by the lovely Ampersand panels Carol Marine introduced me to.

These tomatoes were given to me by Naomi Nickerson, manager of the Truckee River Gallery in Reno. She grew them herself, and I think the shapes and colours are great! Thankyou Naomi!

I'd also like to accept and pass on The Arte y Pico Award - and publicly thank Carol Marine for the honour. I was utterly chuffed to bits to receive this little stamp of approval from someone I regard so highly. Here's what it is:

The Origin of The Arte y Pico Award and Rules if you choose to accept. You might be interested in the origin of the "Arte y Pico Award" The designer of the award puts it like this..."The Arte y Pico Award has arisen from the daily visits that I make to many blogs which nourish and enrich me with creativity. In them, I see dedication, creativity, care, comradeship, but mainly, ART, much art. I want to share this prize with all those bloggers that entertain and enrich me day to day. Doubtlessly, there are many and it will be hard to pick just a few."

The Rules:
1. You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award through creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.
2. Each award should have the name of the author with a link to their blog.
3. Award winners have to post the award with the name and link to the blog of the person who gave them the award.
4. Show these rules and the paragraph (above) explaining the awards origination.

So here's my picks:

1. Bonita Paulis A hugely under exposed artist whose work I love, and deserves to be famous for her beautiful and vibrant pastel work.
2. Penny Shrawder A very talented and wonderful person, whose spiritual approach to art and life makes me smile all over.
3. Underground Artists Three Tahoe artists who make diverse and beautiful art.
4. Matt Moffett A really cool artist I met at Carol Marine's workshop in Santa Fe - get your blog online Matt!
5. Nathalie S. Davis Another cool artist I met in Santa Fe!