Monday, February 8, 2016

Life Portraits and a butterfly

I was hoping to post this blog update last week, but poor weather here in the Northeast caused me to have Internet connection issues so I wasn't able to do any uploading. Better late than never I guess, but I admit to feeling a bit frustrated at the time.

Above is another of my 6 x 6 inch pen and ink drawings that are meant to be used like coloring book pages. This one was also started on my vacation in Chicago over Christmas. The butterfly is from a photograph I made a couple of years ago. Last summer I didn't see a lot of Tiger Swallowtails, while the previous summer (2014) I saw a great many, but then last summer got very dry and after July I just didn't see a lot of butterflies at all.

Drawn first with pencil on Stonehenge paper then inked with one of my technical pens. I decided to fill in the black areas with pen, I suppose I should have left them open but I know I found the areas a bit confusing so I thought it would be better if I just went ahead and filled them appropriately. The background is a bit abstracted. The butterfly was feeding on a Butterfly Bush which has lots of little flowers, a bit tricky to draw so I didn't even really try. Eventually I hope to get around to adding colored pencil to this.

Last Tuesday (Feb. 2) I took the bus into Boston to make photographs and visit the new Frida Kahlio painting at the Boston MFA. The painting which is a new acquisition is on display in the Rotunda but will only be there for a couple of weeks before it heads off to conservation for documentation, evaluation and any needed conservation before it goes on permanent display in one of the galleries. The painting is of two sisters who worked for Frida's mother, and I posted a photo of it on my Facebook page along with some of the photos I made of Boston on Tuesday.

Anyway on the trip up to Ashmont I entertained myself by making sketches of my fellow passengers. The woman above was done with pen, and I didn't really mean to give her a mustache, I just wanted to shade the area under her nose a bit.  Oops, used a bit too much pen I fear. Still the drawing isn't too bad. I think I still managed to capture her look.

 After my problems with shading with the pen I switched to a mechanical pencil and drew these three passengers. I feel the best one is the 3rd drawing of the African American older man. There are issues with the middle male figure as while I was working on the drawing he change how he was holding on (he was standing) and raised the arm closest to me blocking my view of the back of his head, I didn't want to add the arm, so the back of his head is mostly unfinished.  These exercises of drawing fellow passengers are one way for me to try and keep my hand in with figure drawing.

 At the MFA I decided to check out the Modern Art wing, which I usually avoid, but they do tend to swap out exhibits in those galleries so I thought I should check them out. To my surprise in one of the rooms a Performance Artist was in residence. The exhibit is called 100 Ways to Consider Time. The artist (Marilyn Arsen) is spending 100 days in this room, moving water from one container to another by eyedropper. Also present but not in the photograph is the mechanism of a Grandfather clock, no case, just the exposed gears and pendulum. There are also benches where visitors are encouraged to sit, and slow down while they observe the artist.

Sounds become important in this situation, the ticking of the clock, the sounds of the glass eyedropper hitting the sides of the glass beakers, the sounds other visitors in the museum make while exploring the outer galleries etc. I of course decided to try and draw the artist to capture a moment of time. I also made a photograph which you can see below.. Drawn in my sketchbook with a mechanical pencil, my visit was on day 80 something so she still has a couple more weeks on exhibit.

 Photograph of Performance Artist Marilyn Arsen, 100 Ways to Consider Time.

We had our first major storm arrive last Friday with about 8 inches of heavy wet snow which stuck to trees and buildings. This is a photograph of one of the dogwood trees in front of my local Library. I made the photo early on Sat. Afternoon. Because the tree is shielded from the morning sun by the Library building most of the snow was still on the branches. It looks pretty but can be deadly if the weight of the snow causes branches to fall, there were at least two deaths attributed to falling branches over the weekend.

That is it for today, per usual comments are always welcome.