Monday, March 8, 2010

A NEW BLOG!! (for Two and for You)

I, no WE, have a NEW BLOG! And for the blog I bought a brand-spanking new large watercolor Moleskine sketchbook. On the very first page I painted the above picture. And today I am going to stuff it in an envelope, and mail it 1100 miles away to Raena.

When it arrives, Raena is going to open that envelope. Then she will draw or paint something else on the same page - whatever else she wants - and she can paint over and around or on top of what I did if she wants, and she can use any medium she feels like. And then she is going to mail it back to me! Then I will work on the page some more.

We are going to mail that Moleskine back and forth and back and forth .. and work on that one and only page until one of us declares it done! Whoopee!

And then we will go to page 2.

In this way we both hope to improve and challenge ourselves. We are going to post the results at our NEW BLOG and both of us are quite excited about this. Our Blog is pronounced Two and Fro. Well, actually, we want to be we call it 2'nfro. Cool, huh? And you can find it here.

We want to post everything we do in the Moleskine in one place because you are so much a part of what motivates us. And we would love for you to come along as each page progresses over time. It will be a leisurely endeavor, perhaps a post a month, I am guessing. So please .. please go over to 2'nfro, and say that you'll follow us, please?! Both Raena and I will so appreciate it.

This is not an original idea. We both, some time ago, saw a blog where two professional illustrators did this - one was in Europe and the other in the US. Raena and I, of course, are not professionals, and we are both on a single continent (she is in Houston, and I am in Miami).

But we are 1100 miles apart, and have never met except in this virtual reality, and most of all WE TRY HARDER!

I would love to link to that earlier blog to show you all of the possibilities, but darned if I haven't lost track of it. (If any of you know of it and can provide the link, that would be great.) As I recall, they had already completed their sketchbook by the time I got wind of it.

But a good idea is worth repeating, don't you think?

It's funny, but I already think the new blog has helped my art. It's certainly got me thinking. I didn't want to mail just anything to Raena. After all, she was going to see it in person. And that meant something to me, in itself.

This picture is from a photograph that I snapped on my cell phone. I saw the woman standing in front of the most beautiful silver bus but something about her and the dogs struck me. So I stood in front of my car and pretended to text. Thumbs moving, I snapped her picture. And she smiled at me. I think she may have known what I was doing, but didn't seem to care.

The cell phone isn't the best camera around. But digital is amazing. Although she wasn't close, I can zoom and crop and then blow it up so I can see it in all its glory on my monitor. And if a photo isn't perfect, all the better, because my art abhors precision. But using the photograph was interesting for me. I spend so much time sketching in public places, that with time to study the shapes and values I am very pleased with the result. (The scanned image is a touch disappointing - the colors are more subtle in the original. The dog on the right has a slight blue tint to the grey, and the outfit on the lady is a bit less bright, more maroon.) Anyway, I hope to do more like it.

And now a solemn moment. In honor of the new blog and the new Moleskine I decided to take my Lamy Safari, with its black Noodlers Ink, out of retirement. Its nib was a bit wider than that of the .005 point of the Pigma Micron that I'd been using - another fine, though less expensive, pen.

But I had forgotten. Forgive, me, my Lamy, I had forgotten..

Ode to the Lamy

Oh, Glorious Lamy.
Your Line is So Smooth.
Your Line flows like a river.
Meandering wider and thinner, you Draw
Like no other pen that I have ever known.
Oh, Glorious Lamy,
I never again will forget.

That said, I am so pleased that I decided to draw with the Lamy. I took a risk, and drew pen to the paper with no pre-drawing, figuring that I do that all the time anyway. And the pen felt so good in my hand.

Kathy recently had an interesting post on collaboration, and to read the comments on the post, artists have had mixed experiences. But I am excited about this one, and I know Raena is too. And our hopes are modest. We merely want to improve and then improve and then improve, and then ultimately conquer the art world. That is all.


  1. This is a breakthrough Dan, and a brilliant idea! I am so glad you're collaborating with Raena on this one, and I can't wait to see the page being updated and with the fusion of 2 different styles, it's definitely going to produce some interesting result! Good luck, and you'd made an awesome start.

  2. A: This painting of the woman and dogs is one of the best things I've seen you do. It is fabulous!
    B: I can hardly wait to follow the progress of the new journal. What a great idea! And I like the title!

  3. great idea for a project--I'll be watching. Your woman with two dogs is a great sketch.

  4. What a wonderful and interesting project you 2 have embarked on! It'll be fun watching it develop. What a great start you have with this initial drawing! nancy

  5. This is a very cool idea, indeed, and I like the name you've given the new blog!! It will be exciting to follow your progress.

  6. sounds like great fun!!!
    I'll follow along your journey too!

  7. I'll follow anyone who has Alice Neel listed on the sidebar. Great idea.

  8. Fantastic sketch and a phenomenal project!! It think you and Raena will make an awesome collaborative team. I'm looking forward to seeing your work together progress.

  9. That sounds like a fun project, which I am going to follow with interest.

  10. Fantastic stuff going on here! I'm so excited to see how this book will develop! Plus, you're helping the economy and creating jobs with all that sending back and forth! ;)
    I know that effect the effect of others has on my work too! Unbelievable increase in thinking and straining etc once I draw something for somebody as a present or something like that!

    Also: Thanks a lot for your sweet comment on my blog! It's so great to receive all that feedback!

  11. Great! It will so fun following your progress. Getting in an exchange is a challenge. With the two of you, should be a joy!

  12. Can't wait. Sound like it's going to be a lot of fun for everyone. Definitely keep us in the loop. The lady and dogs are wonderful.

    Ps- Thanks for all the comments you have left on my site. I always appreciate your comments as you have such a wonderful way with art.

  13. I am really looking forward to your new blog! This is going to be an amazing project.

  14. Cool idea and great sketches! Can't wait to see what the two of you come up with for this drawing.

  15. My head is already starting to explode! How will I add to this? So many questions bouncing around in my head...panic already starting!

    This is so good! I am afraid I'll ruin it!

  16. You know this was done by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquait. Andy would start on a pic and leave it alone then Jean Michel would go into the studio later and add or redo what Warhol did. They worked in a studio though and didn't mail back and forth like you two are doing. I believe they felt working off each other inspired them. Can't wait to see how your experiment goes.

  17. I just love this drawing and am now wishing I had a Lamy pen. The drawing is fantastic - perfect pose of the woman and the dogs looking right at the viewer. Your project is very exciting. I enjoy both of your art works so much it will be great to see your combined efforts.

  18. Awww Dan, you don't like them shoes? :) But I still think it's worth a try...but you're right, they look like gorilla's feet when you put them on.

  19. What an absolutely fantastic idea!! I am positively jealous of you both. I shall 'favourite' your new joint blog and keep up to date with each entry. Good on you two for being so creative. Wonderful! Oh, and your first picture is great too Dan :o)

  20. Wonderful drawing, love the dogs!
    Great idea, I think that you both will grow as artists through this experience...

  21. Great drawing Dan, looking forward to following the sketchbook on its journey

  22. Thank you all so much for your encouragement and enthusiasm! I'm so glad you like the idea, and I hope I can do it justice (you all are making me nervous!). :) Peachtree - that is so cool about Jean-Michel Basquiat. I knew of his own work, but I never realized he even worked with Warhol! (shows what I know).

  23. This is so cool, Dan and Raena! I'm going to hop right over to the new blog....

  24. I LOVE this! I can't wait to see this page! What a great post and a great idea, and a great painting, and oh yeah a great poem about the Lamy, which by the way I have never tried. Oh dear something else for the list...
    Your artwork, your posts, your enthusiasm, sense of humor - all so fun to read and see!