Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I did a two-page spread in my Moleskine. This one, folks, took a while. So long that I began wondering why on earth I would spend so much time on two pages of a Moleskine. ("Because!" I say defiantly.)

The front part was drawn in bits and pieces during several lunches at Qdoba in South Miami, except that the old man was snatched (kicking and screaming - and still he didn't wake up!) from Einstein's Bagels in Coral Gables, and the blond's legs were borrowed from another person in another restaurant altogether. This is because the blonde didn't cooperate and walked away before I was done drawing, inconveniently taking her legs with her! I had to find people sitting in the positions I needed to complete the drawing. More recently I decided to finish the sketch, adding the background scene and walkways. Everything, as usual for me, was done in pen on site. And this week I painted.

Since the two page spread doesn't display too well, I've split it up for you. (Of course you can always click on the pictures to see larger versions as well).

Rather than have broad fields of grey for the roads, I mixed the much more satisfying complimentary colors permanent magenta and permanent sap green. Even that would have been boring as a plain wash, so I added splashes of each color for interest.

I used pure colors rather than combinations for the front figures so they would stand out, and as always I try to be creative and a bit playful with color and to balance the colors throughout the picture.

I'm reading a great book on Georgia O'Keeffe by Britta Benke. I was surprised at how many of her thoughts about painting, and the thoughts of individuals who taught and influenced her, resonate with me even with regard to how I planned the humble spread above. For example, O'Keeffe said: "It is surprising to me to see how many people separate the objective from the abstract. Objective painting is not good painting unless it is good in the abstract sense. A hill or tree cannot make a good painting just because it is a hill or a tree. It is lines and colors put together so that they say something. For me that is the very basis of painting. The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint."

To that I can only say, "YEAH!!"

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Infinite Game

I was introduced yesterday to an idea of James Carse, that there are finite games, and there are infinite games.

Finite games, by Carse's definition, are games that have a definite beginning and a definite end. There is a winner and a loser, like checkers or war.

Infinite games, on the other hand, never end. Play continues for play's sake. No loser, no winner.

I just learned about this concept and don't know the ins and outs. But Mr. Carse thinks that the only infinite game is "life".

Forgive me, Mr. Carse, I am not a philosopher. I am an artist. Z'Artist. And life seems to me quite finite. Especially now.

But within life's parameters, there is creativity and there is art. This is a game with no rules except to continue. There is no regard for winning or losing. A success at one endeavor only leads to the next. A failure the same. Art is the game where you can scan the horizon, or even a room, and find the game pieces. You can use them or not. Creativity is the game that will never end, unless you let it.

It is all in the way you look at it, Mr. Carse.

Unfortunately today's post is very different than it was going to be, some heartbreaking news about someone I know, and what that person and family must now face - the fear, the long road. It is a reminder to play the infinite game while we can, because that, Mr. Carse, is life.

The drawing at the top of this post has been lurking in my Moleskine for some time. I only just colored it. It is the waitresses' station in a a barbecue restaurant. This is what happens when a man does watercolors. What can I say?

The bookmark on the left was a bit of a surprise. I drew this a long time ago in an idle moment with a Pilot Precise V5 - a wonderful pen to draw with, but it is not waterproof. The other day I decided to color it and watch it smudge. What the heck. It didn't though, not one bit - go figure! This was also a very thin paper that took the watercolor beautifully and hardly buckled. The paper has a beautiful texture, so I will have to explore this further.

And my shadow shot of the day, for Shadow Shot Sunday..this is what it is all about I think. When you come across a scene like this that takes your breath away. And you stop. And see. This is a beautiful building with delightful colors and paintings on the side. And a tree that was planted there. I am sure this was all envisioned by some creative soul, an architect/designer, and I am the beneficiary. Now it becomes a photo. Later perhaps a painting. Or an inspiration. Or an idea. In the infinite game.

Let's play.