Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Memoriam

5"x 7" watercolor and ink on Arches 140 lb. cold press paper
This watercolor is based upon a photograph by Morten Liebach. You can find it here. I was amazed by the complexity and beauty of the pattern in the dragonfly's slender body. As the wings were difficult to discern from Mr. Liebach's photograph, I snatched the wings from another photograph, taken by Dean Gugler, which you can find here.

In this watercolor my goals were to achieve texture, and to explore the effect of luminosity as described by Faber Birren in his book "Creative Color", and in the more accessible book "Exploring Color" by Nita Leland. Both of these works were introduced to me by Myrna Wacknov. She was kind enough to send me an e-mail about Nita Leland, and unless you want a more scholarly tome, Nita Leland is the authority I'd recommend. I return to both books now and again.

I am dedicating this small painting to the memory of my father. Joel G. Kent, a victim of Parkinson's Disease, was released from years of suffering and decline on Monday. His death falls on the calendar just 7 days after the anniversary of the death of my daughter, Taylor. Last year's post, in Taylor's memory, is here. Perhaps they are together, comfortable and whole, casually reading this blog post via heavenly connection by modem to the world-wide-web. I hope so.

Joel Gilbert Kent, March 13, 1933 to April 25, 2011.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Day

Ink and watercolor in moleskine

A day that sings softly and subtly,
Its tune a gentle breeze,
Its lyrics whispy white clouds drifting.

A day disguised as any day,
That winks in delight, and waves
One hand as though it dons a magic cloak.

Beside me you rest as I sketch the day
And the children, the cotton candy, and trees,
But all that I know is you, your touch and your smile.

When lifelong companions are one day old,
And under the spell of a day,
We remember together that day, and no more than one.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Construction

Ink and watercolor in small moleskine

I was attracted to the industriousness of the workers, the grays and yellows, and the geometry of it all.


I sat across the street from the construction site in South Miami, sketched in ink in my moleskine, and then colored as much as I could in watercolor. Then I went back a few days later and finished painting. I was constructing as they were.

Mine is, of course, an illusion.


One hundred and fifty years ago, none of the buildings I see around me existed. If I could return to that time, I would recognize nothing. One hundred-fifty years from now, with few if any exceptions, the same will be true. It will be a different place. I think about that sometimes.

The idea that their building is representative of the world around me is as much an illusion as my picture.

Ink & watercolor on 3" x 2-1/2"140 lb Fabriano Artistica hot press paper
I found a card I had cut from watercolor paper, smaller than an artist's trading card, only 3" x 2-1/2", and drew and painted another building just blocks away from the construction site. I had to draw quickly before - poof - it would disappear. Or before I would. Just kidding.

As an artist I am constantly thinking about construction: composition, value, shape, color, line. This blog has featured mostly ink and watercolors in my small moleskine. I am capable of detailed ink drawings, such as the one in my February 13th post. But I enjoy attempting to manipulate the watercolor for nuances of value, and so have refrained from doing other than outlines. I am getting restless though. Line filled with color - people see my moleskine drawings and say they are like a comics drawing. "They are not!" I say emphatically, even though I am interested in doing those too.

a quick idle sketch
a loose sketch from life

I sketch from life in much of my spare time, and sometimes from other sources. Some of the sketches I am finding most engaging these days are those done loosely and quickly. I will continue what I am doing as well, but I suspect there may be some experiments in style in the coming months.

And after a year of talking about it, I have finally bought a drafting table. It is in a large box. Now if I can manage to clear the space for my studio and create a good working area with the new table, my easel, and proper lighting before all the buildings around me disappear, then I have grand ambitions for a series of paintings on a large scale. How will it work? I don't know. I will need to reinvent what I do. I will need to learn more about how to do it. It's exciting..

on a receipt

In legal parlance, the word "construction" means "interpretation". And that is what I do. That is what we all do, whether artists or not. We take what we see and interpret to match our image of the world which is every bit as flawed and personal as we are.  Of course, that is what makes our creations so special and so unique. 

For this week's Shadow Shot, for Shadow Shot Sunday, I lay down the cones because there is work to be done. There are boxes to build and to break from. Bur most of all there are wings and floors to add. Why? So I can fly and still stay grounded, of course.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pamo vs. The Old Man (And No, I am Not Talking About Me!)

Pamo and I have finished our virtual comic Tic-Tac-Toe Game. And we have Simulblogged (or something like that) so you can see all about it!

So first please go to Pamo's blog, here, and see our finished tic-tac-toe board. There Pamo will tell you the story of our collaboration. And then - don't forget to come back!! Promise?! Come back please, and there is more..the pictures in order, and a story.


Back so soon? Great! Here are the pictures we made in order. After that is a story that Pamo wrote (and that I contributed to) that is based on the pictures:

Square 1

Square 2

Square 3

Square 4

Square 5

Square 6

Square 7

Square 8

Square 9

Pamo vs. The Old Man

Square 1

It was a sunny day full of promise and sunshine. Pamo looked at Scooter and said, “Let’s go to Circle Park and have a picnic lunch.”

“Woof! Woof!"

Square 2

Pamo and Scooter jumped in the car, top down, picnic basket in the back, excited to be going to Circle Park where the trees grow tall and the grass feels silky. “There’s that nice Old Man enjoying his daily walk.”


“Hi!” Pamo shouted and began to wave. “See you in the park.”

Scooter wagged his tail and barked, “Woof! Woof!” to the bird flying above. And they continued on their winding path to Circle Park, leaving the Old Man to enjoy his exercise.

Square 3

The Old Man relies on his daily walks to keep himself in shape. He uses his cane. He doesn’t really need it much, but it keeps the dogs and birds at bay. Circle Park is the perfect place to exercise and then relax.

As the Old Man sat down on the bench, SPLAT! The bird pooped on his head!

“Darn bird! Watch where you’re flying up there,” he yelled as he shook his cane. He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped the bird poo off his head. He thought, Maybe now I can get some peace and quiet. I think I’ll just rest my eyes. He began to snore.

The bird liked the Old Man. His head was shaped like a giant cue tip, with curly cotton hair, perfect for her nest! “Tweet, tweet,” she sang and then swooped down low and PING! She plucked a strand from his head.

He woke with a start. His hand flew to his head, “Ow! Bird! Stop pestering me.” His arms shot up and he grabbed for the little bird.

Square 4

“Got you now, Bird!”

The little bird looked at the Old Man who now held her tail feathers in his hand. She dangled there not quite sure what to do.

Square 5

“Drop the bird Old Man!” Pamo couldn’t believe her eyes! What a cruel old man! Poor little bird!

Scooter sat watching the bird when suddenly Pamo threw the apple from the picnic basket at the Old Man.

Square 6

In a flash, the Old Man and Pamo balled up in a fight, the bird just above the fray. Scooter barked, “Woof! Woof!” The apple lay on the ground while the bird flew high in the sky.

Square 7

Suddenly, the Old Man went sailing overhead, the little bird soaring with him. Pamo landed on the ground while Scooter gawked in amazement.

Square 8

When the Old Man tumbled down, he was wound up like a pretzel. Pamo folded her arms, and practically floated with pride and confidence.

“Have no fear! I can fix you! I’m practically a doctor!” she said. She began to unfold the Old Man.

Square 9

The Old Man worried that all was not well. “I don’t think you fixed me right,” he said, as he looked himself over.

But Pamo knew better. She was satisfied with a job well done. She had fixed the old man, and made her dog happy too.

“Oh, you’re fine,” she said, as she bit into her sandwich. What a beautiful day it was!

Scooter was satisfied too. Oh, you’re fine, Scooter thought, as he bit into the giant and juicy bone that Pamo had given her. Pamo was wonderful! It was a great day!

And the bird was happy too. All that curly cotton hair, here for the taking, and no one seemed to care. She was going to have the best nest ever!


Thank you to Matt Madden who came up with the idea for the collaboration, which was great fun and very rewarding for Pam and me. You can see his post about it here.