Sunday, July 29, 2012

At the North Pole

Ink and watercolor in large moleskine
I am standing at the North Pole of art-making, and my compass is spinning out of control in each and every direction.

But, just as they say each December, it is magical here.

Which way to turn?  I have been exploring traditional watercolors because I want to understand the medium and hone my skills, and that is good.

I have also drilled a hole into the ice, and placed one big toe into the world of acrylics.  And I like it, although my toe is blue.

Then there is the world of ink and watercolors.  I sketch almost everywhere I go (though not each time) and my obsession, as always, is people.  The above sketch was made on a glorious day at the opening ceremonies of my nephew's little league.  I had the luxury of time to sit and sketch - a wonderful stretch of time.

Then there is my small moleskine filled from cover to cover with many more modest sketches.

I lost interest in coloring my ink drawings with watercolor.  Competely and utterly.  My compass had turned the other way.  So all of it has been left uncolored.

dip pen and brush with ink
Until now.  The needle has turned.  So I finished coloring the above drawing last week and more will come.

I also have the idea for a series of ink and watercolor figures.  The first is done, and you will see it soon.

And my exploration of both watercolor and acrylic is continuing.

The needle points other ways too.  I did this drawing of a girl from a photograph as a kind of experiment, using a pen dipped in a bottle of ink, and, for the hair, brush and ink.  I love the line I get from the dip pen - and brush and ink is a wonderful.  The possibilities are endless, I think.

Now, pardon me, my helpers have arrived - all of the muses that help me make my toys, these pictures, are leading me away with their little hands...

43 comments:

  1. When I saw your featured painting, I immediately thought, "He's back to what he does best." You draw life's moments as they happen to you--and you do it well. Your paintings that I've liked the best are like this one. It has a cartoon quality that is very attractive and sweet. Pen, ink and watercolor maybe your best thing? Acrylics are just another type of watercolor except you can't lift them without some serious scrubbing. The sketch of the women looking back at you over her shoulder is very good. It's a difficult pose, but you got it.

    Have fun with those muses with little hands. They're precious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda. You are not alone - my MVC, among others, likes my ink and watercolor sketches best. I have learned a lot in the meantime, though, I have needed to make excursions into other realms to improve my skills, I think. And I would like to be a fine artist - I wonder if there is a way to get that "cartoon quality" into other "more serious" work.

      Delete
  2. I agree with L.W. it's nice to have you back doing what we love to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mary - I have suspected that this is what you all like best: sketching from life, ink and watercolor, but I have the need to explore. Bear with me - I hope it will all come together someday.

      Delete
  3. What a great drawing of the little league!...love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was such a wonderful day of sketching..

      Delete
  4. Wow, your skills have improved by leaps and bounds. Remember the days when all you did was floating heads? It says a lot about your dedication to practice. Both drawings are really nice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! My confession -- I still do a great many floating heads; it's my default. Now my practice is on, gulp, hands.

      Delete
  5. Dan these are great,particularly like the dip pen and ink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And I know that you know great pen and ink (this quick sketch is much simpler than anything I've seen you do though.)

      Delete
  6. Dan!!!! I'm blown away by the dip pen and ink portrait!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ruca, so much! If I ever see you in person, I'll bring you a nice juicy bone for that one!

      Delete
  7. I've always admired your painted sketches, you capture what places and people are really like in your own quirky manner. Don't make yourself stick to one particular medium or style, go with the flow and follow your creativity. Who know where it might take you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cathy, I appreciate your advice, because this is what I must do I am afraid.

      Delete
  8. Hi, Dan,
    Your art work is so charming and exploring techniques. Me, too, love figures most in subjects and work on it. Like you, I sketch people at anytime, anywhere. Your blog inspires me. Thank you!
    Kind regards, Sadami

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadami - Wow. I so appreciate it, since your figurative work is so very wonderful, especially!

      Delete
  9. Hello Dan,
    Great work with the baseball game :-)
    As for the dip pen drawing - that is fantastic! Portraits are hard but you make it look like it just flowed. As Cathy says, you never know where these journeys in art will take you.
    Have you seen Phil's ink works he has been doing lately?
    Stew.
    stewcrowther.wordpress.com
    _________________________

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Stew! I definitely need to do more dip pen work. And I do know Phil's work - it is excellent!

      Delete
  10. Sounds maybe crazy, but right now Im longing for the cooler days and reading about your north pole made me smile... I know I have to enjoy this season, as soon everything will get frozen over again and then Im sure I'll miss this (just a bit). Love your pen and ink drawing, thats lovely, it has great lines and different shades of black and her eyes are dreamy.

    Great drawing Dan, Im looking forward to see what you'll post next time.

    Cheers from the true north : )

    Mari

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, with me at the North Pole we're practically right next to one another!

      Delete
  11. Classic Dan! It's the real thing.
    I especially like the cross hatching in the fence- a great detail... one I can see using in the future. :-)
    If you had a book of these types of drawings you do, I'd buy it. These are my favorite of your many musings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, Pamo, it is definitely my classic stuff (and the secret is, I do these kind of drawings all of the time). I'm glad these are your favorites (and I knew that). I think I picked up the scattered cross hatching from comics, come to think of it, just as parallel lines are reflections in glass.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for removing the word verification. I also left a post but when I had to try to figure out the word verification I just left without posting.
    I especially like the portrait and use of ink with a bruch - a favorite of mine. Great work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Beth! You know, I did the portrait so quickly in a sketchbook as a lark - let's try dip pen, I thought. I just have to do more, I guess.

      Delete
  13. Dan, the Explorer. The posture of the woman holding the child is perfect. I read this entry Sunday night and it must have influenced my dream--in it I was holding a child-sized limp, sleeping white cat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I had one night of your dreams, Hallie, I would double my creativity. Thanks for noticing the woman holding the child - that is my favorite part.

      Delete
  14. once advice, you need to do more portraits..... :) It's amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Alex. You are of course assuming it looks like her! :)

      Delete
  15. Gee, I'm right with you at the ball game. I certainly remember those games. Glad to see you get back to what you do so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked it. So I'll have to do more like this, I think. Thanks!

      Delete
  16. Christmas in July! I see I have missed quite a few posts since I was last here. I really, really like your acrylic painting, Fertile Ground. And your tree explorations are wonderful. To me, I do see a continuity in your work across the various media. Keep exploring those gifts with your keen observation. It's all good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whenever I am drawing or painting, it's Xmas. Thanks for liking "Fertile Ground" - that was a major project for me. I'm glad you liked the tree explorations too. Neat that you see continuity - that makes me feel better about doing what I need to do, rather than what people apparently want to see - all of the time.

      Delete
  17. Hi Dan...your appreciation for ink shines through both of these pieces. I love ink also...and you remind me how much I like the effects of the dip pen and brush..there is nothing else like it. The people watching the game and the over the shoulder portrait are both great..five stars!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the Bergin constellation!

      Delete
  18. Wow Dan... the woman in ink is stunning, love her eyes. The ball game, is so universal, those parents at the fence are in every corner of this nation and we ALL can relate. Like everyone I love these ink and watercolor drawings best, I wish I could do them better... I must admit I bought some pastels, and some acrylics and my compass spun for a while, but I'm back to my first love ink and watercolor... hope you'll give it a spin from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this is what I need to learn to do in every way I paint or draw - this universality. It is people that I relate to and find so interesting, but I feel compelled to do other things as well. I will keep spinning, but I'm going to move the needle to ink and watercolor drawings of people too - I have a project I've already begun. Different, but similar. You will see in a few posts. Thanks!

      Delete
  19. I like the analogy of being at the northpole and swinging between mediums. What fun! Nice paintings, especially the dip pen portrait.

    I liked your trees in last post too, though the fact they can smell and sense their friends being eaten but not hear is bizarre,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bizarre is my specialty. Wonder if it is true? Anyway, glad you had fun!

      Delete
  20. These are both so different but equally wonderful. I like the mother holding the kid in the top one. Pen work is really tricky. Looks like you've got the knack for it!
    Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nora - I truly appreciate it, since you are a master of ink and watercolor.

      Delete
  21. Imagine, being ay the North Pole in August! Fun post, Dan! I hope you have plenty of good discoveries no matter which pole you're on. I particularly like the ball game!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Peggy. I am an intrepid explorer of both poles, but I stay warm. Glad you had fun and enjoyed the ball game!

      Delete
  22. I know exactly what you mean about your compass! I am feeling much the same way at the moment. In fact, because I haven't had all that much time to myself lately, I splurged and bought myself some new brushes and mediums, and a book (an expensive one! --Alla Prima: Everything I know about Painting) and as soon as I am able, I plan to pull out my water miscible oils and give them a go. I actually dream about painting at an easel, with a long brush, and arm extended. Not at all what I do with watercolors! It's time to take that adventure I think!

    These are both wonderful. But that portrait in dip pen...wow! So excellent! I have a terrible time with not overdoing all the ink lines in that medium! Well done!

    ReplyDelete