Friday, October 26, 2012

At First Glance #2

5" x 7" ink and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico rough paper
Your momma was right.  You are special.

In one nicely written web article that you can see here, a Mr. O. Hooge (how I love that name), of British Columbia, Canada, said that if you go back 10 generations, following the father's line only without even taking momma or all sorts of various deaths of potential ancestors into account, the chance that you exist at all is at most 1 in 6 x 10100.

He then shows you the zeros, which is a nice touch:

1 in 6000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000.


In a Huffington Post blog post which you can see here:
Dr. Ali Binazir says..
that Mel Robbins, a self-help author, states..
that scientists say..
that your chance of being born is about 1 in 400 trillion!!
Maybe those scientists are taking all those factors into account that Mr. Hooge set aside.  I don't know.

But according to the scientists, you, dearie, are 1 in 400 trillion!!

No room for the zeros here.  Sorry.

You can look at this another way. If you were a rabbit, you'd probably only be 1 in 1000.  If you were an ant, you'd probably only be 1 in 100.  If you were a grain of sand, you'd probably just be 1 in 2. Well, thinking about it, a grain of sand isn't born.  My numbers.  Sorry, Mr. Hooge.

So you are lucky to be here!

And that is the reason for my "At First Glance" series.  It's my attraction to the uniqueness of each and every individual out there (and that, of course, includes you).

When I was at one of the attractions here in South Florida, I pretended to snap a picture of a building, but I was really taking it of the crowd.  Sneaky.  And the girl at the top of this post was among them.  This is my second drawing for the "At First Glance" series.  Each are on a white field and drawn freehand in pen in a kind of  "sketchy" style, as though on site, then colored in watercolor.  The first in the series is here.

I suppose it is the uniqueness of folks that attracts me when I am out and about, sketching, too.  My small moleskine is always in my back pocket; my pens, always in the front.

Here are a few of my sketches from life.. 

Here's a couple I sketched at a restaurant at breakfast.  There is something about the whole feel of this that I like - I wonder if it would make a good painting?  I did something different this time.  I painted everything in the same color underneath, quinadrone gold.  Each color - not yellow - that you see is a result of glazes on top.

ink and watercolor in a small moleskine
Below is a girl I saw a few booths over.  Each time I sketch is a challenge - I am always wondering if it will come out all right.  Sometimes it makes it hard to make the first mark, the concern of it.  But I must always make the first mark.

Sketches are always interesting, because I learn something each time.  This time I gave her a shnoz.  I would probably do it differently next time I draw someone at that angle.  And that is the key to progress.

ink and watercolor in a small moleskine
Here is the local pharmacist, drawn while standing in line to pick up a prescription.

I showed my family this one, and they all said it was a perfect likeness!  I like that!

ink and watercolor in a small moleskine

So look in a mirror today.  No matter whether you straighten your hair, polish your bald head, smile at what you see, or recoil in horror, remember your uniqueness.

Then do something with it!


PS - The experiment with the SKB SB-1000 pen bore fruit.  The pen marks faded by half in the sun.

Captain Elaine, whose blog is here, said in her comment to my post, that there are always two issues - not only do you have to worry about the sun (UV resistence), but the ink, if it's not archival, may fade on it's own in the dark! 

I once spoke to an aging artist who, with a sad wistfulness, said that all his old sketches were fading.  I enjoy the line, the feel, of the SKB pen.  I'm not sure I'm done with this pen, but that's probably enough.  When I use it, I'm beginning to feel like I do when I eat something that's bad for me.  I've gotten rid of two fugitive paints from my palette, so it seems reasonable to abandon this pen as well.

So I've picked up the Pigma Micron again.  And I'm getting used to it..

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Remembrance

"Three Gulls"  Pastel on paper  10" x 8"
It has been near constant rain here, which is appropriate, given that it’s been only a few weeks since the death of my father-in-law, perhaps the finest man that I have ever known.  Mario was not young when he passed - he was eighty-six – but it is a reflection of his character that it feels as though he was taken too soon.

For Mario, life was precious and his family was precious.  So we who are left, by his example, know what we must do:  We must value each day, and cherish our loved ones, until the very moment that our own stories end.


Mario loved the sea, perhaps more than anything.  So as a fitting tribute, my wife and I went to the beach at Key Biscayne a day or so after his funeral.  He used to bring his daughters there as children.  Although we live in Miami, we almost never go to the beach.

I brought my watercolors and tried to paint what I saw.  I tried to balance everything on my lap, brushes, paint, palette.  Occasionally I would drop a brush in the sand.  Sand was everywhere.  The watercolor was a disaster.

So off and on in the days thereafter, I laid in a pastel over the watercolor.  It was never quite right, so I worked and re-worked it.  I noted that the best pastelists don't appear to smear too much, but leave their marks confident and bold.  There is also a tremendous overlay of color in the best works.

I did not want to post until I had a work that would be a proper tribute for Mario.  So today I made changes again.  I don't believe I achieved my aim.  I will try again one day.   But in the meantime, here it is.