Tag Archives: pen and ink

Roads Not Taken

My art is a rite of passage.  I emerge from it weary, frustrated and temperamental.  It is a journey that winds sinews around brain, heart, hands.

When I draw, my eyes wander over the surfaces of my subject: curves that wind and widen, dip and disappear, straighten, stop and start.  The slightest fold is an expedition into texture, light and shadow.  It's no wonder, perhaps, that a square inch of work leaves me tired and shaking.

I finished this today:

It's a favorite subject of mine.  Scarves.  I have so many:  silk, cotton, velvet; stamped with patterns of cities, castles outlined in turquoise, leaves and peach-colored shells.  They are embroidered with fiery sequins and beads, decorated with knots, bows and spirited fringes.

This particular article was a mild, pastel green.  In my uneducated hands it felt like rough silk.  The fabric was delicate, with each individual thread standing apart and catching its own angle of light; so what I held was like five feet of shimmering air.

This took me about a week to draw.  Every day, as I peered into the green folds, it seemed as if I was traversing meadows, hillsides and bowers that I'd never seen before.  Sometimes the path was wide and verdant…sometimes it took a sudden turn and vanished completely.

I like this picture.  It is a travelogue, a cartographer's fancy.  It is my sculpture; carving into stone, through silk and across fields. 

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Potted And Besotted

This little growing thing I noticed on purplesque's Vox page.  I was so taken with the attractiveness of both the subject and the photo itself, that I felt compelled to draw it.  It was perfect, really.  In addition to its undoubted charm and architectural greenery, it had the additional asset of being a plant, and therefore quiet and pretty.  Like a young housewife. 

Anyway, so while I don't question its growing potential, it would be something too slow to make me blink, or to make my hand tremble as it tried to capture an object audacious enough to move through the living air.  This was a most dutiful, and still life.

When my decision was made, I emailed purplesque, and asked her for permission to draw her basil plant.  With the grace and nobility I have come to expect from her, she gave me that permission.

So now the drawing is done, and I present it here:

 

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Aubrey Speaks With Aubrey

I can see your fingers – elongated, they cradle your arch, aquiline face.  Your wasted wrists are swimming inside your starched and buttoned shirt cuffs.  Your hands are muscular and alive with creative possibilities.  Fingers, wrists, hands…all with the ability to grasp a gilded pen annoited with ink and guide it along rich and threaded paper.  The slightest turn can make a line curl, thicken, weep, sculpt…and bring to life the shocking images cavorting in your brain.

Om 1896 you were in Paris, a pallid dandy.  You had no money.  Your lungs were shredded; and every cough threatened another delicate stream of your life's blood.  You experimented with hashish.  But you would drink only milk.

And still you were creating images that broke my heart:

Bursting from your pen I can see unbridled festoons of baroque madness.  Lines boiled within every fold of taffeta, every false extravagant curl, every floating gown, every statuesque feather.  Lines are gouged into the curtains like nails tearing into flesh.

Grotesques, fairies, eunuchs, angels and satanic familiars pour into one another in this underworld:  they confront, they argue, they leer…they give in to the basest instincts of the human spleen.  Some are sexless, some brandish their sexuality like weapons, and run roughshod over their opponents.  Thighs and bosoms are lush and white – but there are faces that are wizened and harsh, and profiles that are sharp and fierce.  Bodies are decorated, winged, veiled:  beautiful and horrible.

They all swim in a sea of drapery.  These are creatures that look like 18th century carvings brought to life by your whirlwind affectations.  They move beneath huge, jeweled tassels, beside rows of candles; they grow amongst poisonous flowers and threaten garnished urns. 

When I first saw your drawings, I had to look away – I had to hide.  It was because the purest beauty and perfection, lying inside me unanswered and unrealized, when brought to light will hurt like a white, unbearable heat.

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A Sacrifice For Art

I don't like drawing.  Which is unfortunate, because it's what I do. 

It's a nerve-wracking business, rarely enjoyable, and only satisfactory when I feel that the drawing is going well:  when the shapes, shadows and textures are exactly as I imagined them.

This isn't often.  And really, it's no reflection on my talent, because I rarely complement myself on a job well done.  Whether the job was a success or not.  Sometimes there'll be a spark that pleases me – if I hold the pen with exceptional lightness or control through a particular passage, or if I make the correct choice between pointilism and cross-hatching - but invariably they'll be one or two bumps in the road before the thing is finished.  And the enthusiasm over that spark gets smothered.

But then again, I might be wrong.

Anyway,  what is exciting is to be casting about for a new subject.  Your focus becomes clear and creative, as you comb through your surroundings to find something that attracts you.  This is not a bad way to pass your time, by the way.  I suspect that it's the same if you look inward for your subject matter.

Now, I know of a literary magazine which has food as its exclusive topic of choice.  Essays, poems, reviews, art – all relating to food.  So I'm in the process of putting together a selection of things to send.  But I have to draw them first.

So, as Monday was market day I figured it was the perfect opportunity to pick up some subject matter.  Stallking the produce section, I ignored the scales and weighed my options.  Apples, pears, citrus…too spherical, too much implied symmetry.  I needed something uneven, with a grizzled, interesting texture…something to get my teeth into.  (I kill me – though I'll be cutting in line, I believe).

And then I saw them…huddled into and spilling out of their dear little baskets:  STRAWBERRIES.  With shapes bumped and squeezed, seeds imbedded in their skins, leaves uneven and twisted:  they were beautiful. 

They were also $4.99 per basket.  Apples:  $1.29 per pound.

What to do?  What do do?  Think!  Use your tiny mind, Aubrey, and think! Stop looking at shiny objects and think!

I bought the strawberries.

And now as work has begun, only time will tell.

Oh, and the berries – out of gratitude perhaps – were yummy.  And there's more for tonight. 

Go to fullsize image 

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Published, But Not Paid

And who cares?

I got published!

(starts binking)

(pulls a groin muscle.  stops binking)

The magazine is called 'Pearl' – respectable, literate, expensive ($10).  My shells (found at Emma Wood state beach, in Ventura) were used to illustrate 'Dover Beach', a short story about a school outing to the same.  It briefly describes the dynamics between the students, and at its close provides an insight into the teacher's existance, too.  That's why I included the final paragraph in the perfectly bilious scan I've provided for you.

 

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A Very Vine Tomato

 

Some time ago, my mother bought me a tomato.  It had rather a frisky stem and she thought it would amuse me to draw it.  So I did.  The result is above.  And although the paper has the color of a slice of ripe Gouda cheese, it is in actuality only a piece of old-school Strathmore drawing paper.  My scanning talents aren't exactly prime.

I hope to see this fruit/vegetable mutant published one day.  I will send it out when I have a suitable collection – a bouquet g-art-ni, as it were – put together.  Look for it in a low-circ, high-priced, low-paying magazine near you.

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