Wednesday, April 27, 2011

OADMD - Frugality

Yes, I'm a bit crazed. Broken pencil points can make me sad, angry, and, especially, disappointed. Disappointed in the tip breaking off, not wanting to trust the pencil OR the pencil sharpener. Disappointed in the shorter life span of less-long pencil. Sigh. Yes, I can be seriously shallow.
Yesterday and today included an exercise in hope and frugality. Just how much expression is left in a quarter-inch pencil lead? The drawing portion is still as long as it would be if attached to it's former pencil-self. Gather those literal bits and pieces from the bottom of the bag and give them a chance at making their mark!
First, I went for color symbolism. Free association. Questions. Possibilities. The leads hold up quite well. My fingers - not so much. Come on vise-pinkies, you can do this!

Because only a few colored leads were available at the moment, I had to rely on limited lines, shapes, and patterns to kick-start the imagination. The page was going to be warmly-hued whether I liked it or not. The ever-present Sharpie Marker added a bit of weight to words, but was not allowed to mix with pencil. Leads dragged on their sides made color blocks, leads on end could add the smallest detail. Blending was allowed.

On these pages rules are made, adhered to, and changed. This page was started at The Bikery, continued at home (Thanks, Neil Young, for your You Tube inspiration!), and is still a work in progress. It's messy now and gonna get messier. The pencil bits are far from used up and there is still white paper showing.

1) MAKE UP A FEW RULES. 2) Follow Through. DON'T BE AFRAID TO WASTE TIME OR PAPER. That sentence was really hard to write. However, when chatting with folks who say that they want to start drawing I always say "Don't be afraid to waste paper." It's the waste time part that I'm bad at. Reading books on walking and being idle have helped the brain get over that hurdle. Some of us have to muck through a time of long fuzzy to come up with The Good Idea. We have a hard time allowing ourselves this chunk of day, even if it might be the most "profitable" in the end. Start small. Five minutes. Build to an hour. Maybe chance a day.

Look at bits of art supplies as really tiny toys. (I will so appreciate the complete pencils after this page...)

Neil Young keeps being innovative and powerful in his playing: "Hey Hey, My My.... Rock and Roll will never die..."

Lesson for the day: Lack of art supplies is No Excuse. Use what you have. Make a sand painting. Trace a cloud. Draw a house plant. Go ahead Use your big stuff. but know that if put to the task a tiny tip can probably get your message across. So far so good. And more to come 'cause hardly any pencil bits were worn off in the making of this drawing.

To be continued........


Friday, April 22, 2011

OADMD - "O" magazine

Wednesday, I walked downtown to work a day at American Gothic Antiques. Stillwater was being snowed on, the daffodils at the Veterans' Memorial were being snowed on, the flag flying at half-staff was being snowed on, the Historic Stillwater Lift Bridge was being snowed on. April 22.... The Daily Grind Coffee Shop beckoned. I had a little money for coffee and a little time to drip dry. They had a pile of recent magazines. I had a backpack full of art supplies. Doesn't everyone? Out came a red Sharpie marker. O.K. The dream sentence came out of nowhere. On to Oprah. February, 2011.

Today I learned that Epictetus was a Greek Stoic philosopher (AD 55 - AD 135). Once upon a time he'd been a slave. Now he is the source of a number of our words to live by. One of his ideas: First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. If that ain't motivatin' I don't know what is. Make a decision and follow through. It's lots easier to type than to do.

Back to "O". I kept reading and quoting - and listening to guys discussing the recent TV coverage of politicians and reporters regarding the Stillwater lift bridge. "I was watching them walking on the ice under the bridge." "No, no." Yup. I love coffee shops.

Donna Brazile says "Laugh at the opposition." Epictetus suggested: Do not laugh much or often or unrestrainedly. Both may be good advice, though I prefer a hearty chuckle - even on a dark hard day. Laughs or no laughs, time was hinting that the skimming "O" and the scribbling was going to have to end. Read read write write. Decide what to ignore, decide what to include. There was no time to get out the Altoid box of really short colored pencils. This would be a page of words. There was no time for flourishes - only for focus. 9:56, 9:57, 9:58.

Filled paper. Lots to ponder. And actually more in the issue that I want to explore. Thanks, Oprah, writers, and the owners of the Daily Grind. I'll be back soon. This snowy weather is no laughing matter. But sunshine's in my little heart and I've discovered an ancient Stoic. Gotta go with what we've got.

On to The Grand Adventure,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

OADMD - Peachy Pie

On Sunday Tara and I went to The Bikery for coffee. Though arriving before noon, we were "late." Few objects of desire were sheltered in the pastry case. Boo hoo? Boo hoo?

But, lo! Several large slices of peach pie called out "We're still here! We are peachy!" We decided to share one thick slice, got two forks, sat at an interior table corner (all the lovely window tables were taken - boo hoo), and bit on in. Crust was good and crusty, filling was peachy-keen. Definitely a sharing size.
To prolong the enjoyment I draw pie. Fun free-form angles and curves. Pies are angles. Pies are curves. The sketch is sort of cubist as the actual pie changed shape and size as penciling proceeded. Forks become abstract pokey things. Crust and filling meld into peachy tanny goldenroddy mass.

The peaches at the paper's bottom are a daydream of Summer. I tried to reach one's Inner Peach.

By drawing and eating turn by turn a sketcher can enjoy pie a wee bit longer than the usual eater. Look carefully, hunt for the appropriate colored pencil, scribble a bit, repeat. Inspect the geometry of a particular peach slice. Decide to shade or not to shade. Discuss life with daughter. Go get more coffee. Repeat. If words come to mind write some of them down.

Still haven't worked on the Sharing Theme. Maybe today.

The Star-Tribune Sunday paper holds quote from guitar great Jeff Beck - he is motivated by "Pushing and challenging myself musically to create new sounds and new music." Challenge. Challenge. I gotta remember the challenge part...... and must remember to draw with darker colors and higher contrast.

Lines from the pie day: draw faster looser slower freer
"Peach" Prismacolor is far pinker than these peaches.
One can be inspired by pie's shape (changing), color, sparkle, and charm.
I do so love a Charming Pie.

Today will probably be pie-free. But I'm thinking about French Onion Soup for lunch....

It's snowing out - now and forever.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Waltzing With Sargent

Now most of us will never be compared to the great painter John Singer Sargent. However, a lovely lesson we all can learn from his work is how much can be inferred by a dash or a dab or a squiggle. We can practice our dots and dashes, symbolic flicks and bits, to help the viewer along with the seeing while actually forcing him or her to do a tad of imagining. Examine Sargent's work and note the abstract shapes and lines and dobs he uses to depict a head or hand. A fashionable dress is actually a series of thickly laid slashes.

This is a work in progress.... Major gestures have been decided and the "Sargent-squiggles" are starting to appear. I tend to either ignore detail or put too much in. A Sargent-style of painting allows the artist to hint rather than clobber. To lead rather than lecture. One can play in a number of areas with a wide variety of colored ticks that add up only when seen as a whole. I like to create jazzy bits of interplay - some bold, others subtle. Improve is the name of the game once the basic composition is drawn. This does not always work out for the best; it's simply how I prefer to create. As a reformed pen-and-ink girl, my using pastels spontaneously doesn't come easily! And messes do occur. But the forgiving nature of pastels lets us "try, try again." As Martha would say, That's a good thing."

Producing images that conform to one's ideas and plans takes study, practice, and persistence. Serious stuff. We have to do our home-work now so later we can communicate with ease. So keep at it. And have fun. Play with dabs, and globs, and smears, but have them lean toward meaning something. Maybe some day, like John Sargent Singer, we'll get the hang of using those dots and dashes to get our message just right. On to the painting dance.

Waltzing in my mind -

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OADMD - April 12 - Tedtalk Motivation

The One a Day Motivational Drawing was done early this morning while watching a TEDtalk by David Christian. I am taking a bit of motivation from the words Challenges and Opportunities.

Oops.... the dangers of listening/drawing/listening/drawing. The quote should be "Not too much, not too little, just enough." Time to cross out and correct.... Proof-read. Porff-read. Ha. Right beats - wrong words. "The real beauty of DNA is in its imperfections." Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of flaws in typing quotes correctly.

Good Luck to us all!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Motivational Drawing April 6

When bored, uninspired, etc etc etc, and if able, Visit Your Local Library! Millions of books, audio books, picture books, instruction books, biographies, atlases, childrens' books, books on business, spiritual matters, recipes, gardening, music, poetry, ART exist - for us - in neat rows, and willing and able to be used as we choose.

Kind of exciting, yes?

It will probably include a few lovely quiet places to sit and rest or think or draw or write. Or read. Take advantage of the opportunity. Stake a claim for your space at a table or desk, with or without a window view. (Some times a view is just what one needs, other times it distracts from one's mission - you will have to have the courage to make the correct decision.)

An hour in the library can make a year of difference. On to the Grand Adventure!

- Sue

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Hip hooray! The local rodents didn't gnaw up all the bulbs. We have crocus blooming and the more serious sorts of other Springy greenery peeking through the snow-packed mulch.

The cacti in the front yard are braving up their little prickly-pear pads, and the sage next to them is dry yet sagey.

The late cold has crimped the urge to start indoor seeds, but perhaps in the next day or two we will put some soil into containers and some seeds into the soil. Sweet basil and some cherry tomatoes for now. Do want to try brussel sprouts this year, and more kinds of peppers. Friend Jill has talked me into growing beans. My family will laugh at this..... I am not a "Bean Person."

On to the sunny day. This afternoon holds drawing at Croixdale, an assisted cared center in Bayport, Minnesota. We have a good time, and never know what adventures lie in store for those big sheets of paper and that lovely box of colored markers. Easter themes will probably prevail, but one truly never knows. Once upon a time a giraffe poked her head through a kitchen window. Another day brought an angry skunk leading a parade. Bears fill in when other animals get bored or tired. I'll post an image or two later.

So - Best of luck to gardeners everywhere, plant a smile when you can!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Guinea Pigs

Once upon a time daughter Tara brought home Gingersnap the Best Guinea Pig in the Whole World. He lived a pretty good (we think) seven years with us. Romaine lettuce and green peppers and dandilions (and kibble) fueled his day. We all cried when he died, and he is buried in an oak cuspidor in our flower garden....

Sam and Max came later and left sooner. Such is fate.
We are pig-less at present, and this is OK. Maybe some day we will share our floors and vegetables with others.

Now we buy salad fixings for only us humans. But Gingersnap's excited whistles when he heard us bringing in the grocery bags are forever in the memory. And we have giant soft spots in our hearts for his furry chirping fun.

I miss bringing in that first Spring dandilion for the contented chomping. An odd tradition but a traditional none-the-less. Thanks, pigs, for sharing some time with us. And teaching us to eat more veggies...