Still going through old art files and finding old drawings that seem to have been done by another person. I mean, I know I did the artwork and can remember (vaguely at times) doing it, but it seems like I did it in another lifetime. And, I suppose, I did. I am no longer the person I was then.
I drew this pastel version of a whitetail buck in January, 1991 and gave it to a family member for their birthday gift.
I miss doing that. I spend a lot of time writing now. The drawings and paintings I do are always commissions. I think if I had a way to travel back in time like some of the characters in my books, I would go back to when I drew and painted for the simple joy of giving away my work. I suppose it was seeing all those smiles when they unwrapped their gifts that came not from the store but from the heart.
While going through some old art files, I came across this pen and ink drawing of a black panther drawn February 14, 1982. I was learning the craft of illustration, clearly seen in the clumsiness you see in my execution. Still, it is a nice drawing, which is why I kept it. Also because it made my seven-month-old son laugh. After all these years, when I see this drawing, I still hear his giggles.
I like to draw. Figure drawing, cartooning, doodling … you name it. Graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, various kinds of erasers, markers, styluses. Line drawing, shading, hatching, cross-hatching, broken hatching, stippling, entopic graphomania (you make a dot at the location of each imperfection in the drawing paper, then connect the dots using straight or curved lines) — the list could go on if I had more time.
I have no favorite medium, drawing instrument, or even subject matter. I like to draw … period. As artist Grayson Perry said, “Until we can insert a USB into our ear and download our thoughts, drawing remains the best way of getting visual information on to the page.” But I don’t draw haphazardly unless I’m doodling ideas. And even then I’m aware of what I’m doing, which is usually observing size and viewpoint. The drawings can look childish, but I never toss out any childlike drawing. Most children instinctively draw objects from the viewpoint that gives the most information. So they draw a house from the front, but a truck from the side — because it’s from there that you can see the truck’s cab, trailer and wheels. I still draw that way today; whichever drawing has a viewpoint that gives the viewer the most information is going to be the easiest to understand. That’s what I look for in my artwork (and my writing).
Everyone has their own ways of expression, and finding ways to say it can be a battle. The power of any kind of art is keeping it simple and understandable. Anyone who can do that can make the uninteresting things in life look complex, advanced, and largely exciting. That’s the true power of art.
Here is a go at this week’s Throwback Thursday at my Facebook page. The 3 drawings below are some of the best of my art from 1983. Enjoy this peek into my past.
Graphite on paper. The cat’s name was Mittens and the Spaniel’s name was Rags. I was studying fur when I drew this. I even wrote a short story about them, but I haven’t been able to find it. I probably threw it out after college when I went on a major cleaning spree.
India ink illustration for an ad. I used Chinese brushes to apply fill and washes. This exercise strengthened my watercolor painting techniques, which strengthened my acrylic painting techniques. As for the illustration (which seems awkward because it wasn’t photographed with all sides in correct proportion), it isn’t bad for a first attempt at drawing with ink.
India ink illustration. My first portrait ever attempted with ink. I was very pleased with the results then, though it would take me a few years of practicing to illustrate realistic looking hair in ink.
While I have been busy working on my latest book project, I come up for air every few days to post here and at Facebook. Today I posted two events from my past. The first is from 1974; the second is from 1984.
It is fun, interesting, and painful to look at works from the past. But it also reminds me of the hard work I have done to get this far.
I have many unfinished projects. Whether artwork or writing projects, I’m surrounded by incompleteness. But I will finish some of my projects. Others I won’t because of time and procrastination.
I am not a morning person—I lack energy during the early part of the day. I’ve tried to be one of those people who are awake before dawn and barrel into the day with enough energy to power a continent. But I have a second-shift job that keeps me active past other people’s usual bedtime. Therefore, my brain and body don’t begin functioning until around 5pm. So, getting around to working on a project is a consequence of overcoming sleepiness, slowness, and often a ringing telephone. I may be half-asleep, but the “normal” world is active and busy reminding me that I have bills to pay and appointments to keep. I turn on my computer—my social connection and alarm clock—to remind me when it’s time to do A), B), C), or D): All of the above. Email notices chime away. Oh, look: WordPress is telling me that I have new likes and followers and that they’ve created a new theme that would look great showcasing my blog. And amidst the bells and whistles, I hurry to do this, that, and the other until writing the next chapter of my book or drawing/painting the detail of a wildlife picture has to wait.
But still I persevere, writing and making art, even though I’m a zombie until evening. I perk up then … and head off to my 9-to-5 second-shift job, unless I have a day off, which happens twice a week (though the days are not usually consecutive). My creative juices flow and I attack whatever current project I have on my agenda. And then my wife comes home from work and wants to socialize. My projects linger, unfinished for weeks, months, even years.
Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. With more of the same. But every new day gives me a dash of hope.
Anyone following my blog would assume that I’m rarely busy writing or making art, simply because of the lengthy gaps between my posts. But that’s far from the truth. I’m busy every day working on my stories and art, from creating new chapters and editing old material, to sketching in my sketchbooks or actually composing and finishing a drawing or painting. All this takes time, leaving barely a few minutes to blog about it.
Blogging is often the last thing I do when I visit the Internet. Reading my email is top priority, followed by answering it, and then checking on family and friends at Facebook. I usually spend an hour a day at Facebook (sometimes two hours or more), and I often add my latest achievements there, leaving me little time to post anything here at WordPress other than a blurb before I turn in for the night.
That is a good description of my posts: BLURBS. They may never be anything poetic, but they’ll certainly keep you, my fans, abreast of my latest news.