I've been having some trouble recently with a project I am working on for a friend. Trouble is inevitable; in some ways I think it is indicative of a good, real, working process. Still, it is not fun. Not at the moment, anyway.
The trouble is that my first draft is by far my friend's favorite, but I can't use it, for silly technical reasons. And because I can't see it the way she does, I can't recreate it. I am trying.
But that in itself is a futile endeavor. I have to instead create the new something that will capture the spirit of the first, but be its own thing.
And I have to realize: we are not always the best judge of our own work.
Ansel and I went walking at Chimney Bluffs, on the shore of Lake Ontario, this weekend. It was my debut for walking in a sustained way outside, after having broken my toe over a month ago. It was wonderful.
On the rocky beach we saw a large dead fish. "Wow," I said.
Ansel handed me my sketchbook.
I haven't been drawing or painting as much lately; I've had a lot on my plate. This past weekend a few of my students put on a spectacular concert that took much of my attention and made me very proud. I have been singing a lot. And looking a lot. I think my mind is full of images that will just spill out as soon as I have a chance - take the chance - to sit down again and let them.
It's a beautiful day and I'm off to play a wedding! Happy fall to you all.
Ansel and I went for dinner at our friends' house last week. Their son, faced with the vegetable selection, made this announcement. (Though he found they were quite ok when roasted underneath a chicken!)
Later, Ansel suggested this solution:
You know, with an axe or a sword, your choice :)
(If anyone wants to make this into a T-shirt and produce at least 36 of them (the minimum), so I can give one to Padraig, let me know!)
We were on a very comfortable, well-made and well-equipped canal boat, cruising down the Erie Canal. Life slows down; one starts to appreciate subtle changes in landscape and foliage, the bends in the "river". I didn't do a whole lot of sketching, being occupied with a whole lot of looking - but I did manage a pencil drawing of the front of our boat, the Canandaigua:
and some quick, faint sketches of a liftbridge in Brockport and another view of our boat:
Sorry they are so faint!
I came to love tying the boat up to a cleat on the dock - so effective and pleasing.
Also, seeing my city from such a different perspective was totally neat. We pulled up to a gas station next to the canal that Ansel and I knew otherwise from getting there by car, tied up our boat on the little dock, and hopped off and into the gas station for supplies. Then back to the water. Amazing!
This weekend Ansel and I met our friend Alicia at Springside Farm in Fabius, NY for the sheep and alpaca shearing festival. It was a perfect day for it: sunny, not too hot. Lots of kids running around making noise.
I got to hold a lamb in my lap.
We saw pot-bellied pigs, and chickens, and bunnies, and of course sheep and alpacas.
Alpacas never cease to amaze me. Their funny heads, their alert but odd stance, their big eyelashes. And of course their beautiful fur.
I thought I might draw some of them, but the crowds (and I suppose my residual shyness) were a deterrent to my getting out sketching materials in the barn.
Instead, I plopped myself down in the grass outside and drew:
Since I have a new potted Gerbera daisy and a notebook that I'd not yet found the right use for, it seemed like the time this weekend to play around with (acrylic) gouache. It worked marvelously on this thick paper.