Today's exercise is changing the lighting on Oak Man, that I first worked with two days ago, an image from Brian Froud's The Faerie Oracle. I drew it in pencil, heightened the contrast in Photoshop, printed several on cardstock and watercolor it. I made a relief sculpture of the image and lighted it from different directions, and today watercolored one of the prints using these shadows. I had to use white acrylic to change some of the highlights since the original drawing was shaded from a different direction, but that was not too much of a challenge. This was fun! maybe I'll make some of my own original sculpts and light them and try a drawing... I always find sculpture much easier than making up stuff with pencils. I really don't understand how some people can do that so easily.
Calligraphy was the first art I made money with, back before airbrushing. It was just names on certificates, before a computer would do that nicely, another handmade thing that has gone away. It was tedious as hell, and painting names on t-shirts with rainbows or a palm tree in the background felt - and was - much more rewarding, but it was still calligraphy. In seventh grade I had an art teacher who had actually studied calligraphy in college and used it in her curriculum, and it was so easy. Funny to watch fellow students work at trying to hold a dip pen, as if that wasn't the most natural thing in the world. Many years later, following directions from "Many Lives Many Masters" from Brian Weiss, I tried self hypnosis past life regression and got, among other things, sitting in a small room copying manuscripts (my neck hurt abominably). I am drawn to illuminated manuscripts but highly critical (sloppy job, that...) and appreciate the good stuff. I've been wanting to do it again, but the only thing that is appealing to me is Rumi quotes and I'm wondering if, like a lot of other art I'm drawn to, if this isn't that sneaky little higher voice wanting me to touch the mind of the master and get on another page, and if I have to write over and over "wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love." until I get it, so be it. Some students are more stubborn than others and you just have to put them at the chalkboard writing sentences. All day.
Saturday, September 7 2019 I had a one person show at Jefferson Arts Gallery in Monticello, Florida. It will be my last show, and was, in effect, my yearbook. It was one year worth of everything I wanted to do for many years but was too wrapped up with commissions to get around to. It was an exploration to see if anything could hold my interest for more than a couple of paintings. Nothing could. Once on the walls it was easy to see why painting has always been a frustration to me - I'm just not a painter, I'm a draftsman who occasionally colors the drawings. That's why there are rarely landscapes, and no successful ones... I can't see that stuff. I literally cannot see the forest for the trees. Now I have a room full of paintings to deal with, so they are a storage problem. I don't expect much to sell, they are like diary pages. I understand the emotional content, specific to me, of every single one - but that doesn't make them appealing in general. I am glad I did this. The hungry inspiration birds have been fed, the bag is empty, time to leave the beach with a light heart.
I've already ordered fresh new calligraphy supplies, going back to a very old love, illuminated poetry. The first one I will be working on is a quote from Rumi: "Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love." ( with orchids.)