“Do not travel far when looking for a wife,” is an old Chinese proverb. I don’t know if this is true or not having been married only once. Apparently, I either traveled too far or not far enough. But I can say this is true when looking for a subject to paint. One can travel all day looking for the “perfect” scene and not have any art to show for it. When John Singer Sargent would go off with a group of his artist friends to paint from life somewhere his friends were impressed how few steps he would take to find a subject. He wanted to spend his time painting not traveling. This has been an issue with me as I love to travel… to know what is around the corner or over the hill. But to draw and paint one must stop moving. A short drive or walk from my cobblestone provides ample subject matter for me. Yesterday I parked on a back road close by and drew a picture of a old barn. I worked directly in ink on watercolor paper. I spent this morning painting over the drawing in watercolor. 6″ x 10″
I pulled my truck over to the side of the road the other day and did a couple of quick sketches in ink on a little postcard sketchpad. I then painted watercolor over it.
I was asked by a collector of my work to do a mural of the Waterport Trestle for a private space. The blank wall was 28′ long and the subject was to be the re-creation of an old pen and ink drawing that I had painted over many years ago. The Trestle itself has been gone for decades. I rather enjoyed this project as it was so clear as to what the client wanted and I was enlarging my own art work. In order to replicate the work I decided to create it the same way I did the smaller original…pen and ink that was painted over in color. I used around 100 sharpies to draw the image and then I painted over the ink with acrylic paint. It was fun working on such a large scale project.
Occasionally a piece of art from my past returns to me like an old lost friend. I was recently given this drawing I had done at the request of the mother of a friend I had grown up with. I had known her since I was a young teen and I considered her a friend too. She had requested two black and white landscapes. The other one is lost in time somewhere. I also recall doing an oil painting of a Native American in full head dress for her… also lost. I don’t recall the details of this piece other than it was a composite of 2 or more drawings done by other artists. I Arthurized it. From etchings perhaps. Approximate date: 1979. Size: 15″ x 8″
Today I mailed the art work I am donating to the 2019 AT Charity Ball in Wales. I participate in it annually. A watercolor over an ink drawing. The scene is from Gresford, Wales where I stay with family. This year the event was moved up to the Bolesworth Estate which holds a 1000 people. Although a castle by American standards it is really more of a very impressive, stately home. Having pressing issues and a full plate with my cobblestone I won’t be able to attend the Ball this year. I will be there in spirit. There will be no obligatory pics of me in a tux this year. But my tux is waiting for me. I will wear it next year as long as I can keep my boyish figure.
I found one of my signed prints at the Good Will store for $4.99. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it means I made the big time. Ha! I did buy it. I know a good deal when I see one.
While checking out an estate sale the other day I bumped into an old friend. I mentioned to him that I sometimes find prints of my work at these things. Having already looked through the art they did have for sale I told him, “Not today.” But as I was leaving I wandered into the garage where they had some books for sale. I quickly recognized my image on a book cover for St. Mary’s from 2000. I wasn’t aware this had happened. I did the drawing for post cards they had ordered from me a long time ago. I bought the book for a dollar. Perhaps I will sign it to increase its value. Maybe double it!
I have not been doing a lot of painting these days. But I have been creative. Working on my beloved farmhouse or my cobblestone is not unlike creating a functional, living sculpture to me. Paintbrushes, hammers and saws are all creative tools I am comfortable with. Planting trees, bushes and flowers is quite satisfying to my creative bent.
I had a plate made up of a drawing I did of a Welsh scene. I used black oil base ink and use my letterpress to make to make prints up on watercolor paper.
For the third year in a row I’ve had the honor of sharing art with my cousin Felicity’s class in Wales. It was very enjoyable. Kids are easy as all you have to do it provide them with materials and a little direction and they just take off. I gave them each a black and white card of one of my drawings. I did a little demonstration with watercolors to get them started and that’s all it took. Truly, they are a lovely group of children that gives me hope for our future.