the Coffee??

Okay, I spent a butt load of time in coffee shops. I rarely drink the stuff. Have in the past. That and horse troughs full of hot chocolate. More so the later. But I’m largely a tea tipper now, and the green and herbal stuff at that. It got to where I was downing dairy farms of milk and wheel barrels of sugar. Now I sip my tea, draw, and watch others come in for the fix and to work on their spread. I’m already a touch hype so the heart just had too much fuel at a time where the only body part getting any exercise was my wrist.

Just making use of the Pitt Artist Pens and fountain pens w/ Platinum Carbon. Just a couple pages to go in this ledger book which has been an absolute gas to draw in.

study time

I’ve been making observational drawings, urban sketches as some would describe them, for two plus decades. In the past, the practice served to cull ideas for paintings, or to record things of note as a way of keeping my own picture files. To grab an image because with my poor memory I knew I couldn’t depend on the ability to just recall something, even if I felt it was arresting at the time. I drew to study people, their anatomy and movement. To work on problems, i.e. the way hair behaves and catches light. Or the ability to quickly observe and record fleeting scenes and postures. I dread going to life drawing sessions and opening up with scads of the rapid poses. The 20, 40,and 60 second stuff; yet I give myself over quite happily to doing just that in public as I commute about the city or loiter in a cafe. Sometimes it’s for the reasons given above, but as often as not, it’s just because I love doing that. Looking, and drawing, and thinking.

I am going to have my work featured on The Scream On Line if I can ever make myself write a bio/statement. I’ve been dawdling and procrastinating about doing it for, I dunno, maybe a few months by now. It’s been 4 years since I’ve painted and tho I have worked on prints that are of a narrative nature, the bulk of what I’ve done with my time has been drawing out and about in public. Now a bit of that has been during my treks back and forth to work and on extended trips across the country during which I give demonstrations and lectures about drawing. So, many pages serve as journaling, and I have captured spontaneous events such as on-the-street police interrogations and was present on a fresh crime scene where a water main was geysering alongside a building after some perp had made off with the pipe cap. Drew that. I’ve drawn people at work, as I did in Tampa, of the gentleman who gave me a straight razor shave and the fellow who made my pizza. Many of my friends, collectors, and fellow artist know me as a guy who’ll mount a soapbox even when there’s no crowd to harangue. Suffering in silence doesn’t seem to be part of my DNA and venting, (with dependable frequency) almost seems as much an outcome of my parasympathetic system as peristalsis. Quite therapeutic to me at times and quite insufferable to those around me most times. All the “clown” paintings, drawings, and prints fell under this genre. That of venting. Thinking out loud if I can be fair to myself. Observations of my times and reflections on those observations as they may relate to other times. These came out as narrative like imagery and were quite different from the bulk of what I draw now. Gone are the 19th and 15th century references. Gone are the carnies and their bloody scrums with townies and brutal internecine wars. Gone for now are all the notes of financial mishugganuh and the portraits and caricatures of the public and political rogues who’ve played high profiled roles in the undoing of so many lives and fortunes.

But are they?  Gone that is. All that grist I’d been milling for twenty  some years. Six years ago the art market tanked after years where sales had buoyed my career among others. A couple years later, the banks started tottering and the housing market split it’s gut wide open. Huge layoffs saw scores people the very libraries and cafes I’d been loitering in, pouring down hot cocoa and pouring over the news and financial sections of the Wall Street Journal and The NYT. The unemployed found their way to the cafes and libraries where they worked on resumes, looked for jobs, encouraged and consoled each other, had interviews, talked to financial advisors about resolving mounting debt issues, read, slept, and drank coffee. Others took to airing out favorite beefs with no less restraint than the grouch writing this post. Bailing out the pirates who shocked the economy was a Siren song  heard in just about any public haunt  I could stumble into. The tug of war over immigration and hot button issues left and right could be heard gusting about  any city I visited. Energy prices, mineral extraction, perpetual war, perpetual political campaigns….Jeez, I even got into it over Tea Party positions and striking Teachers Unions, standing track side, waiting for a train in a damn near empty town in northern New Mexico. I’ve managed to dodge many mud fights over the Arab uprisings, Gay marriage, class warfare, sequestration, presidential retreats on campaign assurances, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mack, North Korea,…..I’ll stop. Contentious times. Sitting in these cafes, restaurants, libraries, riding so much public transportation I do get wind of a lot of peoples issues. But I haven’t distilled all this journaling and drawing into resolved paintings or resolute images that encapsulate any zeitgeist. I’m just drawing them. My fellow citizens. Their woes and rewards in tack, they go about their days and I draw them.  And I look to see if the drawings say anything in themselves about these citizens, most strangers, about how they’re bearing up under the times. I think that is an important and tricky thing to capture. Their bearing.

Miss Steerioso need the bean

Bean Heads

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