May, 2017 Archives

Once more into the breach! Memorial Day. A sober day of remembrance of and for those who sacrificed for a higher goal. Devotion. I’ve spent that day for the last 15  years at the Palette & Chisel Art Center’s 12 hour Life Drawing Marathon, drawing nude women and men, of all shapes, sizes, persuasions, and color, along side artist of similar variety, grateful that I live in a society that has made an effort that we may openly practice the arts and sciences. That the study of the human body can be conducted without shame. That I am in a room peopled by members of my society that decades ago, would not have been able to share this moment, openly practice this craft together, or use the same restroom. Unfortunately, that privilege cost people their lives.

Just this week, two people died in an attack on a Portland public light rail. They died defending the civic and human rights politicians are quick to extoll, one of them was a veteran. A white racist suprematist murdered them when they stuck up for two teenage girls he was verbally assaulting for living in “his” country.

It’s simple thing I do on this special day. I devote myself to a craft I believe in. A craft practiced by millions and millions over the centuries. One that has educated, enlightened, informed, delighted, challenged, inspired, carried meaning and understanding into the future that we may know something of who we were and are. A craft that some have been punished for having the temerity to express new or differing ideas from those who would venture off the well worn path. Some of their efforts were hidden, burned, destroyed. Some of those who practiced were themselves blacklisted, banished, excommunicated, and murdered.

All I do is draw. To me, the craft does demand devotion. And sacrifice, and tho it hasn’t yet cost me my life, there are those for who the sacrifice proved too much. For me, it has been sustaining and has delivered much more to my life than the considerable amount it has required. I love doing it and am grateful that I have been supported in my pursuit first by my parents, and then by boatloads of people, some teachers, some friends and peers, collectors and patrons, and even scores whom I have yet to meet.

I don’t take it lightly that I can so very casually traipse out the door, sketchbook in hand and draw, my society, and the privileges it enjoys. Thanks to those who have given so much that we may have so much. We may still have a ways to go to live up to our inalienable rights, and full equality, and incidents just as that which occurred in Portland show that we live among those who would resist the promise of this country’s Constitution and history, but I sit on that wooden horse in that studio, surrounded by 30 odd people, open my sketchbook, and on that day, as with every day in the year, I am truly thankful to enjoy what so many have worked and sacrificed for. My mother would have echoed that sentiment with, “Amen”.

 

       

 

Haven’t going to life drawing sessions much this Spring. Here is a smattering of models, nude and clothed.

 

The model in the Daisey Dukes was helping me with a logo design. The drawings of the young African American model were from a Friday night session at the Palette & Chisel. My first time drawing her I got modest results and wound up focusing much of my efforts on her head. Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens and fountain pen on Tomoe River Paper.

I walked into Ed Hamilton’s boutique pen shop, Century Pens located in the Loop by the Board of trade, just over eight years ago, and have developed a wonderful friendship with Ed, a Prince among men, who has owned Century Pens for eleven years. Trained as an architect and hailing from the fair state of Indiana, Ed and I have spent many hours talking about pens, ink, penmanship, architecture, Chicago’s history, politics, and tales of our wild youth. I got the fountain pen bug just before I met Ed, who recognized a potential addict the minute I walked in the store with a sketchbook in my hand and an assortment of pens peering over my vest pocket. Ed was every bit the enabler and fanned the flames of desire for this draughtsman who’s fountain pen collection passed the $11,000 mark several months ago I’m sure. At first, my enthusiasm got the best of me and I made some purchases that I have made scant use of since, but, it needs be said that Ed was honest in his appraisal and experience with the pens in his store, looking at me with a wincing smile and giving me the short comming a of some of the pens that he didn’t think we’re up to snuff or whose reputation and price points were head of their performance. He was particularly wary of some of the Italian pens saying their emphasis was style over performance. He was correct on several as I have experienced since.

His collection was stellar when I first entered his candy shoppe of script. Some brands have since changed policies making it very difficult for him to carry those. Sailor has been one brand. Prices on pens have continued to climb, even through a downturn in the economy and the changes at the Chicago Board of Trade has meant fewer traders flush with cash would pat themselves on the back with an eye catching pen pulled out austentaciously in front of their peers. There is a good reason an expensive haberdashery was just a block away from the CBOT.

I recall talking to one of Ed’s regulars who’s collection was over 650 fountain pens. Century Pens has been the premier fine writing pen store in Chicago and one of my absolute favorites nation wide. Chicago lost Gilbertson Clybourne a couple years back and I fret Ed’sage and the prospect that he may hang up the spurs one day. Today, I spent most of the day sitting in Ed’s store, drawing, sharing take-out lunch, and shooting the bull with Eddie and Charlie. Online is in so many of it’s convenient ways a poor substitute for the face to face, hands on, of the brick and mortar experience. Cheers Eddie.

Catching forty winks in the Chattanooga Airport. Fountain pen, Platinum Carbon Ink, Pitt Pens, Tomoe River Paper.

Airport Nappin’

 

The before and after eyeball demo using watercolor pencils. I enjoy giving live demos where after drawing out something, I eradicate the sketch. Gets their attention.

Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Penvils in a doctor’s billing ledger book.

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • blog links