Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winner Winner Albrecht Dürer

"Hey, they released the fine art books yesterday!"  Aaaaaaaaeeeeeee!!!!
Thus the art groove was suddenly and delightfully delayed.

after day one
Our university library is in process of sorting and thinning collections.  After each subject is reviewed, we are notified of books free to anyone interested.  (Libraries reducing is a sore subject, but we'll set that discussion aside and focus today on this artist's good fortune.)  I just happened to be gone the Monday they released the best subject matter in the whole universe.  Hearing that momentous statement the next morning, I immediately hustled to the library.  Where are the free art books?  Right over th....  The voice disappeared as my eyes found the indicated space.  Oh my... oh... WHOA!!  TWO FULL ROWS of books... art and architecture... FuhREE!  Free! Free! Free!  (Insert happy dance.)  Within minutes - Rembrandt, Cezanne, both Wyeths, and Velazquez were in my arms (books, not old dead dudes).  And, this was the second day.  I cannot imagine what I missed out on the first day!  30 minutes and a small pile later, it was time to get back to work.  The librarian offered to hold "my" books until I could return.  An hour after work could not get me through the rows before closing.  So, my stash went behind the desk for the night.

made me laugh, but did not go home with me
I had scanned all shelves by closing the next day.  One squeaky metal cart loaded with Monet, Whistler, Picasso, and more, rolled towards the door.  A large green book with pale gold letters whispered from a disheveled shelf "and me?"  I tipped my head to read the upside down spine "Die Zeichnungen Albrecht Durers"  What?!  Durer drawings!  How did I miss this?  Drawings of old masters fascinate me even more than their paintings.  Albrecht Dürer is at or near the top of this fascination pile.  I audibly gasped and gleefully added this treasure to my stack - 56 in all.  

That's right.  I suddenly and miraculously now owned 56 books on artists and theory and technique.  Yikes!

I mentioned the bonanza to a friend who appreciates Asian art.  Of course she'd love some free books!  The following week found me happily back at the stacks.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the books were less organized.  I HAD to sort through all the shelves again.  Learning from the almost-missed-a-Durer incident, I carefully read each spine and investigated ambiguous titles - two more blissful days in the library.  I found several books for her, but also a dozen more for me, including one with Da Vinci's notes on painting.  Nice.

I soon realized the 1938 Durer book is the third of three.  Curiosity led me to a very limited number of books I and II on Amazon, the most reasonable of which were copies of both volumes for just $25 each.  Woot woot!  Of course I ordered them.  So, my free books weren't free, but at less than a buck apiece... a steal indeed!

I still can't believe my luck.  Most artists know you can't have too many art supplies or too many art books.  Well, if you ever come across a good cheap book on Ingres, Hopper, Sargent, Van Gogh, Seurat, or Vermeer...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

of Cats & Men

The day after 4th of July (that being the 5th... heh, heh), we left town to pick up our daughter from the airport.  We live half way between two major airports - several hours in either direction.  We drive a lot.  I squeaked in some quick sketches while driving home the next day - lots of small town skylines, cars and the ever-present construction zones.

A small part of a long drive.

After an afternoon break with the whiny cat, it was time to check on things at the farm.  It turns out farmers are good & challenging subjects for rapid figure drawing.  They move as much as restless pets... and talk with their hands... a LOT.

As promised, next time - a wonderful run in with piles upon piles of books.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Feet up. Pencil down.

Yowza, what a couple months it's been!  Gratefully, no serious illness or drama, just lots of office reorganizing, great mountains of farm work and endless house maintenance as we prepare to sell my father-in-law's house.  Art was the forgotten, sullen face at the bottom of the totem pole.  Barely home, I was simply not in sketching mood.  With some rare and annoying exceptions, creative folks live on a roller coaster of "Look what I've been doing.  I'm kicking some sketching/painting/sculpting butt!" then "I don't wanna' draw.  Don't know what to do.  Don't know why I even try.  I suck."  Whiners.

Anyhoo, after the May cycle drawing, I did basically zero art.  Sketchbook Skool Stretching was set aside as life became uber busy - for 2 months.  Then those pesky SBS people came up with Playing - a frolicking class of just plain goofing around with art supplies.  Oh, alright already!  Once again, SBS grabbed me by the ear and pulled me back to the sketchbook.

On July 4, two days prior to class starting, it was time to wake up ye ole art bones.  I've been working through inching through ignoring four of my many art improvement books for awhile: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Drawing Lab, Art Escapes, and One Watercolor a Day.  Can't pick just one.  I excel at indecision.  I grabbed the four, wrote each book's next exercise/project on my white board for all to see, and proceeded to actually do something!  First, Art Escapes - 1 minute sketches in pre-drawn frames took little time and captured itty bits of the studio.  Then, Drawing Lab - several rather awful gesture sketches of our 16 year old dog as she aimlessly wandered through the house. But, hey, I actually did something.

That evening, it was time for our annual sit-in-the-back-of-the-pickup-waiting-for-fireworks picnic and I sketched as the light faded away.  No instructions required - just me doing my artist thing.

Today's post was intended as a catch up for the past few weeks of arting, but it'll grow quite long.  I excel at wordiness.  You can't imagine how long these posts are before I viciously edit them.

Come back soon for the continued initial persistence, the miraculous and wonderful opportunity (okay, not actually miraculous) that kept me from SBS, and how Playing is playing out.  (Heh heh.  Clever, she is.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...