Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Canal Stories.

They go.

The hills were always perfect at night- 
dark and silent and full of secrets.

Hello everyone

I've been working steadily over the last few weeks- and I figure it was time for an update around here, since there's new work to show and new stories to tell!
I mentioned last post that I've been taking bike-trips down the cape-cod canal- well, I've tried to keep those up as part of a resolution to draw something, no matter what, every day. I don't like resolutions, but I need a little discipline in my life.
I've been watercoloring from life a lot- I've been finding it extremely relaxing, because the watercolor can be unpredictable and keeps me loose. It also helps to be making art in-the-moment.

I've been reflecting on that- how often I am SO distracted, and my attention is pulled in so many ways that I really lose sight of where I am. Especially right now- trying to look for work, worrying about the future, my career- there's a lot to distract. 
I was working on a character design the other night and I realized how I was using the experience of making art to escape from the rest of my life. 
It was kind of an unpleasant realization.

That's not always a bad thing, but in general that's something I'm wary of. 
Taking my bike out and going to watercolor outside is forcing me to make art in a context. Not just hunched over my computer in the bedroom. I'm starting to think that striking a balance is really important- and I'm realizing how unbalanced I've been.
And in all seriousness- it feels more worshipful, to seek out a moment, be in it, and draw from it. Stop looking in every other direction, let tomorrow worry about itself, and just...draw.
I feel more prayerful when I'm out sketching, so I've been trying to integrate my work-life and my prayer-life so that they aren't so compartmentalized. It's nice :)
I've started noticing things around me, getting a little sun, and even having fun interactions with passers-by! I don't know why I haven't been doing more of this :p

Above is are two pieces I worked on today;
Wanting to make art like music, I've started thinking in terms of songs. I know that's kiiind of dumb- but it makes sense to me and helps me figure out what I'm working towards and why I do what I do. So that firs is a little love song. And the second is like it- a meditation on night and a girl.
I've always loved those windmills- ever since I was a kid...they had a windfarm full of them in Holland, and they have them along the canal here, too. Windmills and bridges...

I'm not sure if these have ever been posted here, but it got me thinking about some of the other little paintings I've done over the last year. Just giving myself permission to work simply:


So now to the sketchbook- here's a smattering of the last week's sketches from wandering around.
I'm making friends with the bridge, and trying to confront my unwillingness to paint architecture and scenery by sneaking up on it :)


I went to Bristol on a sketching trip with my friend Maret- and we picked a great day to go! They had a carnival set up in the center of town, and a concert on the green by the water. It was a beautiful day- glad I got to sketch it!


I didn't get to paint it- in fact I'm not sure I could ever do it justice. But I took a quick ride down the canal earlier in the week, and was intending to turn back when I heard this sound coming from far off. Low and rhythmic- I assumed it was the sound of engines, but as it neared I could tell it was music. Then all of a sudden, this three-masted tall ship comes into view, motoring down the canal. And up in all the rigging are about three-dozen uniformed navy-men doing choreographed dance as a marching band on the main deck plays to nobody in particular. It was covered in flags, and just sailed slowly by and out towards the bay. It was amazing- the best moment. 

In other news, I've been working through some more commissioned work, and enjoying it! Below is a piece for Bre Galloway based on an excerpt from CS Lewis' Perelandra:

"And as he stood and looked it seemed to him that four of the great earth-beetles, dwarfed by distance to the size of gnats, and crawling two by two, came slowly into sight. And they were drawing behind them a flat car, and on the car, upright, unshaken, stood a mantled form, huge and still and slender. And driving its strange team it passed on with insufferable majesty and went out of sight. Assuredly the inside of this world was not for man. But it was for something."

It was a really fun, open-ended prompt to work with. The other piece is a Ghoul from Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (which I've been listening to as an audiobook as I drive). I am really enjoying the book so far! For whatever reason, the Ghoul's really captured my imagination and I had to draw one! They all have fun names like 'The Honorable Archibald Fitzhugh' and 'The Famous Writer Victor Hugo'. Anyways, Enjoy!



That's all from me for now- I hope you guys like the new work! I've been experimenting with a lineless style, and been really enjoying it. I don't think I'll ever fully abandon line- but it's really great to learn more about form and color this way...sometimes I'm too reliant on my linework to make the piece function. 
It's nice to stretch a little, artistically and start to move away from the video-game concept art look. I'd really love to move in new directions!

Anyways, I'm off to eat some fourth-of-July barbecue with my family- I hope this finds you well and in good company.

God bless, and much love!

-n 


3 comments:

SevenCubed said...

Worrying about using the experience of making art art to escape life is like worrying about listening to music to escape feelings. You have one brain, and everything you perceive is everything you've got. Art IS your life. It's coming from your experiences and your struggles and everything in your world whether you're out in it or deep into your fictions. I think you doubleguess yourself too much. Just be! You're doing fine.

Petra van Berkum said...

I know exactly what you mean. Do what feels good now and don't forget it :) , lovely art by the way!

Adri H. said...

Love the experiments "without" line. You really can't get rid of lines, but I like they way you're defining shape and form in the last pieces. They look really rich.