Category Archives: studio blog

9 July 2022

Honestly, since the break I took from the dailies I have not moved back into spending long or thoughtful time in studio. I’ve been tempted to just extend the break or give myself a pass on several days. But. One thing I’ve learned over the years of this exercise is that if I keep the channels open, sometimes good and unexpected things happen. And eventually the urge and the joy will return.

29 June – 3 July, 2022

While on vacation I didn’t try to do much observational painting. Instead, I worked on figuring out how to draw Celtic-style interlace. I’m sure there are books and tutorials, but I needed to occupy my mind and hands, and treating these as a puzzle was soothing and calming. Here are my workpages, and you can see I even got a couple finished that I feel pretty happy with.

20 June 2022

I pretty much just tidied up the line-work, so it doesn’t look very different today. But a couple people have asked, so here’s the photo that inspired the painting. It’s from an old National Geographic magazine. I’m not so happy with my rendering of the face, but really I was just looking for a framework for meditative pattern work. The pattern I used is based on Celtic manuscript decoration although I love the ones on the robe and background in the photo.

The caption: “The patterns on the robe of Peruvian healer Enrique Flores Agustin represent songs he sings during curing ceremonies. … Ancient or modern, the theater of healing works by creating strong expectations in the brain.”

12 May 2022

I spent a long time looking at the blank paper this evening. That’s been happening a lot lately, which sometimes indicates that I need to shift directions. I was too tired to stay up and finish this one to any degree, but it is what I made this day, so it is what I am posting.

The point of this practice was to make sure that I spent time every day doing a thing I love. The daily posts were a way of building in a kind of accountability. They also have served occasionally as a way for me to reflect on what I’m doing. To remind myself of why, and to think about how I might want to continue. I am so pleased and grateful when people let me know that they look at my posts, whether or not they respond in writing. I always hope that what I’m doing here might encourage you to play in whatever way inspires you, whenever you are able.

Cheers.

*********************

5/18/22 – the finished picture

25 February 2022

If you’ve been following Ayespider for a while, you know that sometime in February I make collages. Well, that time has arrived, even though once again this year (covid caution!) I’m not able to have my in-studio all day collage-making gathering with friends. Here’s the first one, make of it what you will.

Below, my worktable, during the evening. Probably a preview of the next two collage posts.

Some of my Inner Critics are right over there, where I can ignore their commentary.

7 February 2022

I’ve had a run of studio sessions where I felt no inspiration and no confidence as I worked on my drawings. There is a very big, very quiet inner critic who sits like a cold lump and merely says, “what’s the point?” I try to ignore them, but it does get in the way of the pleasure of drawing. This critic is not chatty, as many of the other are. They are sullen, morose, doughy, chilly, immovable. I carry on, because I have said I will, and have made the time to do it. But it may take something more proactive on my part to get this one to move along and get out of my way.

25 January 2022

memory of beach soundscapes

Pencil work can be slow and painstaking, but so very satisfying. I don’t do this much for the dailies, just because of the time requirement. But I used to do long process pencil and colored pencil work. There’s a quiet that settles in with the delicate and deliberate touches. And the picture emerges in an almost sculptural way, as if carving shapes out of shadows.

2 August 2021

When I was a child, I was pretty proud of my prowess in art. I drew a picture of a cat, perhaps I was 7 years old, and showed it to my grandmother, no doubt expecting praise. Dottie was an accomplished portrait artist, though she dismissed her skill as being “a knack”, and I believe harbored lifelong regrets about not devoting her life to painting. She looked at my ballpoint pen drawing and said “that’s fine, but cats are soft and furry. Can you make your drawing show that?” I remember feeling piqued and frustrated. I came up with another drawing that outlined the cat in zigzag wiggly lines instead of plain straight ones, and figured I had met the challenge adequately. How else do you show fur with a ballpoint pen? (Of course now I have many more answers to that question, but at that time I was ready to be done.)

So this evening, I was coming off a day of work and meetings, and no ideas or ambitions for my daily arting. So I amused myself making a thing of cuteness, and making it look soft and furry, and thinking about painting for my own joy and not to fulfill some ambition. Or perhaps my ambition has always been to experience joy in art and music. So I share these musings with you, and hope that you are finding joy or good satisfaction in at least some of the work and play that occupies your time.

21 may 2021

I grew up in Baltimore, a suburban enough area to have lots of trees. I was there for the 1970 emergence of the cicada brood. I had moved away but was able to go visit for a few days during the 1987 emergence. I missed the 2004 one; I had small children and was living in New England, too far north I guess for any broods of cicadas to thrive. It looks like I will miss this year’s emergence as well. My father, who still lives in Baltimore, tells me they have started to come out as of a few days ago.

17 year cicadas are an amazing phenomenon. They sweep you up in the awareness of how small things can be mighty if there are enough of them! It’s amazing to witness something that really doesn’t care about human presence one way or another. They do us no harm, they simply overwhelm their part the world with their sheer numbers. They take care of the reproductive part of their life cycle, and then they die, and that’s it until the next time.

I know this drawing isn’t accurate. For one thing, I gave it too many legs. I was not referring to any pictures but the ones in my dreams and my memories. It felt good to sit with them for a time, and remember where I was 17 years ago, and 17 years before that, and then again another 17 years.