Living in the Shadow

First Charcoal Attempt at Still Life Since High School

First Charcoal Attempt at Still Life Since High School

Between the idea

And the reality

Between the motion

And the act

Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

 

Between the conception

And the creation

Between the emotion

And the response

Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

T. S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men”

Shortly after I rose from bed this morning, I checked my phone for emails and found my “artist daily” message (http://www.artistdaily.com/) discussing the possibilities of erasure drawings with charcoal.  I had read in the past about Willem de Kooning’s erasure drawings, but I had never tried that technique for myself.  Thinking over my recent desire to create a large watercolor still life composition emphasizing a dimly-lit interior replete with shadows, I decided immediately that I needed to give this a try.  I have found it very difficult to paint dark compositions in watercolor, the paper surface is so bright, and I am a stickler for working in the transparent medium of watercolor.  I knew I needed to find my way to the shadows.  T. S. Eliot’s words were stirring in my imagination.

Coming home from school, I entered my newly-reconstituted garage/mancave, put on a VHS tape of Willem de Kooning, and set to work with charcoals, a kneaded eraser and an old flat brush formerly used in oil painting.  With these three tools in hand, I sketched quickly, first covering the paper surface with a dark layer of charcoal, then using the eraser and brush to highlight and mid-tone the objects.  I felt an unusual delight as I watched the shapes emerge from the gloomy atmosphere, and felt a connection with greatness, knowing de Kooning had been trained in these kinds of drawing techniques while a young art student in Holland.

No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone.  His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.  You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.  I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism.

T. S. Eliot, “Tradition adn the Individual Talent”

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

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One Response to “Living in the Shadow”

  1. sedge808 Says:

    nice hat

    Like

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