Posts Tagged ‘palm trees’

Paying Yourself First

September 13, 2015
A Repeat of a Four-Year-Old Plein Air Sketch

A Repeat of a Four-Year-Old Plein Air Sketch

Because the soul is progressive, it never quite repeats itself, but in every act attempts the production of a new and fairer whole.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Art”

After losing the natural light last evening, I decided to go ahead and see if I could kick out a rough watercolor sketch similar to the one I did in L.A. four years ago. I’m pleased that a musician has chosen the old one to decorate the cover of her CD, and thought that perhaps I should return to the subject. While working on it, I thought of Ezra Pound and his fondness for Chinese calligraphy and the Chinese brushwork with all its aesthetic qualities. It made me return to the Six Canons offered up in Helen Gardner’s more recent editions of Art Through the Ages. I love this sense of reaching for the bare “essence” of a subject and simply suggesting it with gestures rather than defining it with pictorial precision. As I worked on this last night I felt liberated, not constrained the way I often feel when working on the exacting details of my watercolor pieces.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

After a relatively sleepless night (too many good things to ponder), I rose rather late this Sunday morning. With fond memories of my Saturday breakfast of coddled eggs with herbs of Provence and Canadian bacon, I decided to do a repeat even though it was already late this morning.

Paying Myself First Today

Paying Myself First Today

I have homework (yes, teachers always, ALWAYS have homework) in both college and high school courses, so I have to devote the lion’s share of today to getting ready for those responsibilities tomorrow. But I have decided to pay myself first, just in case the night falls and I’m still working on school stuff. Don Quixote has been a most engaging read, and I have this itch to return to a thickening manuscript that I reopened last night concerning my experiences as Artist-in-Residence on the Texas Laguna Madre last June. I still have plenty of writing and editing to do, and I’m in the mood. And I really want to burrow further into Don Quixote. So, I am going to pay myself first, and then answer to the school responsibilities after I have satisfied my own itch.

Thank you for reading.

I paint in order to learn.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am never alone.

Final Crack at the L.A. Palm Trees, January 23, 2011

January 23, 2011

Los Angeles Palms and Flag

Los Angeles Palms and Flags

This is my final evening in Los Angeles.  I decided to set up one more time for a crack at the palm trees.  After doing these two sketches, I felt fatigue setting in.  I’ve was in meetings all day for International Baccalaureate Diploma training Saturday and Sunday.  Friday I was wearied by rising at 5:00 a.m. and flying to the West Coast, retiring to bed around midnight, west coast time.  It has all caught up with me!  At any rate, I’m grateful that I was able to get outside in the sunny climate three consecutive days to capture some palm trees with a combination of dry brush and wet-on-wet gestures.  Tomorrow I return to Texas.

Thanks again for reading.

Sketching Los Angeles Palm Trees, January 22, 2011

January 22, 2011

Manhattan Beach Blvd., Los Angeles

Los Angeles Palms

I’m in the midst of a fabulous four-day conference in Los Angeles.  I’m training for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program which will be coming to my high school in 2012.  After the conclusion to today’s sessions, I took the trolley from the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near the LAX airport to Manhattan Beach, with about an hour of sun left.  After struggling with a row of storefronts, I decided to abandon the architectural sketches and see if I could generate something with a row of palm trees along the boulevard.

I was thinking of the principles of painting expounded by the 6th-century Chinese historian Xie He.  I’m not sure that I’m translating his ideas correctly, but from #1 and #3 I have come up with this idea of trying to capture the essence, of the subject under scrutiny.  I only had about ten minutes of daylight left when I began these two watercolor sketches, but I think by working quickly I was able to get more quality onto the page than I did with my first palm tree attempt yesterday at poolside.  Hopefully tomorrow I can give it one more try before returning to Texas.  The attempt I found very rewarding, the sun was pleasant, and the breeze coming off the Pacific was scintillating, to say the least.

Thanks for reading.