Putting lots of gestures on one bigger page, as I have a few old mostly used up drawing pads around. I like seeing the sketches all in relationship with each other. The gestures are 5 x 1 minute, 5 x 2 minutes, and 2 x five minutes; and then I break from the reality of life-model drawing and run the set twice more, so 5x3min, 5x6min, 2x15min. I do the initial set in a light h (hard) led pencil, the second set is an hb pulling out form, and the last set in b(soft) looking for weighted line and values.
The conte / color drawings are done on an easel out in the sunroom looking at my laptop, and the pencil drawings are done in the basement cast to the TV- I draw them on a little clipboard held on my lap which means lots of looking down and up with my whole noggin vs looking in one field with eye movement only. Artists use easels for exactly this reason; zillions of quick side eye movements that instantly transfer to hand vs cumbersome head movement with up/down eye movement causing reorientation with every move. Flow gets stuttered and drawings lose vitality. I’ll have to crowd the basement den with my old drafting table, in from the too-cold studio.
I stopped by the great little neighborhood art store this morning and picked up some toned butcher paper, conte pencils in sepia, brown, black, and white; two filbert style long bristle brushes (I’ve been using some ancient nubby cheapo’s from Michaels); canvas “paper” for more Zorn Palette studies; and Naples yellow light oil paint to add a bit more complexity. I tried out some conte pencil on the toned paper for an afternoon set.
I set up an artin’ station out in the sunroom, and have been trying out some of the 2-D sections from the online art school New Master’s Academy (I’ve been through most of their 3-D already). I’ve been working from the painting section with Joseph Todorovitch using the “Zorn Pallette”, which is limited to Black, White, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red; this pushes color mixing while also simplifying for tonal cohesion. There is an instructor view of his painting, his palette, and the model (pretty small view)- but it is a great way to teach by example.
Mount Arikaree and Arikaree Glacier are the subject of this painting. I’ve summited this 13 thousand foot peak more than 20 times. After the last ice age 10,000 years ago, the glacier retreated into its cirque. Glacial meltwater passes through the talus field to emerge on the low shoulder of the mountain with only 1 part per billion of sediment- some of the cleanest water imaginable. Colorado State University’s Alpine Research Center is based in this glacial watershed, and last year they predicted Arikaree Glacier would be gone by 2025, with the sister valley’s Arapaho Glacier meeting its end soon after. I was the protector of these glaciers and their watersheds from my 18th birthday though to my 30th; I kept individuals from leaving physical footprints and infecting the watershed with giardia, but all the billions of humanity’s footprints are stomping it into oblivion now. While painting I’m streaming interviews with arctic / antarctic scientists, biologists documenting the 6th Mass Extinction, investigative climate journalists, climate activists such as Extinction Rebellion, Dark Mountain poets and authors; keeping my head in the game of reality while memorializing the heart of the mountain, already so much smaller, and ever smaller, and gone. Climate Collapse is finally obvious in everyone’s back yard, and if your back yard is alpine wilderness, it is already over. There is a white-hot place in my mind now that wasn’t there in my patrol days, a spot the glaciers kept cool, and now with them dying- it is a strange inescapable light, an ultraviolet long wavelength, a wave form of oblivion.
The book sale at the downtown SLC library is what sparked this. Two identical Remington books with oversize fold-out prints and dust jackets of “A Dash for the Timber”, plus a 1960’s era book on Remington with a small bland print of the same, and a fat coffee-table book of Impressionism.
Romanticism was the European stylistic period of painting prior to and somewhat contemporary to Impressionism; the middle east and India were often the theme of mythic manifest destiny of proto-industrialization serving the same appetite as the American West across the pond. Nature as sublime and overwhelmingly destructive, ruined civilizations, inescapable human cataclysms (war, slavery, revolution), immersions in lust, and inescapable death were also thematic of Romanticism.
The modern Anthopocene, or Pryocene; an era of collapse and consequences e.g. the Sixth Mass Extinction due to direct human pressure on local ecosystems coupled with a world wide collapse of the environment via human forced global warming. Portraying the inevitable future of now via Remington’s fantasy images of a West that never was, running roughshod over a landcsape created from images that titillated European culture with a proto-industrial remembrance; this is what sparked at the library sale: an Epiphany for an image of Epiphany (sacred manifestation) to Epiphanize a complex of art historical memes and ‘isms that grappled with industrialism v nature, culture v the individual, the individual v death, the present v inevitable. Shifting this perspective from the sentimental view of a past era, to a contemporary future of collapse already written that cannot be undone is the aesthetic driver for the recontextual use the of art of Romanticism, coupled with the gentle and genteel escapism of Impressionism from the reality of 19th Century industrialization, married with the jingoistic American West of Remington.