Thursday, August 05, 2010

My Bogs are somewhere near North Salt Lake, in transit to my front doorstep.

In preparation for the rainy season just around the corner, I decided to start looking for some new waterproof breathable shoes. Because, you know, I walk around a lot (outside) and bike around a lot (outside)....year round. I could ride the bus but often it's just easier and faster to bike, and I can set my own schedule. So anyway. My 'waterproof' shoes for the last few seasons have sprung a permanent leak (in the sole). No good.

Have you seen the prices of things lately? For the love of peter paul and mary! How disgusting. Does anyone know how to write grants? I need one, "Unemployed artist, full time student needs funds for new shoes." Oh, right. It's called a Stafford Loan. Oh okay it's not THAT bad, but in principle I am against laying out a hundred and fifty mackerels for a pair of shoes. Do the math. That is seventy-five dollars each. (perhaps I would lay aside my principles if three fifty dollar bills weren't equal to almost three weeks' worth of groceries).

Well, speaking of this quandary and debacle to a friend, she responded, 'Have you tried on any Bogs?'

What the hell is a Bog? Ohhhh........they're beautiful. Hers fit me splendidly. And they're built by folks right here in Eugene, sold internationally (I'm sure sales are highest in the wetter climes). And I found a pair on eBay for a third of the cost of the shoes I tried on at Burch's last weekend. So I can forego one week's worth of groceries in turn for a pair of Bogs. Okay just kidding, I'm not going to skip the groceries. I'm not in that dire of straits.

So yes, according to FedEx tracking, they are on their merry way to a new home and I hope they fit right.

For now, though, it's sunny. And warm, with nary a wet stormcloud in sight. (what would a blog post be without talk of the weather?) And I am eminently, head-over-heels happy about it. In fact, I am going to celebrate this fine weather by cracking open a bottle of my new favorite libation: Newton's Folly cider, courtesy Trader Joe's. Clean, crisp, non-cloying, delicious. Not too dry for my palette. And a bargain at a buck a bottle (so it's only fifty bottles of Folly I need to forego in favor of Bogs....and my liver will thank me I'm sure, even if my mood does not, as Folly brings me temporal happiness).

In fact, the latest perfect summertime meal is pugliese mounted with bruschetta, and a few leaves of fresh basil sandwiched twixt the two, topped off with the aforementioned brew. OH MY YUM.

***

I'm back, after a brief break, to tell you to have a care around Folly. A bottle goes down in a trice. Woooo!

On to the art talk!

Two things I doubted I'd ever be interested in, much less (dare I say) excited about: landscapes and architecture drawing, and algebra. I'd hoped that my interest would pique about the former (drawing environments is key to storytelling, and that is what I dream to do in illustration), but I never gave a second thought about mathematics except to wipe my brow with gratitude, thinking I'd never see another linear or quadratic equation outside of junior year, high school. And what is one of my mottos? And perhaps yours as well? Never say never!!

As for algebra, I'm actually enjoying it. It's all synonyms and puzzles (as I've written before), and I like how my brain feels when I'm using it like that. G has said that to me before regarding math and I regarded that skeptically but was glad she felt that way. Now I feel that way too and I am so darned surprised. Two more terms of algebra to go. And then....it might be Calculus, which doesn't sound fun, but I'll never say never. (I can't believe that summer algebra term is over next week! our final is thursday!!)

As for the architecture and stuff, I'm really getting into it! I can already feel myself wanting to go somewhere else with it, and avoid becoming overly formulaic. I was reading a book at the campus library today after studying some algebra (natch), featuring artists talking about their work and process. The book was published in 1975 but definitely still relevant :) I liked reading about things that I've either suspected or experienced or learned as valuable skills and ways of interpreting and drawing (or painting):  variety, simplify, values, gesture. And looking at how the artists built up the painting and palette bit by bit was fantastic. I love seeing that!

I've also been studying Darick Robertson's art in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan graphic novels (it's a scream, it's brilliant). There is so much to learn and pay attention to, it's really a lot of fun. I'm completely enthralled with the story, and completely mad about the art (nods to all the inkers, color separators, editors and so-on as well......good on y'all!!). I am completely convinced that this world and its inhabitants are real.

I'm not sure if it's a function of me paying a different kind of attention to story, character, pacing, layout and environment or that this is an exceptional effort by all involved. I suspect it's a mix of heightened awareness and interest along with the stellar crew of creatives.

Do the artists work from lots of photos? For the people? For the perspective? Is it that after awhile (that being a relative term), drawing so much, you just know how things should look? How to shade? And so on? It's really amazing.

Here are some of my latest efforts, then, in my small sketchbook, 5 x 7", heavier paper designed for wet mediums:



I found a shady spot to sit and sketch, on the curb opposite some buildings and businesses near campus last weekend. I did it freehand, which is scary and exhilarating, straight to pen. I'm now using UniPins, which are permanent inks, and I found quite the bargain on a site based in Tokyo called Stationery Art. The pens are under a buck fifty each. I amped up the colors, doing that in the studio with watercolors. I like this one, it's fun and wonky.

Next I drew the Library from the west side, on Charnelton. I went straight to pen on this one too, I'm pretty sure. Yeah.


I worked from a photo I snapped, rather than sketching on site. Trying to find a good spot to sketch, where the sun is on the subject but not bouncing off a white page into my face, is another challenge to field drawing outside. Also finding a bench or a curb. If that's not in the cards, a nice bit of pavement will do.....for awhile, until my bum goes to sleep and my back seizes up :) 

Here I sat at a table outside the market and penciled, coloring it at home and adding a few spicy elements:




There isn't a 'beastro', but there is a Rabbit Bistro, which I find strange and funny, considering it's a strip mall sort of place. There are white linen tablecloths and outside dining and everything. The rabbit I drew is a nod to Ray Johnson, father of Mail Art (you knew that). Oh, a 'seminal figure in the Pop Art movement', says Wiki, perhaps that is more relevant to the world at large, eh.



You can even google map it! 246 E 3rd Ave Eugene Oregon. I'm sure you won't see any alien stickers in the windows though :)

Yesterday I also sketched (with pen, no pencil prelim) this little ditty, which I consider a warm-up. It's 5 x 7" but I am thinking that a biggie-sized would be pretty rad. The mini-van parked out back is honestly half the size of the Barber Shop! I love it! I mean in terms of making a drawing out of it.....in principle I think downsizing on the vehicle front is probably not a bad idea...(ok off my soapbox already!!).




And now I'm going to rustle up some good animation to watch*. Bon appetit, bon nuit!

*ooohhhweee!! Triplets of Belleville! It's been awhile!

And if you haven't seen A Scanner Darkly......oh, do.

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