Wednesday, December 10, 2008

sketch night Society of Illustrators

walnut ink on toned paper 9x12

Every Tuesday and Thursday here in New York at the Society of Illustrators there are two models and a three piece live band.  It gets crowded and, since there is bar (it's in the dining room of the Society), it has a speakeasy quality without the smoke.  $15 and anyone can come.  Many good artists are there doing anything but your standard academic nude drawing.

This piece was done with a fountain pen loaded with Walnut ink made from the shells of walnuts, an old type of ink.  It's water soluble, so, when I go over it with a water filled brush, I can get a wash.

I should mention that I drew this from a chair placed on a table so the artists are actually below me while the model is on the same level.  This explain, in part, the perspective.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Katsushika Hokusai

"From the time I was six, I was in the habit of sketching things I saw around me, and around the age of fifty, I began to work in earnest, producing numerous designs.  It was not until after my seventieth year, however, that I produced anything of significance.  At the age of seventy-three, I began to grasp the underlying structure of bird and animals, insects and fish, and the way trees and plants grow.  Thus, if I keep up my efforts, I will have an even better understanding when I am eighty, and by ninety will have penetrated to the heart of things.  At one hundred, I may reach a level of divine understanding, and if I live a decade beyond that, everything I paint --every dot and line -- will be alive.  I ask the god of longevity to grant me a life long enough to prove this true."
postscript to One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (translated by Carol Morland)

Hokusai got it right, about the point of making art.  It's not about exhibiting.  It's not about making money.  It's not about someone else seeing it.  It's about the challenge Hokusai set for himself.  I discuss this more in my other blog.  By the way, Hokusai lived to 90 years of age.