This is a little charcoal sketch I did for Sam’s birthday card. Had to come up with it quickly on THE day since I had forgotten about a card and realized I can’t do a homemade b-day card for his brother and not one for him–what kind of mom would I be? Yeah, lame. He and a good friend did 4 nights and 5 days on the Long Trail early this month. They are working on the whole thing about 50 miles at a time each September. Rich and I enjoy hearing about their venture, the beautiful scenery, the funny things people write in the log books at the shelters, their discussions about food and drink as the days go by and how sick they are of trail mix. “If you could have any beer right now, what would you pick?” And, “What meal would you kill for right now?” Stuff like that. Sam said one of the best things he did was pack a Snickers bar for each day. He said a cup of coffee, a cigarillo and a Snickers bar…doesn’t get much better than that. Hmm…I’m thinking Christmas shopping should be pretty easy this year.
Home again! And happy new year–it’s the year of the sheep, or goat, according to the Asian zodiac calendar. For this image I smudged charcoal on paper and drew with a kneaded eraser. It’s fun, and I like the soft effect. The downside is having to spray it with a fixative. Oh well. I just got a new book by Maira Kalman–one of my favorite artist/authors. Have I mentioned her before? It’s a children’s alphabet book called Ah-hA to Zig-Zag. She picked 31 items from the Cooper Hewitt museum in NY and painted them for this book accompanied by her unique text. I just love her quirky, whimsical style. Plus I like drawing random objects too, so it’s encouraging that she does that. All of her books are worthwhile–such an interesting person. I’m glad there are people like her in the world. Take a peek sometime.
Saturday was the charcoal drawing workshop at Studio Place Arts in Barre taught by Gabriel Tempesta. Check out his website: http://www.gabrieltempesta.com Beautiful work–so detailed–all drawn and painted with charcoal. I especially love the bumble bee series. We got to see them up close since they are in the SPA gallery. SWEET! It’s amazing that he can get such incredible detail with charcoal.
He demonstrated some of his techniques using charcoal powder (now there’s a mess waiting to happen!) and scratching into it with pointy things and spraying with water which creates magical effects. Quite fascinating. I’d like to experiment more with it but I usually work on my dining room table and I think it’s too messy a process for that room. I don’t want it to look like I’ve been mining coal in there. Maybe I’ll set up a table in the basement. But away from the ironing board and clean laundry…
There were many talented, experienced artists in that class which was humbling to say the least but in a good way. It’s a treat to watch people at work who are confident. Bold. People who are FEARLESS. I wanna get me some o’ THAT! My drawing was a bit pale and timid alongside theirs but once I got it home, it stopped slouching and stood proud so I thought, Yeah, I could post that.