Everything Old is New Again…

15 Minutes: Everything Old is New Again

I’m doing very different drawings from when I started “Drawriting” with 15 minutes of drawing and 15 minutes of writing on the back of the drawing. These pieces below do not have writing on the back; I’m not sure if I will write on the back or not. perhaps this post is the writing part for now.

A client of mine once explored a concept she said was summed up as : “Everything old is new again.” Her words. I’ve been thinking about that idea, as I reflect on 2018, and now, in terms of my personal art making as a visual artist, about 30 years into making drawings and paintings, collage, etc. Even last May as I started a daily drawing practice, I noticed I was reprising my 2006 – ? work and had revisited that stuff in my sketchbook last year, coming from the “Inner Landscapes” series. I have the old sketchbook journal where the images emerged that later became buildings and Inner Landscapes, which I have now embraced as “Cityscapes.” Before, when I did these, I thought of them as buildings, but as expressing some kind of inside landscape of the psyche. Recently I’ve returned to seeing that it is my relationship with New York City and how the city is part of who I am…

More recently in the past few weeks, I have been revisiting my drawings of faces and leaves. It started with my redoing my Sketchbook Project, in December 2018, drawing faces and leaves. These faces started many years ago; I can’t even remember when. Then I reused them in my Scribble Drawings Collage series in 2007 and 2008.

A while back I drew two bees in my sketchbook project. For some reason I’ve been drawn to drawing bees, no pun intended. Yesterday, I started drawing hexagon hive shapes, due to thinking about bees and because it’s a great kind of drawing connector. I’ve got faces, bees, and mushrooms, so now I have the hive shapes in and out. I haven’t gotten far with it as you can see in the pictures of these works in progress.

Drawing on smaller paper is very rewarding because I can really do a drawing in one sitting and feel like it’s done. It’s hard to be patient with doing drawing/painting on wood and canvas because it takes a lot more time and the discipline to revisit the work and continue it.

I took some of the wood drawings I did in November, which were moving towards being city scapes, and tried to sort of add in the new imagery with limited success, still using fountain pens to draw with.

For some reason it is harder to add in this imagery. I will paint over the wood with white paint and start drawing on top, like the painting in the photo below. That painting has endured a lot, like an archeological site. I don’t know what the first concept was, but there was collage I pulled off years ago, and then drawings of buildings and white again. That was March 2018. Then I went into it more. Anyway, today I turned it “upside down” so I woulnd’t see buildings in the marks underneath the white paint.

The above wood drawing with oil paint is the only one I saved. The rest I painted on top of.

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15 Minutes: Cabinet of UnNatural Curiosities

I got the book, The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, Albertus Seba’s meticulous nature artwork,  a long time ago on sale. I’s a gigantic book that should be on my coffee table but is in my book shelf. Then I was in a museum store in Milan and discovered they made a much smaller version of the book and bought that to bring to my studio. It’s all written in Italian.

I’ve recently put out the book and opened it to different pages just to imbibe the feeling of the artist’s great work. It’s packed full of what I think of as “botanical” drawings, although armadillos and snakes may not be included in that concept. There are many pages of snakes. I mostly look at the leaves, flowers and insects as well as some other stuff he puts in a kind of grid, which is my favorite of his drawings, putting many of the same thing on the page in a grid.

I recently ventured into drawing bees. I’ve drawn leaves and flowers but not bees. For some reason at the moment I am more interested in them than other insects, scarabs, beetles, for good reason. Bees are endlessly fascinating, scary, magical, powerful and fun to draw. I stared at a bee drawing today for around 45 minutes while on the phone before I drew it.

I’ve now drawn six bees, two in each drawing. The first drawing was just of bees, in my Sketchbook Project. I cut it out and copied one of my bees using one of my fountain pens. I’ve found other detailed bee drawings and copied them in the drawing below.

I have been posting a few drawings and “mixed media” drawings on wood, calling it My Cabinet of Unnatural Curiosities. I like the name as I am doing weird stuff with observational type drawings of bees, leaves, flowers and mushrooms. I’m not sure it’s legal to title this series something so close to the original book, but for now it’s a fun way to think of them as I dive into this realm of weirdness that synthesizes some old art pursuits and current interests in making images…

15 Minutes The old is new again

“Everything old is new again.” I usually love the newest things in terms of pens and art supplies. Recently getting re-obsessed with my really great Retro 51 pen collection, I picked up a few fountain pens I had not used in years, as well as one roller ball pen. In trying to clean my favorite, a retractable Namiki, I lost the spring and had to send it back to the company. It should arrive on Wednesday, and I will definitely be posting photos of the pen and drawings I make with it.

I got all my really good pens from my sister. Years ago she gave me that Namiki. She also gave me a clear barrel fountain pen that only takes ink bottles and she gave me a fance a bottle of red ink, Levenger, with it. I still have the ink. The ink is Levenger Cardinal Red, so the pen is stained red; even trying to clean it, I couldn’t get the red completely off of it. I just now figured out what kind of pen it is. It has no name on the top; only a little picture of a swan. I realized the name of the company is on the nib of a fountain pen and figured out it’s a Pelican pen. If you try to buy one now, the original price is 200$ and you can get it for $160. More recently, a few years ago, she gave me a special Retro 51 fountain pen with dog paws on it and the clip looks like a dog bone.

Since taking these old pens and re- investigating their greatness, coming to a new appreciation of them and what I can do with them, especially drawing, I am amazed that I neglected them for so long.

But I was distracted by my obsession with Retro 51 Rollerball and ball point pens. The red pen I found from years ago before Retro 51 was also a gift from my sister. It took me forever to figure out how to put a refill ink in it as the Retro 51 ones open from the bottom and this one opens from the top. I had taken it to The Fountain Pen Hospital down the st. in Tribeca, and the person couln’t open it. It says on it that it’s Serrano by Ami. Usually everythign turns out to be Pilot or Parker or something, but this is really the company.

I can’t remember what the first Retro 51 pen my sister gave me was. I lost a few of them; I tend lose or misplace things I really treasure. I defintiely had their limited edition Bloom pen, which may be the first she gave me, but I remember getting her one, so I think it wasn’t that one that I got first. I lost that one, and it’s my favorite. I have since acquired two pink ones, one is monochromatic, the whole pen is pink. The other one I lost and was lucky I found the exact same one to replace. I have a few “Popper” Limited Edition Retro 51 pens, one with flowers, one with comics, one that is pinball inspired. Then I have an animal print one and the Roosevelt pen. My sister gave me a cork pen and pencil set, Retro 51, which cannot be replaced. I know because my pencil broke and I lost part of it so I can’t replace it. I also got the Dr Gray pencil one of a skeleton that glows in the dark. I lost that pen with the same design last year and last month replaced it with the pencil version. I now have too many roller ball pens, not that I had too few before. I also got the Buzz one, a special edition pen with bees on it; some of the proceeds go to funding something to save the bees. And I almost forgot the last one my sister gave me a year ago for the holidays, the Retro 51 yoga ballpoint pen.

I am happy to be investigating my fountain pens as implements for drawing. I found out Muji makes a fountain pen, and couldn’t resist buying one to try out in December. I liked it so much I sent my sister one.

There are many people out there totally obsessed with pens. I recently gave a friend the Retro 51 Lincoln roller ball pen as she wanted a nice pen. It took her a while to even use it; that’s when I realized I have an unusual crazyness about fine pens, and that I treat them like everyday things, whereas other people consider them very — what’s the word, careful/valuable/don’t use it a lot as it’s too nice… None of them that I”ve gotten have been really expensive. That’s why it’s easy to have so many. The pencil was 32$ which is cheap for a nice brand. It’s the fountain pens I have that are expensive, so I am glad I am now really getting into them and treating them properly… I will take photos of all my nice pens I am grateful to my sister who got me going long ago with the first gift of the red lacquer Serrano pen…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2019!

I’ve been foregoing lists of goals, resolutions and intentions for the new year and replaced it with choosing a word for the year that reflects what I want for the year. This year’s word was a search for something that would be fun, like the word I chose for 2018 – AWESOME, and related to aspirations and intentions like 2017’s word, ABUNDANCE. I had decided for my professional aspirations to focus most on selling my art, involving getting more art made, making a good new artist website and using the app Spreezy that I downloaded over a year ago, which is an easy way to sell work already on one’s social media. I also looked into an old Flickr account I haven’t used and decided to post on that too.

First I thought my word would be “Wonder” or “Magic”, to follow up a word like Awesome. So I was thinking of words to express success, achievement, actualization, fruition, and accomplishment, but something more fun and special.

Then I watched the movie “Serendipity” again during my holiday break, when I always watch a few holiday movies, some cheesy and bad, some cheesy and great. I hadn’t seen the movie in years. The main thing I noticed in watching holiday movies was enjoying old New York; “Serendipity” came out in 2001 and was pre 9/11 2000’s NYC, so you see a lot of NYC from that era. On a side note, my favorite Christmas movie of this break was “Three Days of Condor” made in 1975. It’s great as a Christmas movie as it has nothing to do with Christmas but you see NYC during Christmas throughout the movie, and it’s a thriller. The topic is not a romantic holiday type movie. Within the first 20 minutes or so, the main character played by Robert Redford comes back from a lunch break, and all his co-workers at the CIA have been murdered. The movie shows the twin towers often, and there is a scene in the lobby and in an office in the Trade Center. It was great to see the twin towers from so long ago.

After watching “Serendipity” which is an overdose on the idea of synchronicity and the concept of serendipity. When the characters try too hard to refind each other it doesn’t work; eventually the concept of least effort applies, and they bump into each other finally.

So I decided to make my 2019 word “Serendipity”. It is a good confluence of my original words about magic and wonder and my wanting to focus on a specific goal. It has the meaning of happy accidents, fortunate events happening in an unplanned and unexpected and delightful way.

Usually with my art career as with most other things, I find if I put effort into specific things and then balance it with letting go and trusting in serendipity, things will indeed happen in an unexpected and delightful way. Like my most recent sale of a drawing through Facebook. It was unplanned. I just posted images of my drawings and writings from starting my 15 minutes a day in May. One day a friend who lives Berlin Facebook messaged me that she wanted to buy one of the drawings I posted and she did. I sent it to her in Berlin. I’ve had other Facebook inquiries and interest, but this was the first time I sold an art work directly from posting images on my personal Facebook page, and I do have a separate professional Facebook page.

Another serendipitous sale is my favorite story of selling artwork. I was on an airplane to Albuquerque in the spring of 2006. I took out some art supplies and started a drawing on the pull down table of the seat in front. A guy sitting to my left started asking me questions about being an artist and we had a conversation about his interest in art, etc. Then as I was finishing this little drawing, part of my Inner Landscapes series, he asked if he could buy the drawing. He paid 100$ cash while we were in the air. I love airports and airplanes and flying, so I couldn’t have wished for anything cooler than selling art on a plane. Also I was going to New Mexico for the first time, and I had built up a big fantasy about New Mexico for years as this magical place full of replanted artists and a place where fine art, folk art, jewelry and other media are equally valued. The “Land of Enchantment”. I saw it as a harbinger of a special time in a very special place, which it did turn out to be. I ended up spending the 100$ on a hand made doll while I was travelling the Turqouise Trail.

So I am putting my trust in Serendipity for an enchanting and marvelous 2019. Happy New Year! What is your word or intention for 2019?