Orange is the New Black, an unintentional sketch

A little drawing while I was watching Netflix's new series, Orange is the New Black. There is a unintentional resemblance to Piper Chapman, the main actor in the series, as she appears in the first 3 episodes (freaked out is the word for her). Seriously, I began a landscape, drawing in some lines for bark that became her hair. Le sigh. In a little Moleskine notebook, 7.5" x 10", nice for writing and drawing and fits in my purse.___

One of the Walking Narratives

This drawing is in my writing Moleskine since my art one is finished. It began as a doodle but became quite a complex drawing. The figure is... well, divide it in half and see.*


One of the Walking Narratives, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", graphite, India and acrylic inks in a Moleskine journal.

Written into the drawing:



you are
a walking


always there
should be
reeds blowing
in the


*hint: I wanted to do a half woman/half man figure and am surprised at how uncanny the image is. You have to hold the straight edge of something, an envelope or a pen, on that blue dividing line, and look either way. To my eye, it's not a manifestation of the same figure in two sexes, but two similar yet different figures who are combined as one.

One of the potential titles had been, Man On the Edge of Becoming Woman, or Woman on the Edge of Becoming Man. In many ways, we are both.

"Praise the world to the Angel, not the unsayable"

"Praise the world to the Angel, not the unsayable," sketch in-process, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", graphite, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4. Title is a quote from Rilke's 9th Duino Elegy.

It gave me peculiar pleasure tonight to work on some anatomical shadowing, not entirely successful, but getting there.

The chest to my eye isn't quite right, and I need to imagine myself into that rib cage (or another, I won't tinker with this drawing now) for a better anatomical shadowing rendition. I went to this site, gratis of a beautiful artist where, when doesn't have live models, one can practice.
It'd be easier if I printed an image out, but I don't. I sit 3 or 4 feet back, with my mid-distance and close-up bifocals on, and draw straight from the screen, imagining my way into the body I am drawing. :smiles:

I feel this man, his strength, the strength of his anguish, the poetry in him, his agility to throw the masses of fabric high like wings. He becomes a Rilkean man under my pencil.

(My mother fading; bad news from the MRI on my wrist; and other difficulties in my personal life. I find I can't write or make videopoems but that drawing and painting help to still my mind and thus allow some relief from the stress.)

The Living Carry the Souls of the Dead

The Living Carry the Souls of the Dead, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", charcoal and oils, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4.

The spirits of the dead are held aloft by the living.

My grandmother's spirit was my father's memory of her in me and projected by me into a nurturing maternal spirit of safety.

Has she been with me all my life? Yes. But she resides in the energy of my understanding of her through my deceased father's memory.

The figure I have drawn, that I made from bones, who is an experiment in charcoal, seems not the narrator of the writing, and yet she is carrying the souls of the dead, look at her.

Notes on process: First I drew her skeleton, all her vertebrae are there, and her rib cage and sternum, clavicles and humeri, radiuses, and ulnas, femora, and bony pelvis. Then I drew her major muscles, her craniofacial muscles, pectorals, abdominals, femora, the wrap of arm muscles, tendons over the phalange of the fingers. I traced her body's outline with charcoal, and poured some sizing medium (Gak100, for the paper) over her, smudging and sweeping the charcoal with a brush. Red seemed to be her colour, so on my table of oil tubes, used paper towels, half a dozen water jars, a real mess, I searched through a box for the Alizarin Crimson, and began to dry brush it into the wet solution. I tried other colours, delicately, but she was insistent, and so I rubbed them out. After some indefinable time - the clock stops when you are working with a fast drying medium - a few sweeps of orange seemed permissible in her sheer dress, and the white highlights, composed of charcoal white, white oil pastel and Titanium White water-soluble oil paint. My son says she looks like she could be a cover for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

She is a bit scary, but she has fine bones, a good musculature. :)

She is somewhere between life and death, where the soul resides.


The Saluki Returns

Painted this more than a week back, and wasn't sure about the way it scanned, but then I took a photo in sunlight and the colours came up properly, so sharing now.

She was the smartest dog I ever met. The sketch underlying the painting was about her paws, which were almost like elongated hands with thick black fingernails.

The Saluki is an Egyptian desert dog, and often travelled with nomadic tribes across the Sahara.The Saluki is the oldest domesticated breed, representations of Saluki-like dogs can be found on Sumerian seals dating around 7,000BC, and they are depicted in the paintings on the walls of tombs of Pharohs from 2,250BC-1,650BC. Thousands of generations to now, an extraordinarily ancient and intelligent breed.

Painting of a Sleeping Saluki, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, graphite, acrylic, India and acrylic inks, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4.

Sketch of a Saluki, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, graphite, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4.

You remember this one from a bit back. I had intended to paint it also, but a few people, including the owner of the dog, who is considering a commission of it in a large size, asked me to leave it as a simple pencil sketch.



Happy with this painting of a dancer in my Moleskine. Why? She is lithe and muscular, and has an elegance. She also looks like she's dancing in an ink painting. Splotches of black India ink move over her; she is situated in torrents of acrylic flame red ink. In her dance, she holds still for a moment and her pose imparts a tension of the energy of emotion. There is life, passion and death here.

What I most enjoyed was overdoing this piece. Many inks were dip penned and brush spread until it was a mess, and then, miraculously, I washed the inks off, using all my rags and a half roll of paper towels, wetting and blotting until the sketch began to re-emerge.

With that weight of paint removed from her, of which only I hold the memory, she is again lithe, ready to spring.

And I had to laugh when someone said she looked intersex, and admit ever since Fellini's Satyricon, and then Jung's exploration of the hermaphrodite, I've felt intersex in dreams or art can be a powerful image of inner union. If my Dancer appears to be both woman and man, I am delighted.

Not sure why, since I don't usually anymore, I scanned the sketch, and then the first wash of black India ink and permanent red acrylic ink, and I took an iPhone photo early in the process of adding the inks that I later removed. I have included these three in-process photos, along with the final one (it's first, on the left), for you so you can see the progression of this little painting that took the greater part of last Sunday to complete.

Dancer, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, graphite, India and acrylic inks, Moleskine folio Sketchbook A4.

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Drawing of a Young Man

I drew this on Saturday, from life, while wearing two pairs of glasses! An old pair of prescription readers enabled me to see detail at a distance, and a small drugstore pair perched on the end of my nose allowed me to see my drawing on the paper. Hopefully I can get progressive bifocal or perhaps trifocal lenses soon - it was a crazy way to draw! ::laughing:: Though I did achieve a likeness, something that's been inexplicably eluding me in my return to drawing. 

Figure, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, Moleskine folio Sketchbook, graphite.

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Self-Portrait Study 3, a painting

Self-Portrait Study 3, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, Moleskine folio Sketchbook, graphite, oils, India and acrylic inks.

In the Moleskine, the earlier sketch in this blog this month. (No, I never ever wear eyeliner like that, not in my whole life. Anyway, it's a self portrait that is its own painting and only has some resemblance to me.)

I wanted it to have something beyond itself, be piercing somehow, and even be hard to look at. Somewhat disheveled and distorted, a sadness there, the more difficult realities of our experience, I guess.

In the initial sketch, I wasn't trying to draw a 'self-portrait' for anyone else, only trying to draw what I saw in this little, round magnifying mirror that was somewhat distorting but at least I could see detail without readers. The woman in the sketch had a 'sad and stricken' look, as one commenter wrote.

In the finished painting you see here, in her eyes I hope there is  concern, compassion, fear, sadness, hope, love, remembrance, and the wild ride that life is, with its inexplicable ups and downs, its times of plenty and times of drought.

Leonard Cohen, in a CBC interview I heard last Sunday afternoon, spoke about how we are all, in one way or another, trying to align our will with Divine Will. I'd call the latter, fate, fortune, life, the way it goes, the Tao.

The woman in the painting is caught right in the crux of moment between individual will and that of the life force, aligning an acceptance of fate, of karma, of whatever the forces are, and perhaps learning that allowing the horror of the pain is an empowerment in itself.

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The Woman Who Is Not Quite Effaced

'The Woman Who Is Not Quite Effaced,' 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", 2012, Moleskine folio Sketchbook, graphite, acrylic, gel pen.

You might recognize the underlying sketch, which I never liked, and which I always intended to sweep paint over.

Yes, I am at a rather difficult juncture, where someone seems intent on effacing references to me and who ignores my best work, which has had an effect on not just me but other people who have noticed this exclusion, and so I was not able to participate in a writing group this January and have had to suspend posting my articles at VidPoFilm.

I am in discussion over the problems with a number of people, all of whom recommend suspending my articles until what to do becomes clearer.

This painting expresses, what do I call it, that attempt at effacement, but also that it will not work.

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Tulips and Daffodils, Day 2, Painting 2

Tulips and Daffodils 2, 2012, 21cm x 29cm, 8" x 11.5", India inks, oils, Moleskine folio Sketchbook.

My second portrait of the flowers, done yesterday. In my Mole. I had a rough internal day, and this little painting took far longer than it looks like it did. I rubbed out and re-did the vase many times, for instance, as well as the background. The India ink would not adhere to the wet oil paint, either, and thus I struggled through the hours. In the end, it didn't seem worth the effort. Some days are like that.

(I do laugh, though. If you know anything of my green fire, chthonic rhizome garden goddess, you might see her here. Entirely unintentional - but garden goddesses who are molecular frenzies, chlorophyll arias, are like that - one arm bent behind her hourglass figure in a blue strapless dress, her bosom bursting green stalks,  yellow daffodils and red tulips, no head, but you can't have everything... lol)

On the table, today, the tulips are fully opened and on the edge of wilting, their moment of glory passing, the daffodils are still singing, their stems  plunged in the vase of water, and I'm hankering to paint them all again. I think I'm ready to make the transition from working solely in my Moleskine Sketchbook to canvas. On the phone this morning checking canvas prices, wow, quite a range! A 16"x20" regular stretched and primed canvas sells for $7.-$12.00! Then I found an art store way downtown that had a 5-pack deal for $22.00. It meant a 6km hike, a huge shoulder bag, and my dog, with my badly sprained wrist, a bit fearful, but I couldn't leave my woofy honey at home!

Though the trip took awhile, with a few other stops, I returned with the purchased canvases. By that time the light was disappearing, but I did manage a rough sketch on a canvas. So... maybe another painting before the flowers drop away. Maybe.

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