Friday, February 6, 2009

A Brief History of my Art Life

The Sunday Scribblings prompt is "Art".




Yes, computer doodling is what I now often substitute for the other art forms of my lifetime. I usually do not bother to save it, but I kind of liked this one.

It is a far cry from the landscapes and portraits of my years at Stanford University as an art major. I loved the scent of the art building, predominately of turpentine, probably unhealthy, but associated in my mind with the pleasures of smoothing my moistened watercolor paper on the wooden board, securing it with brown mailing tape, then later returning for it and my watercolor palette, number twenty red sable brush, an assortment of Windsor and Newton watercolor tubes in various squeezed and flattened states, mayonnaise jar of water, portable easel. With these I could venture forth into the nearby landscape for an afternoon of intense pleasure, albeit with considerable sneezing and watering of my eyes, since I was allergic to the wild oats that carpeted the foothills.

I've posted the following watercolor before, but I will show it again as the only example I own of those Stanford afternoons. The others have made their way into various households - one still hangs on the living room wall of a friend whose ninetieth birthday we celebrated two years ago.


And above is one that Granddaughter Josie sent me to show me how she had had it reframed. That bright white spot is the reflection in the glass of her flash. I know that with the magic of my computer I could get rid of it, but I'd rather continue this blurb. Just for fun I had made a tiny copy of the original (by hand and watercolor, long before the age of computers) which she included in the frame. The painting is of the patio of the Menlo Park Arts Guild in a neighboring small town.

After I married Otto I continued to paint, mostly in watercolors, feeling that I was increasing in skill. All of those paintings have fled to other places. But then we moved to Berkeley where there were wonderful stores selling all manner of art supplies, and, out of homage to my elementary school days, I bought a box of Crayola crayons with 64 colors (as compared to the eight colors that I had when young). For almost the first time, I decided to draw some abstracts. This next picture will be one that I have posted before, but I am avoiding the temptation to spend the afternoon happily rummaging through the house for new examples, thus putting off the end of this tale.

Of Moons and Springs and Dragon Wings

I am excluding all my adventures into crafts, such as macrame, stained glass, colored Easter eggs, ornaments of all kinds, fimo necklaces (see a few in side bar), simple pottery, etc.

And now we come down (or up) to the age of computers and my preoccupation with dragons. The dragon phase had started quite a while back, but mostly I collected them. With a computer waiting I could get out my pencil and draw a dragon...
...as in the smallest sketch above, which has as its model one of my wooden Balinese dragon sculptures. The brown one to the left is an actual photo of the sculpture. Then follow variations accomplished on the computer. I have never drawn anything from a photo or other two-dimensional picture. My drawing was of the actual carving. I have become very adept at using my mouse to draw directly on the monitor image.

I became good at drawing imaginary dragons to illustrate my stories. I don't know whether illustration should be included under art, but whatever I call it, it's fun. Sometimes I would integrate - by the magic of computer - one of my fictional dragons with one of my crayon abstracts, as in the next picture.

Also under the heading of illustration, I occasionally use oil pastels, as in the illustration below that I drew for a poem of mine called "Celebration", a fantasy of bears celebrating the winter solstice.

Back in my college days I thought that art would become a major part of my life. That hasn't happened. It didn't take too long to realize that I might become, at most, a very minor artist. Writing has been more rewarding than drawing, and then there was all the rest of life (meaning 98% of it).

So should I end this with another computer generated abstract? I consider these amusement, not real art, but this one can support my opening picture like a bookend. And a message perhaps?

29 comments:

Amy said...

I can relate to the smell of the paint and turpentine from your college days. The fine arts building where I went to college was my favorite place on campus. The smell of oil paint brings back memories of late nights in the studios. Thanks for sharing how your art has stayed with you through your life.

Betty said...

I really like your abstracts and your dragons. The bears are great too.

Rinkly Rimes said...

I am so impressed by the variety of your accomplishments! Even the art forms are varied!

Fledgling Poet said...

The bear painting is really beautiful. All of your artwork is inspiring...I really hope to learn more about making art on the computer. I find this idea fascinating, and it's never too late to learn, right? Thank you for sharing your art pieces~~

linda may said...

G'day Granny,you are a wonder, you really are, so many gifts and talents. An extraordinary life.

floreta said...

wow, you are really talented! i especially like the dragon digital art!! i have never been able to master this myself.. especially with a mouse, much less a wacom tablet.. very good job. i like how you show the evolution of your art.. very different!

malena Sandra said...

Wow,you are realy one of my greatest inspirations,I learned to love life through you,THANK YOU,love from Aleksandra.

Elspeth said...

Wow, I love your art! So many approaches (watercolour, crayons, pastels, computer) and all so vivid and detailed! I love your illustrations - the dragons and the bears in particular! I'm impressed.

anthonynorth said...

Some great art there, especially the fantasy stuff. You're very much an all rounder. Excellent.

nonizamboni said...

Amateur, smamateur! I am so glad to finally see this history; the illustrations of a life well lived.
And that delicious smell of turp is at the top of my list along with clean babies and lily of the valley. Thanks for the reminder.
I knew I could count on you to make my day. Happy weekend!

Lilibeth said...

Wow. to be surrounded with such beautiful art and to be able to share it with other families--almost like sending yourself to smile down upon them. What a great gift.

Shyam said...

Oh, fantastic! If only I could paint like that... I love ALL your paintings, even the abstract ones (I normally dont like abstracts) :)

myrtle beached whale said...

amazing art. thanks for sharing it with us.

GreenishLady said...

I'm so glad to get to see a few more pieces of your art. I'm amazed by the range and variety of what you've been doing... and computer art! Thanks for sharing these.

gautami tripathy said...

Thanks for sharing all this. I loved looking at those!


rough drafting of art

present said...

Granny Smith,
You have many talents! I certanly view your creative and lovely "doodlings" as art.

Regina Marie said...

The smells and those collage days. Both wonderful & touching! This is an enjoyment for the eyes-

danni said...

your crayon fantasy art speaks most loudly to me - although i dabble around with acrylics now and then, i always loved my crayons - like yours they only came eight in a box when i was a kid --- don't know what i'd have done with sixty four colours then --- it would have been mind boggling!!!

Maelstrom said...

I love your art and the variety of mediums you've used. If I had more hours in the day, painting and sketching are definitely something I would return to. I enjoy the timelessness of creating, and the way the world falls away for awhile.

Tumblewords: said...

These are all testaments to the fact that art is what we deem it to be at any given time...You offer a delicious selection of style and color which is the epitome of art. Great post...

keith hillman said...

Are there no end to your talents? These pictures are all so different from each other, but they all work in their own way so well. A delightful post.

Lucy said...

Granny! you are an amazing artist! you never cease to amaze me! Love your dragons and I would love to hear the 'celebration' poem. The illustrations are wonderful!
Perfect post for the prompt!

b said...

I love it all and I must disagree...computer generated art is absolutely stunning and creative. Thank you so much for sharing.

b

latree said...

Granny, you always amaze me!
make me feel so small and nothing..

you are wonderful...

paisley said...

no matter the medium,, you never disappoint.. i always leave here full and ever so much more comfortable....

Tammy said...

You never cease to amaze me! I loved the watercolor landscape. HUGS

anno said...

That watercolor and your bear painting are two of my favorites -- it's good to see them here again. And you mentioned in an earlier post doing a painting for The Nature Company; if you did it back in the late 80s/early 90s for the store at the Stanford Mall, I think I remember it, too: a stunning, vibrant piece. This was like getting a private gallery tour -- thanks so much!

splummer said...

Hi!
Beautiful art work!! Love your dragons! Have a great day!!

Sherrie

Rob Kistner said...

You are such a creative soul Phyllis, and I love your work... I share your fascination with digital art.

You have had, and continue to enjoy, a really fulfilling and exciting dance with art. ;)

Cool stuff...

...rob