Tuesday at the cemetery

11/14/17 Tuesday morning before work.  9:45 to 10:40 am.  50 degrees, sunny.  Calvary Cemetery.  More leaves on the ground than on the trees.

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Pictures taken on site –

The mausoleum is at the center of the first picture and sketch.  I walked to it and sketched it as well.  Basic colors and shapes done on site, more color added at home from the reference pictures.

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Sketch from the grave of Oliver A. Bland

Calvary Cemetery, 12:45 pm, 58 degrees, sunny, Friday 11/17/17.



Original sketch on site.  The quote is from a different grave  – a classic message to the visitor.

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More color added, water added.  This is a scan, so the colors are brighter than they really are.

Oliver Bland
Sketch was done while sitting on the edge of the ledger of Oliver A. Bland – 1854 + 1940.  All that space on the marker and there is just his name and birth/death years. There is room for plenty more information.  But, to be honest, in 50 years it will have worn away or gotten covered in lichen.


More views from that area.

 

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Info from Find A Grave website –

“Oliver Arthur Bland was born on October 18, 1854 in Davidson County, Tennessee, the son of Joseph Bland (ca 1832- ) and his wife Henrietta (Hughes) Bland (ca 1837- ).

He was married 1st on September 21, 1879 in Sumner County to Minerva L Hutchins (c Sep 1862- ). He was married 2nd to the much younger Sydney Crawford, who was born about 1905. Oliver had no known children.

A retired banker and lumberman living at 1903 Cedar Lane, Nashville, he was 86 years old and married when he died at home of cancer of the tongue on October 27, 1940. Burial was the next day in Calvary Cemetery, Nashville.

Most of the above is from his Death Certificate, with Sydney Crawford Bland of 1903 Cedar Lane as the informant.”

Weekly sketch #5 Stone Hall from the front steps

Three to 4 pm, overcast, 75 degrees. Friday, 11/3/17.  Sitting on the front porch of Stone Hall, pretending this is my normal view out of my house.  Grateful this is a public park that I can go to, and that very few others know about.

My view

Sketch as completed on site


Sketch after adding more color at home and adding water.

The inside/outside room

This week’s sketching adventure was at Summit hospital. There is a small patio that is surrounded by the building. It is inside and outside at the same time. The door has been locked for at least a year due to construction and remodeling.

I’d been there a year ago (an annual appointment with my cardiologist brings me here) and was planning to sketch then.  The construction had just begun, so there was no way.  This sign greeted me this year –

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I looked.  I could see no danger.  I didn’t test the door.

I got a pumpkin spice latte at the coffee shop and sketched and photographed from inside, through the glass.  This was my view from the inside.

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This is what I sketched (this is dry watercolor pencil)

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It is more impressionistic than realistic.  I didn’t match up the angles in the top North East corner (9 to 10 on the clock), so there is a gap.  It is OK, and I was grateful to have done this – to have made time to do this.

But this wasn’t enough for me. I talked to three people to determine why it was still locked.  The second person didn’t even think people were meant to be out there.  When I told her there were benches, she changed and said “Ask Ann” and jerked her thumb behind her to a small window that was set up like a bank teller.  It turns out that Ann is in charge of the switchboard. I have decided that if Ann doesn’t know the answer, she knows who knows.  She made some calls. She learned that it was safe to open again.  She called a security guard to unlock it for me.

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I’m the first person there in a year.

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I was overwhelmed with joy and pride at my bravery in asking.  I quietly said the “Shehecheyanu” prayer  – – “Blessed are You, Lord, ruler of the universe, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.”

I chose a bench to sit on.  Here is what I saw –

One picture could not cover it all.

Here is what I sketched – (this is dry watercolor pencil)  This was 10-11 am, Friday October 13, 2017.  It was about 65 degrees.

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Here is what it looks like after, with water added. sum 10.jpgSketching isn’t about drawing everything that you see.  It is more than a photograph.  The filter is your perspective – not only externally, but internally.  It is what you want to show.  It is about editing out the trash cans, or highlighting the blue reflection of the mirrored glass.  It is choosing to draw only three lines of windows instead of 5.

It is more than a photograph because it shows things from a human perspective.

I took the results to the three people who I talked to in order to gain access.  I said “here is the fruit of our labors”   – and only the coffee shop person even remembered me.  I’d been gone for an hour and the other two had talked to lots of other people in the meantime.  They had forgotten about me.

Ann was particularly taken by my sketch and said “Do you do this for a living?”  No – I’m not paid (yet) for my art.  I do this to live.  But I don’t make money at it.  She brought up a local artist, Phil Ponder.  To have my art compared with his is a huge complement.  She said “You have real talent”.  I am pleased with my work, but I don’t think it is that great.  But this is inspiring.   She also thought that it would be a shame for this to stay in my journal – that I should make it so it can be on display in the hospital.

We will see.  This would involve asking more people, making sure that it will actually be on display and not hidden in a corner.  It might involve re-painting it on bigger and better paper.  Getting it framed.  Do I pay for that – or do they?  Do I want to go through all of that work?

Collage, not painting

I finally figured something out. I don’t have to paint fine details. I can do collage. I can draw what I want separately, using watercolor pencils on watercolor paper. Then I cut it out and glue it to the painting.

This is such a relief.

One of my problems is that my ideas far outstretch my abilities. I’m not very good at painting. I’m trying, but it is going to take a while. Meanwhile all these ideas keep coming that would work best using painting.

I have taken only one art class, and that was in high school. I don’t really know what I’m doing. I feel like a feral child, wanting to communicate but I don’t have a language. So I’m making it up as I go.

One of my fears with painting is there is no “undo” button. If I make a mistake, it is hard to fix it. It isn’t like working digitally. Plus, it doesn’t work well with my schedule. If I only have 20 minutes to work on art, that isn’t really enough time to paint and clean up.

I have this planned space painting. I’d created the black background earlier. Just remembering to paint the background first was a big deal. I thought I was going to paint planets and stars on it. In the meantime, I started sorting stamps and fortune cookie messages, and came across an old packet of just space stamps. They are pretty awesome, and I thought I should use them here. But since they are so rare and I’m so unsure of my abilities, I went ahead and color copied them.

Yes, I wrote a whole blog post about not doing that. Yes, I did it. Whatever makes the art happens counts. I used funny scrap-booking scissors to cut the edges. It is more interesting than a plain square cut, and it sort-of gives the impression that it is a stamp. I looked for scrap-booking scissors that cut like stamp edges, but I didn’t look hard. I had these, and I used them.

I really liked one stamp of a lady astronaut. I plan on mixing in other stamps and calling this piece something like “Can’t we all get along / In Space” and having Space be the place where women and men are finally equal and respected.

The stamp is a bit disembodied though. I didn’t want just her head floating around. So I wanted to paint a body for her, but again I felt like I would mess it up. Then I had a flash. Draw it separately using watercolor pencils and cut it out. I put the stamp on the paper for scale and drew around it. It worked great.

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I’ve been using watercolor pencils for a year now, so I’m comfortable with them. I pulled out an older piece that I don’t really like and tested the fixatives on it. I used decoupage glue on one section, and matte medium on another. From that I learned what will work best and how to apply it. I also used some of the matte medium on a color copied stamp to see if it would affect it. I know it works great on real stamps, but this is different.

So I put it together and I can’t be more pleased.

I don’t really know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Matisse did something like this in his later years. He cut out construction paper and glued it together. Eric Carle does this – he paints big pieces of paper and cuts them out. This isn’t quite the same, but in a way it is.

I am also working on a painting with inuksuit – the Inuit rock sculptures. They aren’t just sculptures – they provide direction and tell something about the area. One will indicate a good place to hunt. One will indicate a beautiful thing to look at in the distance. One will mark an initiation area. Each different shape has meaning, and is often the only way to navigate in a snowy land.

Here is a picture of one that indicates a direction to travel. It reminds me of a Japanese torii gate.

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I was going to draw the whole thing with this new technique and then I had another idea. Draw the stones separately, and assemble them.

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Sure, I’ll work on getting better at painting using brushes. That is the only way to get in any detail. But in the meantime, I’m glad I’ve discovered this.

Paintings set 1(including acrylic and watercolor pencil)

I was asked if I had some of my paintings on my blog, and I do, but they are in various posts. Here I’m going to put together some of the ones I’ve posted here and create a new category for my blog so if people want to look at my paintings / collages, they can go here.

For the 1000 word story, part 2 2-3-14

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A painting using light language, painted 2-1-14

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A close up.
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This is the first layer of that painting. It has light language on top of light language.

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From “Thousand Word story” part 1 1-24-14
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A watercolor pencil drawing of figs.

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Mary and Jesus at Mercy Convent 9-17-2013

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Blue vase 7-24-13
7-24-13 sketch

Praying in color 10-29-13
praying in color 10-29-13

Figs, two ways

I had an afternoon snack of figs, dates, and a leftover pancake not long ago. There was probably some green tea involved too. It was very tasty, and beautiful. I decided that it was so beautiful that I had to capture the image.

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Then I realized after taking the picture that I should draw this with my watercolor pencils. They are kind of like regular colored pencils, but when you add water to the image after you’ve drawn it, it becomes a watercolor. Pretty magic.

I’m not that good with them yet, and I figured I’d get overwhelmed with all that “stuff” so I decided to draw just the figs. I took a few pictures of the fig first just in case I wanted to refer to it later. I was getting hungry.

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I drew the fig twice, partly because I wanted to understand it, and partly because I had a hard time getting the shape right.

Here is what the result is, in two different lights. I’ve adjusted the image a little so it looks more like here what it looks like there.

Inside –
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And outside.

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One day I’ll remember to take pictures of the art before I add the water so you can see the difference.