A Quince’s Tale

Quinces 2015 1 blog

Quinces (31 cms x 22 cms mixed media 2015)

We’ve harvested the first quinces from the tree we planted when we moved house a couple of years ago. They’re beautiful, like fairy-tale pears: great golden Maurice Sendak fruits that look like they might make the woodcutter’s daughter fall asleep for half a century after one bite. But too perfect to draw.

So when my beloved told me that she’d seen a boxful outside a cottage for passers-by to help themselves, it was worth the drive of some miles into the countryside to investigate.

They were splendid: misshapen, bruised, speckled, downy, knotty things, like angry little fists. I’m sure they’ll make wonderful quince jelly later this week, but in the meantime they’ve been willing models for a series of drawings.

Quinces 2015 2 blog

Quinces on a hand-made plate (32 cms x 24 cms pastel on Hahnemuehle Velour paper 2015)

The sheet of twelve started off as a sort of morning pages exercise, but I decided to ink over the original pencil sketches and paint them with watercolour and watercolour pencils. The plate of three on Hahnemuehle Velour (above) was more challenging for me, being unused to the intriguingly soft texture of this paper.

Quinces 2015 3 blog

Quinces on a hand-made plate 2 (30 cms x 23 cms pastel on watercolour paper 2015)

So I did a third on watercolour paper. This is probably enough quince drawings for one day, but I would just like to try one more after supper…

PS I was thinking of calling this post ‘An artist formally knows his quince’ but happily for all concerned decided against it.

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Autumn in Germany

Gourds blog

Gourds (A5 Faber Castell watercolour pencils on sketchbook page 2015)

One of the many things I enjoyed about living in Germany was the way seasons are celebrated: Christmas markets are well-known, but there are festivals built around the first applewine pressing, the start of spring, young wine and many others.

I can never think of Germany in October without remembering the baskets of gourds that appear at many farm gates, at least in southern Germany where I was earlier this week. At three or four for a Euro, there’s no excuse not to decorate the kitchen table with an autumnal pile of gourds, turning leaves and lichen-covered branches.

These three also gave me the excuse to try out my daughter’s splendid set of 120 Faber Castell watercolour pencils. They’re wonderful, like drawing with coloured butter…

Goethe and the fishing man

Fishing blog

Fishing (A5 sketchbook page, mixed media and Swedish stamp, 2015)

I don’t have much to say about this. It has an Ellis Nadler sort of feel and the Swedish stamp is rather splendid. So, as I’m about to leave for the Frankfurt Book Fair, here’s a bit of Goethe for you:

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back – concerning all acts of…creation, there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no-one could have dreamed would have come their way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.

A very happy Tuesday to you.

Draw-a-bird day

Perfect Pitch final

Perfect Pitch from Inside Conducting (18 cms x 18 cms ink and collage 2012)

Laura over on Create Art Everyday is a great drawer of nature and a keen follower of Draw a Bird Day which takes place on the 8th of the month. Although I had a go at some seagulls last month I’m not terribly good at birds: when I draw them they look like they’re made of dust and fluff rather than feathers.

So here is something taken from a book I was fortunate enough to illustrate, Christopher Seaman’s Inside Conducting. This drawing was supposed to show that young Christopher had perfect pitch and could even reproduce the song of a joyful bird especially if, as here, the bird was singing Mahler.

So not a ‘proper’ bird, but I will take up Laura’s challenge one of these days.

A Good Idea

Good Idea blog

A Good Idea (A5 sketchbook page collage & mixed media 2014-15)

I started this in December last year and finished it last Sunday afternoon with the addition of the Dutch stamp, a cartoon symbol of someone having an idea. Until then it had simply been a slightly odd looking collage but that simple addition seemed to pull it all together.

I do admire those who can put together collages that rise above surrealist juxtaposition, and even more those who can collage in 3D.

Don’t you love the word Knallteufel? German is a wonderful language, I think.