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Automatic drawing which turned into a botanical

pencil in an 8×10″ sketch pad

Last week as we walked out of Target to the parking lot, what do we see but a large black bear wandering around.  He clearly had forgotten where he was parked.   We respectfully waited until he found his car and drove off.  🙂 My sister said that bears also want good quality at affordable prices.

Did I mention I’m over bears?  He eventually ran into the woods and we got in our car and drove away.

Two days ago the city installed new stop signs on our corner. To alert drivers of the change they also installed signs leading up to the stop sign. Like this:

If your job is to install traffic and street signs and you don’t see the GLARING TYPO in this sign, perhaps this job is not for you.  Since I am a civic minded person, I wrote to the city to alert them of this issue which, admirably, they fixed the next day.  So shout out to them!

The above drawing was done using a method called automatic drawing.  Automatic drawing was started by the surrealists to free themselves of representational art.  I believe the first person to do it was the artist Andre Masson.

Andre Masson and automatic drawing

We started by taking a pencil or two (one in each hand) and just making lines without looking or thinking. This is different from blind contour drawing, which is drawing while looking at the object but not at the paper. Once we had some lines on the page we went back and this time, since it was a botanical drawing class, we looked for shapes that could be plants, leaves or flowers and drew back into the lines.   It was great fun and I will do it again.




Abstract exercise –  graphite on 14″ x 17″ Strathmore drawing paper

One Saturday morning at drawing class, the teacher wanted us to loosen up by doing an abstract drawing.

Huh?  What were we supposed to do?  There wasn’t going to be a still life to draw from?  No! He wanted us to “Break up the page with diagonals and horizontals and then draw something in each section.  Use tones, lines, organic or geometric shapes. Anything.  Just try to make each section  different.”

This is what I ended up with.  And you know what?  I really liked it. And you know what else?  So did the teacher.  I knew this when he whispered to me that mine was his favorite.

My sister a/k/a “Big Ears” Alice overheard this and proceeded to call me “teacher’s pet” the rest of the day.  This was funny because since I was kicked out of kindergarten for (allegedly) spitting on the teacher and then spending the next 12 years hiding from and not being fond of (to put it mildly) the nuns and lay Catholic school teachers, I have never, ever been known as the teacher’s pet.

Look at me now.

I’ve spent the week reclining on, to quote Warren Zevon, “the davenport of despair.”  Deaths, illness and stress have me in a no-fly zone.  And don’t even get me started on Japan.  I see that and I want to hit myself for feeling sad, but who says this makes sense.  It doesn’t.

At least Charlie Sheen has been keeping me amused.


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