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Journal 1989/2015: Irises (part 2)


iris ink and pencil comp

My colored pencil and ink drawings of irises were much more successful than the painted ones.  I still like the 1989 version (above left) the best of all.  The one I did recently was at the end of the day; I even wrote “tired” at the bottom.  It’s not as delicate, but still seems iris-like.

iris colored pencil comp

I also did pencil without ink; on the left, in the normal way, and on the right I took out a flower and drew it upside-down.

2015 ink s

Then I did one just in ink.  The ink drawing was all done with my quill dip pen.

You can see the painted versions here:

Journal 1989/2015: Irises (part 1)


iris watercolor comp 1

I’ve been waiting to find irises at the flower stands:  finally!  although they didn’t last very long, unfortunately.  My 1989 version, on the left, is I think the better one.  I like the more linear quality, and the pale wash in the background is nice too.

iris watercolor comp 2

So why not try again?  I like the rice paper version on the right, but for some reason the paper really shrunk in where it was painted.  I’ll have to try and find some sturdier rice paper to paint on.

iris collage comp

Once again I think the 1989 collage, on the left, is better, although to be fair, the irises were curled up and just about dead when I did my collage last week.  Also I had this really beautiful paper to work with in 1989.  It might be somewhere in that storage room…

van gogh irises s

And, for future inspiration, the master of irises…Van Gogh, hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

More irises to come, in pencil and pen and ink.

Self Portrait 1989/2015 #3

self portrait 1989 2015 comp 3

The next self-portrait in my 1989 journal was done in crayons–maybe Caran d’Ache Neocolor, that’s the set that was in my closet anyway.  I like the texture of wax-based drawing, and often use china markers or Stabilo marking pencils instead of graphite.

sp #3 don't lift comp

In my current mode, I did drawings with both right and left hand, and a pair where I didn’t lift the crayon from the paper…

sp #3 don't look comp

and also not looking at the paper.  Very Picasso-esque!

You can see the other self-portraits in this series here:

and here:

Journal 1989/2015: Seeds


kiwi comp

In 1989 I drew seed pods that I labeled “cradle tree”.  Last week I drew dried kiwi.

I don’t know where I got the tree name in 1989 (there is no real cradle tree that I could find), but a little internet searching revealed that what is pictured here is actually seed pods from a bottle tree.  Which proves my drawings were fairly accurate, as the ID was not difficult.

kiwi 3s

The dried kiwi were a gift from my sister-in-law.  There are beautiful as well as tasty.

kiwi 4 left hand s

Once again, I did one left handed (above) and one without looking at the page (below).  I like it.

kiwi 2 don't look s

And the black and white kiwi in the top illustrations was done without lifting the pencil from the page.

You can see my other Journal 1989 explorations here:

Self Portrait 1989/2014 #2


self portraits pen and ink

The second self portrait in my 1989 journal was done in pen and ink.  I did one recently without my glasses (as in the 1989 version), and then with them on.  Big difference!  I wasn’t happy with my work at the time, although now they don’t look so bad to me.  In fact, the portrait with glasses is actually a pretty good resemblance.

ink self portraits 2

Nevertheless, I decided to do more, somewhat angrily taking brush and water to the ink.  Who is this person?  Must be my shadow…or the face behind the mask?

2014 portrait 2ds

I do like the final attempt, although it really doesn’t look like me at all.

More to come, from both 1989 and today.  You can see the first portraits in this series here:

And I really need to get a decent pen one of these days…

Nature 1989/2014

blk pencil comp 2

The assignment for my journal was to go outside and draw, again using the same subject in different media.  In 1989 I was in Arizona visiting my parents.  So I drew what was in their yard (of stones, not grass)–which was cactus.  In 2014, it’s autumn in New York, so what do I see in the natural world when I go out?  Lots and lots of leaves.

I think the pencil drawings both turned out OK, although I wrote “too timid” on my page in 1989.  As I’ve noted before, my drawing style has not really changed over the years.

watercolor leaves s

I was not an experienced watercolorist in 1989 either, and it shows.  But the abstraction of the cactus is kind of interesting.  I’ve been painting a lot more recently, plus I’m sure I just used one of those little paint boxes in 1989 instead of dyes or tubes, so the leaves are a lot more successful.  Still abstracted, though.

watercolor cactus s


I must have gotten tired by the time I got to the colored pencil cactus drawing in 1989.  The background is bizarre for one.  Although the cactus itself is not bad; I should have stopped there.

pencil comp

I did two versions of leaves, and this is the second, which I like better because it’s bolder.  Also I did the first one on the same day as the black pencil and watercolor versions and I definitely was tired.  I’m liking what I can do with colored pencils–these are different than the “in the news” drawings I’ve been doing, and I think I’ll explore some more with this layering of colors.

I have various configurations of family visiting for the next 10 days, so…Happy Thanksgiving, I’ll be back in December.

Self Portrait 1989/2014


self portraits 1

My 1989 journal has self-portraits scattered throughout.  It’s clear the instructor was big on “take the same subject and do it in different media”.  The first self-portrait in the journal (center, above) is painted in brown monotone.  It’s quite simple, and looks like I just dashed it off.

In 2014 I labored more.  On the left is my first attempt.  I wanted to simplify it to approach the style of the original one, but didn’t even get close the second time either (on the right).  Will I try again?

One note about my vision:  I now must must have glasses to read; back then I needed my glasses for far away things, so I often didn’t even wear them at home.  The paintings above definitely looked different after I finished them and put my glasses on.  But, hey, it worked for Monet.

For a continually evolving series of self-portraits, check out onedrawingdaily
His other work is also worth a look (and also evolving).

Flowers Old and New

collage flowers o-n

The first project in my 1989 Journal was evidently to represent the same subject in four different media.  I don’t remember if we were specifically assigned flowers, but that’s what I did:  drawing in china marker, paper collage, pen and ink, watercolor.

old flowers

Last week I bought some flowers and attempted it again in my 2014 Journal.

new flowers

I’m not satisfied with the results, although I think the collage worked best both then and now.

flower drawings o-n

My drawings look pretty much the same–a confusion of lines.

pen and ink flowers o-n

Much the same could be said for the pen and ink.  I did add a bit of color last week when I was drawing, and I think it makes the flowers less monotonous.  I don’t think I’ve done any pen-and-ink drawing since then, and I don’t have the best equipment –I could also use fresh ink–but I enjoyed it, and used it a bit both for the Gray Bat and Jack Bruce on those recent posts.

As to the watercolor…

watercolor flowers o-n

I don’t seem to have much affinity at all for watercolor and flowers.  Or flowers in general at the moment.  But it was an interesting exercise.

And the journal has many self-portraits which I plan to tackle next.

Headline Haiku: Imagine


imagine s

Yoko Ono placed an ad in the front section of the NY Times on October 9, John Lennon’s birthday.  He would have been 74.

imagine close up s

It seemed a perfect fit for Planet Earth.

identity death s

For the haiku (inspired by the surrealists and my 1989 Journal), I cut out all the headlines in the newspaper section, eliminated words referring to specific people or places, put them in an envelope, and let serendipity choose.  Only twice did I have to pick another word to get the correct number of syllables for the poem.

yoko s

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality.”
–Yoko Ono

Inspired by Journal 1989: Damn Yankees


poem detail 1s

You’ve been my resolve
inspiration first until
final who I am

Have we had enough “RE2PECT” in the last 6 months?

Yes we have, but baseball will still miss Derek Jeter (and I say this as a Mets fan).  His “thank you” ad from the Daily News last Sunday makes for a perfect random poetic mash up.  Haiku as usual.

poem detail 2s

begin    storied    turn
Yankee at short magical
memorable    end

And I did one with headlines from the sports section too…not completely random, haiku has rules!

“You can’t predict baseball” but the Mets will definitely be better than the Yankees in 2015.

damn yankees s