Accepting the Torch

My spirit has been riding in this body for forty years now – I was born forty years ago next June but I would have had brain cells and such by this time, forty years ago, even though I hadn’t yet tried the outside air.

It hit me hard today.   As I was reading an article about craft traditions that are now practiced by a bare few, I realized that it’s my turn to bring the things that I value into the future.  I want a college student twenty years from now to fall in love with Sumi-e, or to feel the touch of washi paper, or see a real indigo dyed piece of cloth, or paint with oils, or know how nice it is to write a letter with a real pen.

It’s not a burden to bear alone, thank goodness, but I can do a great service to the future by adding my interest and support to the traditions I want to see continue.  So can you, if you want to.  Every one of us who loves something and shows it, helps it stay in the world and not be forgotten.  Maybe for you it’s your grandmother’s sticky bread that nobody else knows how to make just right, or a breed of dog that’s rare and misunderstood.  Maybe it’s something else.

So I’ll keep baking my own sourdough that never knew the touch of a stand mixer.  I’ll practice my ink painting.  I’ll keep shifting my own gears and cooking on a gas flame.  I’ll keep learning about oil painting.  Sometime, I’ll save up and buy an iron tea kettle made lovingly by hand.  When I can, I’ll buy real washi paper from Japan, not an imitation, and make sure to get it from one of the places that still uses the old methods.   The money used to buy those things will help crafters and tradesmen keep the lights on just a bit longer.

It doesn’t take a huge effort, it doesn’t have to become some kind of holy cause.  I accept this burden, which isn’t so heavy after all, this torch, to keep and guard and carry so that someone can take it from me in the future.

The painting here is my first full size oil painting.  I see a lot of issues with it, as with any first effort, however there were also some of the fabled happy accidents and I learned from it.  The sumi-e up in the header is another thing I’ve picked up again, my first painting in that medium in quite some time.  I promise I’ll get better!

 

summer forest.JPG

 

 

Inktober Week Four

This week I did quite a few drawings, and more of them will be here in a day or two.  I also started oil painting and completed a couple of tiny test canvases.  One was four inches by six, the other four by eight.  I included a picture of the two of them together so you can get an idea of how small they are.  Soon I’ll be moving up to a much larger canvas (probably 18 by 24 or so) but these were a fun way to get my feet wet and find out what it was like to work with the materials.

So far I love it, by the way.  The way the paint smells and feels, the brushes, the long working time, it’s all great.  I’m happy to have the opportunity to do this at long last.  It was one very big item on my bucket list.  If anyone has interest, I’ll write an article about the best way to find halfway decent painting supplies without paying a huge amount of money.

I learned a lot about what not to do with a palette knife here!

 

tiny paintings 1000tiny painting 2 600tiny little painting 900

Here, to be random, is a picture of Nezumi sleeping with her paw over her eyes.  “Moms, turn the light off, wouldja?”

Nezumi with hand over eye 1200.JPG

 

InkTober Week 3

This week I did even more cards for coworkers – Boss’s Day plus a couple of birthdays.  So that cut into my InkTober arting just a bit.  However, I also finished a painting that had been sitting for oh, ten years or so, and did some digital stuff.  I’m still fascinated by clouds and never cease to be amazed by them.  Who cares about the latest entertainment news when I have Omigawd CLOUDS!  That one is a perfect orangy pink and I could totally do that with a liner brush and just a little blending… it looks like brushstrokes across the sky as it is…

On to the art.

Biplane for SiteDSCN2092DSCN2091glowing urngrays 1000Dawn Mountains Snip.PNG

Inktober Week 2

It’s been a busy week – I’ve done a drawing a day as well as some Boss’s Day cards for my dear Supervisor, Team Lead and Manager.  I truly like these people so the rest of the team is joining me in signing them.  In addition, I’ve been doing more sky color sketches.  I’m including the best of them here.

The A-10, the dolphin, and Batman are done with a combination of watercolors, colored pencils and watercolors.

Card A 10Card BatmanCard Beast DuckCard DolphinEddie GhostEvil TreeSunset in the desertWerewolfYuurei small

 

 

InkTober is back!

As you may know, InkTober is an annual event where visual artists of all types commit to making art every day.  Some are strict about it, saying you should use ink specifically, others are a little looser about the standards.

I got a bunch of my coworkers into this and we have a fairly nice InkTober gallery wall started.  If you are joining me, feel free to leave a link in my comments, I’d love to see what you do!

This year I’m not doing a post every day, but rather with each post I’ll be putting all the art I’ve done up until that point.  So far I have five drawings and a quick digital paint sketch.

Headless 760Lucky Cat 1000morning sky snip 2Pumpkin Face 1200pumpkin Maniac 1100Tragon trick or treat 1200

Just click to see them at a larger size.  I hope you enjoy, and more importantly, I hope you join me!

The Moon and Clouds

Tonight it’s so beautiful.  The bright, round moon is picking out the clouds in such a fascinating way, and the trees and other objects in the area make a deep contrast to show just how bright the sky is tonight.  This little digital painting was my attempt to capture some of the light values so that someday I might do a much better, more detailed work, possibly in chalks.  It made me happy to paint it.

night sketch.png