Viewing blog posts in January 2018
It’s slow going as I wander and try to paint the Norwegian mountain and fjord country, here in the studio – – – and more than half in my mind’s eye. Progress is slow and my mark making is either pretty neat or really ugly or sloppy or full of expression. I can’t tell, I just can’t. So, while I try to sort this out, here are some unruly blooms for you – – –
Your Buddy Bill
Yesterday was a strange one. I spent much of it trying to make a mountain and waterfall picture work, only to find it looked much better upside down!?! It’s still a waterfall picture too, although flipping it turned it into a close up view! Oh man, trying to sort out the hows and whys of all of this hurts my head. So this time I’m just going to accept and keep moving.
How’s this for the screwy first chore of my creative day: I must make water that still looks like it’s flowing upside down turn around and tumble right! Yep, and I also want to keep it suggestive rather than going all fussy detailed like I tend to.
Maybe soon I’ll have something marvelous to show you. Until then, here’s another picture of tumbling water, seen against the glare in bright sunlight. I did it some years ago, it is hyper-detailed, and a great picture, but I want more.
This morning’s picture began as an attempt to figure out exactly how I sometimes manage to make surprisingly crisp textures on my mountainsides. I know what I just said sounds odd. I mean, I’m the guy doing all of this, so I should know what’s happening, right? The thing is, I don’t because I’m working out new method. I can set up its circumstances and make my moves, yet there are variables in there I haven’t caught on to; one attempt ends up a total mess and the very next works out spectacularly. What happened differently?
I don’t even know what to call what I’m doing – maybe flow printing or flow guidance? I certainly don’t understand it well enough to tell you about it yet. That’s one of the things I’ll work on this week. Meanwhile, here’s a wonderful little study of a Norwegian Mountain that has its head in the clouds and its feet in a fjord. Like I said, I don’t understand how some of this picture really happened, but it did and was such a gift. That gives me hope!
We have a little journey to take together – are ya ready?
About a week ago, I showed you this studio photo (below) of a strange painting. It was made of the surprisingly well matched left and right sheets that I salvaged from two previous failed pictures. My task was to make them into one picture, but how to do it?
The way forward involved all kinds of sneaky methods, but mostly depended on my creating and collaging in a jigsaw of newly painted/textured parts. I’m not sure when I decided the best camouflage for my mismatched middle was a glacier, but in this next photo (which I also showed you a few days ago) you can see the top half of it already glued in. Things were beginning to look good!
Don’t you think we ought to chat a little more about how this collaging deal works? Take a look at the following photo and then we’ll continue our discussion:
The trick is to cleverly paint and cut different pieces of paper so that in the end, you can’t see how they fit together, or where their seams are. In the photo above, I’ve begun trimming them into shape, but still have a ways to go. There are actually FOUR different pieces laying on top of this picture (and each other). In my next photo, I’ve outlined where their edges are:
Once I’m satisfied with how all my parts fit in – and fit together – the next step is to sand their backs so they become very thin. I didn’t take pictures as I did that this time, but in the next sequence of photos you can see the same process carried through for an earlier piece:
Not only is the whole back of the patch sanded, but its edges are take down until they’re tissue thin. Below is the same patch held up against the light. You can really see those feathery edges now!
The last step is to spread glue thoroughly and thinly. Then you have to move quickly to get the patch laid down flat and tight.
AND FINALLY, my painting is finished – it turned out better than I’d hoped! I should also mention that many of my two-sheet images will end up being bound into albums – which is why I’ve added the brown, deckled edges and center hinge digitally. It’s gonna be interesting to see how it all turns out for real, but that won’t happen for quite awhile yet.
Have the best weekend! I’ll post again on Monday – – – Your Buddy Bill
CLICK THIS IMAGE AND JUST LOOK – IT’S KIND OF A WOW!
Good Morning All – here are some curious blooms to start your day!
I finished my troublesome peak & glacier picture yesterday, and it has very fine moments in it. Yet it might now work as a whole. Then again, I may be so worn out on it that I can’t judge.
I PROMISE I’ll scan and post the silly old thing tomorrow, so you can decide what you think. But today, I’m going to ignore it and work on another picture or two instead.
Have the finest day –
Your Buddy Bill
Hey All –
I’m pretty wound up these days – and both tired and perplexed, probably because I have more than a dozen landscapes going, and haven’t managed to get a single one resolved!
Do you know what? I just couldn’t face it this morning, so I’ve declared a STOP DAY – and intend to spend the rest of it being the completest bum possible. Gonna watch bang, bang shoot ’em up movies – or even some rom com chic flick, because I’m a big softie. Gonna eat snacks, almost not move – and maybe even take a nap!
Feeling a little guilty about all of this though, so here (at least) is another whacky flower picture for you to see. Did you know I’ve now done 350 of ’em?!!
Your Buddy Bill
These past few days have been tough going, but not without progress. Tomorrow or Thursday, I may at last be able to tell the whole tale, if I manage to finish what I’ve started.
This round began when I screwed up two pictures (each done on two sheets), then realized the left half of one weirdly matched up with the right half of the other (I showed you a photo of what that looked like a few days ago – scroll down three posts).
Since then, my time has been spent making those halves turn into a single picture, which has become fussy, detailed and surprising! On Saturday morning, the top of a glacier began to appear! Check back in to see what happened next!
CLICK IT TO GET A BETTER LOOK!
Been thinking about something:
When he was little, a friend of mine became fascinated by the man who was putting a new slate roof on his house. He loved watching this guy work, peppering him with questions like you can imagine, but the fellow arrived before sun up and worked into darkness. Such long days are very hard on a kid.
One day, he asked the roof man why he came so early and worked so hard. The old fellow grinned and replied, “Gotta work from from cain’t to cain’t if you wanna get it done right and quick.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It means you work from cain’t see to cain’t see no moah.”
That’s going to be me for a bit.
I won’t be writing to you this weekend – but until my next post, here’s a Montana mountain in dirty weather and looming darkness.
It was another studio day with a little too much lack of certainty or focus, or something. In fact it was pretty much this:
S’cool. I’ll figure it all out eventually, or just bully my way through and let the reasons why I’m having such a difficult time catch up when they can. There are times when I simply have to believe in the big effort, which is made up of lots of little ones – some of which stumble, right?
Here’s a topsy turvy flower, which is also trying to figure out which way to reach!
One of the nicest things about making pictures on two sheets (when I have a tendency to mess up so much) is that screw ups often happen on just one side. That means the other half of a picture is still okay. It’s no surprise that I have quite a stack of orphaned picture halves lying around.
What is really, really odd is that these leftovers often fit together surprisingly well! How can a left and right from different pictures do that? I guess it’s partly because I usually do a number of variations of the same scene. Thus sizes and shapes are pretty close. And then I’m also me, so I dependably make the marks I do. That means they kind of jive too, at least to the point where days like the one I’m about to have often happen.
Here’s a snapshot from my drawing table this morning – take a look (CLICK THE PHOTO TO REALLY SEE IT) and then we’ll finish our chat:
Do you see what I mean about how well some of these different halves fit? I mean, it’s kinda weird!
I’m going to try to marry these two halves together, which will mean using every trick I know. There will be some sanding, a lot of scraping and surface abuse, plus new ink, of course. And there certainly will be collaging too. This isn’t going to be easy.
Check out these detail views: in the first one you can see that a little collaging has already begun.
How easy it is to get lost in some of those topographic gray on gray textures. OH PLEASE CLICK THE PHOTOS! Wow, I hope I can pull this off – his could be a truly fine picture.
Yesterday was not a good ink slinging day, and I because I have nothing to show for it, today’s picture is a space filler – something simple and energetic. I did this bloom just over a year ago, at almost the very beginning of my big run of flower pictures. Man oh man, does that seem like ancient history. My head is in a completely different space now, filled with scenes of mountain drama, fjords as deep as the North Sea and changing weather that is a landscape all it’s own.
I’m gonna go see if I can make better headway painting some of that. It’s snowing here, calm and cold – I’m glad I’m tucked into my studio.
I bet you’re wondering what’s going on with this one!
I’ve been tempted to see what happens if I brutalize – and even tear into – a sheet before ever beginning to paint. This beat up, cracked old peak I’m portraying has just the right character to try something like that, so I did! That was yesterday, and then it took about 10 minutes of ink slinging before I realized I was in real trouble. Three terrible hours later, I was certain my picture was horrible. In a last ditch attempt to try anything, I ripped even further into the top of the peak, thinking I might at least slip a whole new mountain top in and paste it down. The photo above was what this mess looked like when I gave up in disgust last night.
This morning I got a big surprise! Once I simply put a sheet of blank paper behind my gapping rip, the top of my mountain suddenly looked perplexingly . . . better? How was that even possible?
Okay, so you know how I spent my day today! I sanded and carefully laid in that white sheet behind my damned hole, then ground up and frayed it’s edges even more before carefully pasting them all down. Finally, I tapped the flat side of a brush with the barest amount of diluted ink against the area, so the texture would pick up just a bit of it.
The snapshot below is of how things stand tonight – it doesn’t capture the true complexity of the dimension and texture I’ve got going, but if you CLICK THE PICTURE YOU’LL GET A BETTER LOOK!
This is going to be a monster week of landscape picture making, but I also still have a ton of flower pictures to prep before I can add ’em to this website. What a task – I did almost 300 last year, so I have plenty of new blooms to show you yet. And of course, I’ll let you know how things are going as my brush roams the Norwegian fjord and mountain country.
Let’s all clobber this day, okay?
Your Buddy Bill
PS: this morning’s bloom is different version of one I showed you a little while back, which was more stripped down. Here that one is again – which do you like best?
These new ones give me five now under way. I might shoot for a dozen keepers, which would be enough for a whole album of paintings. Even if I don’t manage that, it’s an excellent plan to have a bunch of pictures going at once. That way, when I get too confused by one, I can switch to another picture before I ruin it. That’s so easy to do right now – I’m waaaaaay past my comfort zone with these!
CLICK ON THESE TO MAKE ‘EM BIGGER – IT’S WORTH IT!
Do you wanna see something goofy interesting? The painting above actually began as entirely different scene! Yep, it did, but then I got confused by the all of that chaotic texture. So the poor picture sat in a pile until this morning, when I decided to try putting a completely different scene right over top! Or am I kind of sneaking it in? I don’t even now if this is gonna work, but it’s worth a shot.
Here is what the picture looked like before I started messing with it again:
And below is yet another painting, this time from the same round as the one above originally came from. Now you can get some notion of what it was that I was trying to paint. I wonder if I’ll succeed in completely changing the view? Stay tuned!
Your show-n-tell tomorrow is sure to be something inky, but not today!
I just stumbled across this in a desktop folder it shouldn’t have been in. It’s a digitally altered fragment of one of Reidun’s childhood drawings, which we used in our 2016 holiday card. How nice to start the morning with a sweet little surprise!
Hey ya –
Here are down and dirty snapshots of pictures I’ve begun since yesterday. All are of a stormy Norwegian mountain that is pretty darned well known. I’ll tell you more about that soon, but not just yet! First I must succeed with these (and several more versions) because my cojones are involved.
It’s no surprise that I’m already struggling. Why wouldn’t I be though? After all, this is just the beginning of my big new push and I’m trying to manage two things that don’t combine easily: rugged, rocky textures and gauzy, weathery atmospherics. How does one achieve sharply defined and fuzzy all at once?
Oh, and I’m also sticking to mid-tones as much as I can, with almost no use of black. That’s really, really hard for me!
Happy Morning Ya’ll –
I’m up but the sun’s not, which means I’m still cradling my mug of tea and wishing I was sleeping. Thoughts and ideas are tangled, sort of like these flowers! As early as it is though, it’s already time to uncap my ink pots. This’ll be a day of painting Norwegian mountains, which might be fun – or at least a small adventure!
I hope you also have a day you’re looking forward to!
Your Buddy Bill
PS: THIS ONE LOOKS GREAT LARGER – CLICK IT AND SEE!
Good Morning –
It seems like all sorts of little things – or concerning things – are stacking up in my life just now – – – and I’ve let them become excuses for winding myself up and avoiding my headlong crash into big creative challenges. I sometimes forget that the rhythm of living is full of things you have to deal with – BUT it’s nothing more than life being lived. And it’s the business of living, not why I live – which other than taking care of those I love is to create – – – to create my ass off as ferociously as I can.
This morning I remembered this.
Now I’m going to do it. AND I’m also inhaling because it feels wonderful to breath, and know I am as I was meant to be.
Today’s bloom is a quiet one to breath deep with –
Your Buddy Bill
This morning I was looking at this one and thinking it’s one of my best bloom pictures from last year. I’ve shown it to you once before but here it is again, because there’s wonderful, unpredictable painting and mark making going on in there – and just tons of whimsy!
YOU CAN CLICK IT TO MAKE IT BIGGER!
Hey ya’ll – have a fine and creative day!
Above is a quick studio photo of the same mountain/fjord view I showed you two days ago. It’s now done – or at least has gone as far as I can take it before I move on. I added a little grain and texture here and there, and most importantly, changed the whole character of the mountain top at upper right.
Little differences make big differences! Here, take a look:
In the before photo, you can see that the big, bold outline of the right-hand mountain just wasn’t working. It was a remnant of the earlier picture, which was more mark driven rather than painterly. When the whole idea of a picture changes, I sometimes must sacrifice things I wish I didn’t have to. I liked that big old mark, but it had to go. I’m content with the outcome.
There are A LOT more Norwegian mountains in my immediate future – keep checking in!