Moody Norway – it means good drawing! • September 7, 2015



Well Hello Everybody!


I’m back after a very fine trip, if also one with a few challenges. Norway has had a lot of rain this summer, and it’s been unusually cold. It meant the rivers were high and the water was bone-chilling. The fishing was so-so at best. That was sad. Ah, but nothing beats a brooding Viking landscape for getting a black & white artist jazzed up. It’s impossible to work with ink in the rain though. I did managed to hunker under a big umbrella drawing our cottage’s flower garden. I’ll show you the result of that in the next day or two, but right now, let’s start where we ought to; with good old-fashioned ingenuity.


Since I couldn’t work outdoors, I claimed the dining nook as my temporary studio. Ink literally flies when I draw, so precautions were called for. Here is a nice, atmospheric photo, shot after I had covered, well, just about everything in plastic!




And this is the reality of my workspace – a mess sure to spread! It got much worse later, so much so that I was too embarrassed to take another photo! I’m glad I had the cottage to myself for the last 9 days. No one else would have put up with me.




Okay, enough prep – let’s look at art. This first drawing is the only one I did on site. It’s of the Viking burial mounds, that sit on a slight rise halfway up the valley. You can see clear to the fjord from there, and to the top of the valley too, where it dead ends into very impressive mountains. What captured my eye though, is the gentle nature of the immediate scene, which is in such contrast to the dramatic views all around. And of course, I mean Viking mounds for crying out loud – ya gotta draw those, right?


Viking Mounds1 blog


I like that drawing! It was my last try of the day (two previous attempts were awful). Done in the final hour before I quit, I really, really flew. It rarely ever goes like that!


This is a photo I took of the same scene, to use as reference for some more drawings once the weather turned. It started raining as I walked home and we didn’t see sunshine for quite awhile after that.




I like working indoors while it rains. I love the patter on the roof, and looking out the window, as I make a cuppa tea. I climb pretty deeply into myself when I work, and the coziness of being inside as the world outside gets a good soaking, settles me into a comfortable, creative mood.


Here is another drawing – barely started – of the mounds. This may be the single best beginning I’ve ever made, so energetic and with such immediate, wonderful mark making, that it stopped me cold! Once in awhile I manage to jump ahead of myself and don’t know what to do. I’m glad when that happens; it’s often a preview of how I’ll find myself working in the not too distant future. Now I must look at this one a lot, think on it, and try to understand at least some of what has come into this picture.


Viking Mounds3


We have one more drawing to look at, but first, check this out: the grass in the foreground of the last and next drawings was painted/printed using a brush I made from the actual meadow grass!


grass brush


I liberally coated my grass brush with ink (it worked best when I brushed it on both sides rather than dipping). Then I twisted and smashed the brush down, and held it in place while I laid a sheet of scrape paper over top. Next, I pressed and rubbed. I’m thrilled with the result – here’s a detail view:


grass detail


My third mounds picture is now well underway. I continue to look for the right mix of detail and aggressive suggestion in my work. Certainly, there must be a grand balance, and I hope one day to find it. Obviously, I still have a bunch of trees to get in there, and I’m looking forward to wrestling with the marvelous graphic of spindly, white birch tree trunks, scattered across the picture like delinquent punctuation. I really wanna just jump on this picture and keep at it, but my Paterson show is coming up and that must take priority.




This winter I will devote myself to Norway drawings. And cats. And maybe a few still lives. Yep, I always seem to have more than one plan, but Norway is my big fascination now.


All wonderful adventures come to an end, and then you must reset yourself. I came home with a month’s worth of beard to trim. I’m looking civilized again, and in Norway, there is a dining alcove that has a secret existence as my ink slinging lair, although looking at it, you wouldn’t know it now!


bearded me

dining nook clean


Take care all – and keep checking back! I will post more Norway drawings during the week!


Your Buddy Bill



PS: You really should expand these drawings to get a good look at ’em. Click READ FULL ARTICLE, immediately below.